Today, with the craft beer industry growing at an exponential rate and thousands of new folks jumping onto the homebrewing wagon every year, getting started in brewing your own beer has NEVER been easier.
Whether you’ve long been dreaming of whipping up your own IPA, or you’re a seasoned homebrew vet, here are 10 reasons you should brew your own beer.
1. You’ll Have fun.
Plain and simple, brewing your own beer at home is fun. It’s easy to get started, simple to do, and is one of the best ways to spend a relaxing, agenda-free afternoon. Brewing by yourself is a great way to chill out and get some quality “me” time, but brewing with a partner in crime is just as enjoyable, too.
2. You’ll have a greater appreciation for good beer.
Learning to brew beer on your own will help you understand how the beer you’ve been drinking for years is truly made. Homebrewing will help you have a greater appreciation for high-quality beer. Next time you find yourself hanging out at a bar, sipping on a pint, you’ll likely find yourself thinking about the intricate process the beer went through to finally make it into your glass.
Once you start homebrewing, you’ll never look at beer the same way again. And that’s a good thing.
3. You’ll always have your favorite beer on hand.
Don’t you hate it when the liquor store is out of your favorite beer? Talk about a buzzkill!
When you’re your own brew master, your favorite beer is always on hand. Sound too good to be true? We assure you, brewing the style of beer you love the most isn’t as hard as you might think. It all comes down to having the right ingredients and taking your time with the process.
4. You’ll make new friends.
Once you start homebrewing, you’ll find that there’s a large, welcoming community out there, full of people who will love to talk to you about your new hobby. Beer people are good people, and now that you’re brewing your own, you’ll have something in common with other DIY brewers who have gone before you.
5. You’ll save money.
Brewing your own beer is a cost effective way to drink it. Once you purchase the equipment needed to get started (which can start as low as $84.99), the cost per batch is relatively cheap — as inexpensive as $0.66 per beer!
Not to mention, the beer you’re brewing is high-quality and FRESH craft beer. Compare that to the cheapest beer you can find at the local liquor store and let’s just say, you’re giving yourself a good deal.
6. You’ll get to pretend you’re a mad scientist.
Surrounded by buckets, tubes, thermometers, and brew pots, you’ll feel like a bit of a mad scientist when you’re elbows deep in your latest homebrew. Even if chemistry was never your thing, this is an experiment you’ll be able to pull off. Brewing is actually the easy part, perfecting your maniacal laugh … that’s another story.
7. You’ll feel creative.
It might take some practice to really hit your creative stride with homebrewing, but once you realize that the sky’s the limit when it comes to creating your own recipes, you’ll feel like an artist at work.
8. You’ll be prepared for a global crisis.
No matter what may come your way, you’ll always have bottles on bottles of beer stockpiled away in your cellar. Just don’t be surprised when all the neighbors come knocking on your door next time the power’s out.
Oh and don’t forget, when the zombies take over, those of us still around will need someone to brew beer!
9. You’ll feel proud of your new creation.
Finishing a big project like a batch of homebrew is an incredibly satisfying feeling. You’ll feel proud of yourself that you picked up a new hobby, learned a new skill, and came out on the other side with something you and your friends and family can all enjoy together.
10. You’ll have an excuse to throw a party.
Speaking of enjoying things together, your homebrew will be the perfect excuse to invite over all your favorite people to try your new beer together. Everyone will be impressed that you were able to craft a beer that tastes this good and best of all; you’ll get to drink beer in good company. And isn’t that the reason we homebrew in the first place?
So what are you waiting for?
By : Bryan at Great Fermentations!
Raising a glass of wine to toast the season with friends and family is as much a part of the holiday season as tree decorating and baking. But it can also mean endless runs to the liquor store. According to local business owner, Victor Van Beek personalized wine is popular among a number of hosts and gift givers this holiday season who are opting to make their own wine complete with thoughtful, custom-made labels.
“Today custom-made wine is made from high quality grape juice and concentrate sourced from the world’s best vineyards and the result is delicious, flavourful wines with great body, bouquet and character,” says local wine making shop owner Victor of Brew Time - Winexpert.. “It costs a fraction of commercial wine and can ensure you have a well-stocked wine bar for holiday entertaining, drop-in guests or as a personalized and thoughtful gift.
Lifestyle expert and TV personality Anna Wallner enjoys making her own wine in advance of the holidays. She recommends making an easy drinking Pinot Noir and a refreshing Riesling and then she has fun personalizing the labels.
“Custom-making your own wine with personalized labels is always a conversation starter at any holiday get together,” says Wallner. “It not only tastes great but it saves you money - and who doesn’t want to save money at Christmas? It’s also convenient to get it all done in advance early in the season, so your bar is always stocked and you’ve got great gifts on hand for last minute get togethers.”
For gifting a custom-made bottle of wine, Wallner recommends adding something special to it to make it even more useful to the receiver such as a waiter-style corkscrew or some festive charms. This way the receiver can use it for holiday entertaining or to enjoy during a quiet moment before all the festivities get underway.
Side Bar: Personalized wine is easy to make and fun!
Wallner recommends scheduling a pre-holiday girl’s night out to make your own wine. Gather a group of your girlfriends and each pick a variety of wine such as a full bodied French Merlot to a crisp Italian Pinot Grigio. You can make dozens of bottles and then do a wine-swap to ensure you each have a variety of whites and reds for the holiday season. More fun than a traditional cookie exchange!
Here’s how easy wine making is:
- Visit a local wine making retailer and choose a style of wine to suit your taste
- At your first appointment, which will take approximately half an hour, the retailer will help you mix the ingredients and sprinkle the yeast to begin fermentation
- A few weeks later you will return to the store to bottle your wine
- Have fun labelling your wine. Either create personalized labels or select from a variety of premade designs
- Take your wine home and let it age for a few weeks (the length it needs to age will depend on the style you’ve made)
- Enjoy your wine with friends and family
AUGUST 18, 2016 | BY CHRIS HOLMAN
10 easy tips for producing cellar stable wines
Whether you are a seasoned craft winemaker or you’re trying your hand at it for the first time, your goal should always be to produce wines that reflect the grape varietal and wine style, and will remain stable once bottled. After all, when you are making 30 bottles at a time, you want to enjoy the last bottle opened just as much, or even more, than the first! To make cellar stable wines, the winemaker needs to be aware of two main adversaries: oxidation and contamination.
While oxygen is integral to the winemaking process, every winemaker should understand when to exclude it to ensure cellar stable wines. Here are my top 10 tips to help you make a delicious wine, capable of standing the test of time.
1) Use fresh juice – Using the freshest juice possible will maximize the cellaring capability of your wine. When making any wine kit, always check and record the date code from the sticker on top of each box. This code indicates the date that your wine kit was assembled.
2) Cleaning & sanitation – Sanitation is essential for producing cellar stable wines. This ensures bright, "clean" tasting wines!
3) Degassing – Ensure that your wine is fully degassed BEFORE adding the sulphite during the stabilization process. This will enhance the efficiency of the sulphite and protect your wine against oxidation and microbial contamination.
4) Stabilization/clarification – Once your wine has reached its target specific gravity (indicated in the instructions), stabilize and clear your wine within 48 hours. By protecting your wine soon after the completion of fermentation, you are limiting its exposure to oxygen and spoilage-causing microorganisms.
5) Dissolve sulphite/sorbate – Prior to adding sulphite and potassium sorbate to your wine, dissolve it first into 1 cup of the wine. This will help to prevent clumping of the stabilizing agents and will maximize their efficiency.
6) Stir gently – When making any additions to your wine, always stir gently as opposed to vigorously. This will help limit the amount of oxygen introduced to your wine during the winemaking process.
7) Limit number of rackings – Try to limit the number of rackings to no more than three. This will help limit the amount of oxygen introduced as well.
8) Top-up – As soon as your wine has been cleared and stabilized, keep thecarboy topped up to 23L/6gal at all times.
9) Additional sulphite – If you are planning on aging your wine for greater than 6 months, it is highly recommended to add an additional ¼ TSP of sulphite 48 hours before bottling.
10) Storage temperature – Aging your bottles at a temperature of 12°C/55°F will help ensure that the wine you have worked so hard to make will age gracefully until opened!
If you follow these 10 easy tips, I am very confident that you will be able to produce wines that not only will age beautifully in bottle, but once you open and serve them, your friends will rave about them for years to come!
Planning a wedding? You Need Wine!
MAKE YOUR OWN WINE IN 6 EASY STEPS
1. VISIT YOUR Brew Time AT LEAST 3 MONTHS PRIOR TO YOUR WEDDING DATE.
It takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks to make your wine. We also recommend another 1 to 2 months for aging for optimal taste and complexity.
2. CHOOSE YOUR WINE.
Winemaking retailers are experts in wine and winemaking and can help you select the wines that are best for you and your guests
3. DECIDE HOW MUCH YOU WILL NEED.
One wine kit makes approximately 30 bottles of wine. On average you need two five ounce/150ml servings of wine per person. For 150 guests that equals 60 bottles of wine or two wine kits. Check out our Servings section further down the page.
4. START YOUR WINE.
All you need to do is sprinkle yeast (provided in your wine kit). That’s it! Your winemaking retailer does everything else to actually make your wine. Looking for the ultra-DIY experience? Alternatively you can try making your own wine at home. However we guarantee results!
5. BOTTLE IT.
This part is fun! Come back 4 – 6 weeks later (we will tell you) and bottle your wine. This means filling and corking your bottles using your winemaking retailer’s equipment. It’s easy, fun and takes about 30 minutes depending on how much you made. Bring your wedding party along for even more fun (you can sample a bit of wine too!)
6. LABEL IT.
Choose a wine label available from your retailer or design your own. Make sure to choose a shrink (the foil that covers your cork) that compliments your wine label and use your winemaking retailers equipment to put it on for a professional finish.
WINE STORAGE TIPS
Here are some wine storage tips to ensure top quality wine:
- Store your wine upright for the first 3 to 5 days. After that, store your wine on its side in order to keep the cork moist.
- Store your wine in a cool, dark place.
- Your wine should be stored where the temperature is CONSISTENT… Bright light, movement, and temperature fluctuations can negatively affect the quality of your wine.
- Do not constantly turn your wine.
- Do not store your wine directly on a cement floor. Put a thick piece of wood under your wine storage boxes.
- Do not store your wine on heated floors.
SERVING WINE AT YOUR WEDDING
• Currently, the only 2 provinces that allow custom made wine to be served (not sold) at weddings, with a Special Occasion Permit, are British Colombia and Ontario. However, custom made wine can be used in any province as wedding favours and can also be served at home in any province for an engagement party, rehearsal dinner, gift opening or any other gathering before or after the wedding.
• In order to serve custom made wine at your wedding in BC or Ontario, you will need to obtain a Special Occasion Permit prior to the event. Talk to your provincial Alcohol/Liquor & Gaming Authority for more information. Your winemaking retailer can also guide you in this process.
• Always check with your reception venue. They may have certain rules and regulations regarding serving custom made wine at their establishment.
From a bold Cabernet Sauvignon to a lovely, crisp Pinot Grigio there's a wine for everyone. Here's a short list of some of the most popular red and white wines with hundreds more to choose from that will suite every taste. Talk to our staff for suggestions on what would be best for you and your wedding guests.
HOW MUCH WINE WILL I NEED FOR MY WEDDING?
Welcome to Wedding Wine Math 101. Here’s some easy math to help you plan how much you need:
ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS:
a) How many of my guests will be drinking wine?
Don’t include your underage guests. They don’t get the good stuff!
b) How generous am I?
This means how many servings you want to provide to each of your legal drinking age guests. The average is two, 5 ounce/150ml servings per guest.
c) Do I want to serve both red and white wine?
Your answer should be yes so you are the hostess with the mostess. Typically one style of red wine and one style of white are sufficient. Note: Your total servings can be equally divided among your red and white wines
GUESTS × SERVINGS ÷ SERVINGS/BOTTLE = WEDDED WINE BLISS
Once you know the answers to the above questions, calculate what you need. Here’s an example for your reference:
Servings Per Guest:
Total Servings Needed:
Servings Per Bottle:
Bottles Per Wine Kit:
Total Wine Kits Required:
150 people (all legal drinking age)
2 x 150 = 300 servings
5 servings per 750ml bottle of wine
300 servings/5 servings per bottle = 60 bottles
30 bottles of wine
60 bottles of wine/30 bottles needed = 2 wine kits
Note: You can choose to split your total servings among red and white wine. In this case that would mean making one white wine kit and one red wine kit.
Choose a style of wine you like. Unsure? We can assist you with finding a wine that is suited to your taste.
Mix the ingredients and sprinkle the yeast. (The law says you have to!)
Make an appointment to bottle your wine.
Bottle your wine and dress it up with our labels and shrinks.
Let your wine age.
Uncork a bottle, put up your feet, and indulge.
Wine Storage Tips
Here are some wine storage tips to ensure top quality wine:
Store your wine upright for the first 3 to 5 days.
After that, store your wine on its side in order to keep the cork moist.
Store your wine in a cool, dark place.
Your wine should be stored where the temperature is CONSISTENT… Bright light, movement, and temperature fluctuations can negatively affect the quality of your wine.
Do not constantly turn your wine. Red wines will sometimes dust (leave residue on the inside of the bottle). This is normal. Simply decant your wine.
Do not store your wine directly on a cement floor. Put a thick piece of wood under your wine storage boxes.
Do not store your wine on heated floors.
Food and Wine Pairing
What you are looking for is harmony and balance in your pairing. Wine on its own tastes different than when it is paired with food. If it is complementary, wine can impart its flavours to a dish, thereby giving the food an added layer, or food can lend its flavours to the wine. If they clash, or if one overpowers the other, the experience will under whelm and disappoint and can sometimes lead to flavours that are not present in either, like an unpleasant metallic taste which can result from high tannin content and oily fish. With the right pairing, wine and food can combine to give your palate great pleasure!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make wine that is as good as store bought brands?
Yes. It may help to allow the wine to age after taking it home.
Is it expensive?
Not at all. The prices for our most popular wine kits range from $125 to $225 for 30 bottles. This means you can have a bottle of quality wine for approximately $5.00.
I've never done any winemaking on premise, what do I need to know and how much work is required of me.
The process of making wine on premise starts with choosing the type of wine you want to make and what quality of wine kit you want to use. The LCB requires that the customer own the ingredients and begin by sprinkling the yeast on the juice to begin fermentation. We assist you at all times to whatever extent required. After the batch is started the customer has no further obligations until the wine is ready to be bottled. When you arrive for your bottling appointment you need to sanitize your bottles, fill & cork them and finish by applying labels and shrink caps. We provide all the necessary equipment and assistance for you to accomplish this with ease.
How long will it take?
We offer you the choice of 5-week, 7-week and 8-week wine kits. Our 5-week wines are made from the finest blend of grape juice and concentrate. They are usually ready to drink in a few weeks after bottling. Our 7-week wines are made from premium quality grape juice blends. They are fuller bodied and require a longer aging time (at least 2 to 3 months). Our 8-week wine kits, with 100% varietal grape juice from country-specific vineyards, Selection Estate Series has re-defined the quality expectations of the advanced winemaker and the wine kit industry alike.
What kinds of wines are available?
Please see our Products page.
What is the alcohol content?
The alcohol level in our wines range from 11% to 14.5%.
Is Winexpert wine kits dry or sweet?
Our wine menu has sweetness indicators next to the wine names. Most of our wines have a dry finish, but we can adjust the levels to your taste. Just ask.
Can I clean my bottles when I come in to bottle?
No, your bottles should already be clean as we provide time and equipment for sanitizing already clean bottles. Thoroughly rinsing a wine bottle very soon after it is empty, soaking it for a few minutes to remove the label and draining it completely eliminates the need to spend much more time cleaning bottles that are left to the last minute. HINT! Store the clean bottles upside down to avoid contamination by foreign objects, dust, insects etc.
Can I store my wine in the Wine-On-Premise where I made it?
Sorry, once your wine is ready to be bottled you need to bottle and remove it to your home within a reasonable length of time (30 days). This is required by law as well as by the availability of containers and space to put them in.
What are Tannins?
Tannin comes from the skins, seeds, and stems of the grapes, and also from wood. It gives wine its longevity and character. Tannin is also found in strong tea.
What about wine with food?
The fuller flavoured the food, the more full-bodied the wine should be. A simply prepared chicken can match well with a light bodied white wine. If you add a rich cream sauce, then a medium to full-bodied white may be preferred.
What about wine with cheese?
Similar to how milk softens tea, cheese serves to round the tannic tastes of wine. Brie with sparkling wine is a good combination. Blue cheese overpowers most wines except dessert wines
The Winexpert Quality Story: “From Vineyard to Glass”
Winexpert's commitment to excellence, and dedication to delivering the highest quality products in the winemaking market, has made us the world's foremost supplier of premium wine kits. Our careful sourcing of supply, combined with state-of-the-art processing facilities and stringent quality control procedures continue to set the industry standard.
Our dedication to product excellence began over 20 years ago when we created the first modern wine kit. It continues today as we source high quality grape juice and concentrate from the world’s best wine regions. We strive for quality at every level in our operation, seeking to bring the finest these wine regions have to offer right to our customers’ glass.
Great wine is not made in a factory; it is made in the vineyard, where sunshine, good soil and careful tending make great grapes. We regularly visit with our growers and suppliers, and have stringent quality specifications and standards to ensure that we get the best possible varietals. We are offered many different grape juices and concentrates every year, but we make certain we select only the best available for our kits.
Immediate on-site grape sorting, crushing and pressing, combined with state-of-the-art processing techniques, as well as non-stop shipping systems, combine to ensure that we get the highest levels of flavour and aroma from our grape juices and concentrates. Our commitment to quality doesn't end there. In our environmentally controlled cellars, our highly trained Quality Assurance Team monitors all our juices and concentrates continuously to ensure that they stay in top condition. With years of experience, our winemakers and Quality Assurance Team follow proven Quality Assurance protocols, to ensure our high standards for consistently producing wine kits of the highest quality are met – every harvest and every year.
Winexpert operates like a “functional winery” – combining the traditional art of blending for consistency balanced with leading process technology to make the best winemaking products in the industry. This ensures that our wines are delicious and well-balanced, and it explains why wines made with Winexpert kits consistently win the most awards and medals in the North America’s largest amateur winemaking competitions. In fact, they win medals even when competing with wines made from fresh grapes.
At Winexpert, we are always striving for improvement, consistency and quality. Winexpert's commitment to superiority doesn't end at the kit. We also provide Winexpert authorized retailers with extensive training through our exclusive Winemaking Excellence Programs. From time to time we also support our retailers in hosting evening wine education events. These are fun educational evenings that provide you with further knowledge on wine, food pairings, or other topics related to the wine lifestyle.
Everyone that represents Winexpert strives to positively affect quality at every level, from the vineyard to the glass, so that you can make the best wine possible – every single time!
The Oldest Wine in the World
‘Old Vine’, included in the Guinness Book of Records
The heart of Maribor's old town, Lent, provides refuge for the Old Vine.
How would one describe the wine made from the grapes of the oldest vine in the world? Precious – no doubt about that. With a fine bouquet and taste. To many wine lovers, priceless. In front of a house in the old Lent Quarter of Maribor, on the left bank of the Drava River, is the so-called ‘Old Vine’, included in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest existing vine in the world. With its venerable age of four hundred years, it is a fitting symbol of Slovenia’s rich vine-growing and winemaking culture, especially in the merry Štajerska region where several wine routes crisscross the sun-drenched hilly landscape. The variety is known as Žametovka or Modra Kavčina in Slovene and is naturally one of the oldest domesticated grape varieties in Slovenia. It is also the origin of numerous younger plants growing around the world: many dignitaries visiting Slovenia receive graft of the Lent vine as a gift.
‘Festival of the Old Vine’
The large clusters of big grapes yield a clear bright red juice. The wine has a pleasant, full taste with high residual sugar content. The quality of the wine is also due to the venerable vine’s excellent location – a sunny plot of land overlooking the wide river. Throughout the year, events under the name ‘From Vine to Wine’ take place in the town on the banks of the Drava, the most eagerly awaited being the ritual grape harvest at the end of September known as the ‘Festival of the Old Vine’.
The four-century-old ‘plant of the gods’ yields between 35 and 55 kilograms of grapes per year, which is far from enough to an average winemaker, but the symbolic value is all the greater and, in the long run, of greatest importance for many. The Modra Kavčina wine is bottled in neat 250 ml bottles specially designed by renowned Slovenian design artist Oskar Kogoj. Most of the approximately one hundred bottles of wine produced annually are used as gifts by the municipal and state authorities. But the noble drink made from the grapes of the oldest vine in the world requires some ageing, which is in the domain of the Vinag Company Wine Cellar, one of the oldest classic wine cellars in Europe, which lies beneath Maribor.
Confirmed by experts on vine genetics from Paris
And how does one know for sure that the 'Old Vine’ of Maribor is, in fact, the oldest in the world? The authenticity of the vine first attested by expert measurements taken by Slovenian oenologists has been confirmed by experts on vine genetics from Paris. The vine was planted at least four hundred years ago, and probably even before that. The collection of paintings at the Styrian State Museum in nearby Graz, Austria, includes panoramas of Maribor dating back from 1657 and 1681, respectively, where one can distinguish a house standing on Vojašniška Lane, in front of which there stands a trellis with an abundant vine, the very same plant that is the oldest vine in the world today.
The Advantages of Home Brewed Beer
Why do we brew? A thread from our discussion forum some time back about “why we brew” got me thinking about the advantages that home brewing as a hobby bestows.
Intrinsic Rewards- Brewing beer has its own intrinsic value. There is something people find inherently rewarding the creative process. Its not just any beer, its your beer that you designed and created with your own two hands. In a sense, the ability to do something new, unusual, challenging and rewarding is the basis for all hobbies including this one.
Limited Time Needed – Brewing is a great hobby for busy people, as it really does not take that much work to brew a batch of beer. Extract brewing consumes perhaps a few hours of time spread out over several weeks, and even all grain brewing adds only a few hours of additional work. You can adjust the amount of time as needed to match your schedule.
Quality over Quantity – Home brewed beer is hand crafted, which means the home brewer can use ingredients and techniques that are commercially infeasible for the big breweries. In home brewing, all malt full bodied beer is the standard, and cheap additives are the exception.
Imagination Unleashed – Brewing beer opens up a world of possibilities. Home brewers can experiment with ingredients, styles and techniques spanning the entire world. The possibilities are limited only by the brewer’s imagination.
Reduced Hangovers – Home brewed beer contains a large quantity of yeast with Vitamin B. Vitamin B reduces the effects of a hangover naturally. Commercial beers are filtered and pasteurized, both of which strip the vitamin B from the beer and lead to hangovers.
The Cost Advantage – Though the malt and hops shortage have temporarily raised the price of home brewing, penny pinching all grain home brewers can still brew 5 gallons of beer for less than the cost of comparable commercial beer. Over time, I’m confident prices will come back down as the market balances supply with demand.
The Social Aspect – Home brewing is inherently a social hobby. Brewers are passionate about their beer, and the home brewing community is vibrant and growing. In addition, you may find your neighbors are fond of your latest creation and start dropping by more often to sample your beer. The internet and Web 2.0 sites like BrewPoll have made sharing the hobby even easier.
Health Benefits – A number of medical studies indicate that alcohol, properly used in moderation at 1-2 drinks per day can provide a number of health benefits. Obviously drinking too much can have a huge negative effect, so we recommend drinking in moderation always. In addition, dark beers provide many of the same benefits as dark wines with regards to high flavinoid content to promote a healthy heart. All natural ingredients including a solid dose of brewer’s yeast provide secondary health benefits. A recent article by Charlie Papazian points out that a 12 oz glass of beer has less calories than 12 ounces of juice, milk or soda.
The Challenge – Making commercial quality beer at home using recipes you developed is a challenge. However the challenge is part of the charm. There is a wonder in sharing a beer you created by hand with friends that is made even better if it is a difficult style or complex technique. Pushing the limits of the hobby to create the perfect brew is part of the fun.
Unlimited Variety – Home brewing takes us outside the narrow limits of popular commercial beer, and exposes the home brewer to a world of beer styles and possibilities. Home brewed beer gives you the opportunity to explore German, English, Belgian and other styles that an average drinker would rarely be able to access.
Cheers to Homebrewing!
Health Question, Sulphite Allergy
There is no such thing as a sulphite allergy. It is not physically or physiologically possible to be allergic to elemental sulphur compounds.
Sulphur is a crucial element that helps construct virtually all parts of the human body, and comprises 0.25% of the body by weight. It helps protect the cells in our bodies from environmental hazards such as air pollution and radiation. Consequently, sulphur slows down the aging process and extends human life span. Also, sulphur helps our liver function properly, helps us digest the food that we eat and then turn that food into energy. It is also important for blood clotting when we cut or bruise ourselves. Additionally, sulphur forms an important part of vitamin B1 and insulin. Metabisulphite is a stable salt of elemental sulphur. To be 'allergic' to it would mean you were allergic to a quarter of a percent of your own body, and you would drop dead instantly, never to raise a wine glass or anything else.
People who insist on avoiding sulphite cannot drink wine, ever, whether it’s commercial or homemade. Yeast produces sulphite as part of its metabolic activity, so even with no added sulphite, all wines still contain sulphites, around 6-10 PPM.
Commercially produced wines in Canada and the USA are allowed to have 75 PPM in free SO2, from amounts added during manufacture and packaging. Winexpert kits contain far lower levels, because they do not suffer the handling and shipping stresses of commercial wines. Typically at bottling, the amount included in the kits will yield between 15 and 25 PPM FSO2 at bottling.
By leaving out the sulphite packages in a Winexpert kit, you would reduce the sulphite levels merely by 10 to 15 PPM. You would not eliminate sulphites. This means that our kits are not an alternative for anyone who wishes to avoid sulphites.
It is interesting to note that there is sulphite in virtually all processed foods, from orange juice to instant noodles, chicken nuggets to white bread, luncheon meat to salad dressing, often at levels that are magnitudes higher than wine kits. Raisins, for instance, can have as much as 2500 PPM of sulphite added to them, yet consumers rarely consider the implications of sulphite 'allergy' with these items.
Winexpert cannot provide medical advice--we're not doctors, we're winemakers. If your consumers insist on leaving the sulphite out of our kits, it is fruitless to argue with them--and you're not a doctor either! In this case, please instruct them that this is the one instance that completely voids any warranty of the product, intended or implied. No matter what happens to the kit, if they leave the sulphite out, they are on their own.
Written by Phyl on April 6, 2011. Posted from Winexpert's wiki site.
HISTORY OF WINE AND WINE MAKING
The history of wine making probably begins with the history of civilization itself. The earliest known wine production may have been in Persia (current day region of Iran) as long ago as 6000 BC, and there is evidence of domestication of the vine in the Near East from around 3000 BC. Certainly there was wine made in the times of the expansion of the Greek empire, some thousand years before Christ. It appears that wine making spread to Italy, North Africa, and France.
Wine was revered by the Romans who may have been the first to seriously age wine in barrels rather than relying on earthenware amphora like the Greeks. It seems likely that the Romans introduced the vine to Gaul, the region which is now France.
Wine became an established part of upper class society, and fashions saw the rise and fall of different styles of wine. The history of wine making took a turn late in the 17th century. It was discovered that wine in a bottle with a tight-fitting cork, lasted much longer than wine in a barrel, once the barrel had been breached. The discovery of the cork for sealing bottles and preventing air entering, other than in minute quantities, led to the practice of keeping wines for longer and longer periods. It became apparent that some wines even improved by being stored in this manner. The wine trade expanded during the 18th and 19th centuries, to the point where some countries’ economies depended largely upon it. Unfortunately it was about this time when the disease Phylloxera took hold, and vast numbers of European vineyards were devastated, taking many years to recover. Many indigenous varieties of grape vine were lost, and only a few types survived, but it led to more efficient use of land and better growing practices to improve production.
Grapes and wheat were first brought to South America by the Spanish conquerors in order to provide for the needs of the Catholic Church. Since then the grape vine has spread to various parts of the Americas, and, as more have been imported there has developed a mix of Old World and New World vines.
Through the 18th century England and France were often on unfriendly terms and at war. This meant that England had to turn to other sources for wine, such as Portugal, Holland, and South Africa. The fact that pure drinking water was not readily available had made drinking wine commonplace for a long time.
The industrial revolution brought changes to wine making allowing more reliable production of quality wines. It became possible to ferment wines in large metal vats under closely controlled temperature conditions. Modern technology has allowed much more control than ever over the production of wine, making it possible to achieve reliable production to a decent standard.
RED WINE AND HEALTH
The health benefits of red wine – consuming red wine, in moderation, can not only be pleasurable but good for your health as well. It is now generally accepted by health experts and even governments that drinking one to two glasses of red wine a day is beneficial to heath.
Antioxidants contained in red wine such as resveratrol and other polyphenols, flavonoids such as catechin, and saponins help to prevent the oxidation process in which reactive particles known as “free radicals” cause damage to healthy cells.
The health benefits of red wine have been noted particularly in helping to cut the incidence of heart disease, cancer, and inflammation in the body as in chronic lung disease.
Studies polyphenols like resveratrol can increase the activity of a family of enzymes called sirtuins and this may have a beneficial effect by slowing the process of ageing.
Resveratrol is also known as a phytoestrogen, a plant derived substance with properties similar to those of estrogen. Due to this similarity, phytoestrogens are able to bind to estrogen receptors in the body, acting like naturally produced estrogen. This means that consumption of red wine may benefit certain conditions associated with a decrease in natural estrogen like menopause, breast cancer, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease. One of the antioxidants associated with the health benefits of red wine is catechin, which occurs in several varieties and which is also found in green tea.
Catechins are thought to reduce the risk from four of the major health problems: stroke, heart failure, cancer, and diabetes. They have been associated in studies with reduction of atherosclerotic plaques or "furring up" of arteries. This effect is probably related to the raising of HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol) levels, and the lowering of LDL ("bad" cholesterol). They have been shown to help protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation and cancer, and also in reducing potentially damaging histamine-related local immune responses.
Some varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Syrah, and Pinot Noir, are thought to be particularly high in flavonoids and therefore most beneficial. White wines have the skins of the grapes removed at an early stage in their production, and therefore have a much lesser content of beneficial substances.
Properly storing wine is just as important as the time and dedication put into making your wine. The extreme you want to go to is strictly up to you.
Storing wine can be as simple as using cardboard boxes, a small wine rack, a rack that holds 20–30 bottles, or a complete wine cellar.
The main reason for storing wine is to keep your wine at a constant temperature. Wine is a natural, perishable food product. If it is exposed to heat, light, vibration or fluctuations in temperature, it will spoil your wine.
When properly stored, most wines will improve in aroma, flavor and complexity as they mature.
Light, temperature and humidity have the most effect on wine.
Light, either direct sunlight or incandescent light can break down your wine and create faults. That is why a bottle color is important when bottling your wine for an extended period of time. Most wine makers prefer a dark green or brown bottle.
Humidity can also dry out the cork. Even when wine is stored on its side, there is still a side of the cork that can dry out if the air is too dry. This will cause oxidation and your wine will spoil.
Temperature is another important factor when storing your wine. Try to keep you wine at a constant temperature. If wine is exposed to too high of a temperature (above 77 degrees F) for an extended period of time, it will cause the wine to spoil and taste “cooked”.
Some wines (usually reds) are more tolerant of higher temperatures. The more delicate wines (mostly whites) cannot take high temperatures.
Cold temperatures can also adversely affect your wine. If the temperatures are too cold, your wine can freeze and expand, causing the cork to be pushed out. This will allow more oxygen in and cause oxidation and again, spoil your wine.
With all that being said.
Try to find a happy medium when storing wine.
A simple wine rack works and does not need to be large. If you have no wine rack, use a wine box with the cardboard separators in it to keep the bottles from hitting each other.
Never put them directly on a concrete floor.
Just be sure to store your wine lying on its side to allow the air bubble in the bottle to be clear of the cork. If the cork dries out, it will let bacteria and other anti-oxidants into the bottle ruining your wine.
Store the wine in a relatively dark, cool area that stays at a constant temperature. Keep away from heat and bursts of sunlight.
If you make a batch of wine, separate it.
Put a couple of bottles within reach, for immediate consumption.
Then put a few bottles further away for a couple of months from now.
And repeat the process until you have your batch of wine spread out over an extended period.
The taste difference will amaze you. As the time passes, your wine matures and the flavors and aromas grow and are appreciated so much more.
Serving wine is important to enjoy the full potential of your wine. If you don’t care about the temperature and type of glass you serve wine in and just want to open the wine and drink it... by all means...go ahead and drink it!
But, if you want to experience the fullness of your wine, it is important to take into consideration the serving temperature, type of glass in which it is served and allowing your wine to “breathe”. You will truly savor every sip of your wine. This can be very simple or you can pull out the stops and turn serving wine into an experience. If you’ve stored your wine in a cool place, you may need to do nothing but open and pour.
White wines are best served chilled, slowly and gradually. This means maybe a couple of hours in the refrigerator door standing upright. OR To chill white wine quickly, place it in a bucket of ice, with water, so it cools rapidly. Red wines can be chilled, but most are best served at “room temperature”. Red wine should sit upright to let the sediment settle and opened ahead of serving time to allow them to “breathe”.
Glasses should be big enough and thoroughly rinsed, since it is amazing how the soap residues left after washing will ruin the taste of your wine.
Properly serving wine in a stemmed glass, that has a rounded middle creating a “bowl” effect, will let you realize the full flavor and aroma of your wine.
Reds should be served in a larger stemmed glass to allow the bouquet of the wine to shine!
A stemmed glass has always been the perfect way to serve wine. Nowadays, there are "bowled" glasses with no stem. These are acceptable, so long as they have a rounded middle larger than the opening.
The most crucial factor in the glass is the "bowl". Do not "fill" the glass too much. Swirling the wine in the glass releases the "bouquet" of the flavors, letting them settle at the top of the glass which pleases the nose.
Decanting can be done, but is more for show than necessity. So if you are trying to impress, go ahead, decant and put on a classy show.
To properly decant your wine, let stand for a couple of days to allow the sediment to settle. Then slowly, start pouring your wine into the decanter, carefully watching the arrowhead of sediment slowly creeping to the top, then stop. If you have poured correctly, you should only have about a half a glass of wine left in the bottle.
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WINE AND FOOD MATCHING PRINCIPLES
1. Match your wine to the strongest flavour on the plate.
2. Balance the weight of the wine to the weight of the food. A full flavoured meal needs a full-bodied wine; a lighter dish requires a lighter wine.
3. Fatty, greasy or rich dishes need a dry wine with good acidity to clean the palate.
4. Salty dishes need a slightly sweet wine with full fruit flavours, moderate acidity, lower alcohol and no tannins.
5. Hot, spicy dishes require refreshing acidity, lower alcohol and fruity wines with a touch of sweetness.
6. Cream sauces and butter require wines of good fruit and matching creamy style or contrasting acidity to cleanse the palate.
7. The dessert wine should be sweeter than the dessert.
8. Rare meats need young tannic reds and well-done meats need older or fruity reds with little to no tannins.
9. Foods high in acidity are complemented by wines high in acidity.