Good friends Lynn and Tony Golden recently invited us to help out with bottling Carivintas wines (www.carivintas.com). Mike was on a fishing trip but I took them up on their offer, always interested in learning more about the process. Since it was a relatively small number of bottles, it was all done manually with a small bottler/pump instead of with the bottling truck that we’ve usually seen. We developed an assembly line and got to work. I mostly prepped the bottles by injecting nitrogen into them to eliminate some of the oxygen before they went on the bottling machine. Key to the process was having a good DJ to keep the team going. Tony has a great selection and we settled on some old 90’s hip-hop tunes which worked well with some wine sampling along the way. There is no better way to understand a process than to do it yourself! And it is always educational to speak with experienced winemakers like Fleet Hamilton.
In the crowded world of wine, it’s important to have something that makes you unique. In addition to making good wine, Fleet and Diane Hamilton decided they would incorporate their love of dogs. A portion of all the wines they sell goes to support charities that support animals, such as Best Friends Animal Society, Return to Freedom, and many other animal shelters and support groups around the country. Their creative wine labels also feature dogs and other animals, and their tasting room in Solvang is of course, dog (and kid) friendly. They also have many interesting varieties – we bottled Sangiovese, Merlot, 3 different Pinot Noir vintages, and a Rose’ of Tempranillo. We recently stopped in for a tasting with Beth who always does a fantastic job taking care of you. Fleet is always experimenting with his creations and they currently have a really interesting herbal vermouth that is fantastic with some flavored sparkling water. If you visit on a Wednesday afternoon, you can attend the popular Solvang Farmers’ Market. If you stop by, you may taste or buy one of the bottles we filled!