During the winter when the vines are bare and it doesn’t seem like there is very much going on at the vineyard, everybody is actually quite busy doing any number of things. There is pruning to be done and general vineyard maintenance. The wines that are currently in tanks and barrels also need to be watched to make sure they are progressing favorably. The wine maker will use a wine thief to sample the wines and get an idea of what their flavor profiles will be like. He will also be making sure the barrels stay filled so that the wine inside is exposed to as little oxygen as possible.
Going into spring, some of the white varietals will be ready to bottle, and that is exactly what we did earlier this month. The mobile bottling factory arrived bright and early on a Wednesday morning. During the days prior, filtering was performed for all the varietals that would be bottled. This included Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio to name a few. The mobile bottling factory is a big truck with the entire bottling assembly line inside the trailer. At the start of the line, we would deposit the empty bottles by the case-full where they would begin their expedition through the machinery.
The bottles are sterilized one by one and blasted with nitrogen to dry them out and remove any oxygen from inside. This step is very important because it will prevent oxidation, which could negatively affect the flavors of the wine. The bottles are then filled with wine and another quick blast of nitrogen before being corked and topped with a foil capsule.
Finally the bottles are labeled and exit the truck where we had staff waiting to rebox them and seal the cases. All the newly bottled wines were sent to our wine room where they will hang out for at least a few more months to allow the wine to recover from the shock of bottling (read more about bottle-shock). And soon they will be ready for you to taste and enjoy!
Here are some of the new wines you can expect starting around the end of June:
American Kestrel White
2012 Reserve Chardonnay
2012 Sauvignon Blanc
2012 Barrel-Fermented Dry Riesling