How to Make Wine (Part 4): Bottling

One word: MESSY

Sanitizing and cleaning 30 bottles of wine…is definitely not a good time. So i procrastinated. And ended up bottling the wine three weeks after stablising and clearing (one week later than instructed)…I was just crossing my fingers. Especially since I lost the top that goes on the bung to keep all the oxygen out…

Meghan and I drew some wine out to check for clarity…we were told to go into a dark room and shine a flashlight but it was pretty clear. Probably the lightest red I’ve ever seen next to a white zinfandel. We even snagged a taste. It was surprisingly sweet with a bitter zing at the end, which we think is from the fermentation.

We had to siphon the wine out which was tricky since we were trying to avoid the sediment on the bottom…and we didn’t really think the process through about how to cut the wine off when we wanted to switch bottles….we ended up with lots of wine ll over the kitchen floor, on my pants and on my slippers. 🙁 Eventually we got the process down…but it was pretty tricky and I know we accidentally sucked up some cloudy wine…some wood chip pieces could be seen floating around in the bottle….Troy says good wine has some sediment on the bottom of the bottle. I don’t know about that…but if anyone asks, that’s what I am going to say. 🙂 It was definitely a tricky process.

Thanks to The Cellar Homebrew, a small brew shop in Greenwood, I was able to find a simple corker, some corks, sealers, and blank labels to finish my bottles. The corker was about $35…which isn’t too bad. After the soaking the corks (by recommendation of the guy at the store), we proceeded to take turns corking.

After we finished corking, I placed the bottles in our “secret room” since it was dark and cool there. Now that I am writing this…a good week after bottling…I realized I read the directions a little backwards. I was supposed to leave the bottles upright for three days before laying them down on their sides to allow the corks to seal. Well…I thought I was supposed to lay them down for three days before standing them upright…so I just went to check on them and the corks seems to be popping out a little… OOPS! Live and learn I guess…I really hope it doesn’t affect how the wine will taste. 🙁

It’s recommended that we wait a month before tasting the wine…so in the meantime, I am brainstorming names for my wine and the design of the label…so far I want a tree theme with a name in Italian…and something along the lines of “new beginnings” since this wine has a lot to do with a making a fresh start for me. But italian phrases tend to be a little long so…I’m still brainstorming. After I finish making labels, I’ll seal the bottles, and have some wine!

So whatever you do, don’t do what I did above right after you bottle…

After I label the bottles and crack one open for taste, I’ll write a conclusion about this whole experience, which seems more like a fiasco…but it was still fun. Hakuna Matata!

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