Ben’s View of Bottling Week

While Jill and I are in constant (and generally good) communication, we sometimes miss little things, like who’s turn it is to write the blog.  So, while Jill has already written about it, here is my take on the last week’s efforts.

We have had a crazy busy week at SouthEnd.  This is the week we planned to bottle our 2013 wines, and since we had been in Japan, and I had gone back to work right away, there was a lot of prep work to get done, it’s hard for Jill to do it generally as the girls are pretty busy and the fact that the filter is pretty hard to close enough to keep it from leaking.  A new filter is definitely on the wish list.

The bottles arrive.  Well, 12 of 14 pallets anyway, the rest arrived the next morning.
The bottles arrive. Well, 12 of 14 pallets anyway, the rest arrived the next morning.
All the filters I went through, stacked by wine.
All the filters I went through, stacked by wine.
The hammer was required.  Time for a new filter!
The hammer was required. Time for a new filter!

First there was the filtering, then there was filtering and then a bit more filtering… I spent almost every waking hour from Thursday morning to Tuesday night getting the wine filtered. There were a few notable breaks, dinner with C, I, I and Y, dinner with Q&A, Brunch at Audrey’s Underground Benny, and half a wine tasting at the Lovin’ Oven.  Yes, half.  Due to the amount of filtering left to do, we had to leave after the first 4 wines.  I was in the winery until 1:30am that night.

The Artus trailer was supposed to arrive Tuesday afternoon, so I went to Courtenay to pick up the generator, and Jill took Miwa to gymnastics.  However, the trailer arrived on the 9:30 am ferry! We were very lucky that Ken stayed home and was able to get the trailer spotted on the slab in front of the winery.
Comox-Strathcona D-20140408-00364
Jill got back from gymnastics, and then had to immediately turn around and go to the airport to pick up Tak and Mitzi who were returning from Japan.

We had just sat down and started dinner when the Artus crew called us at 6:17pm saying they were on the ferry and would arrive shortly.  Jill and I both began frantically searching the internet for how to wire up the pig-tail connection to the generator. Fortunately we both came up with the same answer from different sources, and I was able to get it connected before the bottling crew arrived.  Turned out that rotation was reversed and two of the phases had to be swapped anyway, but that’s always a craps shoot with 3-phase power.

The correct wiring arrangement
The correct wiring arrangement

Concurrent with the arrival and trailer check-out by Artus, Jill was making the final adjustments to the wine, and I was doing the final filtering on the Black Crow, which finally wrapped up at 12:30am.  A whole 7.5 hours before bottling was set to begin!

The Artus boys arrived just before 6am, and started sterilization of the bottling line.  Our crew of helping hands arrived at 8 for a brief training session by Artus, then the madness began!  Over the next 5 hours, we took the wine from our tanks and put it into labeled, capped and cased bottles in the basement.  Normally the bottling alone would take several weeks to complete, and we’d be left with a pile of wine to label and cap.  In fact Jill just finished the Black Crow and Ortega this Saturday, and there is still a lot of unlabeled Sutil.  Technically we finished this year’s bottling run before last year’s.

Sunrise.  The calm before the storm.
Sunrise. The calm before the storm.
Setting up
Setting up

After this experience, I think it is safe to say we have gone to the dark side and there’s no turning back!!!!