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Sparkling Wine, Step-by-Step

Ah, another summer season come and gone. The family thought your two-year old Chardonnay was great at cousin Bob’s wedding dinner, and the after-dinner crowd at the late summer supper on the deck loved your port-style Barbera. In fact they were still smacking their lips long after the dessert dishes were cleared away and demanded that you give them the recipe — not for the chocolate strawberry pie but for the wine. It seems you’re a pretty talented (and most assuredly appreciated) winemaker. Barrel fermentation, red-wine maceration, and even dessert-wine making — you can do it all. But have you ever thought about sparkling wine? It may sound a little involved, but anyone who can make a clean white wine and knows a bit about secondary fermentation (think of it as adding priming sugar, as homebrewers do) can whip up a killer Champagne-style sparkling wine. Starting with wine you made during the following harvest, you can have your own “chateau’s” grande tete de cuvée ready in about three months, just in time for the winter holiday season or any time