This week marks the bottling of our 2020 vintage wines.
We hire a bottling line which comes to us here at Brewers Hall so that bottling can take place on site under our close supervision. The wine is taken from the stainless steel tanks where it currently resides, combined with yeast and sugar, and transferred into bottles. These bottles are then sealed with a crown cap, rather than the cork which you find on our finished product. Although bottling may seem like the end of the process, it is actually the beginning of our wine’s next stage of development.
By sealing with a crown cap, each bottle forms an air-tight vessel in which the wine’s second fermentation can take place – vital for adding bubbles to the wine, as well as secondary flavours. This process, where the second fermentation takes place in the bottle, is known as the Traditional Method, and is the same method used for Champagne. The added yeast converts the sugar into alcohol (increasing the ABV of the wine slightly) and CO2, which makes the all-important bubbles.
The remaining yeast will break down over time and form a sediment in the wine called ‘lees’ which imparts the toasty, brioche notes you might have tasted if you have tried our ‘White From Black’. It is this depth of complex flavours from the ‘lees’ which make Traditional Method sparkling wines distinct from sparkling wines where the second fermentation takes place in tank, such as Prosecco. So although the method we use is more expensive and labour-intensive, we are ultimately rewarded in the quality of the final wine. The ‘lees’ will eventually be removed and the bottle will be resealed with a cork and wire cage, ready for you to release those bubbles whenever you choose.