Katy Rutland
 
June 18, 2014 | What's Up in the Winery | Katy Rutland

What's Up in the Winery: By the Bottle

Unlike most everything else around the winery that is dictated by the seasons, bottling wine happens all year round. It can be done in the dead of winter when it’s below freezing outside but a balmy 60⁰ F in the cellar, during the middle of a dust storm in spring, or while the sun bakes Red Mountain into triple-digit temperatures and a 60⁰ cellar is a refreshing break. Bottling could even be running during the busiest time of year, harvest.

 

So what’s in the mystery cases that appeared in our cellar this week?

 

Empty bottles.

 

What’s going in them?

 

Your guess is as good as mine!

 

There are several wines in our tanks currently blending and melding flavors, including Syrah, so these bottles could be for anything that’s ready (rumor has it that there’s a new Forte blending, so these could be for the 2006 vintage of our port-style wine).

 

But wait!

 

You may be wondering at this point why bottling doesn’t follow a routine schedule like harvest and crush and fermentation and spring release, etc. etc. etc.

 

The simple answer to that is that wine gets bottled when it’s ready to be bottled.

 

The complicated answer is that every wine ages slightly differently in barrels depending on the block from where they were harvested, the yeast type used in fermentation, the varietal itself, and a slew of other factors that sound more at home in a chemistry lab than a tasting room. All of these variables add up to the point where a wine could be considered “ready” at any point in the year, so it’s then blended and left alone for flavors to meld uniformly before being put in a bottle.

 

And we’re only scratching the surface of what goes into that bottle, but we’ll save that for another week. Maybe the next Forte will be out by then!

 

Veni, Vidi, Vinum!

Terra Blanca

 

 

P.S. In honor of this June’s funky weather patterns, next week’s article will delve further into why the concept of “vintage” is important and why different climates affect the wines produced in them. If you’ve ever wondered why “warm year” and “cool year” are buzz phrases, stay tuned for next week’s post!

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