The Art of Disgorging Sparkling Wine

Sparkling wine is part of the history of Frank Family Vineyards. Beginning in 1958, our historic winery was home to the first sparkling wines in California using the French méthode champenoise. Today, Frank Family continues to honor the heritage of our iconic winery by handcrafting four distinctive sparkling wines 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 consumer. “The world’s finest sparkling wines are made by the méthode champenoise, and while it is the costliest way to produce sparkling wine, we knew there was simply no other option when it came to producing ours,” said Winemaker Todd Graff.

Disgorging, or the French term Dégorgement is the final step in this time-honored process. In this step, the yeast used to create the delicate bubbles is expelled from from the bottle. The inverted bottles are placed in a freezing liquid which causes the yeast to freeze in the neck of the bottle. The cap is then quickly popped off the pressurized bottle, discarding the frozen piece containing the yeast. 


After the frozen piece is popped off, a mixture of wine and sugar, called liqueur d’expedition is added to fill the bottles and to adjust the final sugar levels of the wine. The bottles are then immediately corked and enclosed with a wire cage. All that remains is to hand-label each bottle before making its way out into the world.