Bottling your wine is quick and easy. It involves bringing 31 clean bottles, then sanitizing, filling, corking, shrink capping and labeling them.
Booking an Appointment
When your wine is ready, one of our staff will call and book an appointment for you to come in if you didn’t already book your appointment the day you started your wine. We reserve 45 minutes for each batch of wine to ensure you’re not rushed in finishing your crafted product.
Cleaning Your Bottles
Remember to bring 31 bottles for each batch of wine. We guarantee you’ll get 30 bottles from a batch and there’s always a little more you can take for homework. If you don’t have enough, you can purchase new bottles from us. The bottles you bring can be commercial, but if they are, labels must be removed or defaced. Standard bottle sizes of 1 litre, 750 ml or 375 ml can be used. Most screw cap bottles will also work.
When you arrive, park your vehicle behind the store in one of the 3 parking spots adjacent to our shed. Just inside the back door you’ll find utility carts that you can take to your vehicle to transport your bottles. We’re always available to help, should you need assistance.
Sanitizing Your Bottles
Your bottles must be clean before you bring them in to be sanitized. It’s good to get in the habit of thoroughly rinsing your wine bottles as soon as you’ve emptied them. You can store them upside down in a box to prevent mould and bacteria from growing in them or spiders from making their homes in them. If it seems like we emphasize clean bottles too often, there’s a good reason. Using dirty bottles is the quickest way to spoil your product. By now you’ll have read that all the steps in the winemaking process place an emphasis on cleanliness.
Place your bottles upside down in the sanitizer. The sanitizer must be full before closing the lid and turning it on. Once the sanitizer stops, remove your bottles and place them upside down on the bottle tree on a cart to allow any excess water to drain out.
Filling Your Bottles
Using our automated filler, our staff will fill each of your bottles to the appropriate level and pass them to you or one of your team. Our liquor license allows our vintners to consume some of their product on site for quality control purposes. The rule is that 200 ml from each batch can be shared among the members of your team that are of legal drinking age.
Bottling is a multi-step process and fun to share with friends and family. A cork is placed in the bottle using our pneumatic corker. If you haven’t used the corker before, after quick demo, you’ll be a pro. We like to remind all of our customers to limit the bottles to one cork because if you try to add a second, the result is usually disastrous; bottle explodes, wine gets spilled and then there’s a fairly major cleanup. Wine travels fast as do the shards of glass.
After corking, you’ll place coloured shrink caps onto the top of your bottles and use a machine to shrink them onto the neck of the bottles. We have a large selection of colours to choose from so you’re sure to find one to match your labels.
The final step is to label the bottles. Some of our kits come with labels and for those that don’t, we have a large selection to choose from. We also provide custom labels at a very reasonable cost so you can personalize your product (e.g., “Australian Shiraz, Jones Estate Winery, March 2019”). You can be creative and choose whatever wording you like. We have beautiful labels to choose from and we can print them in the store the day you bottle.
We provide a “design your own label” product as well. These require two weeks advance notice to have them ready on your bottling day. All of our peel and stick labels are easy to apply and easy to remove.
Your product is complete and you can place it in a box or crate and transport it to your vehicle.
Share the Fun!
The bottling process can be a lot of fun. Some customers bring their kids and grandkids to take part in the experience. We’ve seen pre-school-aged labellers do a fantastic job! Other customers take the opportunity to test out some pairings by bringing cheese, sausages or fruit to have with their sample. The wines are fresh and most will need some time to mature to their full potential, but it can be very interesting to experiment with different accompaniments at this stage.
Bottling your wine is done!
Anyone that’s been following my blogs will know what the next step is and that’s cleaning and sterilizing the carboys that held your fine wine since filtering.
This is the final blog in this series “Crafting Your Wine”. Next month we’re going to start a new series “Wine Regions of the World”. In the meantime enjoy a video that we put together showing the bottling process.