Welcome back GGW fans. I apologize for it taking so long to publish another blog. I told you last time that I would tell you all little about the OLD days of bottling our wines. I find that it is important to write about these details to explain our humble beginnings and that we have never forgotten where we came from and how we started.
Remember I told you that we started this business in the laundry room of our house. Back then the fermenting and degassing was done in the laundry room but all the messy work was done out on the deck behind the house. I bet that wood still has wine stains on it. In the very beginning when we were just giving people bottles of wine for free they were bottled in Jack Daniels bottles (true story I had a friend that drank a lot of Jack) and stored in the hall closet. When friends would come over we would send them on their way with a bottle of Cherry wine.
Then we got a major upgrade, man we were big time. My good friend John Ferrier who owns Summit Lake Winery used to set his used bottles out by the dumpster at his winery and I would go by a few times a week and pick up all he had. We would then have to boil the bottles to get the labels off and sanitize each one. This process took us hours, but like I said we were big time. Right?
We would then take the wine to the deck, manually siphon the wine into the bottles and hand cork each one. This was a very messy process but we took pride in the finished product all the same. After some time we bought a $14 part that would sort of auto fill the bottles. This was still messy and very time consuming. I remember having friends come to help on bottling day. They thought it was fun the first time, but most never came back. From those old days only Brent and Tab kept coming back to help us.
As we grew we would upgrade one piece of equipment a year. Most wine equipment is very expensive. We purchased a floor corker, then another because we wore the other one out. I bet in all we went through 6 floor corkers before we upgraded to our big corker we have now. This one runs off an air compressor and requires no manual labor, which is nice due to the fact that the old way caused me to have an elbow operated on.
We also used to put our labels on each bottle by hand. This was another very long process which Amy loves to not have to do anymore. In 2016 we upgraded to an auto label machine which can label 500 bottles per hour if you wanted to.
We have a pretty sweet bottling line now that helps streamline things, that is, until something breaks down. Just recently we had a piece on the corker and the labeler break in the same night. That makes you really appreciate not having to do things the old way.
Like I said, humble beginnings for sure. As we continue to grow so will our processes. The next step is finding a location to open our winery full time.