Bottling: Tips from the Pros

Winemaker: Greg Pollman started working at Fountain Wine Cellars in Cincinnati in 1974 and went to Sublette Winery in Cincinnati in the late 70s. He joined Valley Vineyards Estate Winery in Morrow, Ohio in 1984 and now is the company’s winemaker. Spring is a good time to start thinking about bottling. Blushes or whites with some residual sugar are usually ready six to nine months after harvest. By that time the fermentation is done, and by bottling in the spring I think you’re preserving much of the essence of the grape. Red wines from the fall might be ready to bottle in the beginning of the summer. Lighter reds don’t need much more than six months of aging, especially if you aren’t oaking heavily. When you are getting ready to bottle, the first thing to check is whether the wine is cold stabilized. Lots of home winemakers put their carboys in the garage during the winter. The cold temperatures precipitate out all the tartrate crystals. You can rack off these crystals before you bottle. The benefit is that the crystals will