Wine Terms: Disgorgement
Jan 01, 2018

In champagne production, disgorgement is an important step.

Disgorgement is necessary when making champagne because after the first fermentation which turns grape sugar into alcohol, more yeast has to be added into the bottle for a second fermentation. This second fermentation is done to create more carbonation and bubbles in the champagne. After the second fermentation, the sparkling wine will be left to age for more than a year.

 

During this time, the champagne bottle will be tilted at a 45 degree angle downwards, and the dead yeast from after the second fermentation will fall to the tip of the bottle. The downward tilt accumulates the dead yeast at the neck of the bottle, which will make its subsequent removal much easier.

Disgorgement refers to the process of carefully removing the dead yeast and other sediments from the bottle. This leaves the champagne crystal clear and free of foreign flavors.

To start the disgorgement process, the winemaker will freeze sediment at the tip of the bottle by dipping the bottle into a freezing solution. The loose sediment is now frozen into a pellet. The bottle is then opened and the pressure from the bottle then automatically pushes the frozen pellet out. A dosage of sugar is then added depending on the sweetness level that the winemaker wants to achieve.The wine is re-corked again and readied for sale in the market.

Some champagnes have a ‘disgorgement date’ on the label . Since disgorgement is the last part of a sparkling wine’s production process, the disgorgement date signifies the end of production for the champagne.

The disgorgement year is different from the vintage year because the vintage year refers to the year when the wine grapes were harvested. The disgorgement year on the other hand indicates when the production process was complete.

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