Sparkling Wine made in Portugal
It was an incredible experience to see the caves and wine cellars of Caves Messias in Mealhada, Portugal. It is located at the hear of the Bairrada DOC region, that’s famous in particular for its sparkling wine.
Sparkling wine is made using a traditional method that has been perfected over centuries. The process starts by creating a still wine, which is then bottled with a small amount of sugar and yeast. This mixture is then left to ferment for several months, producing carbon dioxide, which is trapped in the bottle, creating the signature bubbles of sparkling wine.
During this time, the wine is kept on its side and regularly turned to allow the yeast to settle in the neck of the bottle. Once the fermentation process is complete, the yeast is removed by freezing it to the bottle cap and briefly opening it. At Caves Messias, no sugar is added at any point.
The wine is then sealed with a cork and wire cage to keep the pressure inside the bottle from escaping. This process is known as ‘riddling,’ and it’s designed to ensure that the wine is clear and free from sediment before being sold.
The traditional method of making sparkling wine is a labour-intensive process. ALL bottles need to be turned every single day. No weekends off! But in my opinion, the results are well worth it.
I’m happy with how the photos turned out. At Caves Messias, they do have some more white lights to turn on for the workers. But I preferred to work with just this warm, inviting light that they installed for a more inviting atmosphere.
Therefore I needed to capture the exposures with a shutter speed of around 30 seconds and even had to turn up the ISO a bit to ISO 200. This way, I could capture enough light in the wine cellars.
Interested in Wine? Check out my other photos, such as from the Vineyards in Tuscany!