It's an emotional time when you finally finish bottling a vintage. A whole year of hard work, into bottle and shipped off. Being one of the less romantic wine-making processes it's often overlooked; there are days on end of clinking glass, feeding bottles onto the line and watching them rotate under the filler bowl. The hypnotic rhythm of the corking machine and the constant battle to ensure labels are perfectly applied. There are lots of moving parts and plenty to go wrong, but as the culmination of a year’s work it's also incredibly satisfying. - knowing that every bottle that rolls off the line contains a conversation or two, some laughter, perhaps dinner party or even a birthday. It's a time capsule of a single vineyard in a specific year, and every bottle tells a story.
For the winemaker of course it's the end of the grapes' journey, but really it's just the beginning. Our bottles are bottled onsite via a mobile bottling plant. It's an advanced (and expensive) machine that offers advantages that smaller bottling lines just can't compete with. The bottles start their journey by being sterilised then rinsed, before a vacuum is applied and the air removed. Nitrogen is introduced to create an inert atmosphere inside the bottle before it starts on the carousel, triggering a valve that lets the wine flow in under gravity alone. Once filled they move along to the corking machine, which creates a small vacuum before inserting the cork.
After this it's through to the labelling line before being boxed up, stacked onto pallets and stored in a temperature controlled warehouse - until it's time to pull the cork of course.