The Korbel Winery began operation in 1882. Two years later, noted winemaker Frank Hasek came to California from Prague and become the first Korbel champagne-master. Employing méthode champenoise, the time-honored French technique of producing champagne, the Korbels quietly experimented with various cuvées. And by the turn of the century, Korbel had become an internationally known and award-winning champagne label. The tradition was kept alive for the next half-century until 1954, when the winery was sold to Adolf Heck. Adolf Heck arrived in Sonoma with yeast cultures in hand. He brought and preserved them from his native Germany and they are still in use today. In 1956 he re-introduced Korbel Brut in a style that was lighter and drier than any American champagne on the market, making it the first champagne developed specifically for American tastes. He also invented and patented the first automatic riddling machine which eliminated the danger of exploding bottles.