Technique

Bottling Your Wine

As renowned French wine scientist Emile Peynaud wrote, “Bottling is a very stressful operation for a wine and the enological problems it causes are numerous: Considerable oxygen uptake, keeping out microorganisms and particles in suspension by filtering, constant struggle to prevent any contamination of yeasts by the apparatus itself, cleanliness of the glass, efficiency of the closure, etc.” Bottling your wine requires careful planning, preparation, and execution. Before the Bottle When getting ready to bottle, you first need to be sure the wine itself is ready. The most critical part of that is to be absolutely certain your fermentation is complete. That means taking all of the usual steps to help along both the primary fermentation and, if desired, a malolactic (ML) secondary fermentation. Further, it means testing to verify that the processes are complete and the wine is stable. When fermentation of a dry wine is complete, the Brix reading will be negative by about 1.5 to 2.5 °Brix. The number will be lower with higher alcohol since ethanol is less dense than water. It will be higher in