I mentioned the other day that we were desperate to bottle some wine as quickly as possible, simply as we had no floor stock left to sell. The bottles that we were waiting for finally arrived, and so yesterday morning our guys got to work on the bottling line. (Unfortunately I was absent owing to an emergency dental appointment for a broken tooth – certainly not a planned absence!)
Regrettably things did not go as smoothly as we would have hoped, and all because of the cold weather.
The problem was actually quite simple really – the wine in the tanks was cold, and the bottles that had recently arrived were possibly even colder, so when trying to apply self-adhesive labels at the rate of around 2,000 – 3,000 bottles an hour, they simply didn’t want to stick!
We do try to keep the labels in a warm place to help the adhesive a little, but whilst we have cooling systems in the cellar, we do not really have any heating as such (not that we would ever want to start warming our wine anyway). The only possible solution might have been to warm the bottles just a little so they were not quite so icy, but even then we certainly wouldn’t want them to be any more than our normal cellar temperature of around 12°C – perhaps we will give this theory a try when we bottle again next week.
Addendum: It’s also worth mentioning that we sometimes have the same problem in summer – when labels don’t want to stick. The warehouse where we keep the bottles can be difficult to keep cool during the summer (don’t worry, there is no wine stored in this location). Consequently if the empty bottles do get a little too warm, and we add cool wine at cellar temperature, the result can be traces of condensation. When the machine is working at full speed this is usually not a problem, as there is not enough time for moisture to form, but any slower and then “we have a problem” – as they say in Houston.