When we visited winemaker Len Lehmann and his daughter Debbie at Portola Vineyards last August, their 2013 vintage Pinot Noir grapes were about ready to be picked. Earlier this week, attention was turned to the 2012 vintage, which was bottled on Monday. Debbie provides an update:
“In the past, we’ve bottled our 350-case production by hand, and it took us about four days to finish.
“It was a messy process — the ground was muddy, and we were always tripping on the yards and yards of label tape that came off our labeling machine. Bottling by hand was fun, but since we expanded our production in 2012, we decided to bring in a bottling truck this year.
“With the help of our great winemaking assistants Bill Vermeere and Kathryn Haddad, and with some sibling labor from my younger brother and his girlfriend, we bottled 826 cases of wine, all in about seven hours. Talk about a boost in productivity!
“We fed empty bottles into the truck, and they came out filled, labeled, corked and capsuled. The machine did a bottle a second. It was quite a sight to see the bottles flying down the line, and the pallets filling with case after case.
“Those of you who came to our open house last weekend got to taste the wine that we just bottled. It’s looking to be a wonderful vintage. We’ll be releasing it in the spring of 2015.”
Photos courtesy of Portola Vineyards