Video: Sending our children off to college (AKA bottling wine)

by on July 14, 2010

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A common perception of winery life during the summer is that the work prior to the harvest is calm, relaxed: the wines are resting peacefully in cask, the winemaker’s boots resting peacefully under the desk.

I beg to differ.

As Assistant Winemaker at Jordan, one of my primary responsibilities is to manage the entire bottling process from tank to bottle. The task starts back in February, when I travel to Portugal to select our corks. The relationships I have established with our suppliers in Portugal have helped us maintain a very high quality standard. A month later, I fly to Tennessee to oversee the steel engraving process unique to our label. (The same company that prints your tax refund checks prints our labels!)

Before the first drop of wine falls into a bottle, I have inspected the glass, cardboard and foils, as well as scrunitized, by hand, every piece of our bottling equipment. This certainly wasn’t covered in winemaking school. Part winemaker, part crew chief, part mechanic: I honestly feel as if we are sending two children off to college every year! And when the day comes to begin bottling, my first taste of wine begins at 6 a.m., when I check the bottling tank for uniformity. We first bottle Cabernet Sauvignon (this year the 2008 vintage) over a six-week period beginning in early June, followed by Chardonnay (2009 vintage) in mid-July. We always bottle a Cabernet two years after its vintage year and Chardonnay 8-10 months after its vintage. With John Jordan’s arrival as CEO in 2005, we now allow our Cabernet Sauvignons to age a full two years in bottle before release. We have a great crew to work on the bottling line, and we all share a commitment of perfection in ensuring every bottle will be regarded as a fine accompaniment on your dining table.

These preparation and production steps taken to ensure every vintage of Jordan Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are bottled under perfect conditions and packaged to our high standards are highlighted in this video.

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  • Adam Yusko

    Great video, and elaboration on the process of bottling wine. I believe this video only touches upon how much work actually goes on behind the scenes, and having been to a few wineries I can appreciate to some degree the massive operation wineries can be.

  • Lisa Mattson

    Dear Adam,
    Thanks for watching and taking a moment to comment. You are absolutely correct. We could have made a 10-minute video (or more) about all the quality control details that go into preparing for bottling wine — and then running the bottling line. Days of cleaning and inspecting every piece of equipment down to the bolts — figured very few people would want to watch that. :)
    Lisa Mattson

  • Doris Ferreira

    Had no idea, but this meticulous quality control makes sense. Could be the difference between not bothering again, or returning for more.

  • Lisa

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, Doris. Looking forward to sharing more quality control videos with you. We have one on barrel selection coming up.
    Happy New Year!

  • professional essay writers

    I like the comparison :) But the vid is actually interesting and worth watching

  • Lisa

    Thank you. We hope to do a video on winemaker “homework” this year — the family tastings before bottling decisions are made.

  • glass dining table

    Nice video you have shared 

  • Anonymous

    Thank you!