Genie in a Bottling Truck

In wine country, the mystery isn’t how a genie gets into a bottle – it’s how small wineries get the wine into the bottle without breaking the bank. The answer: a mobile bottling business.

British Columbia wineries have made use of Artus Bottling’s mobile unit since owner Norman Cole opened his trailer doors in 2005. Costs for a winery to purchase the equipment can range from a few thousand to upwards of $40K; mobile bottling offers an affordability many wineries appreciate.

Artus’ 32 foot trailer houses all the equipment necessary to sterilize, fill, cap/cork, and label a variety of 750ml wine bottle shapes. The winery provides bottle-ready wine, empty bottles, labels, and corks or screw caps – the mobile bottling unit does the rest.

I spent a day with Cawston winery Orofino as they bottled their 2011 Blind Creek Chardonnay, 2010 Beleza and 2010 Passion Pit Cabernet Sauvignon. We rotated jobs: filling cases, taping boxes, and stacking pallets. Fortunately, I didn’t break anything – so I hope owners John and Virginia Weber invite me back for another round.


Photos Left to Right, from top corner:

1. A production facility on wheels: the Artus Bottling trailer.

2. Bottles are hand-loaded onto the conveyor belt: an elongated horseshoe-shape with a few turns along the route.

3. Three different machines sterilize, fill, and cork/cap each bottle before they reach the label stage – all of this within approximately 12 feet.

4. Empty bottles ride the carousel of clean, preparing for wine.

5. Now sterilized, the bottles load up on wine.

6. Cork or screw cap? The third round seals the deal. Here, Orofino 2011 Blind Creek Chardonnay gets a Stelvin closure.

7. Large rolls of 500 – 1,000 labels are machine-applied by rolling bottling along large rubber guides.

8. Artus Bottling staff inspects almost every bottle as they pass the length of the trailer.

9. A “bottle corral” at the end of the line helps guide bottles off the conveyor as they await hand loading into the empty boxes from the initial glass loading stage.

10. Steel rollers allow full cases to cruise toward the taping station.

11. Orofino owner John Weber takes his taping job seriously.

12. Cases of finished wine are stacked onto pallets. A pallet can hold 56 cases of wine, on average. They fill up more quickly than one might think.

13. The crush pad at Orofino winery. We bottled 255 cases of 2011 Blind Creek Chardonnay, 285 cases of 2010 Beleza, and 250 cases of 2010 Passion Pit Cabernet Sauvignon (14 pallets).

14. The author (happily) touched every bottle.

15. Orofino 2010 Passion Pit Cabernet Sauvignon.


Written By:

Jeannette is EAT's Okanagan writer.\r\n\r\nWith her rural Canadian roots and love of grand experiences, Jeannette is equal \r\n\r\nmeasures country and city. Since moving from Vancouver to the Okanagan in 2007, \r\n\r\nshe quit ...

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