Bottling wine requires that empty wine bottles. This is achieved by recycling both our own wine bottles and if needed some from friends. The empties are soaked in batches in the laundry sized tub in the cave for 24 hours to soften the labels and using a sharp knife they are scrapped off and a piece of steel wool is scrubbed over the surface to remove any traces of glue and paper. Sometimes the glue is of a type that needs dissolving using Turpentine or other thinners and an old cloth. Both screw top (Stelvin) and standard cork seal bottles are kept. If the corks have not been pierced all the way through they can be reused in most cases depending on thickness and other damage.
The bottles are then included in a run of the kitchen dishwasher just to perform a final clean and sterilization. Stored in wine cartons with the open top pointing down they are ready for immediate use when needed. Our whites were bottled in Autumn. The reds will sit tight until warmer weather in mid to late spring just in case there is any final fermentation of residual sugars or a Malolactic fermentation.
Having good washing up facilities is a real time saver. Originally all the cleaning during wine making was done in the laundry. Traipsing in and out of the house opening and closing doors and then cleaning up the mess afterwards.
Well not any more. A double sink and a laundry sink in the cave has changed all that. Shoes do not have to be removed in the cave unless caked in mud. The large cheese making pots are scrubbed in the cave after use and allowed to drain dry. To facilitate all this there is both hot and cold water. In addition one set of taps was installed with a flexible extension hose to make cleaning larger vessels all that much easier. Almost all our taps have usage reduction nozzles fitted except the odd like this extension nozzle. This makes for rapid filling of the tub or when a volume of water is required.
|Large and small tubs and plenty of draining area.|
Most of today was spent continuing the rock picking in the Nuttery. Another trailer load was completed and a rough estimate indicates that one more trailer load will finish the job - well maybe two.