Ask Wine Wizard

Bottle Selection For Sparkling Wine

TroubleShooting

Marcello Pecchenino — Reno, Nevada asks,
Q

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?

A
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.