OMG which one is right? Traditional Method vs. Transfer Method

Hey pals,

A wine educator contacted me from Italy wanting to have some clarification (har har) about whether or not riddling and disgorgement happens with the TRANSFER METHOD (aka TANK METHOD) when it comes to bubbly.  

I think that yes, definitely.  She thinks that no, definitely not.   

She could be right, I could be right, I don't know!  I would like to know for the goodness of sparkling wine.  

Tank/transfer method bottles get riddled don't they?  And then disgorged into a tank?

Ack! Someone ask their local Chef de Cave and find out!

I will update the diagram to be correct.  Here are the conflicting diagrams: 

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  • Hi Madeline, I am certainly not a Chef de Cave but I have a handy book conveniently in front of me. According to the Christie's World Encyclopedia of Champagne and Sparkling Wine, sparkling wine may be produced by the Traditional Method, the Transfer Method, the Tank Method (aka charmat, cuve close), Russian Continuous Method, Methode Ancestrale, and lastly, Carbonation. Transfer Method: "This refers to a wine produced through a second fermentation in a bottle, but (and this is the catch) not the bottle in which it is sold. It is fermented in one bottle, transferred into a vat where it is filtered, then transferred into another bottle." It is a method commonly used for small and large format bottles which are impractical to riddle.
    Tank, or charmat, method is used for inexpensive wines that undergo second fermentation in large tanks prior to being filtered and bottled.
    Tom Stevenson's books are absolutely fantastic, by the way. Cheers!
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