Charmat Method

Definition - What does Charmat Method mean?

The Charmat Method is one of four main methods of producing sparkling wine. The bubbles in sparkling wine are created with this method by inducing a second fermentation in the wine while it is sitting in pressurized stainless steel tanks. The Charmat Method is popular in Italy, where it is called Metodo Martinotti; and was adapted in France in 1907 by Eugene Charmat to become the Charmat Method.

The Charmat Method is best for aromatic grapes, as it doesn’t mask the fruity nature of the wines.

WineFrog explains Charmat Method

The Charmat Method goes by many names: tank method, cuvee close, Metodo Martinotti, Metodo Charmat-Martinotti and Italian method, to name a few. The Charmat Method produces larger quantities of sparkling wine and allows for greater quality control so that the resulting wines are consistent as well as sparkling, which is why this method is the most popular way to make sparkling wine.

The process involves allowed primary fermentation to run its course, after which, the winemaker induces a secondary fermentation with a mixture of yeast and sugar and seals the wine in a stainless steel tank to trap the CO2 inside (which makes the bubbles). How long the CO2 is trapped in the wine dictates how bubbly the final product will be – frizzante (slightly bubbly) is left for 20 days to three months; Cuvée and Prestige wines are left for up to six months.

Once second fermentation is complete, the wine is filtered and fined to remove the lees and sediment. Another mixture of sugar and wine is added to preserve the bubbles; this final mixture dictates if the wine is called Brut, Demi-Sec or Sec. Finally, the Champagne is ready to be bottled under pressure.