As amateur wine makers, we bottle our wine in small amounts, like a few dozen cases. One person takes the empty bottle, gases it and passes it in to the person manning the bottle filler. Then, the filled bottle gets passed to the corker. Then, it’s passed on to the person that puts everything into the case and seals and tapes the case. We sort of save the labeling for special gifts, and, if it’s for our friends and ourselves, we just write on the bottle. We’ve got a pretty good system down with trained friends to man their places in the process. It’s a fun day, great jokes, and usually a lunch to follow, along with workers hauling home newly bottled cases of wine in payment for labor.
But, can you imagine what it would take to bottle 3,000 cases or more? Putting in a bottling line would take a lot of real estate, let alone money. Small wineries need another option. And that option is a mobile bottling line. I’ve always wanted to see how these worked.
Today, Dave and Helen allowed me watch the process as the bottling truck was scheduled to be at D’Arts Winery. There’s a lot of work to do ahead of time to finish the wine. Then, you have to have everything ready…cases and cases of bottles, bags and bags of corks and capsules, labels for each varietal and then the valuable component of friends, family and pallet movers. The the day arrives, the truck parks, the set up is started and every one takes their role in the process. The truck is amazing! I was so intrigued with the engineering, machinery, space planning, and speed of the process. The empty bottles are loaded to the right side, gassed, filled, corked and capsuled in a space the length of the truck on one side. As the line turns the bottles are spaced to a time prepping for label application
After labeling, they go back into the empty cardboard case, get loaded to the pallet, wrapped with plastic and moved to case storage . I wondered how the wine got to the filler, because obviously there was no room for totes or barrels. I found out that the wine is pumped from the barrel or tote through a long hose to a smaller container on board the truck.
Therefore, it explains the planning and preparation, as there is no time to move barrels or start and stop the process once everything is started. Added to the timing today was an incoming storm threatening rain before everything was finished. But, it is done in a day, at a rate of about a case a minute.
Thank you again for more schooling, Dave and Helen and Jessie!
Abby, big hugs!