– by Kerana Todorov
Wineries that want to produce sparkling wine have more options these days.
On Thursday, Brut Bottling in Napa unveiled its new mobile disgorging line at an open house at a custom-crush facility in Napa.
Brut Bottling is among the new companies that provide a full-line of méthode traditionelle sparkling wine bottle services to wineries, allowing producers of any size to enter the bubbly market without investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in new equipment and expertise. That includes small producers. “It was difficult for them to enter the sparkling wine business,” said Christian Troussieux, a businessman who founded Brut Bottling in 2018. “A mobile business made sense,” he added.
Brut Bottling also offers tirage and riddling services to clients – primarily wineries producing fewer than 100,000 cases a year.
“It basically opens up the door to everybody making sparkling wine,” said Patrick Saboe, winemaker at The Wine Foundry, a custom-crush facility in Napa that hosted Thursday’s open house.
Another company, Méthode Sparkling Wine Bottling Napa Valley, has been in operations since 2015, said founder/owner Keith Hock. Hock left a full-time job as a winemaker at Schramsberg Vineyards to concentrate on the mobile sparkling wine bottling business. He manages Méthode Sparkling Wine Bottling Napa Valley from his Napa home.
Hock, like Troussieux, saw a need that was not filled. Wineries want to produce sparkling wines to diversify their portfolios, said Hock, who works closely with his clients’ winemaking team. “I started to work with wineries that wanted to make small lots of sparkling wine,” Hock said.
His custom-made machines from Champagne, which Hock sets up inside wineries, are in operation most of the year. Harvest is the down season.
Brut Bottling’s Troussieux works with partner Eric Gordon. Their consulting winemaker is Craig Roemer.
The disgorging line from Valentin Thieron Corp. is in a self-contained, air conditioned trailer. The unit cost $150,000, according to Franck Metayer, chief executive officer at Thieron Corp. in Epernay, France. That does not include the price of the truck.
Saboe, winemaker at The Wine Foundry, saw Brut Bottling’s new disgorging line early last week. “Nice engineering,” Saboe said during the open house. “I like the layout inside the trailer,” he said.
The disgorging line will return to The Wine Foundry in January to produce sparkling wine.
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