Saturday, August 30, 2008

Napa Valley Wine-Making

On a warm August day, I took a drive to Napa Valley to help a wine-making friend of Dick's, Jerry Hill and his wife Andi, bottle a couple barrels of pinot noir wine. Jerry, a home wine-maker is going big-time and bottling wine for resale.

A group of Jerry's friends - Dick, Gary, and Deb - volunteered to help in the bottling process. My friend, Pam, who lives in Calistoga also joined the work party.

I enjoy drinking fine wine but never knew how the process of making wine works. This was a very interesting day and I learned a great deal about what is involved in making wine. Jerry deserves alot of credit. Bottling wine is only one phase of wine-making and it is really hard work.

The following pics highlight this phase of the process.

Note: To view enlarged photo, mouse over picture and click

The winery where the bottling took place is located at a friend of Jerry's in the north-end of the beautiful Napa Valley. Jerry buys grapes from Napa Valley and Amador County and crushes the grapes and processes the wine here.

On the premises are some neat historic artifacts


This old Ford truck was stored behind the wine cellar


First step in the bottling process, unload cases of empty wine bottles. We bottled 37 cases of wine today.


The cave where the barrels of wine are stored. It took us 9 hours to bottle 1 1/2 barrels of wine.


Gary sticks the tube into the barrel to start the filtering process


Jerry installing paper filters in each slot of the wine filtering machine. This was a brand new machine and took us awhile to get it working properly.


Dick and Jerry finally get it figured out. It pays to read the instruction book. Note the red wine flowing through the tubes into and out of the filtering machine.

Eureka!! We got wine!!



Filtered pinot noir flowing into the big bucket


Once the big tubs are full, we can start the bottling process.

L-R Deb, Andi, Dick and Gary


Putting overflow wine into smaller jugs


Let the bottling begin. Gary mans the filling machine taking filtered wine from the tubs and putting it into the bottles.


Dick and I work the corking machine


The production line cranked up and working smoothly


The first case of newly bottled pinot noir. Off to the labelling machine.


Pam and Dick on the production line. End of a long and rewarding day.


Andi holds the finished product. The bottled wine must be stored for 2 months to eliminate "bottle shock" before it can be drunk.

2 comments:

dAwN said...

Howdee geno...
wow thats a long days work.. have they figured out how much it costs to make a bottle of wine that way?
you must be getting excited about your trip..I read on Herbs blog that he is going to try to blog ...I cant wait to hear about your adventures.

David Lewin said...

Hi geno,
Can you possibly help me make contact with Dennis ENGBLOM?
This concerns http://remember.org/unite/mrava.htm

Thanks, and be well
David Lewin
Search and Unite, London