Tuesday we bottled our 2007 Pinot from the famous Carneros vineyard – Las Brisas.

This will be the fifth year we are producing Pinot from this vineyard and I can honestly say that we are getting better and better wine every year. My personal observations: dark ruby red, light vanilla nose with hints of spice aided by 13 months in a 1 year old French St. Martin barrel, medium toast (no toasted heads). There is just a touch of French oak so as not to overpower the Carneros footprint. The wine exhibits dark cherries and any other red berries you can think of; it’s great acid back-bone will make this wine last for at least the next five years.

In my opinion, 2007 is by far the best bottled Las Brisas and 2008, which is in the barrels,  is shaping up to be a fantastic year as well.

Wine stats: Brix at Harvest 24.75, final PH 3.43 TA .61 Alc. 13.8%

We bottled with the help of our friend Paul. We wanted to highlight the differences between bottling our ‘Estate’ wines in our own cellar vs. bottling at the winery we use for our commercial label.

When we bottle our 2008, it  will be our first commercial bottling, which will take place at the end of 2009. We will post pictures and describe the process here as well, so you can compare and contrast.

Here’s the process in a nut shell. We use new bottles so all we have to do is give them a quick rinse and place on the bottle tree to drain  We fill the bottles using our trusted Enolmatic Bottle filler under vacuum and Argon gas and we cork using our Italian floor corker. That’s it.  

Kathryn at the Eno and Uzi at the Corker

Kathryn at the Enolmatic and Uzi at the Corker

The Bottle filler hose connects to the Barrel and sucks wine out of the barrel to the bottle by creating a vacuum in the bottle that is being filled at the moment. The tip of the filler that goes into the bottle neck has two small openings, one sucks air out and the other lets wine in. The other nice thing about this bottle filler is that it has an automatic shutoff when the wine in bottle reaches the level you indicate. Overflow goes to the overflow reservoir, which we happily consumed with lunch!

Below you see Kathryn working the ‘Machine’.

Kathryn Working the Enolmatic

Kathryn Working the Enolmatic

Another hose from an Argon gas tank to the Barrel trickles Argon gas, which is heavier than air and therefore sinks and creates a protective layer over the wine. This minimizes air contact with the wine preventing oxidation. Air is the enemy at this point.

Next comes the corking, pretty simple, place cork in hole, place bottle underneath and lower the handle to squeeze and push cork into bottle. With a little adjustment in the beginning, you get a perfectly leveled cork every time!


We bottled a 150 bottles in a leisurely pace of 1.5 hours. Obviously a manageable quantity for 3 people. But will be real work if you have to do a couple thousand bottles, for that we will need to move on to the real bottling line. Stay Tuned.

The 'Crew' breaking for lunch

The "Crew" - Kathryn and Paul - breaking for Lunch