How the Bubbles Get In Sparkling Wine

Ah bubbles. They give sparkling wine its festive fizz, contribute to the flavor profiles and are almost a necessity when the clock strikes 12 on Dec. 31. There are millions of tiny bubbles in each glass raised in celebratory toast but there are only three common ways the bubbles get in the wine.

Related: 5 Bubbly Alternatives to Champagne

The most famous is the Méthode Champenoise or Méthode Traditionelle. You might have guessed it’s the classic French method used in the production of Champagne and adopted by many others including Long Island’s own Sparkling Pointe Vineyard. The base wine ferments in barrels or tanks before the winemaker adds sugar and yeast to the wine and allows a second fermentation to take place in the bottles. The fermentation of the sugar and yeasts form carbon dioxide gas, which with nowhere to go, carbonates the bottle. At this point the powdery yeast sediment has to be removed by first rotating the bottles almost daily for months. Then comes the disgorgement, where the bottles are put in a solution to freeze the sediment. The cork is removed, the sediment comes out and a little bit of sugar and older wine tops it off. The bottle is then sealed and left to age for several more months or years before making its way to your home.

The next most popular method is the Charmat Method, used mostly with Prosecco. It’s cheaper as the fermentation and topping with sugar and older wine all takes place in tanks before bottling. The other less popular method is the Transfer Method, identical to the Méthode Champenoise until the disgorgement, which takes place in a tank instead of in the bottle. This tends to only be used for small bottles of sparkling wines.

Go on, pop the bubbly.