Frequently Asked Questions

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Do I need an appointment to make wine?

You don't need an appointment to start a batch. It is a good idea to give us a call quickly before coming in to make sure we have the kit in stock. If we don't we can order it in which usually takes about a week.

 

If wines like Merlot are available in all of your quality levels why would I spend more?

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?

 

What do I need to do to make my wine?

You come in, sprinkle some yeast on juice. Six weeks later come back and bottle it. It is that easy and only takes about 30 min to bottle a batch of 30 bottles of wine!

 

Can I do a split batch of wine say 15 bottles of white and 15 bottles of red?

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 amount of labour required to make a half batch would be the same as a full batch. Consider making wine with a friend; if you each do a batch and then trade you get a wider selection of wine!

 

When do I have to pay for my wine?

You need to pay at the time the batch is started. This is because it is illegal for us to sell the batch of wine to anyone else once it is started.

 

Can I bring my own bottles?

You can bring your own bottles. We suggest that you remove the labels in advance and make sure the inside has been rinsed after use. Avoid saving screw top bottles as they often break where the threading is on the glass when a cork is put in the bottle.

 

Some places make wine in four weeks. Why do you take six weeks?

We take extra care to make sure that your wine is done fermentation naturally and during the stabilization process to make sure that the CO2 has had a chance to come out of the wine. We feel this is a quality issue and don't rush the process. We want to give you the best quality wine possible.

 

What is the alcohol content of your wines?

Our wines typically have 12% - 14% alcohol content.

 

What is the shelf life of homemade wines?

We guarantee our wine for two years as long as it is stored properly. Click Here for storage tips

 
If you add more yeast to my wine will it have a higher 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.

 

Can you make Sulphite Free Wine?

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.

 

Why don't you have Canadian Juice Kits?

The VQA (Vintner's Quality Alliance) mandates that a wine must be made from grapes grown in Canada. The percentage varies from year to year but at 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 quality grapes on a consistent basis in large volumes.

 

What's the difference in making wine from a kit versus making wine from fresh grapes?

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. Wine Kits have also been pasteurized so that they have a shelf life of about a year.

 

What is the single biggest reason home-made wine doesn't turn out right?

One of the most important parts of wine making is cleanliness and sterilization. It is essential that anything that touches the wine be sterilized before use. (This includes your hands!). Many wines do not turn out properly because they are contaminated with a wild yeast or bacteria.

 

What are finings?

Finings are used to clarify wine before bottling.

 

What happens during fermentation?

During fermentation the yeast consumes the sugar and creates CO2 and alcohol as a byproduct.

 

When is wine ready to drink?

We have suggested aging times based on the type of wine in our Wine Description Section. The aging time suggested does not vary between quality levels.

 

How do I determine the alcohol content?

You need a hydrometer to determine the alcohol content of the wine. A measurement must be taken before fermentation and then after fermentation. Our wines are usually around 12%- 14% alcohol content.

 

Is it necessary to filter wine?

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.

 

I get headaches from my wine. Why?

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.

 

Why should I use glass bottles?

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.

 

What is cold stabilization?

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.

 

How can I chill my wine?

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.

 

Speaking of labels, how can I get them off the bottles?

LCBO labels can be very difficult to remove. Try methyl hydrate (read instructions on the bottle) to remove the adhesive residue. The labels from our store are designed to come off very easily be soaking in water for 10 minutes. You can also just leave the labels on if you choose and put the next label over top but it doesn't look as nice.

 

Why can't I just wash my bottles in the dishwasher?

You can but the inside of the bottle is not cleaned properly. We recommend that you rinse your bottles after drinking the wine, remove the label and then place them in a box upside down. Our bottle washer in the store will sterilize and clean the inside of your bottles when you return to the store to bottle your next batch.

 

What do I do to my bottles just before bottling the wine?

Make sure the inside of the bottle is clean and remove the labels.

 

Why do my friend's homemade wines taste like vinegar?

The wine may have been improperly made, needs more time to age or may have been made from a low quality juice.

 

If I want to drink my wine in a hurry is there any way to speed up the aging process?

We sell several items that can speed up the aging process of your wine including the Clef du Vin and the Amazing Wine Perfector. We still feel that a natural aging process is best but understand that sometimes you just don't have the space to store a lot of wine.

 

How should I store my wine after bottling?

Click Here for Details.