March 19, 2012




Today is the big day, we’re bottling our 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (made from our Estate grown organic fruit), our 2010 Monte Rosso Zinfandel, and our 2010 Monte Rosso Petite Sirah (this is actually the first varietal Petite Sirah we’ve ever made here). The mobile line rolled in and set up on Friday morning to be ready to start first thing today.

It was still raining pretty steadily on Friday, and we were worried it would still be raining during bottling. Since the cases have to be moved from inside the winery out to the truck, this could have presented a problem (cardboard does not like water). Fortunately the weather dried up for just in time for us and we were able to get our bottling done without a snag.

Getting ready for bottling also involved our staging all of the dry goods. Dry goods include everything that goes into the package that isn’t the wine itself; in our case that would be bottles, labels, corks, and capsules. A lot of our dry goods are used in more than one product (for instance, the 2010 Monte Rosso Zinfandel and Petite Sirah both use the same corks), and a lot of them are unique to individual products (like labels, obviously you couldn’t put a Zinfandel label on a Petite Sirah bottle, even though the corks are the same). Even for a small, artisanal winery like us, things can get confusing. It is therefore crucial to keep the dry goods extremely well organized.

These pallets are separated out by product, if a box of corks or labels is destined for one particular wine, it is marked and then set on the pallet that will be set outside when that wine is bottled. Getting the dry goods mixed up would be a very costly mistake.

Once everything was in place, we went ahead and set the bottling line running.

Bottling is hard work. The wine is slowly pumped into the filler inside the truck from the bottling tank. Empty glass is loaded in the back of the truck, and a conveyor carries it to the filler, which in turn fills it with wine. The bottles then pass through the corker, the capsuler, and the labeler before being brought back to the rear of the truck where they are repacked into cases which are then loaded onto pallets by hand.

It’s a lot of work getting ready to bottle, but once you get started it’s generally over in a pretty big hurry. Bottling is a potentially risky activity because once the wine is in the bottle you can’t really correct any mistakes you make. Fortunately everything went fine today. It’s a relief to have these fantastic wines safely in the bottle!

To visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.


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