7 Hours and 2,340 Bottles Later

Contrary to what you might think, the 2K + bottles referred to in the title do NOT represent all the wine I’ve drank in the past week  year, but rather the number of bottles I had the pleasure of labeling at Brooklyn Winery earlier this week.

When co-founder Brian Leventhal invited me to the day-long event, I jumped at the chance to see exactly what happens to the juice as it travels from tank, to bottle, to  my mouth shelf. When you’re doing this by hand–like they do at BK winery–the clean/fill/cork/foil/label/sticker process can seem endless, though our team averaged an impressive 30 cases per hour.

Below, a step-by-step demo of how it’s done.


Nobody likes a dirty bottle. Step one is to blow some argon into the empty bottles to get any dust out so it won’t ruin the juice



Throw five bottles up under each of these metal rods and the wine flows right out. The tricky part is getting the fill level just right. If you don’t, you face winemaker Conor’s McCormack’s wrath (and potential cork issues).



It goes in an empty bottle, it comes out corked. (Hint: if you’re trying to drink and label, jump in the assembly line right after the filler.)



This machine transforms little black cups into the beautifully pressed (and dangerously sharp) foils you see all the time on the tops of wine bottles. A steady hand is critical, otherwise they can come out creased and ugly (and who likes ugly?)  I let the boys handle this one.

  1. Label.


We all know how much I love labels, so it’s fitting that this was my job! It’s also as easy as pressing a button, and a job that rarely runs the risk of breaking bottles! (Ahem, perfect for clumsy little me.)

  1. Sticker.

The final step before the bottles are packed up and shrink-wrapped on their pallets is topping the bottles off with a snazzy little sticker. This was my afternoon job. This helps hide any flaws on the foils, and  makes the bottles look extra cute.

Bottling Uncorked

Laura Loves: BK winery winemaker Conor’s response regarding how many grapes make a single bottle of wine–”When it comes to grapes, I really only think in tons.” (Whoa.)

Getting out of the office on a Wednesday!

That I managed not to break a single bottle–contrary to the bets made before this event.


These sweet army men who hide out in the plants in the winery’s atrium.

Fun Facts: The Chard I bottled will be available starting this Wednesday, June 7–Stop by Brooklyn Winery’s release party and taste some if you’re in the hood!

195 cases of wine=2,340 bottles=1822.25 Liters, or enough wine to take an 80 minute wine shower.


  • June 3, 2012
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