The Sparkling Wine Specialists
At the end of the maturation period, the yeast 'lees' sediment, which has remained inside the bottle since the secondary fermentation, needs to be removed via a process referred to as riddling and disgorging.
Riddling traditionally takes place on wooden racks where the bottle is turned by hand at a steep angle. At Kilchurn, riddling is an automated affair. The wine is transferred from storage bins into riddling cages in a horizontal position. These cages are placed onto automated riddling machines. After 7 days of rotations and elevations, all the bottles are upside down with the yeast lees sediment sitting in the neck of the bottle, ready for disgorging.
Dosage Tasting Trials
Prior to the disgorging of a new batch of wine, a tasting is held to determine the addition levels of sweet liqueur (the 'dosage').
The bottles are placed upside down into a neck freezer. Operating at about minus 24 degrees Celcius, an ice plug forms in the neck encapsulating the yeast deposit. When the crown seal is removed, the pressure in the bottle (up to 6 atmospheres) forces the plug of ice and lees from the bottle.
A dosage liqueur is then added to the wine and the bottle is topped up.
The bottle travels along a conveyor to the automatic corker and then on to the muselet wire applicator.
Next, the bottle is shaken to mix in the dosage
liqueur and sent through a bottle washer and dryer prior to being labelled and packaged.
Continue to: Labelling & Packaging