Updated: Aug 4, 2018
Finally, all my 13s are in bottle. I've learned a lot, but I know there is much much more to learn...
Bottling, I like bottling. At first, I was bottling with a small pump, that really works like a siphon. It was fine, but the constant buzzing as the hours passed really began to grind on my nerves. This was tedious work. I spent many many hours just plodding along, and I knew there was a better way, for me.
So, I gave it up. I shelved the specially designed pump. Now, I bottle with a long stainless steel tube, several feet of silicone hose, a small hard plastic tube, a plastic clamp that cuts off the flow of wine as needed, and argon. Argon is great, because it's inert, so it doesn't react with the wine, but it's heavy so it covers the wine like a blanket, protecting it from oxygen. The argon fills the empty bottles and tops the freshly bottled wine before corking. Oh, also, I have a small primitive Italian corker. It works with a pin, long armed handle, and a coordinated apparatus that squeezes the cork readying it to be forced into the bottle. That's it. A friend helps to cut the time down; we are now able to bottle from a sixty gallon barrel in about 2.5 hours.
The process is very efficient. I place the steel tube into the barrel, connect the silicone hose to it, connect the plastic tube to that, slide on the clamp and draw some wine through the whole thing. Because I elevate the wine several feet, gravity forces it into a continuous stream out of the barrel and into the bottles. It's all done by hand, quietly, elegantly, beautifully.