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Finishing a Bottle of Wine

William Hodge
Cleaned bottles drying before the bottling process begins.

Filling a bottle of wine is generally not the topic of discussion when you visit a winery. It’s more about the fruit, the brix, the harvest,  the crush, the terrior, the oak and the blend.

So, when our niece invited us to a ‘wine bottling party’ celebrating her birthday, our curiosity was piqued on how to finish a bottle of wine.

We bottled wine at Canyon Crest Winery in Riverside, CA. They source their juice from Italy and California to ferment and age their small batches of wine on-site. The storefront serves as their bottling and tasting room while wine matures in the rear storage area.

california bottle of wine canyon crest winery bottling
Pumping wine into it’s new home, a Bordeaux style bottle.

They also sell other wine, one of which we tasted. They carry a Bronco wine from France by the name of Naked Earth. It’s labeled as organic.

Since these pages are dedicated to tasting wine, let’s move on to our tasting and then get to the bottling. Here is what we tasted:

Eagle Brook Chardonnay, California $15
Naked Earth, French (Chardonnay, Viognier and Sauvignon) $19
Eagle Crest California Pinot Noir $16
Washington State Merlot $20
Eagle Pass Blend, California (Cabernet, Syrah, Zinfandel) $17

William Hodge
Filled bottles await corking.

We won’t critique these wines as we normally would, because the wine didn’t fit our palates. All the wines were very soft and drinkable. If you think wine is too harsh to drink, you’ll enjoy a Canyon Crest bottle of wine. Their tannins were soft. If you are a tea drinker or put a lot of cream and sugar in your coffee you’ll enjoy  these wines. If you’re looking for a big bold Cab, we did not find it here.

And as we’ve discussed before, we seek the winemaker whose palate we enjoy. Obviously these two winemakers enjoy soft wine and have found a following of wine drinkers with soft palates. They are Kevin and Carolyn Craig and opened their tasting room in 2007, weathering the Great Recession. Today they are still in business creating wine for people with what we call Hypersensitive palates (where our tastes tend to be in the Sensitive & Tolerant categories.)

The bottling was very hands-on and simple. Kevin demonstrated how to disinfect and wash bottles before using a pump to fill them. Their pneumatic corker finished the  bottling with a composite cork inserted neatly into the bottle. Everybody in the party had their chance to wash, fill and cork a bottle of wine. We then labeled them with custom created graphics.

california bottle of wine canyon crest winery custom graphics
The finished product, with custom labels.

We received two bottles each, Eagle Rock Italian Amarone and Eagle Brook Chardonnay with this advice on drinking the wine – enjoy the Chardonnay now, enjoy the Italian Amarone around Christmas.

As of Fall 2022 Canyon Crest has closed it’s web site but appears to still be open. Call (951) 369-9463.

Bill Hodge & Erin O’Neill-Hodge enjoy a good bottle of wine, visiting and enjoying California wineries from Lake County to Orange County, from the Paso Robles Gold Coast to Gold Country and from Lodi to Bakersfield.

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