March 31, 2016 | By RJS Craft Winemaking
About six weeks after we started our batch of craft wine to pair with our progressive dinner party, I got the call we were waiting for: Our wine was ready to be bottled! I immediately made an appointment at our local RJS Craft Winemaking Academy store to complete the final step in the winemaking process – bottling our wine.
We soon discovered that bottling wine is very easy when using the store’s high tech equipment and the RJS Craft Winemaking Academy store owner, Judy, demonstrated every step. We took turns with every task so each of us could experience the whole process! We are an animated group, so with the conversation flowing effortlessly, we quickly got into a good rhythm bottling our wines.
The process began with sanitizing each bottle, which is paramount to the end result since we learned if the bottles are not properly cleaned, the wine could become contaminated. Using an automatic bottle washer sure made it fast and easy. Transferring our craft wine to clean bottles with the bottle filler was a snap too, no need to worry about it overflowing; the machine makes sure it fills the bottle with the perfect amount!
Corking each bottle was also super easy using the corking machine, cleverly designed to protect fingers and hands with safety doors. Judy also showed us how to do it the old fashioned way, using the floor corker and elbow grease! I found the corking process to be the most fun, particularly using the automatic bottle corker. Judy then demonstrated how to expertly line-up the colour coordinated capsule with the bottle seam in order to shrink-wrap each bottle in the heat tunnel gadget.
Our final touch was to find a way to make our craft wine even more personal. We came up with two rather creative wine labels celebrating our neighbourhood progressive dinner party tradition, and they couldn’t be more different from each other!
The En Primeur Winery Series Italy Zinfandel is garbed in a unique ‘thermometer’ label highlighting our house numbers, and we christened it d’gree. What’s really cool about this label is that the wine will appear to show the moving temperature (via house numbers) as it is enjoyed!
The Cru International California Chardonnay is dressed in a lovely bright yellow label with a mess of footsteps depicting our journey from one home to another during our progressive dinners! And the wine is aptly named Progressive Chardonnay!
Finally, our bottles were ready for cellaring. Now comes the most difficult part of wine making (in my opinion) – the waiting. Now we are excitedly anticipating the day when we can enjoy the fruits of our labour, paired with our specially designed menu, in just a few short months!