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Introduction to the techniques to bottle sparkling wine

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Written by EFW Staff

Which are the techniques to bottle sparkling wine

Bottling wine on your own can be a good source of saving and if you like the way “do it yourself” ii can be also a moment of fun together with friends and relatives, to conclude with a good lunch all together. Knowing very well the winemaker where you buy the demijohn will allow you to save more money and drink genuine wine. Naturally it is possible to bottle only young wines, and suitable for the ageing in your cellar. Normally, however the homemade bottle is used for wines that don’t require a particular ageing, as for instance sparkling wine.
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Bottles and stoppers

The carbon dioxide produced through the bottle fermentation of sparkling wine, produces a pressure more than three atmospheres, up to eight or nine atmospheres. For this reason the bottle has to be solid, able to be subjected to a certain pressure.
The most suitable are the bottles used for Champagne. In Emilia Romagna, they use the so-called “emiliane”, for their famous wines. The stopper has to be of a high-quality material. Besides being thick, it is important that there aren’t microorganism that can transform the trichloroanisole, the element responsible of the dreaded “cork taint”. We suggest cork stoppers called 0+2 made of two pieces of sugar placed on a side of the stopper that will be placed inside the bottle. “champagne” and “emiliane” bottles have a stopper diameter of 27,5 mm.
To avoid that the stopper explodes because of the pressure it is useful to consider the application of a metallic wire hood fixed on the edge of the bottle, similar to the Spumante wines.
Although they are not that elegant, you can use also plastic corks. Another practical but not “glamour” alternative is the use of cork caps, also for “champagne” bottles. The advantage of this last two solution is that the wine won’t ever have the cork taint. Naturally, in any case, it is essential that the cork be watertight.

When is it the right moment to bottle sparkling wine?

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The best period to bottle sparkling wine goes from January to May. In this period the moon is waxing (first quarter), thus the sparkling wines will be better, whereas it is not advisable to bottle with new moon (which means when there is no moon in the sky). However, not all agree with the scientific base of this tradition, but, without other suggestions, it is better to not risk. As for other types of wines, the bottling has to occur during days without rain or wind. The temperature shouldn’t be below 15°.

Some rules for the right bottling

The rules to bottle sparkling wine, also the general ones, are suitable for any kind of wine. Thus the bottle should be clean and dry and, given that sparkling wines tend to ferment quickly in the demijohns they have to be bottled within few days. The bottle will be filled in a specific way, in fact once tapped there have to remain a small inner tug between the level of the wine and the stopper, to avoid high pressure inside the bottle. This detail is true also for still wines, but for the sparkling wine it has to have some millimetres more.
After the bottling, the bottle has to be kept vertically for some days. Then, they can be placed horizontally so that the stopper get wet. This trick is useful for the ageing. The sparkling ones that are ready to drink, can be left vertically, the most important thing is that they stay in fresh places, without great variations of temperature and shelter by the light.

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EFW Staff