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Bellingham winery puts a cap on its 2013 vintage

Video: Bottling day at Coach House Cellars in Bellingham

Scott Whitman of Coach House Cellars in Fairhaven describes the bottling process, which only happens once a year for the winery at 1319 11th St. Dave Gallagher | The Bellingham Herald
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Scott Whitman of Coach House Cellars in Fairhaven describes the bottling process, which only happens once a year for the winery at 1319 11th St. Dave Gallagher | The Bellingham Herald

When it takes more than two years of preparation before you can get wine into a bottle, you might expect winemakers Scott Whitman and Paxton Rembert to be a bit nervous when that day arrives.

But the process of bottling Coach House Cellars wine seemed to be going like clockwork Tuesday, Aug. 18, as a group of friends and customers helped stack the boxes for some 1,500 cases into a warehouse.

The group was bottling wine from the 2013 harvest of grapes that came from vineyards in the Columbia Valley in central and southern Washington, said Whitman. The wine spent two years in barrels before being transferred to a holding tank a few months ago.

Instead of taking the wine to a bottling plant, the plant came to Whitman and Rembert in the form of a large truck. Signature Mobile Bottlers had a truck stationed in Woodinville and came up to Bellingham for this bottling event, which usually happens once a year for the company.

“It’s the grand finale for (this vintage), so we were glad to have so many volunteers to help us out,” Rembert said.

Having to wait two years before the product can hit the shelves is challenging from a business planning standpoint, but Whitman said it’s been working out well as they ramp up a little each year. With the warm, dry weather, the 2015 crop is coming in a few weeks sooner than usual.

“This has been a great year for growing grapes,” he said.

Much of the wine is sold in Whatcom County, including at the winemakers’ Rustic Coffee & Wine Bar in Fairhaven. The wine also is sold in several stores and restaurants around town. It’s the sixth year for the company, which originally started in Rembert’s garage.

Details about the winery can be found at coachhousecellars.com.

Reach Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or dave.gallagher@bellinghamherald.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BhamHeraldBiz and on Facebook at BellinghamHeraldBusiness.

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