Before you begin, we recommend you not try sparkling wines until you have made several sucessful batches of still wines.
METHOD I: This produces a dry sparkling wine with the sediment remaining in the bottom of the bottles.
- Produce a regular table wine, making sure the alcohol content DOES NOT EXCEED 11.5 %. Best results are obtained if the alcohol is about 10.5 %.
- After the wine is stable and clear, probably about 2 - 3 months old, rack it (DO NOT use a stabilizer) and add 1.5 oz. sugar per gallon. DO NOT add more sugar than the recommended dosage. For best results, re-hydrate one package champagne yeast in a 1/2 cup lukewarm water for 10 minutes, then mix this into the wine at the same time as you mix in the bottling sugar.
- Immediately bottle in champagne bottles with plastic stoppers, making sure they are properly wired down.
- Stand the bottles UPRIGHT for 6 - 12 months before serving.
METHOD II: Method II makes a sweet wine.
Proceed exactly as in Method I, but add 1 saccharin tablet before stoppering each bottle. Unfortunately, some wines will develop a metallic or bitter taste from the saccharin, so experiment first. Consider replacing the saccharin with Splenda.
METHOD III: This method is more difficult, but will produce a sweet, sparkling wine without sediment.
- Produce a table wine that is dry with an alcohol content of 10 - 11.5% that is clear and stable.
- Add 2 1/4 oz. of dextrose sugar (made into a syrup with boiling water) for each gallon of wine . Mix this syrup with the wine.
- To insure a good second fermentation, add 1/5 package of Champagne yeast per gallon and 1/8 tsp. Super Ferment per gallon. For best results, re-hydrate the yeast in a little lukewarm water for 10 minutes prior to mixing into wine.
- Rack the wine into domestic champagne bottles and and cap with crown caps. Store upright at 65 - 70° F.
- Once a month, pick up each bottle, turn it upside down and then return to upright position. After 3 months all of the sugar should be converted to carbon dioxide and alcohol. Yeast deposited on the bottom will show that the sparkle is there. When you think the wine is fully carbonated, test one bottle by chilling it and opening and tasting. If the sparkle is there, procede with the next step.
- Put the bottles in the freezer and chill the wine to about 26° F. This will take about 2 - 3 hours. little ice will form in the bottles indicating they are ready.
- Put into each bottle 1 oz. standard sugar syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part boiling water) and 1/8 tsp. of wine stabilizer (potassium sorbate). Note : If you want a dry wine, disregard these instructions. Place these bottles in the freezer along with the others.
- When the wine is cold enough, take one bottle of wine and one champagne bottle out of the freezer. Uncap the wine and syphon it gently into the cold champagne bottle without disturbing the sediment. Very little of the carbon dioxide will be lost due to the low temperature of the wine. If you use champagne bottles that have not been chilled, it will warm the wine and cause loss of carbonation.
- Insert the plastic champagne type stopper and wire down.
- Invert the bottle several times to mix the syrup and wine. Stand upright 2-3 months - or longer - for aging.
The 1 oz. of sugar recommended above will give a brut (dry); 1 1/2 oz. will give a dry (semi-sweet) ; and 2 oz. gives a sec (sweet). Stabilizer (1/2 tsp. per gallon or 1/8 tsp. per 750 ml wine) should always accompany each sugar syrup dosage to inhibit additional fermentation and prevent bursting of the bottles.
CAUTION: If during storage a bottle should explode, you should open the other bottles immediately. DO NOT ASSUME that the explosion was due to a faulty bottle. However, if the above instructions are followed, you should have no problems and produce an excellent sparkling wine.