Maturation on the lees

After the completion of the second alcoholic fermentation, a sparkling wine produced through traditional bottle fermentation must age on the lees for a minimum of 9 months at a pressure of at least 3.5 bar of pressure. This is legally required in Germany. However, an extended yeast aging period greatly benefits the quality of the sparkling wine, which ranges from 3 to 12 years in our winery. In traditional bottle fermentation, yeast plays a vital role. As the process of the second alcoholic fermentation concludes, the yeast cells slowly die and decompose. 

 After the second alcoholic fermentation stage, the bottles are taken down to into our cellar where, undisturbed and protected from the light, they will embark on a long period of maturation. This is what is known as maturation on the lees or bottle aging.

During this maturation time, the yeast breaks down / decomposes and releases quality-enhancing substances (amino acids) into the sparkling wine. This is known as autolysis. Particularly in the production of our sparkling wines, yeast autolysis contributes to a positive influence on taste. Meanwhile, very small quantities of oxygen enter the bottle and small amounts of carbon dioxide escape. This phenomenon will lead to a slow oxidation of the wine, further developing its characteristics in a positive sense. We have found that ageing the sparkling wine on the yeast for a minimum of 36 months allows the development of distinctive tertiary aromas. The sparkling wine gains complexity, smoothness, and substance. These aromas are often referred to as “brioche aromas.” Constant protection from the light and a steady temperature of around 12-14°C are crucial for ensuring the very best ageing conditions in our cellar.

The duration of production, fermentation, and yeast aging is subject to certain minimum requirements depending on the category of sparkling wine. These requirements are strictly monitored by the wine regulatory authorities and must be adhered to (further information can be found in the article on traditional bottle fermentation). 

Method place of the second fermentation Minimum period for storage on the lees 
Traditional / Classic 
Bottle 9 months 
Sektmacher Reserve 
Bottle 36 months 
Bottle VDP.Sekt: 15 months 
VDP.Sekt.Prestige: 36 months 
Bottle Fermentation 
incl. transfer to large tanks 
9 months, 90 days  
Tank fermentation Pressurized tank 6 months, 90 days (without stirrer) 30 days (with stirrer) 
Franciacorta Spumante Bottle Non-Vintage: 18 months 
Satèn: 24 months 
Rosé: 24 months 
Millesimato: 30 months 
Riserva: 60 months 
Champagner Bottle Non-vintage: 15 months 
Millésime: 36 months 
Cava Bottle Cava: 9 months 
Cava reserva: 18 months 
Cava gran reserva: 30 months 
Cava de paraje calificado: 36 months 
Prosecco Tank No default. Production 30 days (incl. secondary fermentation). 
Asti Tank No default 
English Sparkling Wine Bottle 9 months 
CAP Classique (South Africa Bottle 12 months 
Raumland Sekt BottleSekt Tradition: 36 months 
Sekt Réserve: 90 months 
Sekt Grande Réserve: 120 months 

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