Argyle Winery – Disgorging Day

I stopped by Argyle Winery today to take photos of the sparkling wine disgorging process for a nice little wine education piece being designed by Argyle. One of the most admirable qualities of the Argyle crew (aside from their amazing wines) is their constant effort to keep wine enthusiasts educated in the entire winemaking process. There’s no snobbery at Argyle, just excellent wines.

Two closely related steps in the process of making Champagne (or Sparkling Wine in the US) are called Disgorging and Dosage.

Disgorging is the process of removing the small amount of yeast sediment from bottles of sparkling wine prior to corking. First, the bottles are placed, inverted, in a super-cooled liquid to freeze the very tip of the bottle where the yeast sediment is held.

Once the tiny ice plugs form in the bottle, a machine pops the ice plugs out, leaving pure sparkling wine.

A special “dosage” mixture (essentially sugar and wine) is added to the sparkling wine to perfect the balance and flavor.

The properly dosed bottles are then sent through a machine that inserts corks. Approximately 1,200 bottles are handled in this fashion per hour.

The end result is a mass quantity of sparkling wine ready for any required aging, labeling, then off to a store or restaurant near you. Fun stuff, huh?

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