By Melissa Keogh
Adelaide Hills winery Sidewood Estate is celebrating the completion of its multi-million dollar bottling facility – the first of its kind in the region.
The Nairne estate’s new bottling line can fill and label up to 3000 bottles per hour with an annual capacity of more than five million bottles.
The facility is the region’s first bottling line for sparkling wines.
Sidewood Estate owner Owen Inglis says the growth and demand for the business’s wines locally, nationally and internationally prompted the need for expansion.
He says the whole region is set to benefit from the new facility, which will allow third party contracts for other wine, cider and beer brands.
“Until now, local producers often have had to go as far as Port Adelaide, Barossa or McLaren Vale to bottle wine and ciders which can prove costly, but also importantly, due to the tyranny of distance, make it difficult for producers to monitor the packaging process of their own products,” Owen says.
“Providing regional producers with a quality alternative for local processing will be a highly attractive option for wineries and cider houses looking for commercially viable bottling and canning solutions.”
The new counter pressure bottling line allows for the bottling of products with bubbles, such as sparking wine, muscat and cider.
The bottling and canning equipment was part of a $4m expansion of the Nairne winery and was supported through a $856,000 grant from the former Labour State Government’s Regional Development Fund.
The operation of the bottling facility has allowed Sidewood to further increase its level of quality control, meaning the business owns the whole winemaking process.
This includes the growing of its grapes, to crushing, fermentation and maturation of its wines.
The winery has a focus on recycled water and also sources the majority of its electricity from solar power.
Aside from wine, Sidewood is also renowned for its ciders.
Fruit used in these beverages is 100% Adelaide Hills grown and is crushed, fermented, kegged, canned and bottled under the one roof.
Sidewood winemaker Darryl Catlin says the new line gives him “total control” over the winemaking process from start to finish, allowing him to keep producing award-winning wines and ciders.
“These facilities will help give Sidewood another edge in quality terms and the benefits of control,” he says.
“This is another example of Sidewood’s commitment to quality and the ability to have a vine to glass philosophy.”
Sidewood’s cellar door is located about 20 minutes away from the winery at Maximilian’s Restaurant at Verdun, while its vineyards are scattered across Oakbank, Echunga, Nairne and Verdun.
In 2017 Sidewood’s pear cider was named the Best Dry Style Pear Cider at the World Cider Awards in London.
Sidewood has received a number of other international and national awards, including achieving a five red star accreditation from James Halliday.
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