Welcome to my life in Niagara! Grab a glass, there's bound to be wine.

Bottling Day at Kacaba

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I think you know by now that I’m a huge wine lover.

I’m pretty sure this is evident by how much I write about wine. Though I’m certainly not a skilled wine critic, I do have a bit of a wine background. With all of the courses I’ve taken and people that I’ve spoken to, there is one thing that has stayed in my mind all these years.

Enjoyment of a wine is not just about the beverage.

One of my wine instructors said this to me several years ago, and it is something I think about a lot. By this he meant that what you sip is only one part of what enables you to appreciate a wine. He elaborated, saying that to truly appreciate a wine, there are many factors to consider. You should try to learn about the region where the wine is made. You should try to learn about the approach of the winery whose products you’re sipping. If you’re lucky you get to meet or chat with the winemaker, and the people who work in the vineyards or at the winery. And also, he said you should try a wine more than once. Ever been in a bad mood and thought the wine you were drinking was terrible? Well, according to him that just might be your mood talking, not the wine.

I learned so much from that instructor – way more than swirl-sniff-sip-spit/swallow.

So I’m trying to learn more about the process of winemaking at the wineries here. I’m also trying to learn more about the people involved in making the glorious nectar in my glass.

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When I heard that Kacaba was inviting people to come by and see their bottling in progress, I knew I had to go, for several reasons.

First, Kacaba has to be one of the friendliest wineries I’ve come across. All of the staff are so helpful and welcoming, and by the time you leave the winery you already feel like a friend. They know many of their regular customers by name, and often remember what wines they have purchased in the past. In short, their customer service is stellar.

Second, they really seem to work as a team. I have even seen John, their winemaker pitching in during special events, and was lucky enough to have him help me in the wine shop one day last year.

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Third, I appreciate their philosophy and their approach to sustainable winemaking.

And fourth, they have some truly beautiful wines.

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So of course I stopped by to have a peek at the process, starting with a friendly greeting from the ever-so-charming Vadim.

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I actually got there just in the nick of time. After three solid days of bottling, I arrived during the last half hour. I’m sure they were all eager to finish up, but Vadim kindly took the time to explain the bottling process to me.

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What makes the process interesting is that Kacaba uses the services of a mobile bottling truck to help with its bottling needs. Basically they reserve the truck for the days they need to bottle, and the truck pulls up, all necessary equipment on board.

Isn’t that fantastic? As a business, I think it’s a nifty idea. A great way for smaller producers to get their bottling done, without spending a fortune on equipment themselves.

To sum up the process briefly, the wine that was being bottled was transferred from the tank via a large hose into the truck. From there bottles were sterilized, and the right amount of wine poured into each. Then the bottles were labelled and corked. Finally, they were packed into cases by hand.

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The case was then sent down the conveyor belt, where Vadim was waiting with labels for the cases.

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Next they were transferred onto a skid. When the skid was full, it was placed onto a waiting truck, ready to be taken for storage.

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Sounds simple doesn’t it? But you have to see the Kacaba team in action. Such a friendly, hardworking bunch.

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I was very grateful for their hard work though, as I was hoping to be able pick up the wine I had pre-ordered.

Of course, I had to go into the Wine Shop for some tasting.

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Where I was happy to be told that of course I could pick up my wine that day. Lucky me.

While I sampled, the team was still finishing up outside.

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And thanks to all of their hard work, I went home with my pre-ordered Chardonnay. Oh, and some Meritage.

If you haven’t been yet to Kacaba – or even if you’ve been many times, as I have –  I highly recommend you make a visit very soon.