Posted: 05 Oct 2010 01:38 PM PDT
The short video I posted the other day, showing what happens inside the press house during the harvest, seemed to go down really well with lots of readers so I thought I'd show you a couple more that I shot a few weeks ago.
Here's the first.
The quality is average - it goes in and out of focus a bit and I'll work on improving this, I promise - but I hope that you see enough to give you a real flavour of some of the behind the scenes work that is involved in making champagne. This is not the glamorous end of the work, but it is essential and fascinating.
This video is just under 2 minutes long and shows the disgorging process in a small producer. (It certainly isn't like this in the giant, industrialised producers). This is what you'll see:
The bottles (still with sediment in them) are placed, neck down, in a circular platform. Below the surface of the platfrom the neck of each bottle reaches down into a freezing liquid which causes an ice cube to form in the neck of the bottle. It takes about 10 minutes for the platform to revolve and for the ice cube to form and you'll see one chap inserting the bottles at the start of the process and the next guy removing the bottles.
Next the bottles pass to the man who actually removes the caps allowing the ice cube to be ejected.
Then the bottles move down the conveyor to where the liqueur de dosage is added to adjust the level of sweetness.
Next the bottles are corked and muzzled. After that it's on to another station where the bottles are shaken vigorously to ensure the dosage mixes in with the wine.
Almost at the end now and the bottles are washed to ensure that no trace of the freezing liquid is left on the surface of the glass.
After that all that is left is to stack the bottles. In due course, when they have rested a few weeks or months, they will be labelled and shipped off somewhere in the world. Perhaps one is on its way to you at this very moment.
Any questions or comments? Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you're eager to learn more about champagne check out my on-line champagne course at
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