The average bottle of sparkling wine from Blue Mountain, which is not allowed to be called Champagne due to regional control laws to do with wine that comes from the Champagne region of France, takes 3 years or more to make.
Founding winemaker Ian Mavety explains how the wine is first fermented in barrels, then bottled with yeast, and aged for several years or more sur lie, or on the lees. Throughout this process the bottle is rotated to ensure maximum carbonation which is created through yeast and sugar interaction. This varies from other methods of sparkling wine production, such as Prosecco, in which the wines are force carbonated. This process of rotating the wines is called riddling.
The final move for the aged sparkling wine bottle is for it to end upside down, or sur pointe in Champagne speak. This allows the yeast to end up in the neck of the bottle where it is frozen in a glycol solution. The cap is removed, and the resulting pressure forces out the yeast plug. A mixture of other wine, sugar, or alcohol tops the bottle up, and the cork is inserted with a wire hooding to secure it for safe storage.
From what we can tell, it is a long and merciless process, but it is the essence of what makes a sparkling wine such as this one a special treat.
Chris Stenberg is a Canadian travel photographer, filmmaker and researcher. When he’s not wielding a camera or raising a family you can find him running, biking and boarding in the mountains or eating an apple under a tree in an orchard.