Another bottling day down! I wish I could say it was drama free, but bottling days never are. Mostly though it went smoothly and a lot of the issues we had were early in the day and I chalked them up to learning a new bottling truck and system. We arrived at the winery at 6am and the truck was there at the gate.
No issues getting it into place (the last truck we used could take up to 5 hours to get through the gates and down the hill). The truck was ready to go by 8:15 am. This is early in the set up process with the forklift in the foreground. The equipment needs to get set up, hooked inot the tanks in the winery and cleaned before we start.
This was just as we got started. Millie, Kaleb from the bottling company and Stefania in the truck. This seemed to be a really good fit for the speed we like to go and care we like to put in. We had some early drama figuring out the right screen to put in line with the bottle filler. The first one we used jammed up after 5-6 cases. We finally went with a wide ‘bug catcher’ screen that lets everything through but big chunks.
Once we got over that problem we ran out of Nitrogen. The Nitrogen is used to sparge the glass and clean in before filling. Millie is doing that step below. I had a back up tank but it was also almost empty. I must have left it open at some point it as it should have been new. So we sent Millie down into Redwood City to get another tank. They would only let her load one at a time into the car so she had to make two trips.
Once past that we were back on our way. You can see Kaleb, Stefania and Ingrid’s back in the picture below. Somehow I missed getting Jaye in any pictures but she was there also working on the line.
My job was to tape up the filled cases, put on tags and load them on to pallets. It’s a good job for me because I can lift the cases and they come off slow enough that if I need to be gone for 5 minutes I can and only a few cases will back up. That time lets me use the forklift to move pallets around or run into the winery to make adjustments inside.
We wrapped up bottling about 1:30 and clean up by 3:00. A pretty good day in all and we were really happy with the new truck. Our 2010, Haut Tubee and a new blend are safely in storage now!
When we got home we had one last bit of drama. A bee swarm trying to move into our house. I called Art the Bee Guy and he arrived after 9:00 pm and safetly got the queen and her hive off to a new home.