Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ali Makes Wine Part III: Bottling

checking for clarity
So the third part of making wine (unless you are aging it for long term before getting around to it) is bottling.  This is the part I like least, as its messy and involves quite a bit of cleaning, but it is satisfying to get it accomplished (and it does make the living room look prettier once it is wine equipment free!). 

The wine is ready to be bottled when it's perfectly clear, which is much easier to see with white wines than reds.  The wine also should be free of carbon dioxide, if not, it will keep be a bit bubbly when you uncork it. 

Aging wine before bottling does have the benefit of giving it time to release any residual CO2 so you can avoid potential fizzy wine.

floor corker
I've upgraded a couple things from the basics, mainly from a hand corker to a Portuguese floor corker my Sister-in-law got me for Christmas a couple of years ago (which means I can bottle the wine all by myself, and if I arrange everything right I can sit in one spot without moving around to fill and cork the bottles, where I used to have to have my husband hand cork or risk having the bottles sit out getting exposed to air for too long) and a Buon Vino Automatic Auto Bottle Gravity Filler, which stops filling a bottle at a certain level, so you don't accidentally overfill it. I did try upgrading to a gadget that squirts sanitizing liquid up into the bottle so I didn't have to soak them, but it never worked.

bottle tree
After washing and sanitizing your bottles, it's easiest to let them drip dry them on a bottle tree next to where you're going to be doing the bottling.

When its time to fill them,  I set up 5 or 6 bottles at a time in a large pot to minimize splashes or spills so it doesn't make too much of a mess (note, I always make QUITE a mess during this process anyway, with splashing sanitizer and all). Then it's an easy process to cork one bottle while waiting for the next to fill.

Waiting to be labeled
After all your wine is bottled, you then get to deal with the cleaning and sanitizing again of all your tools, the carboy, and the messy floor.   The bottles then sit upright for a few days to make sure that they don't have CO2 in and blow a cork out.  After you label them, you can store them on their sides or upside down (if you use actual cork) or you can store them upright if you use the plastic corks that are becoming more common in wine bottling.

This batch of wine made 26 bottles, I did not siphon off the wine off the residue on the bottom into a new container before bottling so the bits of solids at the bottom started mixing back into the wine when there was quite a bit left.  This ended up costing $3.50 a bottle with the corks, chemicals and all.

Last but not least (and certainly funnest!) will be labeling.


  1. You crack me up! You'll try anything!

    1. I don't know about that, I'm still wavering about owning chickens ;)

  2. Wine bottling surely is hard work! Good thing modern technology can help wine makers like you. The bottle filler is a great help. Manually filling it can take time and effort. And it is true that accidental overfilling the bottle can happen, which can be a waste of wine. So, it is a good thing that the filling machine can automatically stop filling it at a certain level. Maybe sooner or later, you can also find a machine that can help you with all the process of bottling the wine.