Base Wine

Definition - What does Base Wine mean?

Base wine is a type of still wine produced in the first stage of fermentation, or primary fermentation process, during the production of sparkling wines. The process of fermenting grape juice into still wine creates what is known in the wine industry as "base wine". Base wine is known to be the most important variable in making traditional sparkling wines like Champagne, which is then further fermented to make the final product.

WineFrog explains Base Wine

The grapes used in the making of base wine are picked when they are green, so that the grape skins do not break during handling and release as little phenol as possible. Excessive phenols in base wine results in partial-oxidation, which reduces the desired flavor and aroma of the final sparkling wines.

Base wine is first blended into a "cuvee", or a mixture of different base wines, and made into sparkling wine by further fermentation. During the fermentation process, yeast and sugar are added to the mixture and react with each other to convert into added sugar and carbon dioxide bubbles.

A quality base wine has an alcohol content level above 10% and below 11.5% and has a slightly acidic pH level. The secondary fermentation of the base wine produces sparkling wine and gives it its characteristic bubbles.

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