Wine bottles make the wine! There is something magical about seeing your homemade wine go into the bottle. A sense of pride will overcome you when you see your bottled wine lined up in the racks.
" I believe that the responsibility of the winemaker is to take that fruit and get it into the bottles as the most natural and purest expression of that vineyard, of the grape varietal or blend, and of the vintage."
The wine bottle will be the final keeper of your wine before you enjoy the fruits of your labor. The bottle will serve as the container to age, store, and safe keep the wines that you've worked so hard to create.
Simple in form, but so beautiful to behold when filled, corked, and displayed.
Wine bottles play an essential role in your home wine making endeavor, bottling is the last "active" step in the wine making process, but planning your bottling needs comes much sooner in the process.
"Wine is bottled poetry"
To remove labels from a wine bottle, I add about a tablespoon of cleanser to a sink full of hot water, and soak the bottles for a couple of hours. Many of the labels will just come off in the mixture, and for the ones that don't - I use a paint scraper to remove the rest
I once volunteered at a charity fund raiser that was serving wine. When it came time to clean up, I asked if I could take the empties (it helps if you share your wine making story) and they gladly obliged. In one night, I collected more than 100 empty bottles - and it cost me nothing at all
When it comes to size, there are a number of options, but I recommend focusing on just three:
I use standard size bottles for 90% of my wine. They are easy to find, making them easy to stockpile quickly.
When making a dessert style wine (port or sherry), I tend to lean towards the half size bottles. Most dessert wine kits produce 3 gallons of wine, and the half size bottles allow me to fill 30 bottles.
This gives me the chance to share a bit more with my friends, and the added benefit of tasting a little now and again while letting the wine mature. Smaller batches of fruit wine (1 gallon batches) are also served well in this manner.
The magnum comes in handy if you have a lot of wine that you want to bottle quickly, but I personally don't like to use them. When I open a magnum, the wine needs to be consumed, and I will drink through my wine much faster using the bigger bottles.
If you are a very patient person, this may be a great option for you. You can bottle more wine with fewer bottles, thus saving some time, money, and effort in the process.
" Every pint bottle should contain a quart"
Since I'm a "collector" vs. "purchaser" of wine bottles, I put a lot less emphasis on the color and shape of the bottles I am using. If I've got a variety of bottles available to me, I do try to use the following guidelines in my bottling :
Regardless of the shape or style of the bottles I am using, I do try to bottle all of the wine from a given batch in the same size, style, and color bottle. It's a purely aesthetic thing, but I love lining up 30 bottles of matching wine on display.
"A book is simply the container of an idea, like a bottle; what is inside the book is what matters"
Bottling is one of the most exciting times in the wine making process. The final active step, the step that brings closure to the process of creating, and opens the doors to the soon to arrive day that you will pour a glass and enjoy the beautiful wine made with your own two hands.