Defining Tirage: Putting the Bubbles in the Bottle

Sparkling wine has been a part of Frank Family’s story story since before the winery was founded. Once home to the first sparkling wine house in California, Frank Family Vineyards honors our building’s history by continuing to hand-craft four sparkling wines using the traditional French champenoise method in a range of styles, from our classic Blanc de Blancs and Pinot Noir based Rouge to our ever-so popular Brut Rosé and late disgorged tête de cuvée, named Lady Edythe

Frank Family employs the labor-intensive méthode champenoise to produce each of our sparkling wines, a patient process that takes no less than five years from vineyard to release. Perhaps the most important step in making our sparkling wines is tirage, the French term for “draw off.”

Tirage occurs after the base wine undergoes its first fermentation when some sugar and yeast, called the liqueur de tirage, is added to the base wine in the bottle to start the secondary fermentation. As the yeast begins to ferment the sugar, alcohol and carbon dioxide are produced creating those small, delicate bubbles for which our sparkling wines are adored for.

After each wine is filled with the liqueur de tirage, the bottles are sealed with a crown cap and are stacked in the cellar where they will finish fermentation. Each of our sparklers age en tirage for a minimum of three years which creates the beautifully complex flavors, aromas, and textures we desire most. This spring, our 2022 Brut Rosé underwent tirage bottling and we are excited to follow it on the rest of its winemaking journey!