Ensuring a Successful Wine Bottling Day

Experts at upcoming packaging conference will share new innovations and tips on bottling

by Andrew Adams
wine wines vines packaging conference bottling session
Bottles are filled with wine, sealed and labeled before heading to market.
San Rafael, Calif.—Bottling day doesn’t have to be hard.

With a little preparation, good supplier relationships and well-maintained equipment, bottling can be a smooth and efficient process.

Next month, three experts with decades of experience in bottling operations will offer some detailed tips on how winemakers and other production staff can ensure bottling takes place with as few headaches as possible. Other topics will include how best to use new bottling technology, working with mobile rigs and changeovers for different closures or alternative packaging. The panel discussion will be part of the fourth annual Wines & Vines Packaging Conference that takes place Aug. 16 at the Lincoln Theater in Napa Valley.

Kenwood Vineyards chief winemaker Pat Henderson will provide insights and perspectives from his more than 30 vintages of winemaking experience. In addition to his time at Kenwood, Henderson is a former winemaking instructor with the Viticulture Enology Science and Technology Alliance and Santa Rosa Junior College.

Joining Henderson for the session about bottling will be senior staff members from two of the industry’s largest bottling services suppliers.

Dave Crawford is vice president of Top It Off Bottling in Napa, Calif. The company operates a large, fixed-line bottling operation as well as several mobile bottling trucks. In addition to his experience at Top It Off, Crawford also spent several years working in wine label printing and sales.

A veteran of the wine industry for nearly 20 years, the panel’s third member, Ron Varner, is the director of G3’s Technical Services Group and bottling services. Varner helps the company’s clients with any bottling-line issues as well as supports G3’s mobile-bottling fleet. Before joining G3, Varner was the vice president of operations for Cork Supply USA, and prior to his time in the wine business Varner gained experience in lean manufacturing and Six Sigma implementation.

The bottling discussion takes place in the afternoon of a day full of educational sessions that will range from effective packaging design to how some wineries are incorporating sustainability in their packaging strategies.

Other highlights of the conference include a trade show of wine packaging suppliers, wine tasting bars and the chance to participate in one-on-one packaging consultations with designers on site.

Attendees will also have the chance to vote for the winner of the Peoples’ Choice Award, which is part of the Wines & Vines Packaging Design Awards. Wineries across North America have submitted samples for a chance to win an award in one of five categories that include Best Classic Format, Best Package Redesign, Best Luxury Package, Best Alternative Format and Best Package Series.

The deadline for contest entries was June 9, and a panel of expert judges will soon review all of those received by Wines & Vines. The winning entries will be announced at the packaging conference along with the winner of the Best in Show trophy that will go to the package rated best overall by the panel of judges. The Peoples’ Choice Award, based on attendee votes, will also be announced at the conference.

Full-day registration costs $199 and includes lunch. For more information, visit wvpack.com.  

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