It’s bottling season! If you are in and around the winery in the coming week or so, you may notice a large trailer on our crush pad below the Terrace windows. That trailer is where all the bottling magic happens. Artus is the company who owns this trailer, and we work with them a few times a year to get our wines from barrels or tanks into bottles. Along with some members from Artus, our team will be bottling from May 7th – 11th.
Our team is assigned various jobs throughout the day. Some load empty cases of bottles into the machine, where they are then filled, sealed (corked or capped) then labeled. As they make their way around the conveyor, other team member loads them into cases and send them down the ramp. There, the cases are taped and loaded onto pallets. After the wine settles in the bottle for their required amount of time, the bottles then make their way to you to enjoy!
We are currently bottling 2017 Sparkling Reserve, 2016 Cabernet Merlot, 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Limited Edition and Blueberry wine. Please stay tuned as to when these wines will be available for your enjoyment.
A little about Artus:
Artus, founded in 2005, was the first company in Canada to offer an independent, door-to-door wine bottling service, and it remains the only one with more than one mobile unit in operation.
Mr. Cole, who was raised in Mississauga, Ont., and studied chemical engineering at Sheridan College, moved to the Okanagan with his wife Janice in 1997 after falling in love with the area during a vacation the previous summer. Convinced the Valley’s wine industry had a bright future, Mr. Cole landed a job as a “cellar rat” at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards and quickly worked his way up to assistant winemaker.
The idea of starting a mobile bottling service occurred to him when Tinhorn decided to put some of its wine in screw-cap bottles but couldn’t find any equipment to do the job locally. “Nobody up here had a machine, so we had to rent one from California,” Mr. Cole said. “For two days I think it cost us $2,000.”
Further market research indicated that the wine industry was undergoing a wholesale shift from corks to screw-caps.
“This was at the very beginning of the trend to switch over, and nobody was really doing any screw-cap in Canada,” he said. “There were large numbers in Australia and it was catching on in Europe, but North America was one of the last areas to catch on.”
The compact unit is “basically a complete bottling line that you would find in any production facility.”
The bottles are blown clean with high-pressure air jets and “sparged” with nitrogen to eliminate all traces of oxygen. The labeller is loaded and the capper can be modified to accommodate screw-caps or corks.