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Wine Wise - Bottling Your Bulk Wine

( Originally Published 1933 )

Some wine users prefer to invest in bulk wine, buying it by the barrel or demijohn. That practice is all right, particularly if the user has some experience with wine and enjoys working with wine.

All pure wines, after traveling, require rest before using. Therefore, if you secure a cask, on arrival it should be placed on its side, bung up, in a cool place for at least a week. A wooden faucet should be put in the head, preparatory to drawing the wine; which should run through the faucet without bubbling, as this brings the sediment to the body of the wine; Or the wine may be racked off by using a small rubber hose, which is inserted into the cask but not allowed to go deep enough to reach the sediment. Bottles should be filled to within about 2 1/2 inches from the aperture of the neck.

It often happens that those who are inexperienced in the handling of wines and the care of them will draw off only a portion of a barrel of dry wine, then run short of bottles and leave the balance of the wine in the cask. This is fatal, because if Dry wines are absolutely pure and free from antiseptic or preservatives, they will naturally, on being exposed to the air, turn sour and become vinegar. Whenever a cask of Dry wine such as Claret, Zinfandel, Burgundy, Hock, Riesling, Chablis, Moselle or Sauterne is tapped, all the wine must be removed to small containers, which should be scrupulously clean, kept full and laid flat so that the wine will be free from contact with the air.

The sweet wines, like Port, Sherry, Muscatel, Angelica and Tokay may be drawn off as needed. On account of their high alcoholic content they do not spoil readily.

Great care must be taken in bottling the wine. The bottles must be absolutely clean with no vinegar germs in them and the bottler must be sure that the corks are of the right size and sufficiently softened before they are inserted in the bottles. Then they will fit perfectly. To force a larger cork in the neck of the bottle usually damages the cork and ,a cork that is too small will not keep the air away from the wine. The proper way to treat corks is to put them in warm water with a little wine in it to give the corks a vinous flavor.

To clean bottles it is better not to use soaps, sodas or caustics, because traces of these cleansing materials may affect the wine. If the bottles are difficult to clean thoroughly, the sediment may be removed by dropping small pieces of steel or screen gravel them, with water, and shaking the contents

To insure clearness in bottled wines they should be bottled in clear weather. This especially applies to white wines. The bottles should be placed in the cellar with their noses inclined downward in order to be sure the corks are always well moistened.

Of course, the main advantage in buying bulk wines and bottling them is that you may pick up a particularly good barrel of wine at a real bargain. However, when you add in the cost of the bottles, corks and labels and allow a little something for your trouble, it is questionable whether these economies are real. On the other hand, many wine users thoroughly enjoy the hobby of bottling and putting aside wines for aging and for use at a later date. To those who do and have a cellar in which to work, the buying of wines in the bulk is undoubtedly a good and interesting practice.

For further information about the bottline of wine:
Winemaking - Bottling The Wine
Avalon Wine - Bottling The 2004 Vintage

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