Thanks to the comment of a regular reader, I have succeeded in uploading a couple of videos of the Pol Roger bottling plant in action. My first post on the industrial champagne-making process can be read here.
The first video shows the disgorgement of the wine. The frozen pellet of dead yeast, originally used to produce the carbon dioxide that gives champagne its sparkling quality, is fired out of the bottle, along with the crown cap that has been sealing it in. The rhythmic ‘popping’ noise you can hear in the background of this video is the cap and pellet being expelled from the bottle under pressure.
Immediately following the disgorgement (so as to prevent the carbon dioxide from fizzing away) the bottles move to another machine to receive the dosage. This is a mixture of sugar and still wine that serves to ‘top up’ the champagne and to add a level of customary sweetness. The level of dosage varies depending on the champagne style. Zero-dosage champagnes (such as Pol Roger’s ‘Pure’) have recently become popular, though the more common ‘Brut’ styles have around 10g/L sugar. As you can see in the video below, the dosage machine adds a cork to the bottle immediately after.
This final video shows the rather vigorous mixing a bottle goes through after the dosage has been added in order to ensure even dissolution of the sugar solution. It reminds me somewhat of an amusement park ride…