Bottling seems so simple, yet generates LOTS of stress. This is our last chance to touch the wine. Once it is in the bottle, it is on its own. What are we afraid of? Mostly oxygen. While we know that oxygen is very important to the development of most wines, we also know that too much oxygen can ruin everything good about a particular wine. Too much oxygen and the fruit vanishes. Too much oxygen and the wine tastes like vinegar. Too much oxygen, even by just a small bit, and a beautiful aromatic wine becomes dull. Not obviously bad – just not the beguiling and enigmatic wine that it wants to be.
We used to worry about more things going wrong. Bacteria, dirt, poor hygiene – all of which can allow “interesting” and off flavors and aromas to develop, and all of which can spoil the wine. Fortunately, we have the world’s best self described “cellar rat” – Jess Johnson – who recognizes that cleanliness is better than godliness, at least in a wine cellar. While many winemakers have serious and comprehensive knowledge about winemaking, the science, the art of blending and more, Jess focuses on the basics of everyday detail, and the wines show it. If you ever need a lesson on how to clean a wine tank, schedule a session with Jess. But don’t wear your best clothes.