For pinot noir, bottling is the last step in a nearly two-year process that takes grapes from the vine and puts wine on your table. If you've ever seen a wine bottling, you may think it looks like a lot like manufacturing, and not nearly as romantic as winemaking sounds. The truth is, every step of the process is absolutely essential to ensure that you not only pour a quality wine from that bottle, but that the wine can beautifully and gracefully age in the that bottle.
Let's take a look at how bottling works. Earlier this month, we bottled our two, newest pinot noirs: the 2019 Russian River Pinot Noir and the 2019 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir. We're especially excited about the Santa Lucia Highlands release, as it is our first bottling of pinot noir from this unique and gorgeous appellation.
Bring In The Bottling Truck
It all starts with a big truck that looks like this:
It's not a food truck - it's better. It's a Moble Bottling Truck, which contains all the necessary equipment to clean, fill, cork and label a wine bottle. Trucks like this can set up quickly directly outside a crush pad or warehouse and bottle tens of thousands of gallons of wine per day.
First, the wine is poured from barrels (or stainless steel tanks, if those were used for fermentation) into large tanks like this one. Notice the tubing that leads to a regulator that can start or stop the wine from reaching the bottling truck.
The bottling crew then takes cases of pre-sanitized wine bottles and empties them onto a conveyor belt that guides them onto the first mechanism, a machine that blasts nitrogen into the bottle to not only clear out any remaining dust particles, but to eliminate oxygen from the bottle. The bottle is then transfered from this machine to the one that dispenses a perfect 750 ml of wine into the bottle. In this video, you can see the first process on the right, and the second one on the left.
The bottles are then corked. A machine pops a burst of nitrogen into the top of the bottle to push out the tiny bit of oxygen remaining, then a cork is inserted to the bottle. This ensures that the least amount of oxygen remains in the bottle, so that the wine inside will age without oxydation.
The bottles then move along the conveyer to where they'll be labeled. The labels are printed on giant rolls, which unwind as the bottle goes by. A roller affixes both the front and back labels.
Finally, the bottles are placed in cases, where they are sealed by hand and placed on pallets for warehousing. At this point, the wine is in "Bottle Shock," a phenominon that occurs when wine has been shaken or disturbed more than normal. Bottle Shock can result in a wine tasting disjointed or imbalanced, so it's recommended that recently-bottled wines are allowed to settle for at least a few days. We typically extend that period to 60 days, just to be sure. (Pro Tip: Bottle Shock can even occur after the shipping process, so it's recommended that wine you purchase by mail be allowed to rest a couple of days before being consumed).
We'll be celebrating Pinot Noir Day on August 28th, and if the 2019s are ready for their debut by then, they'll be making their debut. Sign up for our Newsletter to keep informed about our plans for Pinot Noir Day events all that week!
What's an even better pairing than wine and food? Wine and friends! But these days, it has been challenging to get together with friends over a bottle of wine. The emergence of online Happy Hours has been one solution, but for wine lovers across the world, the Virtual Wine Tasting has become the event of choice.
Think of it as a visit to the Tasting Room without the Tasting Room. The events are set up in advance, so participants can choose the time that works for the best for them. Just like a live tasting, the wines are pre-selected for each event, then sent to the participants' home, where they can taste them along with the event's host and the other participants.
Cultivar Wine launched its Virtual Wine Tasting Program on June 10th, and plans on having an event every Wednesday through July 1st. Depending on the popularity of the events, we could extend the events through the summer. And if the first event was any indicator, it's going to be a long, fun summer!
Participants in the June 10th event were treated to our 2019 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc and our 2015 Leaky Lake Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Hosted by Deborah, Cultivar's Hospitality Director, we went through each wine and talked about how the amazing terroir of Napa Valley gave the wines their unique characteristics. Guests shared their own thoughts about the wines, while club members Jim and Laura even shared their dinner recipe that paired with the Leaky Lake Cabernet!
"I think Virtual Wine Tastings have opened the door to an entirely new approach to wine tasting," says Gingy Harris Gable, Co-Founder of Cultivar Wine. "People have come to see these events as an opportunity to get together with friends from across the country to share an experience they love so much - wine tasting. It's a way to bring Napa wine country to Colorado or Iowa or anywhere in the world."
It's also a great chance to meet your fellow wine lovers. Though usually limited to 10 participants, you never know which part of the country - or the world - the other attendees come from.
"What's so fun about Cultivar's Virtual Wine Tastings is that you not only learn about the wine you're drinking, but it's also like a party," says John Taylor, Cultivar's Marketing Manager. "You can have three or four guests at your home enjoying the event, and find ten other groups online enjoying the event in the same way."
Best of all, Cultivar Wine has started a program of Private Virtual Wine Tastings. Get together with your friends and family, choose the wines you want to try, and we'll conduct a customized tasting online for you. To learn more, or book a reservation, Click Here.
2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Napa Valley Release Day
Saturday, June 8th
National Rosé Day
Tasting notes for the 2018 Napa Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir
A beautiful light color of Rosé reminiscent of an early garden pink rose. Dried cranberries, roses and citrus create its delicate nose. From the glass to your palate the wine is bright fresh richness of cranberries and soft spices. The Cultivar 2018 Rosé will be the perfect match for springtime brunch, summer barbecues, on the boat, beach, pool or picnic.
Cultivar SF is honored to be named in the Best Bay Area Spots for a Business Lunch by SF Business Times!
San Francisco Business Times Article January 18, 2019
Here are the best spots in the Bay Area for a business lunch
Jan 18, 2019, 1:00pm PST
In search of the perfect venue for a business lunch? Check out our slideshow on the top-rated local restaurants for a midday business meet-up, via rankings from online reservation tool OpenTable.
San Francisco alone has more than 4,400 restaurants, according to statistics compiled by the city. There’s enough Michelin star-rated restaurants in the Bay Area (54) to satisfy a year’s worth of weekly outings. But where to take that next crucial client? And where to go outside the city?
SAN FRANCISCO BUSINESS TIMES
It might be worth finding a new favorite place now that workplace cafeterias could be on their way out. But if you're putting on the most luxurious of business lunches, you'll have plenty to choose from among San Francisco's most expensive eateries.
This slideshow has the top-ranked Bay Area restaurants on OpenTable's "Business Bites" restaurant database. Restaurants working with OpenTable can opt-in to the "Business Bites" section. The restaurants ranked here all have a rating between 4.6 and 4.9 stars out of five.
San Francisco Business Times
No. 4: Cultivar // Californian // 2379 Chestnut St San Francisco, CA 94123-2609
One of the events we really look forward to here at Cultivar Wine is our quarterly happy hour with Wine Club Members. We love gathering over great food to talk wine and catch up with new and old friends alike.
This month we're especially excited to be introducing our wine club members to Polk Street's newest restaurant, Reverb Kitchen & Bar. We think Reverb's innovative comfort food crafted from locally sourced, sustainable, and peak-season ingredients is the perfect complement for our wines.
Cultivar Wine Club Members will enjoy tasting our selections for our May Wine Club shipment which include 2011 Cultivar Leaky Lake Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 Cultivar Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and two of our newest releases: 2012 Cultivar Coombsville Cabernet Sauvignon and 2014 Cultivar Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc.
Will you be joining us?
Fans of fashion flocked to the Legion of Honor Wednesday March 11th, 2015 for the opening celebration of High Style: The Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection.
“Dazzle” was the theme and fans turned out in glamorous fashion for the collection’s unveiling during a black-tie dinner for supporters hosted by the FAM Board President Dede Wilsey.
Cultivar was happy to support the museum donating wines to pair with the sophisticated three course menu. We paired our 2013 Cultivar Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc with the first course Celery Root, Truffle, and Leek Potage.
For the main course of Filet aux Morilles we chose our 2012 Cultivar Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The sweet tannins and refined structure of the wine pulled out the morels in the sauce and complimented the cream sauce.
Guests finished the meal with a Black and White Duo: Chocolate Pot de Crème, Vanilla Bean Pot de Crème, and Santa Cruz Strawberries.
The collection is on view at the Legion of Honor through July 19th and shouldn’t be missed. Curated by Jan Glier Reeder, consulting curator for the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and organized by the Met, High Style captures key points in 20th-century fashion design with rare pieces from French couture houses, including examples by Jeanne Lanvin, Elsa Schiaparelli, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, and Hubert de Givenchy. Get your tickets today.
On March 5th, Cultivar Wine proudly partnered with San Francisco Magazine and Saks Fifth Avenue for the Saks Fifth Avenue Men of Style event. VIP guests enjoyed our 2013 Cultivar Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc that we donated
while enjoying passed appetizers and waiting in suspense as to who would be the 2015 Man of Style and which charity would receive a $5,000 donation.
San Francisco Magazine readers and fans of Saks Fifth Avenue and Cultivar Wine had a tough job, choosing between the 2015 Men of Style nominees:
All nominees were well deserving, but there could be just one 2015 Men of Style winner.
Congratulations Geoffrey De Sousa and Ronald McDonald House at Stanford! Not only did Ronald McDonald House receive the $5,000 award, but Geoffrey generously matched the award with a $5,000 donation of his own.
Photography Credits: The third and fifth photos were taken by Rachel Bussières for Drew Altizer Photography and used with permission. The other photos were taken by Cultivar.