To be called “Champagne,” a wine must come from the Champagne appellation, a region of France slightly east of Paris. In France, such a region is referred to as an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, or AOC.
Within Champagne, there are several major growing areas, all known for particular grapes. The major areas from north to south are Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne, Côte des Blancs and Côte de Sézanne and Aube. For sparkling wine to be classified Champagne, the grapes must be grown in the region, and the wine must be produced in a specific way. The process, known as the méthode Champenoise, is also referred to as the traditional method.
Grapes used for production of Champagne are grown in specific vineyards in the region of Champagne, France. There are three types of grapes grown in Champagne; Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.
PRESS & PRIMARY
After the grapes are picked and de-stemmed, they are juiced in a grape press. The juice is then stored in a vessel, usually a tank or barrel, where primary fermentation occurs.
Once the primary fermentation is complete, the wine is usually blended with older reserve wines, sugar and yeast and bottle under a temporary bottle cap. The reaction of the yeast and sugar inside the sealed bottle creates the bubbles!
AGING & RIDDLING
After secondary fermentation, the bottles age for anywhere from 15 months to 15+ years!
Riddling is the process of slowly turning bottles onto their necks so that the sediment settles in the neck of the bottle.
When the sediment has been removed, a small dose of liquer d'expédition (sugar and still wine) is added to the Champagne to balance high levels of acid.
SHIPPING TO CONSUMER
Finally the bottles are corked, labeled, put on a cargo ship, and sent (temperature controlled) across the ocean to the United States, and directly into you favorite retailer Wainscott Main Wines & Spirts.
You can enjoy a glass of Champagne tonight and no you don't need to celebrate anything. You just need to pour yourself a glass and enjoy it.