Bottling a couple of the College Cellars 2013 reds

Bottler with the filter behind it
Filter to the left, bottling line and bottle gasser to the right.

Thursday and Friday the hand bottling line was set up at College Cellars for the 2013 GSM and 2013 COSY (Syrah from Cockburn Ranch Vineyards).  With two warm vintages back-to-back, the need to empty some barrels and tanks has become critical as storage space is lacking.  It is a terrible problem to have, so much wine, but really, it has become a bit of a mixed blessing as we are stacked three high (to the ceiling) in the cold cellar and there are still lots of barrels stored outside while it is cold enough to do so.  The bottling truck is scheduled for mid-March, but we have many small batches of wine and the

The whole tank room smells of wine as we bottle.
The whole tank room smells of wine as we bottle.

six-bottler system with lots of student hands, so we are opting to bottle what we can before the truck is scheduled so we have less transitions to get through while the truck is here.  We spent Thursday morning before lab and Friday morning before Sensory class bottling; made for some very early mornings.  (Last year I wrote a couple of blogs about the Cockburn Ranch Vineyard Syrah, should you want to read them, look here, here, and here.)

This isn’t the first time we are using the bottler here, but Friday morning we had an interesting hiccup mid-tank.  Each of the filler ends is secured with a small screw.  They were all tightened when we began, but the far right worked itself lose and fell into a bottle.  When the bottle was removed the wine came streaming out as the stopper end was missing.  We were shocked and just held a bottle up until was filled before hurrying to replace the bottle with another one to lose as little wine as possible.  The crisis was less than we

Steam cleaning the bottling line between wines.
Steam cleaning the bottling line between wines.

were experienced to deal with as a bottle left on that end spigot had a fill-line that it would automatically stop at (DUH); one bottle had to stay there while we searched the few bottles that were standing on the table but not corked.  In two seconds the rattle of metal at the bottom of THE bottle provided the missing screw.  Within another minute the line was fully up and running again.  A newly filled bottle hit the floor, but otherwise a minimally eventful morning.

Cheers to lots of delicious wine!


Our corking machine.
Our corking machine.
College Cellars 2013 Syrah from Cockburn Ranch.
College Cellars 2013 Syrah from Cockburn Ranch.

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