From wine to sparkling wine – this is how sparkling wine is produced
Be it Sekt, Prosecco or Champagne, every sparkling wine is produced from a base wine which is carbonated during a second fermentation process, which gives it its characteristic sparkle and fizz. There are three basic production methods:
- Fermentation in the bottle (Champagne method): The base wine is bottled along with yeast and sugar, where it ferments for a second time. After 9-12 months, the yeast dies away and is removed from the bottle, before the bottle is corked.
- Transfer method: The sparkling wine is aged in a bottle just like the méthode champenoise; however, after completion of the second fermentation, the bottles are emptied under pressure and the yeast is filtered out of the sparkling wine with the help of a machine. The sparkling wine is then re-bottled.
- Tank fermentation (Charmat method): The base wine, yeast and sugar ferment for about 6 months in large tanks with regular stirring. The dead yeast is then filtered out by a machine and the sparkling wine is bottled.
German Sekt is mostly made using the Charmat method, however, many Italian and French sparkling wines also use this modern method of production – for example, Prosecco is usually made in this way.
Sekt, Prosecco, Crémant – how do they differ from each other?
There are definite regional differences when it comes to naming sparkling wines; however, what are the differences between Sekt, Prosecco and Cava?
- Semi-sparkling wine is a white wine that has retained a bit of carbon dioxide from the first fermentation process, or to which carbon dioxide has been added later on. Semi-sparkling wine contains less carbon dioxide and is mostly sold in normal wine bottles.
- Sekt like Henkell or Rotkäppchen is often sold in Germany as “German Sekt” – this means that all grapes for the sparkling wine should have been grown and processed in Germany.
- Crémant like Louis Bouillot ferments in exactly the same way as Champagne in the bottle and is subject to similar strict regulations regarding production, such as manual harvest and maximum sugar dosage. Crémant is considered equivalent to Champagne.
- Prosecco was originally a general name for sparkling wines made from Prosecco grapes. Since 2009, Prosecco has been a controlled designation of origin label [denominazione di origine controllata (DOC)] for sparkling wines from a specified region in North-East Italy. Famous for its Prosecco is for example Bottega
- Cava are Spanish sparkling wines and are just as popular as German Sekt and Italian Prosecco.
Savour the distinction between sparkling wines from Germany, France or Italy, and discover sparkling wines from emergent producers such as South Africa and Australia – all available from Heinemann.
For celebration and indulgence – buy fine sparkling wines from Heinemann
Be it Sekt, Champagne or Prosecco – sparkling wines should be well cooled and enjoyed in Champagne flutes. Lovers of sparkling drinks can mix a Villa Sandi or a Ruggeri Prosecco to make a Bellini or a summery Hugo. Order your favourite sparkling wine online now from Heinemann – either for direct home delivery or for pick-up at the airport.