At Windsor Vineyards we take great pride in the quality and excellence of the sparkling wines we craft and believe strongly that these wines are amongst the finest produced. Making sparkling wine can be done through a variety of different processes, however, the best way to do so is via the traditional method defined and used in the Champagne region of France, home of some of the finest bubbly in the world. This time-honored process is known as methode Champenoise.
The early days of sparkling wine production were pioneered by Dominican Monks in Champagne in the early 1600’s where the monk, Dom Perignon, is said to have exclaimed upon seeing tiny bubbles rising in his wine, “I am drinking the stars.” The methode Champenoise process of creating those wonderful “stars” is a fascinating and highly specialized process that takes time to bring about.
The first fermentation begins the same as any wine with the fruit pressed and fermented, where the natural sugar in the pressed juice is converted into alcohol. Once the base wine has fermented dry, the wine is put into bottle and a second fermentation, induced by the addition of yeast and rock sugar, takes place in that same bottle. This is the part of the process that distinguishes it from other, lower quality methods. At this point the bottle is sealed with a crown cap which looks like a beer or soda cap. As the second fermentation takes place, the carbon dioxide is trapped in the bottle under intense pressure which requires thicker bottles. For more on this fascinating wine-making process, check out the video below where we interview Penny Gadd-Coster of Rack & Riddle, a state-of-the-art sparkling wine-making facility in Hopland, CA.