What is Winzersekt actually?
Winzersekt belongs to the group of sparkling wines and is comparable with Champagne which is produced in the same way, namely by means of traditional bottle fermentation. Sparkling wine has an overpressure of at least 3.5 bar, distinguishing it from sparkling wine which has not more than 2.5 bar by adding carbon dioxide.
Wine is the basis for the production of sparkling wine. The Winzersekt produced in the Rheingau is “Sekt b.A.” (in German “b.A.” means "from a specified region") consisting of Rheingau wines by 100%. Mostly, wines from a wine grower’s own winery are the basis for the Winzersekt. The second fermentation is decisive. It starts when tirage liqueur (a mixture of wine, sugar and yeast) is added to the wine. The added yeast transforms the complete sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
The prerequisite for producing sparkling wine is that the sparkling wine remains on the yeast during the second fermentation for at least nine months. In case of high-quality sparkling wines this process can take several years.
The production of sparkling wine
Traditional bottle fermentation means that the entire fermentation process takes place in the bottle. The yeast contained in sparkling wine settles in the bottle and is afterwards collected on the bottle stopper by riddling the bottle. The resulting sparkling wine contains no residual sugar any more, the sweetness level is determined by adding expedition liqueur (a mixture of cane sugar / sucrose and wine). Through the careful selection of the basic wine for the production of Winzersekt it is possible that vintage sparkling wines and sparkling wines with site names are produced. The Burgunder varieties are most suitable for the production of sparkling wine, above all the Spätburgunder, as well as Silvaner and in particular the Riesling.
The right drinking temperature of sparkling wine is between 6 and 10° C.
In 1902 Emperor Wilhelm II raised a tax for sparkling wine. It financed the armed fleet. Even today a tax for sparkling wine still exists, it amounts to more than one Euro per bottle.