Cellar hand Sikou Nikate and wine aficionado D. Tejada capsuling bottles of wine.
The City Winery team capsuled and labeled a number of member wines on Monday.
Capsuling is the process of securing the wine bottle’s capsule, the tamper-evident secondary closure that gives the wine bottle a finished look.
While there are a number of different types of bottle capsules, City Winery uses those made of tin and polylaminate.
In the capsuling process, the closure is placed atop the wine bottle before it is slid into the capsuling machine, which affixes the capsule onto the bottle using a hard plastic roller that rotates around the bottle neck.
Head winemaker David Lecomte shows wine aficionado D. Tejada how to operate the labeling machine.
After the bottles of wines are capsuled, they are ready for labeling, the process of applying the proper labels to the bottles.
The labeling machine works by affixing a label onto a rotating bottle of wine. The operator must first set the spacing and height details, so that the front and back labels are affixed in the correct positions.
Labeling one barrel of wine (21 cases), usually takes about 1-1.5 hours, but can vary based on a few factors. The biggest factor is bottle shape. Tapered bottles — such as some Bordeaux and Burgundy-style bottles — are more difficult to deal with and can take longer to label as a result.
Furthermore, if bottles have been stored in a cold area and have produced condensation, they must sit to warm up and dry off before the labeling process can be started. Otherwise, bubbling may occur, giving the labels a sloppy look.
City Winery typically orders rolls of 300 labels, which can label 21 cases of wine.
Let us know if you have questions about capsuling or labeling in the comments below.