Journal | March 14, 2019
Bottling is very satisfying once it is over. Bottling is very stressful until it is over. When we commit to bottling, it needs to be done quickly and efficiently. Preservation of the wine’s fresh aromas and flavors depend on getting the wine from barrel into bottle with military-like precision. There are a lot of little things that can go wrong in the process, mostly with the bottling line itself. A boring day is a good day on the bottling line.
Until 2003 we hired a mobile bottling line which is very common for small wineries anywhere wine is produced. The line arrives in an enclosed trailer with a technician. It usually stays for a couple of days, then moves on to the next winery. Bottling lines are extremely expensive and only used a handful of days during the year. Sharing the cost and having a skilled technician run and maintain a line makes sense.
Sharing however requires scheduling well in advance. Sometimes the wines don’t cooperate. Their development is not necessarily linear. Forcing a wine into the bottle when it could use more time in tank or barrel can be a quality issue. It became apparent that we needed to bite the bullet and buy our own line. Now we have the flexibility to bottle when we feel the wine is at its best.
We just bottled Linden’s 2018 Rosé. Now the wine needs to rest and recover from bottle shock. Bottling is rough on a wine. It has been resting peacefully in barrel all winter. It is then pumped, squeezed through filler spouts, and finally splashed into a bottle. Every few weeks we pop a cork in order to taste its recovery progression. The hope is that it will gather itself up by the time warm spring weather returns.