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Would you like a glass of champagne? There is nothing quite like a glass of bubbly. But what actually causes the bubbles in champagne? Learn now! Cheers!
What Causes Bubbles In Champagne?
Champagne. Not so much sparkling wine as a luxury force of nature. We all know that champagne bottles open with a bit of a pop and that the golden liquid within the bottle tends to be a bit lively and full of bubbles, to say the least. But where do those bubbles come from? What are the causes of bubbles in champagne?
Champagne’s fizz is caused by a two-stage fermentation process. A still wine is produced and finished in the normal way. Prior to bottling, however, a few grams of yeast and a few grams of sugar are added. This then causes a secondary fermentation process while the wine is stored, during which carbon dioxide is produced.
Anyone who has ever opened a bottle of coke will know that carbonated beverages tend to have a few bubbles in, although they rarely open with the same fearsome pressure as a champagne bottle unless someone has been shaking it. But then most carbonated beverages do not have yeast in as well to liven things up with a spot of alcohol. It is the fact that the secondary fermentation occurs after the bottle has been sealed that gives champagne its legendary effervescence.
But hang on. After the initial pop and froth (if you have opened the champagne bottle incorrectly) and poured the first glass, although there are bubbles galore in the champagne flute, an observant drinker will notice that there are virtually no bubbles visible through the thick green glass of the champagne bottle itself. Why would this be?
Simply, champagne bottles are sterile until the wine is added. Champagne glasses, however, are different beasts, full of fibers from being washed and dried over the years, full of imperceptible flaws in the glass, and often carefully etched by manufacturers. The tiny points of imperfection in the glass, whether they are caused by fibers or etching, act as nucleation points for the bubbles, which then trail vigorously up to the surface of the liquid to provide that trademark champagne fizz.
So, uniquely among your glassware, next time you are washing up the champagne flutes, you ought not to worry too much if there are a few threads from your dishcloth lingering at the bottom of each glass. It might not look classy, but it will add to the effect of the next slosh of champagne that pours into the slender container.