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Alexis Nicolai
 
July 28, 2017 | Alexis Nicolai

Bottling at Emeritus Vineyards

We have finally started bottling our 2016 vintage wines! On Monday July 24th, we began putting wine into bottles. In total, we’ll be bottling for 8 days, but our winemaking team starts the process long before now, testing blends and prepping the winery. See our racking and blending blog post for more on that subject.

To prep we also have to get all of our supplies ready, this includes pallets of bottles, bails of corks and boxes of capsules. There is a lot of movement in the winery during this time, with new barrels arriving, used barrels being cleaned out, tanks being rearranged and bottling supplies being delivered.

We use a mobile bottling line, it rolls in a couple times a year for us to use. Once it’s fired up the first step is prepping the glass. All our glass arrives pre-labeled and sterilized; however, every bottle is first sparged with nitrogen gas to help get rid of any little dust or cardboard particles that may have snuck in during transportation.

Next up is the filler where wine from the blending tanks is transferred into the bottle. Then comes the cork. The corker acts like a vacuum and pulls any extra air out from the bottle before inserting the cork. This allows the right amount of pressure to remain inside the glass bottle. The wine bottles are designed so that there is a slightly wider area in the glass just below the lip of the bottle, this extra space allows the cork to expand slightly more before narrowing again as it gets closer to the wine. This expansion in the glass helps to hold the cork in place. This way, changes in temperature will not create pressure that could potentially force the cork to move out of place.

The last touch is the capsule; they are pushed down onto the top of the bottle and pressed into place. The full bottles are packed into boxes and stored upright for 24 hours. This allows the cork time to fully expand in the glass so the wine can then be aged on its side for the next 3+ years until it’s ready to be in your glass.

We bottle our large format bottles by hand, which takes a little more care and time, but is well worth it for the beautiful result.

Once bottling is over we’re in full harvest mode once again cleaning the winery and prepping tanks and new barrels for the next vintage.

 

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