Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bottling 2011 at SRV!

This post is dedicated to our dear departed friend/family member Dave. We will miss you....

Here is my favorite photo of Dave and I think it's a "Classic Dave Photo!"

Dave, kicking back with a beer at Kevin & Maryella's
after wine harvest & crush, October 2009.

Notice that he is NOT drinking wine after all his hard work. Well, we always say, "It takes a lot of beer to make wine!"

Now, follow me as I take you on another winemaking journey: Bottling SRV's "Chateau Migraine" and "Resurrection!"

Here is Mace, now in the garage/bottling facility of our friends Maryella and Kevin.

What's he doing? Why, bottling wine, of course!

The gold canister you see to the left is Argon, a gas sprayed on top of the bottled wine to keep oxygen away from the wine as it ages.

As the wine moves down the line, Mary towel-dries each bottle and hands it to Michelle.

Michelle is operating the corking machine.

Katie looks on as Brie (her back to the photo) places a label on each bottle which goes into a wine box.

When the boxes are full, 12 bottles, they get labeled with the name and vintage of the wine, along with other pertinent information.

Ron peruses the labeling process while Michelle
sets the corks.

What's this, Mary?!

All kinds of shenanigans go on while bottling
wine, and I think it has something to do with drinking wine on the job ; )

But, Mary is quickly berated by the boss (not really) and gets back to the bottling line!

We used composite cork (don't judge us!) on the majority of the bottles, and some premium cork on a few.

Here, Michelle has traded in her job as cork setter and Ron takes over.

Yes, the arm and shoulder get sore after working a while on the corking machine!

Mary is still taking good care of the filled bottles.

Here, Brie rests on the concrete floor, labeling the filled bottles and then placing them into wine boxes.

She labels each box and someone moves the box to the "finished" area.

We bottled 25 cases of Chateau Migraine and 4 cases of Resurrection.

Some of the folks tried to have more fun than the rest of us....

Here, Maryella laughs heartily as Kevin and
Mary reenact the famous Saturday Night Live
"Cork Soakers" episode.

Ron and I had just watched SNL's Best of Jimmy Fallon and recounted the episode which featured Janet Jackson on a winery tour.

Then the goofing-off stopped abruptly as we suspected a problem with the pump.

Here, Dave and Art look at each other in a scene we home winemakers dread:

Lees (sediment from the bottom of the barrel) is getting into the gravity flow container.

Which means it is going into the bottles, aaaaaaaaah!

You can see Maryella and her grave look as she overhears their conversation.

She joins Kevin at the bottling machine as he shuts down the process.

Here, Kevin inspects a bottle and prepares to pour it into a glass to find out if the gross lees was indeed making its way into the bottles.

Confirmed. The hose on the pump was set too deeply into the main container of wine and dredging up the lees.

When gross lees lays down with the wine, it usually turns foul.

They reset the hose and our process continued! Major crisis averted.

Meanwhile, Judy and I were cutting labels on the tailgate of Kevin's truck.

We were completely oblivious to the critical situation behind us!

More obliviousness on the shiny, happy faces of me and Lisa.

But, hey, we were working!

Here, Lisa displays the label she has partially peeled for Brie to apply to a bottle.

I'm just hanging out, trying to keep cool with some white wine. In a low-key Axel Rose sort of way. I didn't kick anything or throw my precious glass of wine on anyone.

This is probably my favorite photo of the day:

Maryella and Katie smile joyously as we all start cleaning up at the end of a successful day of bottling! A lot of work but way more fun!

All photos by our dear friend Elde Stewart ( except "Dave Kicking Back With a Beer," taken by moi.

Bottling 2011 at SHAG!

Okay, I am seriously late on this, but I have been busy, dear readers! So let's get on with it.

Here are photos (by Elde Stewart) from our wine bottling experiences.

We bottled our 2010 "Purple Haze" Tempranillo early to get the wine out of the heat of our garage!

Here, you see Kevin and Mace finalizing the setup in our garage/bottling facility.

It worked nearly flawlessly. We only lost one empty bottle to the recycle bin, and it turned out that we wouldn't have had enough wine to fill it anyway. How perfect is that?!

The wine was pumped into a food grade container.

From that container, the wine got pumped into the gravity flow container.

The wine flowed into the bottling machine.

Here, Mace demonstrates how quickly one can become an expert at hand bottling wine!

Mace places the filled bottles on the table to his right, where Ron prepares them for corking.

Here, our friend and neighbor Bob works with Ron on the fancy (not really) corking machine.

Place the cork in the top bin, set the bottle on the platform below, and crank down on the lever. HARD!

It takes some muscle! Which is why corking is not my duty!

Instead, I do stuff like cut labels.

Here, Judy and I pose with label sheets and cutting tools in hand.

The work surface was our dryer.

We meticulously cut each label and placed them in a temporary storage bin (otherwise known as a cardboard box).

When wine bottles were filled, corked and dried with a towel, we would slap a label on them.

No! We placed them carefully on the bottles!

Then back to cutting!

Our friend from French class, Barbara, stopped by to check out the scene, but we didn't get a photo of her.

Instead, here is a classic pose.

Elde makes me look good for the camera while I prepare to fill these glasses with some of the great wine flowing through our garage!

After we cleaned all the equipment, we headed over to Salinas River Valley winery at the home of Kevin and Maryella.

Check out the next post about our fun with that process!