Healdsburg, Calif. (May 23, 2019) — Northern California Wine Country’s largest custom crush and sparkling wine producer, Rack & Riddle, this month unveiled another major facilities expansion at its Healdsburg location. The recent expansion comprises both acquiring a neighboring 67,000-square-foot facility and the installation of a now fully automated, leading-edge sparkling wine production line. This recent upgrade wraps-up a major production line overhaul that began in 2017 with the installation of a fully automated still wine bottling line.
New Sparkling Production Capabilities
The new sparkling production line, designed by MASPACK Packaging USA, is set to accelerate Rack & Riddle’s production capabilities to better serve its client base of wineries, retailers and distributors, nationwide. They are the only Sonoma County-based custom crush winery specializing in Méthode Champenoise sparkling wines, which gives clients a fast way to enter the premium sparkling wine sector without the overhead or costly expense of developing their own sparkling production.
Before the upgrades, Rack & Riddle utilized a partially automated sparkling production line that produced 1,400 cases in a single production run and 350,000 cases annually. With the recent automation roll-out, production has now increased to 2,700 bottles per run, and they project to increase their annual production to 550,000 cases within the next 12 months.
General Manager, Mark Garaventa, says, “With a now fully-automated Sparkling production line, we are set to produce over 750,000 cases of sparkling wine annually — a 114% increase in production! The increase eliminates the need for extended or double worker shifts, as capacity enables us to run single shifts daily — a win for us, our clients, and our workers.”
Automated Sparkling Production — How It Works
Once the wine goes through the first stage of fermentation in stainless steel tanks until dry, it is then pumped from the tanks and bottled on the high-output automated sparkling production line. Sugar and yeast are added by robotics, then bottles are capped and placed into storage bins for the second fermentation which occurs in the bottle. Second fermentation is what creates the fine, tiny bubbles premium Méthode Champenoise sparkling wines — and Rack and Riddle — is known for. The wine ages on the lees in bins for at least six months to a few years, depending on client protocol. Once aged to protocol, the bottles are transferred to riddling bins where they are riddled robotically to fully riddle the lees into the bottle neck, which takes approximately 3-4 weeks. Once riddled, the bottles are transferred back onto the production line, neck down, where the lees are frozen in place at the neck of the bottle and popped out — this is the disgorging process. Once disgorged, robotics then adds custom dosage (if desired by client). Then, at a rhythmic and mesmerizing pace, the bottles run through the remaining automation process of being corked, caged, foiled, labeled, packed and palletized for shipment.
Rack & Riddle also features a fully automated still wine bottling line, also designed by MASPACK Packaging USA, for both grape-to-bottle and base-to-bottle still wine production services.
New Website Roll-Out
To coincide with the expansion and production upgrades, Rack & Riddle has just launched a totally redesigned website to better serve clients looking for custom crush sparkling and still wine services, private-label sparkling wine (shiners), automated bottling production, and more. The website was designed and developed by SoCo Creative Agency based out of Santa Rosa, California.
or a media or industry facility tour, or to request an interview with the Winemaking Team, journalists are asked to contact Business Development Manager, Cynthia Faust, at (707) 433-8400 x201 or firstname.lastname@example.org.