Finally, after 2 months of fermenting and racking and waiting, I bottled my wine.
In my last post, I described a first racking. A couple of weeks after that, I racked again and added four ounces of medium roasted American oak cubes. This then sat for a month undisturbed. Today was the day to transfer it to bottles.
Now, putting the wine into the bottle is easy enough but corking the bottle is quite a process. I bought a two handed corker that gave me a lot of leverage to drive the cork into the neck of the bottle, but…
I filled the first bottle, put a cork into the device, set it on top of the bottle and gently pushed down on the handles. Nothing happened. It felt like I was pushing against a solid piece of wood. I pushed harder, a lot harder. The handles moved ever so slightly but it looked the cork didn’t move. I set the bottle on the floor, grabbed both handles and put my full 220 pounds on them. The cork sloooowly slid into the bottle and stopped.
Thinking the cork was all the way in, I lifted the corker up and the bottle came with it. The cork was about half way into the bottle and half in the corker, locking them together. I set them back down, grabbed the handles and began bouncing on them. Each bounce moved the handles a little further, driving the stubborn cork down millimeter by millimeter.
After several bounces the corker clicked and felt loose. I lifted it up and there in front of me was my first finished bottle of wine.
The process was repeated 21 more times before the remaining wine was almost down to the lees. With less than a bottle left, I decided to fill a glass and try my new wine. Everything I read said the brand new wine will not be good yet but I had to try.
The wine looked just a little cloudy but it had come just off the top of the lees so I wasn’t worried about that. It had a unique aroma, pleasant like a grape wine but not exactly a cabernet or rioja. So I took a sip expecting it to be sour and bitter.
It was good, dry but not sour, full of fruity goodness and with just a hint of oak. So I sat down and admired all of those bottles of wine while I sipped my first glass. I think I will call this project a success.