You don't need an appointment to start a batch. It is a good idea to give us a quick call at (519) 753-0001 before coming in to make sure we have the variety and quality level you'd like in stock. If we don't we can order it in which usually takes about a week.
The kits come with 23 liters of juice which makes 30 bottles of one type of wine. We do not make split batches as the raw product cannot be properly divided. Consider making wine with a friend; if you each do a batch and then trade you get a wider selection of wine! You must each be present when starting and bottling your wine.
We take extra care to make sure that your wine is fermented naturally and that the CO2 has had a chance to come out of the wine during the stabilization process. We feel this is a quality issue and don't rush the process in order to give you the best quality wine possible.
After bottling, we have suggested aging times based on the type of wine. The aging time suggested does not vary between quality levels.
We guarantee our wine for two years as long as it is stored properly. (See storage tips below.)
Optimum conditions for storing wine include stable temperatures around 55°, humidity of approximately 80%, and darkness. Cool temperatures slow the aging process, increasing complexity and varietal character of the wine over time. At home, basements are usually ideal for storing wine because of their cool, constant temperature and darkness. If no basement is available, consider storing wine in a little-used closet in an air-conditioned part of your home. Leave your wine upright for 24 hours, then afterwards, store your wine on its side so that the wine is in contact with the cork. This keeps the cork moist, and maintains the air tight seal.
Our wines typically have 12-14% alcohol content.
It will not. The alcohol content is determined by the amount of sugar in the juice. The yeast eats the sugar to make the alcohol. The yeast will naturally die off around 14% alcohol content, so adding more sugar will not increase the alcohol content significantly.
You need a hydrometer to determine the alcohol content of the wine. A measurement must be taken before fermentation, and then after fermentation.
The VQA (Vintner's Quality Alliance) mandates that a wine must be made from grapes grown in Canada. The actual percentage varies from year to year, but a minimum Canadian grape content is required. The wine must also meet stringent quality standards in testing. As a result of the growing Canadian wine industry, it is difficult to obtain large volumes of quality grapes on a consistent basis.
Concentrate and Semi-concentrate kits have had a portion of the water removed to reduce shipping costs. This water is added back in before fermentation to bring the juice back into balance. We use reverse osmosis water at the store to ensure that no flavours are added by putting the water back in. Our Supreme 100% Juice Varieties have also been pasturized so that they have a shelf life of about a year. This is advantageous as all wild yeasts, and bacteria are killed off. This means that only the wine making yeast is present during fermentation.
The wine may have been improperly made, needs more time to age, or may have been made from a low quality juice.
One of the most important parts of wine making is cleanliness and sterilization. It is essential that anything that touches the wine be sanitized before use (including your hands and bottles). Many wines do not turn out properly because they are contaminated with a wild yeast or bacteria.
Glass bottles do not imbue flavor into the wine as long as they have been properly cleaned. You will notice we use Italian glass carboys in our wine making process for this reason. We strongly discourage using plastic bottles for your wine as it can change the flavor of your wine over the storage time. We will not guarantee any wine that is bottled in plastic containers for this reason.
We recommend that you rinse your bottles after drinking the wine, remove the label, and then place them in a box upside down. We do not recommend using a dishwasher as the bottle is not cleaned properly. Our state-of-the-art bottle washer will clean and sanitize the inside and outside of your bottles when you return to the store to bottle your next batch.
The labels from our store are designed to come off very easily by soaking in water for 10 minutes. Other retail outlet labels can be very difficult to remove. Try methyl hydrate (read instructions on the bottle) to remove the adhesive residue.
It is not necessary to filter wine, you can use finings to clarify the wine but this takes a fair amount of time. We filter all of our wines to achieve the best quality possible.
Finings are used to clarify wine before bottling.
You may have a sulphite allergy. If this is the case beer and wine will give you headaches. If only red wine gives you headaches then you may be allergic to the tannins found in the grape skins. White wines are made from the meat of the grape; red wines are made from the meat of the grape and the skins.
It is impossible to make sulphite free wine. Sulphites are created during the fermentation process. We do have a lower sulphite content than many commercially made wines though as we use the sulphite to sterilize our equipment but do not add it as a preservative.
During fermentation the yeast consumes the sugar and creates CO2 and alcohol as a byproduct.
Cold Stabilization is the process through which the yeast is killed off by lowering the temperature of the wine to below 0C for at least a week. Large commercial wineries use cold stabilization as it also removes tartaric crystals before filtering.
Place a bottle either in the fridge or in a bucket of ice with water in it. It can damage the wine if you chill it for more than 5 hours. Commercial wine chillers are available in sizes from 3 bottles to 100+ bottles and bi-level units allow both red and white to be stored in the same unit.
Making wine is very much like cooking. The quality of the juice heavily influences the quality of the wine that is produced. The better the quality of the juice the higher the price usually is (We do have Monthly Sales). You wouldn't expect to buy ground beef and end up with a high quality steak for grilling...would you?