The bottling operation

Bottling, particularly of off-dry wines, requires a considerable amount of attention to detail. Beware of:

  • Oxygen uptake: Wine transfer, filler tank, bottle filling, bottle headspace
  • Microbial contamination: Sterile conditions, filter wine, clean bottles & corks
  • Other forms of contamination:: Bottle dirt, cork dust, bottling machinery grease

Some of the checks that need to be carried out include:

  • Scrupulous hygiene in the bottling room
  • Cleanliness of bottles
  • Absence of leaks in the line to avoid loss of wine and oxidation
  • Effectiveness of final filtration
  • Correct fill height in the bottles (see trading standards regulations)
  • Cork sterility
  • Lack of damage to the corks or cork dust
  • The capsules are applied neatly
  • Labels are straight and well-positioned on the bottle

Larger operations will sometimes bottle wine hot (50ºC) or heat the bottles after filling to eliminate risks of microbial contamination.

A post-bottling analysis with stability tests is highly recommended.