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I am making my first wine ever out of slightly tart hand picked cherries. It is currently undergoing open primary fermentation in a large, covered container. In about a week I should be transferring it to a 20l demijohn with airlock if I was to continue the planned fermentation process.

However, I am considering a Pet-Nat sparkling wine as the end result, and I would like to avoid a couple of problems:

  • Excess sediment
  • Excessively high bottle pressure, as I am uncertain about the bottle tolerances I can get locally

I was thinking that perhaps I could compromise by aiming for a lightly sparkling wine by allowing the closed fermentation to take place in the glass container for a while and also maybe racking it, to allow some clarification and time for sediments to settle, before transferring the wine to capped sekt bottles.

Does this approach make sense? If so, how should I determine when to transfer into bottles to get a light frizzante at the latest possible time?

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The only way to make a PÉT-NAT is to bottle right at the end of fermentation, but you cannot avoid the sediment. Isn't the sediment part of the allure of PÉT-NAT because it's so a la natural?

How do you determine this? It's really hard because you simply don't know how the far the remaining yeast will ferment and how much residual sugar you might end up with. I've heard horror stories about bottle bombs and funky flavors. I've never made one on purpose, but I once had a whole pallet of off dry rose go off on me which we could now call PÉT-NAT (probably could've gotten $30 a bottle). It was due to filter failure.

Here's what I would do. When the residual sugar gets down around 10 g/l then bottle it and try to be careful not to suck up too much sediment and hope for the best.

There is a reason they don't make PÉT-NAT in Champagne anymore, it's too unpredictable. Personally, I would make it in a Cremant style using Méthode Champenoise but going light on the triage addition and at dosage you can change the sweetness level if you want.

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  • Many thanks for your advice. When you say "right at the end of fermentation," do you mean towards the end of a closed fermentation in demijohns (for example), while there is some residual sugar, or right at the end of the open fermentation and in place of closed fermentation in glass. And yes, some sediment will be appealing to me, but unfortunately some of the locals will have never heard of Pet-Nat and I do want to dish out a few bottles as gifts. – Sentinel Jun 5 '18 at 13:51
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    I don't care if you do it closed or open when the first fermentation reaches 10-15 g/l of residual sugar put it in your final bottle. Make sure it's a sturdy bottle, champagne style. – farmersteve Jun 5 '18 at 16:37
  • Ha. :-) Okay :-) – Sentinel Jun 5 '18 at 17:05

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