The Wine Journal: Getting the grapes into the bottle

Wine barrels

Barrels of handcrafted wine rest on the shelves at the Pacific Breeze Winery in New Westminster, B.C. Pacific Breeze is the only commercial winery in British Columbia without a vineyard and currently sources whole grapes from northern California, Washington and B.C.

The Pacific Breeze Winery in New Westminster is unique in British Columbia.

New West is certainly no home to any prospering or bountiful vineyards and 320 Stewardson Way is no exception. Unlike typical Osoyoos or Langley wineries, which sprawl across acres of fruit trees and grapevines, Pacific Breeze takes advantage of the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the United States and sources whole grapes from growing districts along the Northern Pacific coast. Currently, it is bringing in grapes from northern California, Washington and also from B.C. Once the grapes arrive, the process begins and wines are made in New West.

Crushed grape skins

A bin of discarded grape seeds and skins are separated from the extracted wine at the Pacific Breeze Winery. After fermentation, grapes go through a pressing process in order to separate the wine from the remainder of the fruit.

For those who enjoy drinking wine but don’t know a whole lot about how it’s made, Pacific Breeze employee Sam Dragan explains it simply:

Once the grapes arrive and go through fermentation, they are put through a press, which separates the skins and seeds from the grape and extracts the juice. The discard pile of skins and seeds doesn’t always go to waste though, Dragan explains.

“Older Italian men often come in and take some home to make grappa,” he said. Grappa is an alcoholic drink that was usually sipped after a meal in order to speed up and smooth digestion.


The best explanation of how we get wine, like the winery’s Killer Cab, outlines an eight-part process. Beginning with the crusher, the grapes then go through fermentation, which is followed by the pressing process. From there, the wine is put into a tank and then sorted into barrels. which will then be put through a filter that leads into a bottle where the wine will finish it’s eighth and final stage of aging. Pacific Breeze co-owner Frank Gregus describes this as a two-year ordeal.

1 Comment

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    Reply November 9, 2014


    I found this quite interesting as I had no idea how wine was made. To be perfectly frank I never thought about, but now I know. Your pictures are great. I really like the one of the discarded grape seeds and skins.

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