The History of Sparkling Wines

Posted by | Miscellaneous | May 02, 2014

Sparkling wine has always been associated with celebrations and special occasions. This beverage has high levels of carbon dioxide and that is what makes it fizzy. Carbonation has long been practiced and ancient Greeks and Romans have taken note of its effects, but it was not clearly understood what was behind the bubbles. In the early wine processes, sparkling in wines was considered to be a defect.

 

It was the English who first thought that sparkling in wine is something desirable and they set about in finding the reason as to why bubbles were produced. In 1662, an English scientist by the name of Christopher Merret pointed out how the presence of sugar is a contributing factor as to why wine sparkled and that the addition of sugar  to any wine before it was bottled can cause it to sparkle.

The Production of Sparkling Wine

The making of sparkling wines has a lot of things in common with the making of ordinary wine though there are undeniable differences.   One of the foremost characteristic of sparkling wine production is how the wine has to undergo two types of fermentation.

The primary fermentation for sparkling wines works in the same way with ordinary wines. It is the process that converts the grape juice into wine. Once the primary fermentation is done the result is usually blended with other base wines. Yeast and sugar is added to the wine. The sugar will be consumed by the yeast and will produce alcohol and carbon dioxide which accounts for the bubbles. During the primary fermentation the carbon dioxide is allowed to escape, but in the secondary fermentation it is allowed to dissolve into the wine.

A long winemaking process for sparkling wines will produce more expensive and better results. There are two primary ways that sparkling wines are produced. The first one is through secondary fermentation in a tank and the second way is through second fermentation in a bottle.

 Tank Fermentation

Tank fermentation is considered by many to be the most effective way of making sparkling wine and also the quickest. It uses large tanks that have been pressurized in order to run the fermentation process. Because it can be used for processing large quantities, it is also known as the bulk method. One characteristic of tank fermented wines is that they tend to be fruitier.

 Bottle Fermentation

Bottle fermented wines are normally expensive than tank fermented ones. The reason behind this is because bottle fermentation takes longer. Normally, the process takes up to three years.

 Types of Sparkling Wines

There are several types of sparkling wines that are available.

Rose – Rose is often considered to be one of the oldest types of wine. A rose is a kind of wine that gets its color from the grapes, but is not dark enough to be considered to be a red wine.

Champagne – This is by far the most popular type of sparkling wine. It is created in the Champagne region in France and uses three types of grapes in order to come with the right blend and flavor.

Cremant – The main characteristic of cremant is that it has low carbon dioxide content so it does not give a fizzy feeling but rather a creamy one.

Cava – Cava is a kind of Spanish wine. It normally comes in white or pink colors.

Espumante – Espumante is produced in Portugal and is made by injecting carbon dioxide into the drink. It is considered to be a low-end sparkling wine and so is a lot cheaper.

 Other Types of Sparkling Wines

There are other kinds of sparkling wines that are available. There is the Asti which uses Muscat grapes and has a sweet flavor. Another type of sparkling wine is Sekt which is produced in Germany. You can do more research in order to find the best sparkling wine for your taste.

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