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Sparkling wine, known in German as Sekt (from the Latin secco = dry), is not only a drink enjoyed all over the world at a whole range of special occasions, it is also a product which can only be made with a great deal of experience and patience, even today. The world over, Sekt is recognised as the most sophisticated, refined type of wine there is. Three methods are usually used when producing Sekt in cellars:

The classic/traditional method of fermentation in a bottle (méthode champenoise), fermentation in a tank (méthode charmat) or the transfer method. Each of these methods is subject to strict regulations, which ensure that the consumer receives a high-quality Sekt.

For example, the alcohol content of the resulting Sekt must be at least 10% vol and the total sulphur dioxide content must not exceed 185 mg/l. There are even rules regarding the appearance of the Sekt bottle. In addition, the Sekt may only be filled into and sold in a particular glass bottle, which must be sealed appropriately (everyone recognises the distinctive “mushroom” shape of the bottle stopper).

Many people may wonder what the difference is between Sekt and “Perlwein” semi-sparkling wine. The answer is quite simple: Perlwein is the cheapest and least refined way of producing a drink that is similar to Sekt.

Rather than treating the wine with respect and leaving it to develop into a proper Sekt over a long period of time, carbon dioxide is just injected into it instead. However, in Germany it is not permitted to use this method to produce Sekt, which usually takes between three weeks and three months to make. This is because the yeast used to produce Sekt needs this amount of time to become fully fermented and actually turn the wine into the sophisticated drink we know and love.

Germany is still one of the world’s largest markets for Sekt, although in previous years economic conditions were such that the market was in decline. Since 2005, however, things have been on the up once more and the market again saw growth.

Author: Hendrik Jürgens