previous page: 24 Higher Alcohol Levels
page up: WineMaking FAQ
next page: 26 Ice Wine

25 Sparkling Your Wine


This article is from the WineMaking FAQ, by malak@CAM.ORG (Don Buchan) with numerous contributions by others.

25 Sparkling Your Wine

Traditional method:

For 20 litres:

Wine should be fermented to 10% alcohol. When still and clear, but
without any sorbate or further sulphite added, add 1 cup sugar and
champagne yeast to the wine. Bottle the wine in champagne bottles with
crown caps or corks wired down to the bottle neck. Let bottle rest on
its side for one month.

When disgorging and corking, 12oz (360ml) of this wine is to be added
to 8oz (240 ml) of vodka or brandy (preffered) and 12oz (360ml), wine
conditioner and 1/2 tsp sulphite crystals. This is the "dosage".

Over a period of six weeks after the initial one month period,
gradually shift the bottle angle from near horizontal to near vertical
(neck down) using a riddler (see definitions). Then chill the wine to
about -1C (30F) without disturbing the sediment (this can be done in a
large bucket of ice or outside in the winter.) Then place several
alternating layers of crushed ice and salt in a bucket and place the
necks down in the ice. When the sediment has frozen, carefully point
the bottle in a safe direction (such as into a bucket) and uncork. The
sediment should come out cleanly.

To achieve a good riddling rack you need $20 of lumber and hardware for
2X4 hinges and a 3" bell saw for your drill. You will find the plans
for a 200 bottle riddling rack designed for amateur champagne makers in
the magazine Wine East of November-December 1983 issue. If you call
Hudson Cattell the editor at (717) 393 0943.

After the wine is disgorged, the "dosage" is added to the sparkling
wine. The wine is recorked.

Compared to artificial carbonation, there is no need to sterilize your
wine (less chemicals in your product), it takes two minutes to add the
1.5 cup sugar, and the bubbles in your wine will be finer, longer
lasting, and will thread like champagne. The loss of the small amount
of wine is minimal and if you keep the yeast, in the bottle it is good
for you.

Articicial carbonation:

WARNING: This method can be dangerous. IF YOU AREN'T SURE, ASK YOUR

Artificial carbonation avoids the nuisance of sediment. The drawback is
that it is expensive and involved.

A) rent the carbonation equipment from your supplier store.
B) chill your wine to -1C (30F).
C) charge the tank with CO2, shake, charge, shake, charge, shake.
D) each bottle has to be filled under pressure.

Estimates for 23L are in the 2-3 hour range not including chilling
time, extra trips to the store, cleaning time, and so forth.

Some have tried to carbonate with food grade dry ice, using about 10g
per bottle then corking.

Through MLF:

If you intentionally allow MLF to occur in the bottle, you can
carbonate your wine slightly. You will have a sediment in the wine, so
if you wish to get rid of it, after carbonation is complete, proceed as
though you used the champagning method. You should also take all
apropriate precautions due to carbonating your wine.


Use bottles that are designed to be under pressure (such as soda
bottles or champagne bottles) and that the cork is secured to the
bottle with a wire. Alternatively you can use large beer bottles or
other bottles that can use crown caps.


Continue to:

previous page: 24 Higher Alcohol Levels
page up: WineMaking FAQ
next page: 26 Ice Wine