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The Making of Vidal Blanc Sparkling Wine

Post by Bill Oliver, Director of Winemaking

By now you probably know that we can’t call it Champagne anymore. The French (bless their souls) claim sole use of that geographic descriptor as a name for sparkling wine. But fear not! Our Vidal Blanc sparkling wine is produced using Methode Champenois, or Champagne method. This is the classic method of secondary fermentation the bottle, and subsequent riddling and disgorging of the yeast. We make Vidal Blanc Sparkling Wine almost at a hobby level, making only about 300 cases per year. Contrast this with other wines – Riesling 8,000 cases per year, and Soft Red – 135,000!

Vidal Blanc had a wonderful year in 2008. It was as you may recall; cool. Grapes ripened late under a perfect early fall sun. Flavors were outstanding. And if there is one absolutely necessary condition for the creation of great wine, it is to begin with great tasting fruit.

The 2008 Vidal Blanc Sparkling wine has all the beautiful sublime flavor of ripe Vidal grapes. The lively freshness of the effervescence is beautifully balanced by the addition of about 5% Ice Wine at final corking. This wine is a great way to celebrate or to enjoy on a sunny evening with light cheese and fresh fruit.

Happenstance would have it that our vineyard crew, led by Bernie Parker, is largely in charge of sparkling wine production.  Apparently Bernie volunteered to work with this wine a few years ago on a rainy day and had a knack for it. He’s been doing it ever since.

This wine underwent final bottling on June 29th, 2010 and will be released today, July 9th. Here are a few photos of our vineyard team putting the finishing touches on this tasty sparkler!

Bernie Parker gets ready to disgorge a bottle of sparkling wine.

Sheila adds the Ice Wine dosage.

John adds dosage to a bottle.

Adding the cork!

Eric puts on the cage and twists it into place.

Twist, twist, twist!

We are offering complimentary tastings of Vidal Blanc Sparkling Wine in the Tasting Room this weekend, July 9, 10 & 11. Hope you can join us for a taste!

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. The photos made everything so interesting. Cheers!

    December 2, 2010

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  1. Sparkling Catawba- a labor of love! « Oliver Winery Blog

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