We are now entering the final stage of winemaking for our Rent-A-Row winemakers, bottling and labelling. We are in the midst of scheduling and organising bottling with our 2017 winemakers and helping them to design great labels for their wine (so far, they have been very good).
Each wine is being tested in our lab to determine free sulphur levels, with additions of potassium metabisulphite to correct the sulphur up to an acceptable level for the wine to age in bottle. Our resident chemist, President Elect Spencer, taught Secretary of State Janet how to measure and adjust sulphur, adding more knowledge to her newly acquired winemaking skills.
We commenced bottling Cup weekend, with the exception of a rosé made by one of our Citizens that was bottled in September. There were a few teething problems with timing, a corking machine that jammed, and calibrating a new bottle filler. A quick order to our winemaking supplier during the week, and we have a new corker, as well as a new machine to heat shrink the foil caps onto the bottles.
The process of bottling, like the other steps in the Rent-A-Row experience, is relatively simple. The bottle filler is flushed with sanitiser, the bottles are washed and put on the bottle tree to drain. A clean, sanitised bottle is placed under the bottle filler, wine is pumped out of the demijohn or barrel into the bottle. The full bottle is placed in the corker and a cork inserted. The foil cap is placed on the top of the bottle, then heat shrunk onto the bottle for a professional finish. Lastly, and the most difficult, placing the labels on the bottles. Trying to line the labels up evenly can be frustrating, but the final result looks great. Lastly, the completed bottles are boxed up and taken home.
We have seen nearly half of our Citizen’s labels so far, and there are some great names and designs! There are a lot of puns, references to how the wine was made, and plenty of dog photos. Our new label printer has proved to be a valuable addition to the winery and brewery. While sometimes a bit frustrating to setup and calibrate, we have been able to provide a professional finish to our Citizen wines, as well as our new and limited release craft beers.
We are looking forward to bottling the rest of our Citizen’s wines over the coming weeks. See our video of bottling our 2016 Rent-A-Row wines below.