Apr 30, 2014

#WW Wine Review, Galante, 2013 Wagon Wheel White

Tasting with Jack (on right) and Fred Dame at the Carmel Tasting Studio.

Recently WineWalkabout went to learn a bit about bottling wine and helped bottle and helped bring to life a new wine for Galante Vineyards (OK basically we watched and got in the way, but we were there). It was a great experience and at the end of our day there Jack shared with us a bottle of this newest release, a 2013 Wagon Wheel White and asked us for our opinion. Oh and as you know we always have an opinion.

The 2013 Wagon Wheel White is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. This blending of both Bordeaux and Rhone style wines was a deliberate attempt to capture, combine and create a compliment to both. The Wagon Wheel White is 92% Sauv Blanc and 8% Viognier. Although it can be considered a Sauv Blanc by the percentages, they called it Wagon Wheel White so their customers would not confuse this wine that is quite different to the 100% pure Sauv Blanc. The floral, sweeter notes of the Viognier are right up front on the palate while the bright Sauv Blanc hits the back of the mouth and finishes the wine with juicy tart fruit and nice acidity. This slightly zippy white has a lovely balance and is just a delight to drink. So much so that we have returned to the tasting room to purchase some for regular consumption.

With this release they reintroduced a 100% Viognier and were experimenting with some blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. You know the kind of things you do at a winery because you can. Galante is well known and respected for Bordeaux reds and the occasional white. Coincidentally last years white release was a Sauvignon Blanc and this year with the Viognier the blending of the two seemed perhaps destined to be. 

To quote Jack Galante "We wanted to come up with something different and fun for our customers who are so familiar with our pure Sauvignon Blanc and when we tried this blend we all loved it. Like spokes of a wheel, the flavor profiles of these Bordeaux-style and Rhone-style varietals combine to fulfill the palate and complete the journey."

Well, we say job done! She's a beaut!

The Galante Vineyards Wagon Wheel White is a lovely wine that we rate a 7 and **** and we recommend that you go taste it, and get on the wagon!

Happy Wine Adventures,
Kiwi & Koala

Apr 28, 2014

Wine Tasting in Tuscany

Tasting wine in the beautiful region of Tuscany is a must do on any wine lovers bucket list. There are some amazing producers with all kinds of history and accolades. Trying to decide where to taste is not an easy thing to do and given limited time and an established route in place even more difficult. Given all the the possibilities, choosing was, well just overwhelming. Somehow after a few glasses we managed to pull ourselves together and start to plan. 
Did we get lucky or do we know what we were doing? Truth be told, mostly lucky, but with a little bit of knowledge of one of the producers. 

With out boring you with how we came up with the four we visited lets just tell you about what and who we experienced.

First up was Fattoria di MontecchioThis beautiful 18th century Villa is in the heart of the Chianti Classico region between Florence and Sienna, and covers approximately 273 hectares. The majestic 18th century house stands on a hill overlooking the small medieval town of San Donato in Poggio. There is even an old tower that was used for defensive purposes during the struggle between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines back in 920. The estate has a wine shop, an olive oil mill and very old wine and olive oil cellars as well as some state of the art production facilities. The estate still makes fine hand made terracotta from the Montecchio kiln that dates back to 1700. There is also a magnificent Agriturismo building used for farm stay holidays. We may need to go back and stay! That way we can let you know how comfortable the beds are and how the showers work. You know, doing the hard work. 
We joined a tour group from the Tuscany Wine School being lead by Rebecca and they were gracious enough to welcome us along. We toured through the old library storage area and the new production areas and even some of the original barrel rooms with the old cedar barrels. Once we had completed the tour which took about an hour it was time to get stuck into it! We were then on our own as the group had their tasting and we had our own special tasting with delicious and generous tastings of olive oil and wines. Thankfully the olive oil was accompanied by some great Italian bread, or as they call it, bread. We are not big fans of just slurping neat olive oil like the pro's, so the tasty bread was truly enjoyed and appreciated. Their wines consist of Chianti Classico Gallo Nero Docg and Chianti Classico Riserva Docg, followed by two very nice Super Tuscan's. All very good and so we could not help but to leave with one of everything (yeah broke the one bottle rule, again).

As we traversed our way around Tuscany the next wine specific stop was this somewhat remote but none the less magnificent family property Fattoria Corzano E Paterno. This purveyor of fine wine was one who we had met at an Industry tasting in San Francisco and so was selected based on some knowledge and although Aljoscha would not be there, he arranged for us to get a tour and taste from his cousin Arianna (yes another Arianna). Arianna gave us a great tour of their new cheese and wine making facilities. The new facilities have been completed only recently and the modern finishes, although not having the character of the old buildings, will provide a more efficient and effective wine making facility. These new facilities are designed to make sure the goal of ever better wine and cheese, is not hampered by the limitations of old buildings. Off to one side of the new facility is the cheese making area. This small by our estimation puts out a lot of top quality sheep cheese that is highly sort after.After an interesting in depth tour of the facilities, Arianna took us back to the cellar door and put out a spread of the sheep cheese's, and guided us through a sampling of their wines. It is very different feeling tasting wine, sheep cheese and olive oil while surrounded by buildings and history that in some cases goes back to before 900 AD. There are seventeen hectares of vineyard and they produce more than 80.000 bottles of wine. Grape varieties run from the usual Chianti selection of Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Malvasia, Trebbiano, to the foreign varieties (for Italy) of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay. We all enjoyed a great afternoon talking with Arianna about what had been, and what is to come for Fattoria Corzano E Paterno. The work that has been done to produce such world class wine, cheese and olive oil never ends we very much enjoyed the wine and again broke the one bottle each purchase rule.

Heading north west in Tuscany our next stop was a last minute opening because an employee Chiara had come in on her day off and was the only one on site that midweek day that spoke English and so was handed the phone. Come on over she said, I'll wait for you. This historic property is Fattoria di Fubbiano, and is only 15 km from Lucca, 65 km from Florence along the Lucca hills, between the villages of Tofori and San Gennaro, an area where wine has been produced since the 14th century. After Chiara gave us a lovely tour of the facilities it was time for us to put our finely tuned palates to work. As fate, luck, or just strange happenstance would have it, we had had a bottle of the hall mark wine from Fattoria di Fabbiano while relaxing at an outdoor restaurant in Lucca just a few days earlier. A bottle of 'First Love'. An inexpensive and lovely to drink wine, but also one with significant importance to the owner. This is a great facility with very good wines, and we recommend you make an appointment and go check it out. Tell em we sent you... We enjoyed a great tasting of good olive oil (no bread, 3 cough olive oil) and wines, as we again broke the one bottle purchase per person rule again. 

Travelling due south we headed to our last stop and proceeded to get completely lost. With the help of some non English speaking locals who managed to convey to us to follow them as they guided us to the beautiful Estate of Tenuta Del Buonamico is situated south-west of Monte Carlo, in the Cercatoia. This winery has history that dates back prior to 1870. Not old by Italian standards but very old non the less. Arriving quite late in the afternoon (5pm) on a Thursday the modern yet inviting tasting room was almost empty which exaggerated the very spacious feel. We were lucky enough to get here after spending a lot of time at another place and being lost and so unfortunately did not get a chance to tour the facilities but we did get to sample their olive oil (the traditional way, 3 coughs) and all the wines being sold at the time (quite a few). Chiara (second Chiara of the day) made us feel at home and started out informing us of the process of picking and pressing the olives and how the terrior and olive tree clones give the flavour. Traditional olive oil tasting is for the pros and that is not us. Chiara also walked us through the wine line up starting with some bubbly, and then a bit more bubbly once we thought our taste buds were back in gear after the olive oil incident. After what was a great bubbly Chiara lead us through the list of wines on offer and was very informed about each of the wines we tasted. Some wonderful wines were tasted and once again we broke the one bottle each rule (seeing a pattern). We had a great tasting and wish we had arrived a little earlier to take a tour of the entire facility. From what we understand it would have been well worth our time.

Four places that do wine, olive oil and have places to stay on the properties that although we did not get to stay we enjoyed their wines and olive oils immensely. While we are sure that there are many many more wonderful places to visit (we will be returning to discover more) these were the ones that fate, luck, happenstance or divine rule had us go to. We give each a hearty "recommend" and when visiting tell em we sent you. 

Happy Wine Adventures,
Kiwi & Koala

Apr 27, 2014

Just because you like it does not mean its good

Couple of Bloody Galahs Tossin an opinion
The moral of today's story is “don't necessarily take the advice of the leading purveyors of numerical wine info as gospel”. There are a lot of agendas out there and a lot of axes to grind. Don't buy into everything you see in those high profile wine magazines, you know the ones, they are all Wine something. Heck, don't even (or especially even) believe what we say either because most of what we say is just us tossin an OPINION!
But there is one thing you can take to the bank. Just because you like it, it does not mean its good wine. It’s one of those things we say to make people comfortable with their wine choices. Heck, even we have said it! Of course the reverse is also true (so I guess therefore there are two things you can take to the bank)-  just because you don’t like it, that does not mean it is bad wine…Sucks, doesn't it?  You can’t even blame the wine for your lack of palate.
Look, we all gravitate to the wines we like but that does not make them a “good” wine. It only makes them the one's we like. Is that bad? No, but we need to look beyond just our current taste preference’s. If you ask our Dads, a good wine automatically means “inexpensive” (or one we brought, so therefore “free”), although they would never admit that.  But there are also many inexpensive good wines, so money isn't everything and you should not base your selection the price point alone.

There is an amazing amount of focus on all kinds of things that determine whether a wine is of a certain quality or not. First, “Wine Something or other magazines” focus on hue, intensity and clarity. Second, just as with color, wine's aromas offer insights into character, origin and history. Because the actual sense of taste is limited to four or five simple categories, aroma is the most revealing aspect of our examination. From olfactory to taste, which is the part we are all over. You roll the wine all around your mouth, moving it into contact with every part, because, well, because you don’t want to miss any aspect of the wine. Then let’s not forget the way the wine leaves your mouth feeling once you have swallowed. The finish is where you'll find that the better the wine, the more complex and long-lasting these residual flavors and aromas can be. It is generally agreed that with great wines the finish can last a minute or more.

It's a moment of “mmmmm” that no other beverage creates.

All these things and more have a formalised grading scale and a means to assign a score to all these aspects which when all collected come together to give it a grade on each organizations scale.  Reputable scorers go blind (ok not literally) for true scoring and it is the only way to be free of preconceived expectations which ALL humans are subject to. These scales are arbitrary enough that someone’s taste preference should not be a significant factor and the wine should receive a rating based on quality not opinion.
So here’s the thing. Taste, buy and drink what you enjoy the most. But don’t fall into the false sense that that makes it good. Instead try to look beyond your current comfort zone and try to develop the tools to actually appreciate what is good as you enjoy the journey. We think you will find that over time you will tend to enjoy wine even more. Comparing notes with friends and discussing the differences as well as the similarities you find can be a lot of fun.

So remember, the magazines are not the, be all end all. But they can be a great source of information for you to absorb and put your own palate to the test. Comparing what they say to your own experience will also allow you to have a pretty good idea after reading a description if you would like a wine based on that description. You can think of them as road maps to a tasting journey for wine from all over the world. (http://wine.com or http://solawines.com/ )

Taste it, talk about what you see and smell. Discuss what you taste and how it feels on your palate. As you become a bit of a student of the process it is amazing what you may discover about your taste and the amount you enjoy the adventure.

But don’t forget, it is your taste, drink what you like! We do.

Drink on!

Happy Wine Adventures,

Kiwi & Koala

Apr 23, 2014


Buy Tickets here

Here is what is being published about this event...

The Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association is hosting the county’s signature wine event, the Winemakers’ Celebration, on May 3, 2014 in picturesque Carmel-by-the-Sea. Celebrating the wines and winemakers of Monterey County’s world class growing region, the event will display over 100 incredible wines as Dolores Street (between Ocean & 7th) is transformed into an atmosphere reminiscent of a European village street festival.

Both the experienced wine lover and relative newcomer will enjoy the 22nd Annual Winemakers’ Celebration as it features an array of offerings, such as:

  • Over 100 exquisite wines from Monterey County to taste and compare
  • Small bites highlighting local ingredients from renowned local guest chefs
  • Winemaking, grape growing and cooking demonstrations
  • Mini-workshops on wine and food pairing essentials, expert tasting tips, and the impact of terroir on wine
  • Growers and winemakers on hand to meet and share in the experience
  • Live musical performances by talented local artists

We attended this event last year when it was held at the Crossroads at the entry to Carmel Valley and we had a good time. There were many, many wineries pouring their wares and way more wine than even we could get close to tasting. We are excited to attend this years event and the announcement of the new location has upped our level of excitement. They will be closing down Delores Street in Carmel by the Sea. How cool is that? The added bonus of this unique location is bound to be epic. We know there will be great wines and food with music in a magical setting and just can't wait to be there taking it all in. We are looking forward to tasting wines that will only be poured at this event.

Look, this is going to be a great event in an amazing place and you need to get your tickets now before they sell out.

See you there,

Happy Wine Adventures,
Kiwi & Koala

22nd Annual Winemakers’ Celebration Participating Wineries:

Bernardus Winery –  Blair Estate –  Boekenoogen Wines –  Caraccioli Cellars –  Carmel Road –  Chalone Vineyards –  Cima Collina –  Coastview Vineyard –  Dawn’s Dream –  De Tierra Vineyard –  Estancia –  Galante Vineyards –  Hahn Winery  –  Holman Ranch Vineyards –  J.Lohr Vineyards &amp Wines –  Kori Wines –  Le P’tit Paysan –  Marin’s Vineyard –  Manzoni Vineyards –  Mercy Vineyards –  Paraiso Vineyards –  Pierce Ranch Vineyards –  Puma Road Winery –  Silvestri Vineyards –  Shale Canyon Winery –  Ventana Wines –  Wente Vineyards –  Windy Oaks Winery –  Wrath Wines.

Apr 22, 2014

House palate / Pull your head out

House pallet is something that winemakers or winery owners can struggle with, particularly small underfunded ones. What is house palate? Well maybe a better way to explain it is to describe how it occurs. As winemakers they work on their wines and barrel taste their wines and blend their wines and promote their wines and have tastings of their wines and events with their wines and eat dinner with their wines, well you get the picture. It seems that mostly all they drink are their own wines. This affliction can also affect those that only drink from one watering hole as well.

Now while those may be perfectly good wines, one may have a tendency to get too used to a particular flavour profile. So what does this mean and why should anyone care. Well maybe it is of no consequence to anyone. But we feel that without a balanced appreciation of multiple profiles (just go taste) the possibilities of the vineyard may be overlooked. What we mean by this is it’s easy to make average wine if you have good grapes. But the possibility of making something special may be completely missed. It’s that unquantifiable thing that great winemakers seem to possess. The ability, through experience and intuition to determine the exact time to harvest, time spent in contact with the skins or just how much oak and of what type and for how long.

The broader the palate experience we believe the more one may see the opportunity of possibility as to just how great a wine can be made. Tasting wines made from grapes of the same region by different wine makers can expose you to things you may like or not, but it does give you a different perspective on what's possible. Let’s face it we all want to drink great wine! So for all you winemakers that tend to drink too much of what you make and not enough other stuff. STOP IT! Get stuck into good stuff from everywhere and help yourself see the possibilities and maybe see a different vision for those grapes. Befriend a sommelier and some worldly drinkers and get some second opinions that can help break down the profile for you. Once you've done that give us a call and we will come drink your wine and give you our two bits worth (= nothing), but more importantly pull your head out of the barrel and look and taste around and maybe, hopefully, make better wine.

Happy wine making, here's to good wine!
Happy Wine Adventures,

Kiwi & Koala

Apr 21, 2014

Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea Passport

Purchase passes here

What usually comes to mind when we hear about a wine passport is a busy weekend with hundreds, sometimes thousands of our closest drinking strangers. Sometimes it is a series of weekends during the month (better), but we're not big fans of this type of drinking, er tasting. But wait there is an alternative, recently we discovered there is a different type of passport in Carmel by the Sea! While enjoying a refreshing beverage or two at some local tasting rooms we heard about what has to be the most flexible user friendly good value Passport known to man (or woman) on the planet! Ok maybe a bit of a stretch but this is a very well put together passport that anyone who likes a taste or two and is visiting Carmel by the Sea needs to have. Yeah we said it, you NEED to get this.

The Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea is a Wine Tasting Passport, that for $65 entitles the buyer to one $10 flight at any nine of the twelve tasting rooms who are part of this experience (a $90 value). It can be used in one day (big day, we're up to try) or spread out over a weekend (easy peasy), several weeks, months, or even years, as the tastings never expire. Use them when you come back later in the year or share them with a friend. You can even go back to your favorite again tomorrow if you wish. Buy one as a couple and (no generalization intended) you can drink the whites and your spouse, friend, roommate, sibling or whom ever can drink the reds. Brilliantly flexible. Purchase online or pick up at the Visitor Center.

This is the perfect passport for a couple on a romantic weekend in Carmel by the Sea. Hit a couple up tasting rooms Friday night and finish the rest off Saturday. Buy a bottle of your favorite of the day to take to dinner at one of the participating restaurants. While out tasting with the Wine Walk Passport, tasters that purchase a bottle (don't forget to get your sticker on the bottle) at one of the 12 tasting rooms of (Blair Estate, Caraccioli Cellars, Dawn's Dream, De Tierra Vineyards, Figge Cellars, Galante Vineyards, Manzoni Cellars, Shale Canyon, Scheid Vineyards, Silvestri Vineyards, Vino Napoli & Wrath) get free corkage for one bottle per visit per party at these exclusive participating restaurants. (Here are the Restaurants) That alone is about a $25 bonus. Eat out at one of these restaurants three times and that is more than the cost of the passport.

The Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea passport offers those that appreciate wine the opportunity to savor superior still and sparkling wines without ever having to think about transportation, parking, or even dinner plans. Walk from your hotel and all the tasting rooms are within 400 meters of each other and once you have purchased your wine, the tasting room can offer recommendations for dinner and call to make reservations for you as well. Again don't forget to get the sticker on your bottle that lets the restaurant know you purchased at the tasting room to get your corkage fee waived. Brilliant!

We cant think of a better way to enjoy Carmel by the Sea than a good walkabout around this lovely sea side shire and as well as enjoying the stores and art, stop along the way and pop into one of the wine tasting rooms and have a tipple or two. A wine walkabout!

As part of discovering more about the Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea we are going to tuck in our shirts put our big boy pants on and head on out to visit every participant to tell you a little about what to expect and hopefully help you select the best (for you) 9 tasting choices of the 12 tastings rooms. We will see about checking out some of the restaurants as well to make a complete weekend possible.

Happy Wine Adventures,

Apr 15, 2014

#WW Review Shale Canyon 2011 Cabernet Franc

During some aimless wanderings in Carmel by the Sea, we came across the Shale Canyon tasting room and just happened to be a little thirsty. While tasting through the range of wines this one grabbed our attention. The 2011 Cabernet Franc - Pedregal Vineyard, Paicines rated 6 *** ($2 off ****). We felt this was a great week night choice and so a bottle was purchased.

It has an elegant plum bouquet with a smoothe but lively berry fruit, light to medium body, quite well balanced and nicely integrated subtle oak. Clean medium length finish with a hint of spice and velvety tannins. This Cabernet Franc is 100% Cabernet Franc. 

Shale Canyon Wines is a relatively new producer formed in 2007. Shale Canyon is a small producer making small lots of hand crafted varietals of Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel. All worthy in their own right but you know our one bottle purchase rule. Guess that means we need to keep going back. Stop by and have a taste of Shale Canyon on the Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea, we think its 'good and will be going back'.

Happy Wine Adventures,
Kiwi & Koala

Apr 14, 2014

Library Day Wine tasting at Pessagno Winery

Wine tasting is fun and heading out to find a new favorite is exciting. Sometimes you get a special surprise and get to taste from the barrel prior to bottling and get a preview of what's to come. Sometimes you show up and its 'New Release' day. But wait, what is a library tasting all about?
The term “library wine” refers to a wine that is being kept or cellared away, or is part of a collection, basically, any previous vintage that is not being poured at the moment.
Some wineries put a little of each vintage of wine aside, to age, as library wine. They may even offer these older wines for tasting (Library Day) and for sale from time to time. These may be a bit more expensive than a current release but give you a risk free way to taste before you buy, and when you do purchase at least the winery can guarantee that the wine has been stored properly. Also, most vintners taste through their library wines from time to time so they can tell you what kind of condition the wine is in and when to drink or continue to hold.

As it turned out upon a visit to a local winery for a tasting we were told about this Library Day. Not one's to shy away from work we immediately put the date in the calendar. 
When the big day arrived it was off to the Pessagno Winery  on Monterey Counties River Road Wine Trail for a Library Tasting. 
They do a Library on the first Sunday of each month.
The tastings were of some older vintage wines that have been stored for just such an occasion. We started off with a 2006 and a 2009 Chardonnay - Intrinity. Intrinity is the only wine they make that is not from a specific vineyard designation. It does, however, come entirely from vineyards located in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation, with the most notable ones being the Sleepy Hollow Vineyard and Lucia Highlands Vineyard. These two wines were fine examples of finesse in the art of oak supported Chardonnay winemaking, and both were drinking beautifully.

Next up was a 2000 Garys' Vineyard Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands. Visually starting to show its 14 year age with a little bricking in color it was still drinking with full fruit expression and almost everyone who tried it purchased some. They ran out! Due to the run on the 2000 they opened a 2001 Garys' Vineyard Pinot Noir. A very different but no less enjoyable wine. Both great expressions of Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noirs.

The last taste was of the wineries flagship Four Boys Vineyard Pinot Noir. The Four Boys Vineyard is the name given to the four small Pinot Noir vineyards that, coincidentally, matches the number of sons the late Steve Pessagno had. The vineyards are aptly named Anthony, Stephen, Robert, and John. Planted to the famous “La Tache” clone of Pinot Noir, with origins from Burgundy, as well as several Dijon clones, these vineyards rival the best within the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation. In total, all four vineyards amount to approximately 3.5 acres. This taste was of the 2006 which tasted amazing. Time has been a friend to this wine in the few years since it was first released, that as memory has it was very good on release but now seems to be a little more with its full, lush mouth feel with layers of dark cherry, plum and cola. Beautifully balanced it has a long intense finish of cherry and vanilla that hangs on your palate, drawing you back for another sip.

Easy to get to and easy to find this is a comfortable and spacious tasting room. Head on over to Pessagno for a tasting and if you think about it remember the first Sunday of the month at Pessagno Winery is Library Day and we 'recommend' you give it a go and guarantee you will like it better than Library Day at School.

Happy Wine Adventures,

Kiwi & Koala

Apr 9, 2014

#WW Wine Review McIntyre Vineyards Merlot

Ah, the abandoned wine from the last couple decades. The victim of a mediocre movie that had a handful of funny scenes that almost single handedly removed Merlot from a generation's drinking list. It does seem to be making a slow recovery and this weeks WW wine is a pretty good Merlot from a top producer in Monterey County California, McIntyre Vineyards.

Recently while tasting in the McIntyre Tasting Studio located in the Hyatt Regency in Monterey the combination of taste and value made this wine the perfect choice for a good week night meal and so one was purchased. BBQ cheeseburgers was the plan and it played out well.

This wine is medium to full bodied and fairly big on mouth feel. Starting with black and purple fruits and with competing cedar and earthy notes, it is fairly robust. It finishes with noticeable but refined tannins and has a medium length finish. If a second bottle came our way we may try a short decant as a test, to see if our feeling that this wine still needs a little time to come into its own. 

A pretty good drop for BBQ meats and even went well the second night when the last glass went with spicy pork chops. The balance of yummyness and value make this #WW a solid 6 and ****.

Go by and have a taste at the McIntyre Tasting Studio in the Hyatt Regency and find your favorite and tell em the blokes at WineWalkabout  sent you.

Happy Wine Adventures,
Kiwi & Koala

Apr 7, 2014

Getting wine into a bottle.

As part of our informative series of things that go on at a winery during the year, we recently talked about pruning. This time around it is about bottling. Thanks to Jack Galante at Galante Vineyards for putting up with us again.
Other than for those adventurous types that make some wine in the garage there are really only a couple ways to go about this. Some wineries have their own bottling systems and some contract a mobile unit to come to them. There are variables where one takes the wine via tanker to another location etc.but lets stick with the two. While in Italy we noticed that even the relatively small places had their own equipment whereas in the USA it seems a lot more of the medium, small places use the bottling truck.

Bottling wine is still, even in this day of modern technology, a fairly labor intensive endeavor. The systems used are setup specifically for the the bottle shape and size and the type of closure and labeling to be done. each part can be customized fairly extensively to accommodate the wineries desires. There are also some things that can be very problematic if certain rules of bottling are not followed. The use of recycled bottles is not something that is easy as all bottles must be exactly the same and so random recycled bottles can jam up the line or even break the bottle or even the equipment. Another issue is when labeling, wines should be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit prior to the commencement of bottling. This is necessary to reduce condensation on the bottles, which may interfere with the proper application and adhering of the labels.

When showing up to a bottling with the truck we were a bit taken back with the number of people actively involved. As we counted up the helping hands it seemed like they kept coming out of the truck and cellar. We counted eleven people actively involved. What were they all doing you ask?

11 personnel who are physically able to perform strenuous activity: (read, working)

1 person to dump bottles on the unscrambling table
2 people to capsule bottles at line speed.
2 people to pack the cases and who will be responsible for package appearance.
3 people to label, stamp and palletize the filled wine cases.
2 people dealing with wine tanks and hose's and getting new labels and tape etc.
1 experienced forklift driver.

All remaining quite busy most of the time. This method of bottling produces approximately 2,000 bottles filled, labeled, boxed and palletized ready to ship a day. Thats almost a $1 a bottle for labor and a cost of about a $1 bottle for the truck. This is assuming that all goes well, which according to those that know thats not the norm with bottling.
Watch as Jack Galante tells us whats going on in this video.

After some time with the crew it was decided that we were more suited to drinking wine than bottling it. There you have it, pruning, NO, bottling, NO. Guess we will see what other winery related activities we may be good at. Whats next in the wine business? We will go and find the next mission!

Happy Wine Adventures,
Kiwi & Koala
Thanks Jack