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CellarUpdate with Jason Holbrook

Chalk Hill Estate

Ever wonder how your favorite wines make their journey from the barrel to the bottle? Recently, the Foley Food and Wine Society met with Jason Holbrook from Chalk Hill Estate to understand the bottling process and learn more about Chalk Hill Estate’s production capacity.

These days, bottling lines are predominately automated, however the line at Chalk Hill Estate is a little older and is still a very hands on process. On any given day, it takes about ten to thirteen people to work the line, depending on the bottle size. On average, the line can produce 85 finished 750ML bottles in a minute and up to 2,600-2,700 cases in a day. When it comes to larger formats such as Magnums, the cellar crew will put a few through the line, and will do the remainder by hand. On average, the crew will bottle 208 cases of Magnums by hand.

Chalk Hill Estate Bottling line process:

  1. Glasses are unloaded from the pallets and put into the Orbiter – during this stage, gas is put into the bottle in order to displace oxygen while simultaneously blowing out any residual dust in the bottle.

    Jason Holbrook indicates the where the bottles are placed at the beginning of the bottling line.

    Close up of the Orbiter

  2. Next, the bottles pass into the Filler, where the wine is filled into the bottle – Jason notes that it is important to keep the rotation completely full of bottles otherwise the machine will not evenly fill each bottle.

    Close up of the Filler

  3. After the bottles are filled, they are placed into the corker and then move onto the Foiler. Here, a mechanical arm will drop the foil on the top of the bottle and clamp it around the neck before moving it to another arm that spins the bottle at a high speed to ensure the foil is sealed tightly.
  4. Next up is the automated Labeler, the newest addition to the line. After being foiled, the bottles are transferred into a chamber where a label is placed on the bottle according to specifications and once again is spun to make sure the label is snug.

    Side view of the Foiler with the bottle track moving into the Labeler.

  5. Now that the bottle is complete, it is ready for packers at the end of the line who load the bottles into case boxes for distribution.

Chairman’s Reserve Tasting
Experience the Chalk Hill Chairman’s Selection Reserve wines paired with artisanal cheeses, and tour the estate. For more information, email us at

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