So often when folks come for a tour, they wonder where we’re hiding the bottling line.
Well, it’s hidden in a truck that comes for a visit from time to time. Like so many wineries of our size, we don’t have a bottling line. This is a side of winemaking you might not think about unless you’re in the biz, but wineries spawn lots of related industries and one of them is mobile bottling.
The first time I saw it in action I was completely amazed. How do they do that? A huge truck backs up onto your property, they open the back doors, and inside it looks just like the inside of a winery. Beautiful stainless-steel equipment: filler, corker, labeler, it’s all there. Ryan-McGee has their crew, we have ours, and we team up to get the job done. Since bottling is their sole enterprise, the handful of companies who offer this service in the U.S. generally do a top notch job. Like many things wine, this concept was adopted from the Europeans and has been going on here since 1978.
Why?? Bottling equipment is extremely costly and it just doesn’t make sense for a company like ours, which makes about 9000 cases of wine a year, to dedicate the space or invest in equipment we’d only use maybe 5 days out of the whole year. But, even large wineries sometimes get some help from mobile bottlers when they experiment with a new format, for instance going to screw caps for the first time. It would cost tens of thousands of dollars to add that component to the existing bottling line, so some of them choose to call the mobile bottlers instead.
This is an exciting day for us because we’re bottling the first of our wines from the 2006 harvest. We’re not quite as quick as Beaujolais Nouveau, but we make 3 white wines, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc, that taste best to us without the influence of oak. Consequently, we bottle them now, give them several weeks time to recover from “bottle shock” and they’ll be in your hands by some time in January. Perfect timing. These lively, vibrant wines are meant to be consumed in their youth, so down the hatch and enjoy!