The difference between tank and bottle fermentation

29th June 2015

The difference between tank and bottle fermentation

Tank fermentation, also known as the Charmat method (named after Frenchman Eugene Charmat) is the quickest and least expensive way to make sparkling wine.

The grapes used, such as Chenin blanc, tend to be much less expensive than grapes used in traditional method wines (pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier for example).

The wine is generally made in large quanitities where the second fermantation takes place in large, pressurised tanks.The whole process is relatively quick, and the sparkling wines can be on sale a few weeks after harvest.

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Bottle fermentation is also known as the Champagne method, méthode champenoise, or méthode traditionelle.

Second fermantation takes place in the individual bottles which will later be sold. The whole process takes much longer than tank fermentation since each bottle must be treated seperately. The whole process takes a minimum of 15 months, but usually takes several years.

This method has been around much longer, over 300 years. Products labelled as Champagne can only be made using this method, otherwise it cannot use the name. French wines outside the region using this methode are called crémant.

The more complex nature and expensive grapes used during this method mean the product tends to be more expensive.

Taste: Charmat method wines tend to be fruitier, whereas traditional method wines have more toastiness and nutiness and tend to be more creamy.

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