The Bottling Process

The table is set, food is cooked to perfection and smiling faces gather around ready to enjoy a delicious meal together. A delightful aroma dances around the air as glasses are filled with carefully selected wine and a fabulous dinner party ensues.

Have you ever wondered how wine goes from grape to table? Recently we bottled some fantastic wines that we can’t wait to share with you in early 2016 and thought it would be interesting to share the labor of love that goes into our bottling process at Moseley Family Cellars.

1.    Bottle Selection

A bottle is selected based on wine origin, glass color, weight and shape in order to best match the type of wine to be bottled. For example, our Legacy blends are typically housed in a sleek, broad shouldered, tapered dark glass bottle, while an everyday white will be placed in a clear glass, claret (Bordeaux) bottle.

2.    Bottle Sterilization — Squeaky Clean!

One case at a time (12 bottles total), the bottles go through a sanitizing bath to rid the interior of any dust and bacteria that may be hanging around.

3.    Nitrogen Injection — Say NO to Oxygen!

Next, four bottles at a time are filled with nitrogen to displace oxygen. This very important step defends against wine-ruining bacteria that live off of oxygen.

4.    Fill-er-Up!

A bottle filler gently fills and automatically tops off up to six bottles at a time to a precise predetermined level. The nitrogen is recycled and protects the wine that flows into the filler. Genius!

5.    Stick a Cork in It!

Filled bottles are then carefully passed to the corking machine where corks are inserted in the bottle using intense pressure. The corks are kept sterile by storing them in nitrogen-filled containers, warding off oxygen-loving bacteria.

6.    Add Some Bling!

Foil capsules are gently placed on the necks of the bottles and carefully secured one at a time using a Foil Spinner device. Brilliant!

7.    Lots of Labels – Tired Eyes!

A hand-cranked bottle labeler cues up labels that will be rolled on to the front and back of each bottle, one at a time.

8.    Inspection to Perfection

Now that the process is complete, every bottle gets meticulously inspected and fingerprints are wiped away. White glove treatment!

9.  Rack ‘em and Stack ‘em

Once every bottle has been looked over it gets placed in a box where it is stacked while the wine overcomes its “bottle shock.” After a period of weeks (or months), it is distributed and ready for your drinking enjoyment!

 

During our last bottling session we had a crew of 10–12 people working together each day to complete over 30 cases per hour. While this process sounds monotonous and perhaps like hard work, we weren’t surprised when we found that conversations were being held, relationships were formed, and friends were made. So fun!

We can’t wait for you enjoy the fruits of our labor at your next dinner party, around a cozy fire, or in our tasting room.

Wines to expect in early 2016:

2015 Sauvignon Blanc
2015 Sangiovese Rosé
2015 Carneros Chardonnay
2013 Le Jardin Rouge
2014 Sangiovese
2014 Grenache
2013 Gold Stripe Merlot
2013 Gold Stripe Syrah.

 

Enjoyment Series: Old vs. New - Part 3 of ?

My last blog compared Old World (OW) with New World (NW) wines. They both have their positives and negatives, depending on how you are planning on enjoying your wine. Now I want to tell you where I try to land with my own wines.

First of all, just some interesting context: I’ve read in the past few years that a lot of the OW winemakers are looking at the popularity of NW wines (increased sales volumes) and wanting some of that market share. These mostly-European wineries are gradually adjusting their winemaking styles to introduce wines with a little more fruit extraction and slightly higher alcohol, without compromising the beauty and subtleness of their wines. They see how the rest of the world enjoys wines that are a little less austere and more enjoyable as drinks on their own (without food), and want to tap into that lucrative market.

On a similar note, many NW winemakers see the difficulty in pairing their wines with all but the heartiest foods and wish to create wines with more finesse, like OW wines. So they are moving away from the big “fruit bombs” they’ve traditionally made and are trying to produce more “reasonable” wines with less alcohol, less residual sugar and less fruit extraction.

I like both kinds of wines, but my preference is always to have wines that, when paired with foods, accentuate the food – even at the price of not being a huge “fruit bomb.” However, I don’t want to make a wine that’s so austere that you have to really work hard to find the beauty of the fruit. So I would describe my wines as “New Old World.” I want my wines to always be great food wines, bringing out flavors that you just could not enjoy otherwise in either the food or the wine. But I like to sit and enjoy a glass after dinner, so I want a wine that does not have to be enjoyed with food, and therefore like a little more fruit extraction.

Yes, I want it all: Wines that are great on their own, and great with food!

Until next time, I’m looking at the world through Rose’-colored glasses

Enjoyment Series: Old vs. New - Part 2 of ?

The last blog discussed the biggest differences between Old World (OW) and New World (NW) wines.

In this blog, I attempt to compare and contrast OW and NW wines side by side. There are better treatments out there to describe the differences (send me what you find and I'll link to them!), but here’s my attempt to put it "all on one page."

Cheers! 

side-by-side comparison of Old World and New World wines - whaddya think?

side-by-side comparison of Old World and New World wines - whaddya think?

In my next blog I’ll describe where we land on the continuum between OW and NW. 

Catch a Cab!

Enjoyment Series: Old vs. New – part 1 of ?

In this addition to my Enjoyment blog series, I’d like to present my feelings on Old World vs New World wines, because, to me, they are to be enjoyed differently, since they are made differently and express the grape and place of origin differently.

Also, deciding where we want to position Moseley Family Cellars in the continuum between “old world” (OW) and “new world” (NW) wines is a big decision for us. It’s part of our unique viewpoint and positioning in the midst of our other northern CA winery friends.

So, what do people in the world of winemaking mean by OW and NW wines? Let me begin this multi-part series by introducing the following “grid” by which we’ll compare the two different universes of wine. In this first blog entry, I’ll begin by explain the dimensions of the grid (you can see my technology roots breaking through – sorry!):

  • Regulatory Controls – the legal, stylistic, and regulatory controls a country may use to govern how wines are made and blended into final products. They vary widely by country and continent.
  • Growing Style – how the vines are planted, grown, watered, fed, pruned and maintained. How grapes are produced and controlled. Some countries have very different styles of how they grow their grapes.
  • Harvesting Style – how/when the grapes are harvested; at what levels of sugar, acid and phenolic maturity (color). OW and NW wines vary widely on this point.
  • Winemaking Style – how wines are made from the grapes; how they are treated, manipulated, fermented, treated, settled, aged, etc.
  • Wine Style – the kinds of wines that result in each style class. OW wines can be described as “wines of place” or Vins de Terroir. These wines express the land, weather and ecosystem (the terroir) where the wine was grown (yes, the wine was grown, not only the grapes)! NW wines can be described as Vins d’effort. These wines show off the processing skills of the winemaker, where they’ve manipulated the wines to downplay or remove any faults and enhance their best qualities. This, along with Harvesting Style, mark the second biggest differences in OW and NW wines.
  • Enjoyment Style – how the wines are meant to be enjoyed, and how they are best enjoyed. If you compare the same basic blend from an OW and a NW winery, you would taste distinct differences.
  • Location – ok, OW might as well be synonymous with “Europe” and NW might as well be synonymous with “U.S., Australia, S. Africa and S. America” or RoW (Rest of World).

Disclaimer: To be treated fairly, this would be a semester-long college course and cannot be covered except for in the broadest strokes here. I’m sure many other wine lovers, winemakers, distributors, owners, and connoisseurs will have plenty to add or correct, and we welcome your input, suggestions, and references to other more scholarly and complete works on the topic!

Next blog will break the differences down in a table so it’s easier to compare and contrast.

Until next time, To Syrah with Love!

Why A Winery?

We get asked this all the time: “Why did you start a winery?”

Well, like most of my responses the answer is both simple and complex. First, the simple answer: We like wine and we like community. That’s pretty easy to grasp. Good wine and friends go well together. Having good wine is a great way to invite new friends into a community. Toss in some good food and voilà – you have a party and friends abound! Good wine leads us into communities of people with common interests and friends. That’s pretty simple.

The more complex answer is that we have loved the experience of meeting with people in tasting rooms, chatting about essential elements of life – food, wine, family, experiences, favorite past-times, etc. At our tasting room in Redding, CA, we have some friends who are part of our community and the husband told a very thought-provoking story of when they were recently in Ireland. The big take-away from the conversation was a chat he had with a local gentleman in a neighborhood pub in Dublin who started coming to the pub with his grandfather some 60 years prior. He told my friend: “You Americans drink to forget. We drink to remember.That took my breath away! What an amazing statement! It speaks to generations of family and friends and community members and businessmen and women who grow up and build community and culture together, and reminisce about days gone by, loved ones lost, values and life lessons. That’s extremely powerful and compelling. You can’t get that using Facebook or in 140 character text bytes. You get that by spending time together, looking at each other eye-to-eye, feeling emotions and sharing lives. It happens in person. It also happens easier with a glass of wine in hand. If you can throw some good food into the mix, you get magic!

That’s why “wine.”

{pairs well with friends}