Bubbly Basics

A myriad of fizzy drinks have become accessible and affordable champagne alternatives for at home celebrations and now compete for space on store shelves. Palate-tingling beverages have continued to increase in popularity, and we see that sparkling wine is starting to become a wine category of it’s own, with a great diversity of styles and origins. Bubbly beverage products are showing up everywhere, with every varietal and style being carbonated to react to the trend.

There are several ways to create a lasting fizz in your beverage, but three basic methods prove the most popular:

Method Champenoise (or Traditionelle) is the most time intensive process, involving fermentation followed by bottling with a bidule and crown closure, riddling followed by yeast disgorgement and ultimately the final product is corked. This method is considered the best by sparkling purists

Up to 6 Volumes CO2 pressure, True Champagnes

Charmat (Forced Carbonation)- The Charmat method is a sparkling winemaking process that traps bubbles in wine via carbonation in large steel tanks or kegs. This method is used for Prosecco in Italy, and by home brewers world-wide. Charmat method is equipment intensive and requires a kegging or tank system, carbon dioxide tanks and regulators. A counter pressure filling system is required if the product is to be bottled.

Typically 3-5 Volumes CO2, Sparkling Wines/Prosecco, Beers  & Sodas

Method Ancestral (or Pét-Nat) – Creates a lower-bubble less aggressive texture. This method is the least time or equipment intensive method of carbonating, this method requires a good understanding of desired outcome to achieve the correct level of carbonation or sweetness. Wine is partially fermented in icy temperatures to a certain sugar (Brix) level and then the process is interrupted, and the product is packaged in pressure rated bottles to complete the fermentation.

2-4 Volumes CO2, Lightly Sparkled Wines

Pressure rated bottles are typically thicker and heavier than standard wine bottles because they need to withstand the force of pressure from inside the bottle. With Champagne, the carbon dioxide in the wine pushes outward with a force of up to 90 pounds per square inch (over 6 bar, 6 atm, or 620,000 pascals!). This is why classic champagne style bottles are thick-walled. Any level of carbonation requires a glass bottle that was engineered to withstand the force created within.

If you are creating a product that will ferment in the bottle or you plan to add carbonation after fermentation, be sure to choose bottles and closures that work with you to safely contain and preserve your beverage! The experts at Waterloo Container can work with you to create a perfect pairing of bottle and closure to keep the taste and the fizz safely inside the bottle!

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