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Riddling

Riddling (remuage in French) is the term for turning and upending Champagne bottles while the sparkling wine rests in the winery’s cellars. The reason for riddling: Champagnes and top sparkling wines go through a second fermentation that creates the bubbles. As part of this second fermentation, yeast cells remain trapped inside each bottle. Until the mid-nineteenth century, no one could figure out how to get the yeasts out, and thus Champagne was always cloudy. Ingeniously, the Champenois came up with a solution. By turning the bottle a little each day and progressively tilting it until it was almost upside down (riddling), the yeasts could be coaxed to slide down the side of the bottle until all yeast cells settle in the neck. The neck of each bottle is then frozen, the bottle was opened, and the frozen plug of yeasts would fly out. Amazingly, a good riddler can turn 40,000 bottles of Champagne a day.

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