Ask Wine Wizard

Bottle Selection For Sparkling Wine


Marcello Pecchenino — Reno, Nevada asks,

I have always wondered why you cannot make sparkling wine in a regular wine bottle. Beer bottles are the same thickness as a wine bottle and they don’t explode. I was wondering, to deal with the exploding issue, whether you could make a lighter or less sparkling wine with less CO2 and alter the room in the neck by not filling it so much to accommodate the extra gas?

Ah, the Wiz has visions of broken bottles in your future and it’s a prognostication I wouldn’t like to see become reality. Let’s just say my Fermentation Magic 8 Ball says, “See that sign? Don’t go there!” It’s never a good idea to try to make sparkling wine in regular wine bottles or even regular beer bottles, because neither vessel is designed to take the pressure of around 9,500-10,000 ppm CO2 that most sparkling wines carry. Though certainly smaller and tougher than wine bottles, which helps them withstand the 4,000-6,000 ppm CO2 produced by beer, beer bottles just aren’t made thick enough. Many mead recipes (really a honey wine) and higher-gravity beer recipes actually suggest that they be bottled in sparkling wine bottles in order to not pose an explosion danger. Sparkling wine bottles are built much thicker, have a deep punt for structural integrity and have a lip for a crown cap or wire cage over the cork, though you may bottle sparkling wine, cider, mead etc. with just a crown cap. That being said, a normal wine bottle
Response by Alison Crowe.