It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about Winemaking – 12 weeks, to be exact. Winemaking requires a lot of patience, especially during the part in between the final fermentation and racking to bottling. Rather than bottle sooner and have the wine age in their individual bottles, I prefer to bulk-age the wine before bottling so that there’s more body and flavor. I’ve had both the Spanish Tempranillo and Wild Blueberry Blush bulk-aging, and it was time to bottle.
I decided to start with the Spanish Tempranillo since I had purchased brand new bottles to use – a simple job of hauling the boxes up from the basement then sanitizing each and every bottle. That’s why I love my ‘bottle tree’ – makes it so much easier to let the bottle drip-dry after sanitizing than trying to stack them precariously on my dish drainer:
I racked it into a sanitized bucket first, since there was a small layer of sediment at the bottom of the carboy I didn’t want to have end up in the bottled wine. I also needed to add a 1/4 teaspoon of metabisulphite diluted in water to make sure the wine stays stabilized for longer term storage and doesn’t oxidize. Much easier to add if it’s transferred to a bucket first:
This is my life saver. It’s a Portuguese Floor Corker:
You place the filled bottle in the spring-loaded bottom, then put a sanitized cork in the slot and pull the handle down. Sure makes getting corks into the bottles so much easier!
All bottled! This batch made 25-1/2 bottles. Now I’ll store them upright for 3-5 days so the excess gasses can escape as the corks finish expanding in the neck of the bottle. If you turn them on their side right away, you might end up with the corks popping out of the bottles and oh what a waste that would be!
After 3-5 days, I’ll turn them on their sides so the corks can get properly moisturized for easier removal when it’s time to drink. Next I’ll design and print custom labels for the bottles, and finish the top with shrink caps. I’ll post that next week.
I had planned to bottle the Wild Blueberry Blush yesterday, but ran into a little snafu. I bought two cases of used cobalt blue bottles (get it? Wild Blueberry Blush in blue bottles?). I forgot that there were labels to remove first (the only drawback to saving a little money buying cases of used bottles), so I spent a couple of hours removing the labels from the bottles and getting them ready to sanitize. I got to the final bottle and did my usual label removal with scalding hot water and a paint scraper. Then I noticed this:
The blue was painted onto this bottle. So of course using the paint scraper scraped a significant amount of the paint off. Here’s another look to see how bad it was:
Here it is next to a ‘normal’ cobalt blue bottle:
At least it was only one of the bottles that was like that – the rest were ‘normal’ cobalt blue. I might be a few bottles short for the batch, but I’ll just use green ones for those – and probably keep those to drink myself. So today will be another wine bottling day after Princess Nagger goes to school and Hovering Hubby goes to work – that way I can get it done much faster without interruptions.
Next week I’ll update you on putting the finishing touches on bottles, as well as updates on the progress of some of the other wines that are currently ‘in progress’.