Sparkling wine - no sign of sediment from second fermentation

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New Member
Jul 8, 2022
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Leicester, UK

After a few years of making sparkling elderflower wine by the usual method, I decided that I don't really like the cloudy, slightly feety concoction, so decided to follow the champagne method of fully fermenting in a DJ (down to 0.97 grav, took 4 weeks due to warm weather). It was relatively, though not completely, clear when bottling. Bottled with about 17g sugar in solution per bottle.

I have just checked the bottle on week 4, when turning to encourage the sediment to drop into the neck, and there is no sign at all of any yeast sediment in any of the bottles (from what I could see, holding it up to a light). I know it's still quite early days, but I expected to see something. The wine also (from what you can see through the green glas) looks completely clear.

What I would really, really appreciate hearing is; if anyone has make sparkling wine before, at what point did you start to see the sediment drop into the neck? Am I just being impatient, or is this a sign that the second fermentation has halted/not got happened? I figured out that abv was at roughly 12% when I bottles, though admittedly my measurements were somewhat haphazard and I had to top up the bottles.

Thanks in advance ☺️
I test carbonation in bottles by holding the bottle up to the light upright, giving it a few firm swirls and see if bubbles emerge in the inch below the liquid surface.. If I see tight bubbles emerging from the liquid then that suggests there is pressure in the bottle and some degree of carbonation. The more bubbles you see like that the more pressure in the bottle. If there aren't bubbles or it just forms bubbles right at the surface, then there's probably not much fermentation in the bottle.

It's hard to explain exactly what to look for unless you've done this silly test from an uncarbonated bottle every few days. You could fill a similar bottle with water, cap it and do the same swirls to compare.

Doing that to a bottle will ruin the sedimentation you're trying to produce but if you really want to test without popping open a bottle this is an option of sorts.