One of the most exciting days for us is bottling day. It’s the culmination of a year of hard work, as well as waiting for Mother Nature to work her magic. And for varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir, it’s the end of a barrel-aging process that have lasted years.
On February 1st, we had a full day of bottling. First up was the 2021 Caspar Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, then the stunning the 2021 Cultivar Wine Rosé, California. The excitement continued with our very first wines from the Mt. Veeder appellation in Napa Valley. This included a 2021 Mt. Veeder Merlot and the Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon. The bottling took place at Fayard Winemaking, a state-of-the-art facility operated by winemaker Julien Fayard on the southern end of Napa Valley.
Bottling starts early in the morning. As with many aspects of winemaking, there are a lot of logistics to make sure that everything goes smoothly.
The production team ensures that they have everything in place for the bottling process. They line up palates of wine cases and stack the wine labels and outside-box labels. Finally, they get the corks ready.
Bottling wine requires workers, of course. From the team on the bottling line to the wine production team, there are often more than a dozen people involved.
Back inside Fayard Winemaking, Rebeka takes the rolls of labels and brings them to the bottling team. The team then threads the labels on the labeling mechanism. The location of the label is critical. There are always “model” bottles on-site that are used for placement comparison. This ensures consistency for the brand throughout the years.
On the wine production side, there is a team of people making sure that the wine gets from the tank to the mobile bottling vehicle. The bottling team makes sure that the machine is set for the correct bottle, fill height, and placement of the labels. Then, the bottles are measured and remeasured as they go through the process.
On the bottling truck, the team loads the bottles into cases, where they’re sealed with a case label, then sent down the conveyor belt for stacking.
The cases of bottled wine are stacked up on their pallets. From here, they’re transported to our nearby warehouse. Next, they will begin the bottle-aging process. Then, when Richard, Julien, and Camile think they are ready, our team will taste them. Finally, if we decide they’re ready for release, we create the tasting notes and make them available to our club members first, followed later by a public release.