Sparkling Wine on the Lake Balaton

Have you heard that sprakling wine is being made at Balatonfüred-Csopak wine region? Did you know that in this region we were the first who made sparkling wine in 2014?
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We love champagne! Hence the family anecdote that ultimately led to the establishment of the winery. We’ve mentioned a lot that if we already consume so much champagne, it might be more rewarding to make our own, to the delight of both ourselves and our friends.

The year 2014 entered the history of Hungarian winemaking as one of the most difficult vintages of the last decades. Unfortunately, it was a rainy year therefore we found ourlseves in difficult position where we had to decide either saving the healthy part at an earlier stage or letting go the vintage.

We choosed the first, therefore with an early harvest we were able to process 40% of the Riesling and Müller-Thurgau grapes. The early resulted a higher acid and lower alcohol content, making the grapes suitable for making an excellent sparkling base wine. After the fermentation of the base wine, our champagne matured in the bottle for more than two years, smuggling wonderful flavors and aromas into the sparkling wine.

Although we owe our first sprakling wine to a force majeure, the following year we have consciously timed the harvest making the yellow muscat ideal for making sparkling wine. This is how our ‘Leopold’ sparkling wine was born in 2015, named after our first grandson. Playful, energetic and adorable, just like Leo.

With positive consumer feedback and a lot of experience in our pockets, we continued to work hard in the following years, which led to sparkling wine made of Zenit at Lake Balaton and Furmint, Hárslevelű in Tarcal. We`ve also put our latest plantations at service of our favorite drink. Our plantations at Lake Balaton have recently been supplemented with chardonnay, pinot noir and a German variety of kerner grapes, providing an opportunity for further experimentation with the aim of making the highest quality champagne possible.

Kern Winery

Traditional method

There are few drinks in the world that are used more often on holidays than champagne. Birthdays, New Years, greetings, galas, consecration… etc.

To put it simply, it is a base wine that has been bubbled into it and thus foams when it is filled, catching a light tingling and uplifting feeling meahwhile slipping donw our throats. But how does the bubble get into the bottle?

The traditional method (Méthode Traditionelle – or even the term Methode Champagne used to be allowed) is the second fermentation in the bottle. This is the only way to provide our champagnes with premium quality.

First a base wine is made, which is usually crisp, high in acids and low in alcohol. This can be done in a steel tank or a large wooden barrel. Then comes the “assemblage”, which means that the wine needed for the champagne is blended from different wines, grapes, areas and even changing vintages. Of course, they also form a reserve from each year to maintain consistent quality and style. If it is a vintage champagne, it must come 100% from that vintage. If the label says Blanc de Blanc, it is made entirely of white grapes (eg Chardonnay), if Blanc de Noirs, the champagne is made using only blue grapes (eg Pinot Noir of course our champagne can still be white). In fact, it is the most commonly used grape in Champagne so the wine made is not kept in the husk therefore the wine does not get color even though it is made from blue grapes.

Before being bottled a portion of tirage liqueur (liqueur de tiraget) is added, which usually consists of sugar and yeast, and initiates the second fermentation in the bottle, enchants the bubbles. The bottle is closed with a strong cap and laid. When the yeast is working on sugar, alcohol and carbon-dioxide are produced, once their work is completed, a depot, sediment (heard yeast) formed at the bottom of the bottle. Period the sparkling wine left in connection with the yeast can be decided by the winery within the framework of certain regulations. It can range from 9 months to several years. Then the heard yeast is moved out of the bottle. The bottle is gradually tilted from a vertical position in a clockwise direction (with the bottle head facing down) to bring the depot to the opening. In the old way, this is done in the “pupitre”, in a rack where the “remuer” is responsible for rotating the bottles. With another technique, a machine performs this work in gyropallets, which can accommodate more than 500 bottles at a time.

Once the cap is opened, the dead yeast shoots itself under high pressure. To make this process as hygienic as possible, the neck of the bottle is frozen so that the yeast comes out of the bottle in a solid state. This process is already largely mechanized – to minimize losses. (The deficiency is made up of the corresponding “cuvée.”)

Once the cap is opened, the dead yeast shoots itself under high pressure. To make this process as hygienic as possible, the neck of the bottle is frozen so that the yeast comes out of the bottle in a solid state. This process is already largely mechanized – to minimize losses. (The deficiency is made up of the corresponding “cuvée.”). The so-called “dosage,” is added which means the amount of sugar added, since the yeast has already consumed them all.

The content of the sugar in finished sparkling wine is determined in the following categories:

Brut Nature
0-2 g/l
Extra Brut
0-6 g/l
Brut
0-15 g/l
Extra Sec
12-20 g/l
Sec
17-35 g/l
Demi Sec
33-50 g/l
Doux
50< g/l

The final sealing is done with a very strong and multi-layer-diameter cork, as the pressure that is in the bottle is several times that of what is in a bottle of wine.

As good as it is to hear the pop and see the champagne explode, if you want to open the bottle properly, this should be avoided. Cool the champagne well, twist the bottle (not the stopper) and then hold it back firmly until you hear a slight “pssss” and avoid losing the liquid.