Now that our 2014 white wines have been bottled, I would like to share a brief overview of all the intricacies involved before and during bottling, a very exciting process.
As a winemaker, the process and preparation usually starts a couple of months before the actual bottling. The first thing to do is to confirm and schedule a bottling date with our mobile bottling service. Once confirmed, being able to multitask is important to meet the bottling date. The area that we usually give priority to is on purchasing the best packaging for our beautiful wines. We give plenty of time so we can handle any issues that arise with vendors.
Packaging involves glass, corks and labels. Because we sell direct to our consumers, we made a decision to no longer use tin foil, as it is a huge waste and has an incredible carbon footprint and no real impact on the quality of the wines’ storage. My role is to make sure to order the necessary quantities, and order the correct cork size and grade. In addition, we are careful to ensure the correct bottle shapes and colors and that all of the information on the labels is correct. Labels is requires rounds of editing and government approval. Once we submit a new label for approval, it can take up to a month to get it approved and we cannot print the labels unless they are approved by the TTB. This timing is built into the bottling process each time we bottle.
At the same time this is happening, we have to take all of the wines out of barrel and then put them in tank so that we can start cold stabilizing them, a process that can take up to a month depending on how unstable they are. While the wines are undergoing cold stabilization, we continue working on labels and making sure that the rest of the packaging is ready to be ordered.
Once we have received the corks and glass and all new labels have been approved by the TTB, the printing process begins, a process that can take up to three weeks. At this point, we make sure that the wines can warm up slowly before filtration. Two weeks before bottling, there is a lot of science that goes on to ensure the wines are roughly filtered so that the bottling line can operate. We also run through a full analysis which provides us with the conditions of the wine, and some of the information from the analysis is actually required by the government.
Of all these parameters, winemakers pay special attention during this time of prep to ensure the highest standards of winemaking are followed.
By now, it is a day before bottling and time to go home to get somerest because tomorrow we begin bottling at the winery at 6am. We will begin by sterilizing the bottling truck and making sure all wines are ready to go.
Bottling date has finally arrived and there is no room for error at this point. Everything must align. The wines start going into the bottle one by one, in the correct order, into the right type of glass, with the correct size of cork and that the label height is adjusted to match the previous vintage. Every detail matters.
But besides making sure all the packaging details are beautiful, we also have to make sure to check other parameters as the wine is going into the bottle. We oversee every scientific detail to the bottling process. During bottling, it takes a whole team to make it happen. We are in constant communication with our team and the bottling truck crew.
We just bottled our amazing 2014 white wines with a couple of new faces like Riesling and late harvest Viognier and we hope you are able to enjoy them at our Taste of Place soon. Watch for their debuts…May is a perfect time for the release of our new Rosé di Grenache.