Traditional vs. Charmat methods
- 1In the “traditional method”, the secondary fermentation process occurs in the bottle that the wine will eventually be sold in. The introduction of fresh yeast and a food source, the sugar, triggers the secondary fermentation process in the bottle. As the yeast dies off, the dead cells sink to form the "lees". Sparkling wines are matured on their lees, in the bottle, for a period of a few months to several years, depending on the region and the style of wine.
- 2But Italian Spumante and German Sekt are both produced using the Charmat method.
In the Charmat method, fermentation takes place in pressurized stainless-steel tanks. The fresh yeast and sugar mixture added to the wine rapidly stimulates fermentation in this pressurized environment. At the end of the secondary fermentation, the wine is cooled, clarified and then bottled.