Once the wine
has aged, there's still the task of removing the yeast from the bottle.
An ingenious method called riddling is employed. The bottles are placed
at a 45 degree angle in either an automated or manual turning rack. Then
the bottles are periodically rotated. This process forces the yeast down
into the cap of the bottle. The mechanical riddler can achieve this in
about a week, while the manual riddler takes about one month.
After riddling the yeast is ready to be removed. The tops of the bottles are frozen, trapping the yeast as an ice plug in the cap which prevents it from falling back into the sparkling wine. A disgorging machine removes the cap from the bottle and the pressure built up inside shoots out the yeast ice plug.
This final stage before corking and wiring allows the wine maker to
adjust the blend. Generally a combination of sugar and wine will be added
to balance the high acidity of the dry wine. The amount of sugar added
determines the designation on the label: non-dosée, brut, extra
sec, sec, demi-sec or doux, in ascending order of sweetness. Sulphur
compounds can also be added to help preserve the wine. Finally,
the cork is forced into the bottle and capped with a wire hood.