Botting Our First Vintage of Calligraphy
In late February, we put our first vintage of Calligraphy in the bottle. The wine had been resting sur lies in barrels for over 15 months, following healthy fermentations. Pooja and I had been barrel tasting monthly, prior to each topping, and patiently waiting for the wine to mature to an intricate balance of concentration, structure, French Oak integration, complexity, and freshness.
As with every bottled wine, we get only one opportunity to express the vintage and capture quality of 2021 Bootlegger’s Hill Pinot Noir. As the Winemaker, I feel a sense of responsibility to showcase and respect the vineyard and all of the work and resources that have been put forward during the growing season. Bottling is certainly one of the make it or break it moments for any wine.
Bottling is game-on to ensure all the work you have done up to this point stays relevant, and meaningful. I prepare everything ahead of time (so I can sleep the night before) and show up fresh, calm and focused and setting the tone for the entire team.
How does wine go into a bottle?
Bottling is where experience, technical expertise, and attention to detail pay off. There are so many details. The actual process of bottling wine is interesting and, for a winemaker, entirely anxiety-producing and nerve-wracking. Imagine something you’ve worked on for years hinging on one process, on one single day with a crazy number of possibilities for things to go wrong, and you’re close to what we experience each and every time we bottle a wine.
When we’re ready to bottle the wine, the empty bottles are sparged with inert gas to remove dust and displace oxygen. All of the wine has settled in the tank and is pushed through the bottling line to fill each bottle with 750ml of wine. The cork is automatically inserted, leaving negative pressure in the “ullage” between the bottom of the cork and the wine so the wine does not leak out under positive pressure. Now the wine is safe and the tin capsule is set on the bottle neck and rolled down. We hand-dipped each magnum bottle into wax.
After the capsules are on, the bottles get packed into cases neck down, and the cases are then put on pallets and shipped to the temperature-controlled warehouse where they are stored until our release.
All in all, bottling the 2021 Calligraphy went off without a hitch. I intend to bottle every wine fresh and youthful with the potential to age, and we have achieved that goa;. We can’t wait for you to taste it!