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