Degorging the 2015 Vintage

It’s Sunday 17 March 2018, it’s minus 3 degrees and it's just too cold to go outside to degorge the 2015 vintage English Sparkling Wine. It's always best to carry out this operation while it's cool, but the wind chill from the 'Beast from the East' is just too chilly for us to work outside, so for a change the degorging was done inside the winery.

Each English Sparkling Wine bottle is put into a neck freezer to freeze the yeast which has been hand riddled for at least two weeks. The neck freezes after approximately 10 minutes, at which point the metal cap is removed, the juice explodes and the yeast comes flying out of the bottle (you must keep your thumb over the lip of the bottle so you don't lose too much juice onto the floor). This is all done under the supervision of a master wine maker, who was very appreciative of staying inside and out of the snow.

At this stage the yeast has a unique and intoxicating aroma which I adore; this has to be my favourite part of the intricate process of nurturing the wine into its final sparkling glory. Having said that, degorging 500 hundred bottles per day is really the maximum that can be done by hand; it’s exhausting! The creation of English Sparkling Wine really is a labour of love.