On display at Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery are twelve wood carvings – one for each month of the year – each depicting an important part of the winemaking lifecycle. We’re diving into each month and where winemakers have traditionally kept their focus during that time in our editorial series, The Vintner’s Calendar.
Sebastiani’s Vintner’s Calendar wood carving for November illustrates the process of bottling.
An important step in winemaking is bottling the wine. One of the main priorities during bottling is keeping the quality of the wine and protecting it from oxidation for as long as possible. Each bottle is filled slowly and usually topped with carbon dioxide or nitrogen. This is done to get rid of any oxygen that might be at the top of the fill line.
White wines can be bottled in clear bottles, but some wineries choose to bottle them in brown or green bottles to prevent light from changing the wine. Red wines are bottled in green bottles for this very reason. Sunlight can speed up the aging process in red wine, so bottling it in green bottles slows it down.
The bottle is capped with either a cork or a screw cap. Corks are traditional for wine, but more recently, wineries have been using screw caps. It depends on how a winery feels about using corks versus screw caps, but studies have found that screw caps keep the bottle sealed from oxygen and that wine is protected from cork taint. Cork taint is what happens when the chemical compound TCA is formed by natural fungi found in the cork react with chlorides found in sanitization products.
After the wine is bottled, the bottles will have put labels put on them before they are packaged into cases. Some wines are aged in the bottle, so they are not labeled and packed into cases until they are done aging.