Preparing the wine for bottling

Prior to bottling, wine must be clarified and stabilised. Different wine lots should also be blended in order to:

  • Equalise different wine lots in order to produce a consistent blend
  • Select different wine lots in order to produce different wine styles (wines from different grape varieties, vineyards and production methods are usually kept separate until blending in order to give the blender a wide range of different wines to work from)

Ideally blending should improve all the wines in the mix: it should not be used to dilute faulty wines.

Some clarification and stabilisation can be carried out before blending, but it is vital that all the stability checks are made after blending, as two stable wines can become unstable when blended due to changes in pH or alcohol. Wines may also be sweetened at this point by the addition on unfermented grape juice or ‘Suss reserve’. If this is added, further stability tests may need to be carried out.

Prior to bottling, the wine must be checked for:

  • Legality: Volatile acidity, max total sulphur dioxide
  • Stability: Protein, tartrate, phenolics, metals, microbial stability, free sulphur dioxide
  • Conformity to its description: Alcohol, sugar, titratable acidity, sensory evaluation (carbon dioxide)

The use of a professional laboratory to conduct a pre-bottling analysis is strongly advised.