The Hustle and Bustle of Bottling Season

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Cases coming off the bottling line, finished with a Burgess Cellars label.

Life in the production side of the wine industry is very cyclical in nature.  Harvest is in the fall, downtime occurs in winter, spring time means blending, and summer is bustling with bottling.  Here at Burgess Cellars we just finished bottling the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon and we’re getting ready to bottle the remaining 2015 red wines plus the 2016 Chardonnay!

Bottling is always a very exciting time for me as a winemaker.  It’s like sending your kids off to college…you hope you’ve prepared them enough for the future and can’t help but be incredibly proud of what you’ve produced.  These wines have been in my care from the moment the vines sprouted new growth.  Critical decisions have been made over the past 18-20 months during fermentation and barrel aging and finishing touches finalize the blends right up to the bottling date.

Here at Burgess Cellars we are committed to sustainable practices that limit our carbon footprint, especially during bottling.  We use domestically produced glass bottles and our labels are produced locally which saves on trucking and shipping.  Our corks are made from 100% sustainable and renewable sugarcane based biopolymers that replicate the same oxygen transfer rate as a natural cork while attaining a zero carbon footprint.  Our capsules are specifically designed for us and produced at one of the finest facilities in Spain.  We do our best to recycle all the cardboard packaging materials, plastic wrap, and protective bubble wrap in order to keep all waste to a minimum.

As exciting as bottling is, it can also be a very stressful time.  Trying to coordinate wine movements, glass, labels, corks, and capsule orders and deliveries, plus the labor required for bottling takes months of planning and well thought out spreadsheets to keep everything organized.  As a small winery, we do not have our own bottling line so we hire a mobile bottling truck to help us out.  This is generally booked a year in advance since mobile bottling trucks are in high demand.  There’s so much more to bottling than most wine lovers realize, but in the end it’s all worth the work!

The 2015 vintage was a smaller one than normal due to the drought, but the quality of the wines we produced is exceptional!  I can’t wait for you to taste these wines when they are released in a few years.  Until then, visit our website for our current offerings!

-Winemaker Kelly Woods

Listen to Kelly Woods straight from the vineyard and cellar in our new YouTube series ‘On the Mountainside’.