How do I make wine spritzers—to give as a gift?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

I am making a variety of wine spritzers for family and friends, but I read online that you cannot use regular wine bottles and corks to package them because the pressure will build up. How do I go about bottling wine spritzers to avoid this issue?

—Tracy, Houston, Texas

Dear Tracy,

I don’t hear much about wine spritzers, but there are cocktails made from blending wine with club soda, sparkling water or even soda pop. There are plenty of variations out there; some include a dash of simple sugar or liqueur, and the drink is typically garnished with fruit of some sort. Typically, wine spritzers are made from white wine, but there are red versions too. Besides being a refreshing drink, they're a way to drink wine and reduce alcohol consumption (and possibly calories). The recipes I’ve read always point out the importance of serving the drink well-chilled and even over ice to preserve its effervescence and refreshment.

While whipping up a batch of wine spritzers for your family and friends for a party is great idea, it’s not the sort of thing I’d recommend bottling. You mention the pressure from carbonation—and true, sparkling water can have anywhere from about 30 to 50 pounds per square inch of pressure. But most spritzer recipes have the sparkling water mixed with wine at about a 1-to-1 ratio. So I’m not worried about the excessive carbonation as much as I am that the spritzer will become flat over time. After all, you don’t see people bottling their own gin and tonics or rum and colas to give away as gifts. I think if you wanted to gift spritzers, you’d be better off giving away a DIY kit with all the ingredients and your favorite recipe.

Even though wine spritzers aren’t currently as trendy as they may once have been, I should point out in our last roundup of canned wines, we found a number of winemakers who are experimenting with that style of drink, adding things like citrus zest or hops to slightly effervescent versions of wine. You might want to check them out.

—Dr. Vinny

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