July 28, 2006
Virginia is one of the largest wine producing states in the country with many of the vineyards in our area. However, wine making doesn't just happen overnight.
It's only the end of July, which means it's too early to pick the plants, but too late to plant new grapes. So during this part of the season, they bottle. It takes a lot less time and people than you may think.
Virginians have been bottling wine for centuries, especially in Thomas Jefferson's Vineyard. This particular batch has been aging for about 8 months.
"It's a younger wine. The kind of style we're trying to make is just fruit forward, very easy to drink, ready to go wine," said Any Reagan, wine maker at the Jefferson Vineyard.
The bottling process is just as simple. First the machine squirts nitrogen gas into the bottle to remove any oxygen and keep the flavor.
"[It] makes us feel a little bit safer that the bottle is purged of any oxygen and it won't compromise the wine," said Reagan.
The wine is filtered and put into the bottles where it is capsuled--better known as corked and sealed.
"We can usually do about 120 cases about an hour, so that would be upwards of about 1200 bottles," said Reagan.
Once they are bottled they are ready to be enjoyed.
Last year's harvest, which is being bottled now, was especially good but wine makers won't talk about this year's until the grapes are picked because they don't want to jinx anything.