Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Making wine fills me with anxious expectations, but even more so the making of sparkling wine. First there's the task of making a sound base wine, in this case a Chardonnay with grapes from Cochise County. Then the yeast has to be "build up", meaning getting it used to living in a high alcohol environment. A measured amount of sugar is added to the base wine (4 grams per liter for each desired atmosphere of pressure) and the built up yeast is pitched to the wine. I always wait overnight to make sure there is some fermentation action, then the sugary, yeasty, base wine is bottled in champagne bottles and sealed with a crown cap. Over the next few months the yeast turns the added sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide, but as opposed to primary fermentation, the production of carbon dioxide is the main goal. The tightly capped bottle prevents the gas from escaping and it becomes dissolved in the wine, AKA bubbles. This is the basis of the methode champenoise. It takes the yeast so long because they don't like the high pressure and increasingly high alcohol environment. When they are done and die the chore will be to get them out of the bottle, but that's the other half of the story.


  1. Hey, put my name on one of the bottles of Sparkling Chardonnay!

  2. A dinner party of different nationalities had arrived at a restaurant. They each ordered a glass of wine, but when the wine arrived they noticed that each of the glasses had a fly in it.

    * The Swede demanded to have new wine in the same glass.

    * The Englishman demanded to have new wine in a new glass.

    * The Finn picked the fly out of the wine and drank the wine.

    * The Russian drank the wine, fly and all.

    * The Chinese ate the fly but left the wine.

    * The Norwegian took the fly and went off to fish for cod.

    * The Irishman ground the fly and mixed it in the wine, which he then donated to the Englishman.

    * The American sued the restaurant and claimed for a 65 million dollar compensation for mental suffering.

    * The Scotsman grabbed the fly by the throat and roared: 'Now spit out all that you swallowed!!'