Saturday, August 9, 2008

July Bottling Complete

It never ceases to bring a smile to my face when I see the bottling process completed. Every bottling seems to bring about different obstacles and hurdles to overcome and my wine making team plows thru them with determination.

What many people outside the industry don't have privy to is what goes on behind the scenes in preparation for bottling. This actually is more stressful for a winemaker than harvest in general (or at least for my team). Sure, there is a lot of work that goes on during harvest and throughout the time a specific varietal and vintage is in barrel. That's part of the winemaker being an artist in my opinion. But, the crucial time is prepping the wine for bottling. For wineries like us, we create some of our blends closer to bottling (Yep, Kerry doesn't co-ferment at DCW) and make the final last minutes adjustments to the wine. I will explain at a later date the steps in detail which they go through the month plus prior to bottling but this is focus time for the guys. Blending, filtration, stabilization etc are all occurring during this time frame. They almost behave like expectant fathers the way they pace and obsess over the wine. I'm not exaggerating this as I was on the crush pad at 615am tasting wine with them. Kerry said he loves to be there as he wants to be able to make the tiniest adjustments right before it goes in to bottle-if he has too. "I want them just right" said Kerry. As the owner, I absolutely love that. I'm involved with the final blending decisions but what I enjoy most is the time I spend with them on the crush pad leading up to and during bottling. I have the opportunity to taste the wine at different stages-even more exciting is seeing them take the time to educate the staff about the wine and bottling process. They are beginning to understand the more knowledge our crew has about each wine-the more the crew become spokespersons and passionate about the products.

10 wines were bottled in July and it was unanimous that these were the best wines to date that have been crafted by DCW. Winemakers are their own worst critics so to have the guys jazzed about all of the wines is quite a feat. Makes the future of DCW only shine brighter. Life isn't always a bed of roses as Proprietor. I make decisions that everyone is not always happy about and I say "no" more than I would like but the right choice isn't always the popular one. But it's times like the July 08 bottling that make me forget the unpleasant moments. I had winemakers that loved the wines being bottled that bottling wasn't overly stressful for them (just a boat load of hard work), wines that just keep getting better and hopefully, club members that will concur with our evaluation of the wines.

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