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Methode Champenoise

Champagne wines are exclusively produced from grapes grown, harvested and made into wine within the Champagne
delimited region, in France. Champagne wines are produced by natural yeast fermentation in the bottle, in
accordance with strict criteria laid down in the Champagne regulatory framework covering every aspect of
Principal rules:

• Just three authorized grape varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier

• Short pruned vines (Cordon de Royat, Chablis and Guyot pruning)

• Capped grape yields per hectare

• Juice extraction strictly limited to 102 litres of must per 160 kilos of grapes

• Minimum annual required alcohol levels by volume

• Dedicated Champagne wine-making and storage premises

• A natural winemaking process known as the ‘Méthode Champenoise’

• A minimum 15 months storage period for bottled wines prior to shipping

Picking Ageing on lees

Pressing Riddling

Debourbage Resting

First Fermentation Degorgement

Topping Up Dosage

Racking and Fining Re-corking

Preparation of the Cuvee (Assemblage) Shaking

Addition of Liqueur de Tirage Resting

Sealing / Bouchage Packaging

Second Fermentation
01. Picking
The harvest is in September, 100 days after flowering. Its is extremely critical to ensure that the grapes are picked up
at the right ripeness.

The rotten grapes are removes (Triage) in order to improve the quality of wine.

02. Pressing
Most champagne houses still use a
traditional vertical press, holding 4,00 kg of
grapes (marc). These presses are also called
as ‘Coquard’ presses after the manufacturer.

Traditionally 2,666 liters was extracted for

every ‘marc’. The first 2,050 litre were vin de
cuvee, the next 410 lires the premieres
tailles, while the final 205 litres were the
deuxiemes tailles.

The production of white wine from black

grapes is tricky as it involves extracting only Now, from every 4,000 kg of ‘marc’, juice extraction is limited to 2,550
2/3rd of the yield. litres (2,050 litres is cuvee and 500 litres is taille)
03. Settling / Debourbage
The juice is allowed to settle for between 12-48 hours at a low temperature. The solid impurities in the ‘must’ are
given time to fall to the bottom of the tank, so that the clean ‘must’ may be drawn off. In hot weather the must may
be passed through refrigerated pipes to prevent premature fermentation.

At this stage, the ‘must’ is also treated with Sulphur di oxide

04. Primary Fermentation
Primary (alcoholic) fermentation is the starting point for each individual style of wine.

The ‘must’ bubbles violently for about 2 weeks converting the sugar into alcohol. The fermentation tempartue also
varies between 12-25 C. Most winemakers use a strain of yeast specially developed by the CIVC.

Immediately after the first fermentation, most champagnes undergo malolactic fermentation. The result is called vin

05. Topping Up
The casks are topped up 2 or 3 times to prevent the bacteria from altering the character of the wine.

06. Racking and Fining

The wines are racked two or three times and later clarified by the addition of Bentonite or Isinglass during winter to
prevent the still wine from becoming cloudy.
07. Assemblage (Blending)
The different lots of wines are assembled to prepare the final blend. The normal procedure is to taste samples from
each cive or fermentation vessel and then sinple decide whetehrr it is of sufficient quality for the grand vin. Major
firms use wines from between 50 and 200 communes for their blend. They also use a percentage varying between
10 and 50% of vins de reserve from earlier vintages, generally stored in stainless tell or cement vats.

3 dimensions of champagne blending

Blending wines from different crus Blending wines from different but Blending wines from different years
complementary grape varities

Once blending is complete, the wine undergoes cold stabilisation: the

process of chilling wine prior to bottling to induce crystallisation of
tartaric acid (particularly important for sparkling wines), so preventing
crystal formation in the finished product. The wine is held at a very low
temperature (-4°C) for at least a week and sometimes much longer
08. Addition of Liqueur de tirage
Before the wine is bottled, a measured dose of bottling liquor (liqueur de tirage) – a mixture of old wine, cane sugar
nd yeast is added to the wine to start secondary fermentation.

09. Sealing / Bouchage

The bottles are sealed by hand with first corks and strong wire clips (agrafe) or mechanically capped, usually with a
crown cork lined with plastic. These dark bottles are then stacked on their sides in the inderground chalk caves by
the cellar worker.

10. Secondary fermentation

The bottles are normally stored horizontaqlly at abour 12 C and the fermentation has produced the required
pressure and bubbles after 4-8 weeks. The lonf, slow fermentation produces a very fine, lasting mousse.

11. Ageing on lees

Deep inside the cellars, the bottles embark on a long period of maturation – a key phase in Champagne making in
which the cellar play a critical role by keeping the wines at a relatively constant temperature of 12°C (54°F). The lees
mainly consist of yeasts that have multiplied in the bottle and formed a deposit. By the end of second fermentation,
all of the sugars have been consumed and the yeasts gradually die and decompose. This process is known as
autolysis, releasing molecules that are slowly transformed as they interact with those in the wine.
12. Riddling
Towards the end of their long resting period, the bottles must
be moved and rotated to loosen the sediment (a mixture of
dead yeasts and riddling aids) thrown off by second

Known as ‘remuage’ (ridding), this process causes the sediment

to collect in the neck of the bottle in preparation for
disgorgement: the ejecting of the sediment under pressure that
then leaves the wine perfectly clear.

Riddling involves the gradual tilting of the bottle neck-down

(‘ sur pointe’), meanwhile rotating it by small increments,
clockwise and anti-clockwise. As the angle of tilt increases,
the forces of gravity draw the sediment into the neck. A
good ‘remueur’ (bottle turner) can handle roughly 40,000
bottles a day, with the bottles placed neck down in a
wooden ‘pupitre’ (A-frame-shaped riddling rack).
13. Resting
Bottles re stacked upside in the cellar with he neck of one o resting in the botton of the another. The
champagne can remain like this for many years continuing its slow aging process.

14. Disgorgement
This is the removal of the deposit
in the neack of an inverted bottle.
The traditional method is by hand
or by mechanical means where the
bottle neck is placed in freezing
bath where sediment plug is frozen
for removal. The conventional way
of achieving this is to freeze the
bottle neck and deposit by
plunging the necks of the inverted
bottles into a tray of freezing
solution. The bottles are then
upended, opened and the deposit
flies out as a solid pellet of ice.
15. Dosage
Bottles are then topped wup with a mixture of winr and sugar (Liqueur d’expedition) with a proper champagne
cork held on a wire with a wire muzzle and prepared for labeling. The quantity added varies according to the
style of Champagne:

Style Category
Extra Brut Ultra dry
Brut Very dry
Extra dry / Extra sec Dry
Sec Dry
Demi sec Medium dry
Doux Sweet or rich
16. Recorking
A final or a composite cork in 3 sections is fastened wth a wire cage, wired down to resist the pressure of the
carbon dioxide contained in the wine. The only indication of the age is the shape of the cork when the bottle is

17. Shaking
Bottles are given a good shake to distribute the
dosage evenly.

18. Resting
The wine is rested for 4-6
months to allow it to marry and
settle down
19. Packaging
Step One : tilt the bottle slightly, always pointing the bottle safely away from yourself or any other
person; then untwist the metal loop to loosen the wire cage

Step Two : remove the wire cage and foil wrapping, meanwhile keeping a firm grip on the cork

Step Three : still holding the cork firmly, gently rotate the bottle (NOT the cork) with your other hand so
the cork comes sliding – not popping – out.