The foil band thwaps around the bottle’s neck, a split second later heat tightened under a miniature dryer bonnet. The bottles, standing up like a progression of toy soldiers, circle the bend on the narrow conveyer belt of this miniature bottling plant inside the truck that pulled up to the Dodon farm just hours ago.
Each bottle gets a cork, a foil seal and labels, front and back, which tell the story of what’s inside: Dungannon wine, vintage 2014, grapes a blend of mostly Merlot and Cabernet Franc, from vines planted years before. What the label may not reveal is how those vines have been watered, worried over, trimmed back, have had some insects shooed away while others were allowed to hover nearby. Once harvested, the fruit is destemmed and sorted; it ferments and then ages in a barrel made from French oak (Each of the barrel’s 27 staves is hewn from a different tree; the coopers are artisans who create these vessels to add flavor to the wine). Today, each bottle is dressed to go out into the world. But these soldiers won’t be heading to battle.