Bottling Day at Abbey Road Farm: Crafting Sparkling Wine in the Traditional Method

Today is a special day at Abbey Road Farm. As we celebrate the milestones of our journey, we also embark on an exciting chapter in our winemaking adventure: bottling our sparkling wine using the traditional method. This meticulous and time-honored process will culminate in a unique release just in time for our 10-year anniversary, three years from now.

The Art of the Traditional Method

Making sparkling wine in the traditional method, also known as méthode champenoise, is an intricate and rewarding craft. This method is renowned for producing the highest quality sparkling wines, characterized by their complexity, finesse, and fine bubbles. Here’s a glimpse into the journey our wine will undertake from today’s bottling to its eventual unveiling.

Step 1: Primary Fermentation and Blending

The journey begins with our base wine, a carefully crafted blend of selected grape varieties. This base wine has already undergone primary fermentation, where yeast converts the natural sugars in the grapes into alcohol. Our winemakers then blend different batches to create a harmonious and balanced cuvée, the foundation of our sparkling wine.

Step 2: Bottling with a Crown Cap

Today, we are bottling the cuvée, a significant step that marks the beginning of its transformation into sparkling wine. A mixture of yeast and sugar, known as the liqueur de tirage, is added to the wine. This addition will initiate a secondary fermentation inside the bottle. Each bottle is sealed with a crown cap, which will securely hold the wine as it ferments and develops its bubbles over the next few years.

Step 3: Secondary Fermentation and Aging

With the crown caps in place, our bottles are stored in a cool, dark cellar. During this period, the yeast consumes the added sugar, producing carbon dioxide and creating the effervescence characteristic of sparkling wine. This secondary fermentation is slow and deliberate, allowing the wine to develop its unique flavors and aromas.

But the journey doesn’t end there. After the fermentation is complete, the wine will age on its lees (the spent yeast cells) for three years. This extended aging period is crucial, as it imparts richness, depth, and complexity to the wine. It’s a patient process, but one that will reward us with a sparkling wine of exceptional quality.

Step 4: Riddling and Disgorging

As we approach our 10-year anniversary, the bottles will be moved to riddling racks, where they will be gradually tilted and rotated to collect the lees in the neck of the bottle. This meticulous process, known as riddling, ensures that the wine is clear and free of sediment. Once the riddling is complete, the neck of each bottle is frozen, and the lees are expelled in a process called disgorging. The wine is then topped up with a small amount of dosage (a blend of wine and sugar) to achieve the desired sweetness level.

Step 5: Corking and Celebrating

Finally, the bottles are sealed with a traditional cork and wire cage, ready to be enjoyed. As we toast to a decade of Abbey Road Farm, our sparkling wine will embody the dedication, passion, and craftsmanship that define our journey. Each sip will be a celebration of the time-honored traditions and the innovations that have brought us here.

Looking Forward to the Future

The anticipation of enjoying this sparkling wine on our 10-year anniversary fills us with excitement and pride. It’s more than just a bottle of wine; it’s a testament to our commitment to excellence and our love for the art of winemaking. We invite you to join us in three years to celebrate this momentous occasion and savor the fruits of our labor.

Stay tuned for updates and join us in counting down the days until we can raise a glass together. Cheers to the past, present, and future of Abbey Road Farm!