Office de Tourisme Intercommunal d'Hautivllers

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Champagne production

The grapes are typically picked in September. Harvesting is performed manually only. The grapes are quickly transported to the pressing centre. The winepresses – 4,000 or 8,000 kg – transform the berries into juice. The juice is then poured into tanks and, after settling, the first fermentation process (alcoholic fermentation) takes place to convert the sugar into alcohol.

Blending: When fermentation is complete and the wine runs clear, the cuvée is made (the first and best juice).
This important stage consists of creating a harmonious and balanced blend of wines from different vintages and villages made from different grape varieties. Each winegrower jealously guards the secret of the proportions that give their wine its particular taste and distinguishes it from other blends.

Tirage: When the cuvée is formed, the next stage is to bottle the wine. During this operation – which the French call tirage (drawing), natural yeast from Champagne and a small dose of sugar are added to the wine.
The bottles are then corked and laid down in the cellar. In this silent and cool environment, the yeast and the sugar slowly transform the wine thanks to the production of carbon dioxide. The still wine will develop bubbles after a second fermentation, much more slowly than the first fermentation.
The wine will rest in the cellars for a minimum of 15 months.
More commonly, champagne will be left by the producer for several years to ensure its sparkle has the desired finesse and the wine the desired bouquet.
During the second fermentation, a deposit forms in the bottle which needs to be removed.
The bottles are then placed on racks and turned every day for several weeks to gradually encourage the deposit to slide down to the neck end of the bottle.

Disgorging: This process consists of expelling this deposit. As a small quantity of wine inevitably escapes during this operation, the lost wine is replaced with an equal quantity of champagne containing a small quantity of cane sugar whose proportion varies according to the type of wine being produced (brut or demi-sec). 

Labelling: Now comes the time to seal the bottle with a cork held in place by a wire muzzle (muselet). After the bottle is fitted with its tin cap and labels for the body and neck, the bottle is finally ready to be shipped.

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Office de Tourisme Intercommunal d'Hautvillers 51160 Hautvillers Tél. 03 26 57 06 35 • Fax 03 26 51 72 66

Place de la République - 51160 Hautvillers
Tél:+33 (0)3 26 57 06 35 • Fax:+33 (0)3 26 51 72 66
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