How to Bottle Your Wine – WMA012

How to Bottle Your Wine – WMA012

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma012.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSBottling Your Wine Bottling is the final step in the wine making process (aside from aging). If done correctly your wine will be protected from oxygen and spoilage preserving your wine to enjoy for possible years to come. In this episode I will go through the entire bottling process. The first thing covered is determining when to bottle which is equally as important as knowing how to bottle your wine. From there you’ll learn about cleaning and sanitizing bottles, back sweetening, bottle filler options, and much more. Listener & Reader Questions Answered What can I use to degas my wine? Is there a time to just stop degassing and proceed to the next step? Will potassium metabisulfite protect my wine from a fruit fly that landed in my wine? How much dry yeast should I use to make my wine? Why do we put water in the air lock? Articles, Resources, and Products Mentioned Wine Whip How to Use a Degassing Tool Wine Gas Getter Plastic Bottle Filler Multi-Bottle Filler Vacuum Bottle Filler Zork Closures Winemakers Academy Podcast Episode 11 Matt’s Wine Here are some pictures from the wine I’m making and discussing in the “Matt’s Wine” segment of the show. This is a raisin wine that is currently in secondary fermentation.    As you can see there is some sediment in the bottom of the airlock which was a result of the fermentation foam getting up into the airlock. Not a good situation. The water in this airlock could be contaminated and if it comes into contact with my wine may spoil it...

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Bottling Wine at a Small Winery

Bottling Wine at a Small Winery

Recently I volunteered at two different Colorado wineries to give them a hand bottling wine. It was a great experience and one that I learned a lot from. While I did expect the two different wineries to have different bottling procedures I was struck by just how different they were. On the one hand was a simple, no frills bottling process much like any amateur wine maker does on their own. On the other hand was a more complex process that required some specialized equipment. Here is a synopsis of each bottling process. A Simple Bottling Line At Winery A they employed a simple and straight forward bottling process. The wine was pumped from the tank through a filter with an impeller pump into the bottle filler. The filler had an six bottle capacity. Empty bottles were taken from their cases and put onto the bottle filler. Once full the bottles were removed and set down where the person running the corker could reach the bottles. The corker was responsible for ensuring that the bottle was filled to the appropriate level. Not too much and not less than what’s supposed to be in the bottle. Wineries can get into legal trouble if this is off on a consistent basis. If the bottle was filled to the correct level they inserted it into a mechanical corker. By pressing a pedal on the floor the corker was set in motion. It would push the cork in by force and then load up a cork for the next bottle. The entire operation took only 1 to 2 seconds to complete. After the corks were inserted the full bottles were placed back into cardboard cases. As the cases filled up they were stacked in a specific way to ensure that they did not fall over when the pallet was moved. This process is very much like the amateur wine maker’s set up. Instead of a pump often times we’ll use a siphon and we’ll also use a bottle filler that handles one bottle at a time instead of six. Our corkers are also mechanical but not quite as automated.     A More Complex Bottling Line Winery B’s process was a bit more involved. First the wine was pumped from the tank to the bottle filler using a double diaphragm pump. These pumps offer much more control over the flow rate of the wine and require an air compressor in order to function. The wine fed into a reservoir on the top of the bottle filler which also had the capacity to fill eight bottles at a time. In addition to wine in the reservoir there was a gas line that delivered nitrogen. The nitrogen exited the gas line below the surface of the wine so there was a constant bubbling noise coming from filler. With the reservoir cover securely in place the nitrogen served two purposes. Most importantly it protected the wine from oxygen exposure as nitrogen was undoubtedly flowing out of the reservoir. At the same time the bubbling action of the nitrogen in the wine can help degas the wine...

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Bottling Your Kit Wine

The final step in the wine making process is to bottle your wine and insert a cork. You’re ready for this step once you wine has been stabilized and is clear. If your wine has not been properly clarified or degassed you shouldn’t move on to bottling.  Sediment and trapped carbon dioxide cannot leave the bottle and will remain suspended in the wine until you open it. So be completely sure you’re ready for this step. In this video you’ll see the steps involved to take wine from a carboy to the bottle including an extra step required for long term bottle aging. That’s it! This concludes the first series on kit winemaking! Please let me know your thoughts or questions in the comments. I’m here to...

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Bottle Aging Wine

Once bottled wine needs to be stored in optimal conditions to preserve its life and keep it tasting as wonderful as possible. The three factors affecting wine being aged in a bottle are temperature, light, and humidity (depending on your closure). Red vs White Wine Bottle Aging Red wines benefit the most from long term aging because of the tannins. Over time the tannins join together and form long chains. This smooths out the wine and gives it that silky smooth mouthfeel only an aged red has. Some of the tannin chains get so long they precipitate out, giving the wine a mature feel.   White wines are not usually bottle aged very long. There are exceptions to this, however, most white wines are meant to be consumed within three years or so. Champagne is a notable exception to this rule. Temperature Ideally wine should be stored at 55 deg F. This slows the micro-oxygenation process down and allows the wine to mature gradually. Warmer temperatures speed up the aging process. In theory you could simulate a 100 years of bottle aging by storing it at 80 deg F, however it doesn’t quite work out this nicely. You miss out on all the long chain tannins and the aging process is so abrupt that the wine doesn’t mature as much as it just goes bad. If you can’t store your wine at 55 deg F at least store it as cool as you can. Not all of us have underground cellars or refrigerators for bottle aging wine though. Realize that your wine may have a shorter shelf life if you can’t keep it that cold. Light Wine should be stored in a nice dark place. Ultra-violate light from the sun or florescent lights can damage wine as much as heat can. Darker bottles do help protect wine from these rays, however, if you’re planning on bottle aging a wine for years and years it needs to completely protected from UV light. Humidity Cork closures require a specific range of humidity for long term storage. When corks dry out due to a lack of humidity they shrink and can leak or be pushed out of the bottle entirely. If your storage area has too much humidity your corks can grow mold and introduce nasty flavors to your wine. Keep your cork enclosed wine between 55 and 75% humidity to avoid drying of the cork as well as growing mold. If this isn’t something you can manage you may want to consider going with a synthetic cork or screw cap to avoid the issue altogether. You probably already know this but you should be storing wine enclosed with natural corks on their side. This prevents the cork from drying out from the inside. This is not an issue with synthetic corks or screw caps. Pay attention to these three factors and you can expect great results. Let any one of these get out of hand and your wine could be ruined. Not All Wines Age Gracefully Aging wine is a science. Certain characteristics must be present in your wine for it...

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Bottling Wine

Bottling is the final step in the wine making process that requires any  effort on your part. After this time takes care of the rest. The major considerations when bottling are what kind of bottle to use, type of closure, and to add gas or not. Bottles The type of bottle you use is completely up to you. A bottle’s shape does not impact the taste or life of your wine in any way. Typically red wines are bottled in dark green bottles to prevent UV exposure which can accelerate the aging process. If you keep your red wines in a dark “cellar” like environment light will not be an issue and you can use whatever color strikes you as awesome. White wines are typically contained in clear bottles as they are not aged nearly as long as red wines are for the most part. More on this in the bottle aging step. Closures A closure is a fancy term for whatever you use to seal your bottles. Most wineries us a cork, synthetic cork, or screw cap. There has been a raging debate arguing the ups and downs of each type of closure. We’ll briefly touch on them here. Natural Cork Being both natural and the historical closure of choice natural cork is a good choice. A benefit to natural cork is its ability to let in tiny amounts of oxygen. The small amount of oxygen allows for “micro-oxygenation”, an essential part of long term bottle aging. Natural corks have a few drawbacks worth mentioning however. Poorly made corks can deteriorate and leave your wine “corked” (tasting like moldy cork). Even the highest quality cork producers wind up making a few duds. Once a wine is corked there’s nothing you can do about it. Another draw back is corks that leak. Some corks have a little channel that on the side of the cork that allows wine to leak out. You can’t always see these defects in a cork prior to bottling so it’s a risk you must take to use cork. Synthetic Cork Today’s synthetic corks are getting much more sophisticated than the old petroleum based ones you used to see in the 90’s. Synthetic corks don’t deteriorate, nor do they have a tendency to leak. Many synthetic corks do not allow for micro-oxygenation. They seal very well. This is fine for a wine you intend to consume within three years or so. Any longer and you’ll want natural cork. Some synthetic corks are designed to allow for micro-oxygenation but they haven’t been in use long enough to say for sure how they compare to natural cork. Screw Caps The latest closure on the scene is the screw cap. Largely thought to be a sign of cheap wine these closures are starting to take hold even in more expensive wineries. Proponents of screw caps site the lack of spoiled wine due to bad corks among their chief benefits. Screw caps also aren’t likely to let loose if checked in airline baggage as a cork can. On the other hand screw caps don’t allow for micro-oxygenation as a...

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