CSA Wine Bottling Felix Wong

“Count me in,” wrote Tori when I asked if she’d be interested in volunteering her time to help Grant Farms CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) bottle wine for the holidays. She added jokingly, “Do you think we get to sample the wine as we bottle it?”

Happily, Raquel was also willing to help bottle and lend her “quality control” talents. So the three of us—along with a couple from Evergreen, CO named Greg and Pam—met up on this Saturday morning at Vintages, a custom-crush hand-crafted wine facility in Fort Collins.

When we arrived a Vintages staffer immediately enlisted my plastic tube-holding talents while he siphoned cherry wine (presumably made with some ingredients from Grant Farms) into bottle-filling machines from a plastic vat large enough to make a beer keg blush. Then, we were showed how to fill bottles, cork them, and label them. The process was semi-automated, with the machines filling the bottles to the correct level in the necks and plunging the corks into the bottles, and the humans feeding the machines bottles and corks and applying labels to the bottle.

It was not that much more difficult than George Jetson’s job of pressing a button with his index finger all day, but infinitely more fun. This is because wine, cheese and crackers were available to sample the entire time, and of course those of us who were adept enough in multi-tasking were free to talk among ourselves. Count it as one of the few workplaces in the world where it is perfectly fine to eat, gossip, and even become a tiny bit inebriated on the job.

Speaking of tasting the wine, the cherry wine was superb! Not exactly being the most sophisticated wine connoisseur, I won’t rattle off a list of adjectives like “crisp, balanced, lingering, and translucent,” but I will say it was sweeter than a merlot and about as drinkable as apple juice (with a kick, of course). Or simply delicious. It was so much better than the wine Grant Farms gave to CSA members last year, which I would have described as “fermented grape juice.”

Afterward, Raquel, Tori and I went to the Beach House restaurant around the corner, where we monopolized the upstairs outdoor patio while enjoying a wonderfully warm autumn day in Fort Collins. We ran into Pam and Greg again on the way back to our cars. We agreed this was a fine way to spend a November morning. Who knew that employing one’s “quality control” talents on a weekend morning could be so much not like “work”?

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Raquel tasting the wine we were helping our local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) bottle for "quality control" purposes.Felix Wong also "helping" with the quality control.Tori corking the wineRaquel being industrious.A finished product!Chatting with Deena from Grant Farms CSA.The wine bottling apparatuses.Group therapy!"Zero to naked in 1.5 bottles."More party napkins at Vintages.Tori and Raquel, a.k.a. food thieves.

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