The Role of the Second Fermentation in Sparkling Wine Production
The more sugar added, the higher the pressure will be in the bottle. During the second fermentation, the bottles are under approximately 100 pounds of pressure per square inch. Because the bottles are capped, the carbon dioxide that is a byproduct of the process cannot escape. This is what gives the sparkling wine its bubbles.
Secondary fermentation posed many difficulties in Dom Perignon’s day. As temperatures cooled in fall and winter the yeasts often went dormant and left some residual sugar.
Bottling this wine led to serious problems. Fermentation started again as temperatures rose, leading to exploding bottles. This not only hurt production, but it was also dangerous to cellar workers.
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