The Home Vintner - The Home Vintner Monthly Newsletter - May 2014








JUST IN TIME FOR SUMMER!! A new Island Mist - STRAWBERRY WATERMELON WHITE SHIRAZ.  This easy going wine has candied strawberry and watermelon aromas, light body and the medium sweet flavour of refreshing strawberry and watermelon.  How enjoyable is that?!  Alcohol 6.5%, sweetness is 5.

Serving Idea: Strawberry Watermelon Margaritas Combine Island Mist Strawberry Watermelon with Ice and Tequila (to taste) in a blender and mix to desired consistency. Serve in salt rimmed margarita glasses garnished with a wedge of fresh watermelon. Enjoy!

Island Mist Hard Pink Lemonade almost sold out with a few Hard Limeade remaining. 

Get ready to start your very own backyard lemonade stand with these delicious creations from Island Mist.  With flavours of freshly squeezed lemons, Hard Pink Lemonade has the classic taste with a kick. New Hard Lime is refreshingly tart with flavours of freshly squeezed limes and just the right amount of sweet.  Both flavours are 7.5% alcohol, with a sweetness code of 5. Available for a limited time only, so stock up to ensure you don’t run out! 


Saskatchewan's first micro-brewery prides itself on unique flavour and refreshing taste. Their award-winning brewmaster Stephen Cavan leads a team of people dedicated to creating great beers. Along with their terrific commercial beers, the crew at Paddock Wood provides a rotating selection of ultra-premium home beer making kits.  It's exciting to have the opportunity to brew beer at home from a complete wort kit, straight from the brewmaster's imagination!

It's even more exciting to know that these kits will continue to change with the seasons and trends.

Full 23 litre kits now available along with a great selection of liquid yeasts:

• Carib Lager - A pale light Pilsner in the European style, balances gentle dryness from traditional European hopping. Refreshing drinkability makes this the perfect warm weather thirst quencher! OG: 40 IBU: 20.4.  Wyeast 2112 California Lager, 1056 American Ale or 1968 London ESB Ale

• American Red Ale - A classic American Red Ale with good malt character balanced with a touch of bitterness and hop aroma from American Cascade hops. OG: 48-53 IBU: 29.  Wyeast 1968 London ESB Ale or 1275 Thomas Valley Ale

Honey Amber Cream AleA delicious beer with a rich amber colour and smooth honey notes. The finish is dry and very easy to drink. OG: 40-45 IBU: 18.  Wyeast 1968 London ESB Ale or any ale yeast

German Altbier - This traditional German Ale possesses many Lager characters.  Lighter tasting than its colour suggests with a firm Marynka hop character. OG: 50-55 IBU: 35-40.  Wyeast 1007 German Ale or 2565 Kolsch

Follow us on Twitter @TheHomeVintner for the latest releases.


Yeast produces a biofilm that accumulates on your equipment over time, much like plaque on your teeth. Without the action of scrubbing all of your equipment, primaries, carboys, and even bottles are likely coated with this biofilm.
A short soak in your Aseptox / Diversol cleaner is not enough to remove this film. While the film does accumulate slowly, it is only a matter of time before a spoilage organism will strike.

Soak your equipment for a minimum of 20 minutes, even overnight. Scrub your hydrometers and spoons with a soft cloth, and use a bottle brush for 20 to 30 seconds inside your bottles. For your primaries and carboys, use a carboy brush or our drill mounted carboy cleaner.

Always rinse everything thoroughly -- a tap mounted carboy / bottle rinser works really well. Due to the difficulty of cleaning your hoses and syphon cane, they should be replaced periodically, and absolutely must be replaced if they are stained.

Properly cleaning your equipment is essential to a quality product!

*based on an article by Tim Vandergrift, Winemaker Magazine, Winexpert Consultant


This debate has existed since the dawn of home winemaking.   Which one makes highest quality wine? First of all, both juice and concentrate can range wildly in quality, so it’s important to find a reputable dealer for whatever you choose. 

Good quality juice can yield a fantastic end product, as long as it is pure juice from a reputable supplier.   That being said, The Home Vintner made the decision to stop carrying pure juice products for a variety of reasons. Firstly, juice is highly perishable, and thus only available seasonally. The limited shelf life of fresh juice is a problem when home winemakers want to make a wide variety of wine from around the globe all year round.  Secondly, it is difficult to be sure of the quality and origin of fresh juice.  At the Home Vintner, we guarantee all of our kits. The instability and varying qualities of juice products do not fit into our model.

High quality concentrate has some advantages. The process of concentrating fresh juice acts as a preservative, because the increased sugar concentrations inhibit the growth of spoilage causing organisms. Using concentrate allows the consumer to find and make the wines they want when they want them.  If fresh juice isn’t used quickly, then it would have to be frozen to preserve it, rendering it not so fresh!


Most home brewers know that as yeast cells get to work fermenting our beer or wine, they produce two waste products, carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol.  This is what we call pure alcohol, or ethanol.
After some tinkering, it makes for a great drink, but not for the yeast.  They cannot survive in high concentrations of their own waste product, so as the alcohol content rises above about 15 per cent, the yeast die off.  This explains why, until distillation was invented, no human had ever enjoyed a drink stronger than beer or wine.
So that is how it ends for the yeast.  Either they run out of sugar and die of starvation, or they eat so much sugar that the alcohol they produce kills them.  Either way, they die doing what they do best: making drinks for us.
Credit Amy Stewart "The Drunken Botanist


During Prohibition in the US (1920--1933), enterprising California grape growers kept themselves in business by selling "fruit bricks"--blocks of dried, compressed grapes that were packaged with wine-making yeast.
A label warned purchasers NOT to dissolve the fruit brick in warm water and add the yeast packet, as this would result in fermentation and the creation of alcohol, which was illegal.


Many of our staff enjoy cool fermentation, especially for whites.  The dry yeast provided with the kit needs to be pitched at 17-23˚C.  
After primary fermentation is completed, the carboy can be moved to an environment where the temperature does not exceed 17˚C.  By lowering the temperature of the fermentation you can retain more of the fruity aromas of the kit, and minimize ester production in the yeast.  Talk to our staff about a liquid yeast which performs well cool.  Cool fermentation will require additional time at all steps, Jack says, "I can't believe the quality when I ferment at even lower temperatures".
At cooler temperatures it will definitely take longer in the carboy.  There will definitely be more CO2 locked into the wine so be prepared for a longer time to degas.
reprinted from "Techniques for Better Wine from Kits" from Winexpert


Half of our customers filter their wine (this polishes the wine by giving it more brilliance and removes particulates which improves aging).  With extra patience and time the other half do not filter.
To my surprise, Jack brought in an unfiltered California Sauvignon Blanc which was crystal clear.  This is how Jack clears his wine step by step:

• 7 days in the primary
• 45 - 90 days before stabilizing depending on the wine and surface activity, check your specific gravity with your hydrometer (at lower temperatures fermentation will take longer - degas with Vacuvin or with a rental degasser) 
• once stabilized rack the wine off the yeast bed at about 3 weeks - never top up, leave the carboy under vacuum with a Vacuvin stopper, store in a dark cool area
• rack again at 3 or 4 weeks leaving it under vacuum
• bulk age for up to 6 months leaving it under vacuum

Jack & Ron from the 14 St Store


Over 20,000 people have attended our wine & beer making courses since 1993.  During May we are offering 2 for 1!  $25.00 for you and a friend.  Join us as we walk you through the steps.

If you have taken this course before and would like a refresher, there is no charge for you and a guest.

Classes for May are now posted - click here to go to our event calendar... 


To enter, become a friend of The Home Vintner on Facebook. This month's winner of a $25.00 gift certificate is Angelika We...


click here to like us on facebook... 



Each month, every wine or beer purchase automatically enters you into our monthly draw.  This month's winner of a $25.00 gift certificate is Brad Star... from the Airdrie store. 



Join us on Twitter @TheHomeVintner to keep up with the latest news, events, sales, questions and comments.

Monthly prize winner of a $25.00 gift certificate is Jen @nutcaseinpoint



World Vineyard California Pinot Noir

World Vineyard Washington Riesling

Vintners Reserve Merlot

Vintners Reserve Chardonnay

• Barons Mexican Cerveza - For the summer how about a Belgian Wit, lime, raspberry, blueberry, roasted pumpkin or mango Cerveza?  Talk to our staff about liquid yeast choices.


Saturday May 17 NW 10 to 6,NE 10 to 4:30,  Airdrie noon to 4
Sunday May 18 NW/NE noon to 4, Airdrie closed
Monday May 19 NW/NE & Airdrie are closed

The Home Vintner - 1-888-222-0486 - Contact Us Unsubscribe