“After aging, sparkling wine undergoes a process called riddling. Bottles are placed on special racks that hold them at a 45-degree angle, with the cap pointed down. Once a day (every two days in Champagne), the bottles are given a shake and a turn, alternating right then left before they are dropped back into their cubbies. The drop causes a slight tap, with the angle increasingly moving down and pushing the sediments toward the necks.
“Riddling used to be done completely by hand. In recent years, it has been replaced by a gyropalette, because of the high labor costs — and, we imagine, a lot of carpal tunnel lawsuits. Hand riddling is still done for prestige cuvees in Champagne, and Matthew Levy of Calistoga’s Shcramsberg Vineyards says they hand riddle about 25 percent of their bottles.”