Articles & News

Can I leave Sulphites out of my wines?

The most common reason given for wanting to leave out sulphites is a worry over allergic reactions. If a true allergy is at issue, leaving out the sulphites will not render the wine sulphite free, as yeast creates sulphites during the fermentation process. If a sulphite sensitivity is the worry, know that the amount of sulphite added to these kits is far less than required for commercial production. Often reactions to drinking wine are due to other causes and not the sulphites. (For a complete discussion of this topic, see our article "Red Wine Headaches - a thing of the past with Home Vintner wine kits.")

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“RED WINE HEADACHES” A THING OF THE PAST WITH HOME VINTNER WINE KITS

What is it about wine, especially red wine, that makes as much as a 1/3 of humanity unable to drink it without getting a headache?  Drinking just one glass can trigger immediate discomfort, raise blood pressure, or morph into a days-long migraine.  Hennie van Vuuren, director of the Wine Research Centre at the University of British Columbia, is pretty sure he's figured out the problem.  He himself suffers from red wine headaches.

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Can I bottle my wine with used commercial bottles?

The Home Vintner sells a variety of quality wine bottles.  We don't skimp on quality for style, nor do we carry lower quality options. When you are ready to bottle your wine you should be ensuring that you have the best bottles to protect your hobby and investment.  We have had a recent surge in problem solving wine faults, and many have led back to bottle quality.

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What kind of water should I use?

"Is water a factor in the success of my wine?"

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CLEARING - Do I need to use the fining agents?

"Why is it necessary to add the fining agents (package #4) before transferring the wine must off the sediment that has built up in the carboy bottom? Wouldn't it be more efficient for package #4 to be added after the sediment has been removed?"

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CELLAR PLANNING & AGEING

The longer you make wine kits, the more you’re likely to notice that even if you’re sure you’ll never drink 30 bottles of wine, they will soon vanish anyway. Between doling them out to friends or using them at parties or other special occasions, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll use up your wine. And sooner than you expect, you’ll be dashing out to make another kit because you’ve run out.

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Weight of a wine

To learn the weight of a wine, look at the alcohol content. Less than about 12% alcohol is light wine territory, 12.5-13.5% means medium-bodied and anything higher is full-bodied. Body in wine refers to its weight in the mouth, and is comparable to milk – light is to skim as whole is to full.When you head to the beach most want light. The lightest wines come from cooler climates or microclimates. Germany, Canada and northern France are usually good places to start when scouting lighter wine kits. And of course, certain grape varieties are naturally leaner than others.

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New Degassing System

A huge challenge in Calgary is the process of degassing wine after it has been stabilized. We have encouraged our clients to use the Vacuvin system which creates a vacuum in the carboy sucking out the CO2. Exclusive only to The Home Vintner - after years of searching for an automatic system, Paul has found an electric degassing unit. The staff have been busy testing them by degassing their own wine - Ron tested it on the weekend by degassing two wines at the same time. As with our wine filters, these units are available exclusively for our clients. Rental is $5 per 24 hour period.

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Selection International French Rosé

Our seasonal release Selection International French Rosé is a crisp, off-dry rosé from Southern France. An extremely food friendly wine, the pairing possibilities run the gamut from light salads to spicy meats from the grill - definitely a wine to keep well-stocked and ready all summer. Serve chilled. Don't miss out on this great rosé, supplies are limited and they won't last long.

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BUYER BEWARE OF BLOWOUT SALES!

A wine or beer kit is a food product and should be treated as such. Would you be comfortable eating a can of peaches that was a couple of years old?

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WINE RECOMMENDATION - NEW ECLIPSE LODI RANCH 11 WITH GRAPE SKINS

This Californian Cabernet has been my house wine for over 12 years.  This is Murray's personal favorite!  I will always remember coming into the NW store and watching him kick the box and say "Buy this one".  Thanks Murray, you are a great friend, hope you will be able to attend this years Limited wine tasting next week.  Rich fruit and complex structure dazzle from first aroma to long, refined finish.

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Paul's Rant

Think about hand crafting an Innis & Gunn, Black Pilsner, Stout, or Belgian Wit to name a few.  With the use of our Barons Beer kits, our add-on packs and liquid yeast, you can create any of these great beers.  For any of you who were burned on a beer kit in the past, concluded that all beer kits were the same and gave up on home brewing, now is the time to give it another try.  You will be impressed, we guarantee it!

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Using The Home Vintner Wine Filter

Adding "polish" to a wine's appearance is the number one reason home winemakers elect to filter their wines. It adds a glassy and pure look to the wine that is simply appealing. Filtration will not make a cloudy wine become clear. That is not its purpose.

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CORKING ULLAGE

Ullage is the unfilled space in a wine bottle between the wine and the bottom of the cork. When we recommend 1-1/4 inches ullage for Nomacorcs, this is to provide sufficient space for the cork to compress air ahead of it as it enters the neck of the bottle.

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AGEING, WHEN TO DRINK KIT WINE

You can find information about ageing your wine in the product guide we have provided with your kit. The general rule is that a bottle will show most of its character after 3 months of ageing, and that’s usually the minimum we recommend. However, for most whites and virtually all reds, 6 months of ageing is needed to smooth out the wine and allow it to express its character in a mature way. And in fact, heavy reds will continue to improve for at least a year, rewarding the patient consumer with a delicious bouquet. What most winemakers tend to do is go by the minimum recommended ageing period of 3 months, trying a bottle at that time, then leaving the wine a few more months before trying again to see how it has progressed.

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