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Monthly Archives: September 2019

2019 Amateur and Commercial Winemaking Competition

It’s that time of year again!

Musto’s 2019 Amateur and Commercial Wine Competition is just around the corner. Every year, home and commercial winemakers get the chance to show off their wines in a blind tasting judged by knowledgeable, seasoned wine judges in a series of blind tastings.

It’s hard work, but someone’s gotta do it!

Who can enter?

This wine competition is open to any amateur winemaker, commercial winemaker or winery. Wine entry must be made by a winemaker, not purchased and re-bottled and used as an amateur wine maker entry. Judge may not judge a wine they have submitted.

How do I enter?

Send Musto Wine Grape your bottled wine by the deadline of November 16th at 12PM.

What can I submit?

A wine entry is a still bottle of wine and submitted for entry in a 750ml wine bottle. Ice wines or late harvest wines may be submitted in a 375ml wine bottle, however if 375ml please send 2 – 375ml bottles. Sparkling wines must be submitted in a champagne style bottle with the proper closure. All bottle entries must be free of any labeling or identifying markings. However, each must be marked with category number, winemaker(s) name, wine ingredients, percentages & vintage.

 

What is the judging process?

Judging of wines will be performed on a 20 point award system. Each wine will be judged on its own merits and not compared to any others in its category. Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be awarded within each category and based on the 20 point system. The Best of Show award(s) will be those wine entries that are superior within a given category.  All award decisions made by the judges and/or sponsors, are final.

We’re doing something different this year!

This year, in order to allow winemakers a more thorough and individualized analysis of their submitted wines, Musto Wine Grape Company staff will be personally judging and performing sensory analyses on each bottle. This year’s competition format will allow for more time, thought, and comments to go into each individual’s submission, yielding a more comprehensive understanding of each wine. Because of this, entries will be capped at 300 bottles. 

What are the categories?

Wine entries made from grapes and juice based wines will be judged and awarded in their own category. Wine entries made from kits and fresh processed and concentrated juices will be judged and awarded in a kit category.

Is there a deadline?

There sure is – have your wines sent to Musto Wine Grape, 101 Reserve Rd, Hartford CT 06114, by November 16th at 12PM.

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Is there a fee?

Entry fee for a single wine entry will be $11.00 and $9.00 each for 2 or more entries submitted at the same time. Make checks payable to Musto Wine Grape Company in U.S. dollars only.

Can I send in a labeled bottle?

No. All bottle entries must be free of any labeling or identifying markings. However, each must be marked with Category number, winemaker(s) name, wine ingredients and percentages & vintage.

How can I get it to you?

All shipments are the entrant’s responsibility therefore packaging must be able to withstand considerable handling and shipping costs are the entrant’s responsibility. COD’s or postage due will be rejected. If an entry bottle is received damaged, we will make every effort to contact the entrant and notify them of the damage. Check with your shipper as to requirements for shipping wine, we suggest shipping via FedEx.

When are results announced?

There is an awards ceremony held every year to reveal this year’s results, which will be held in Spring 2020 (exact date TBA) and of course you can also see the results announced on Musto’s website, www.juicegrape.com. All entrants will receive a copy of the judging worksheet and a copy of the winning results.

Enter the contest and you could go home with the gold in this year’s winemaking competition!

So what do I do now?

Send us your wine ASAP! Since entries will be capped at 300, we won’t be able to accept any after this. Look out for an announcement on Facebook and our website that lets you know when we have received our maximum entries.

 

Don’t make these mistakes this harvest season!

Avoid these all too common mistakes this harvest!

With all the planning, excitement, energy, and potential money you’ve put into preparing for harvest time, the last thing you want to do is make a silly mistake that may put the quality of your wine in jeopardy. The following is a list of pitfalls to be aware of. Heed these words to the wise and save yourself a headache in the future.

1) Inadequate space for your volume

Overflowing, bubbling, fermenting wines can make an absolute mess. You want to fill any vessel no more than 3/4 full pre-fermentation unless you’re both physically and emotionally prepared for the cleanup. You will also needlessly lose volume, yeast, and nutrient, in addition to your mind. Multiple tanks or carboys of various sizes will be your saving grace here.

2) Not cleaning properly

Clean, sanitize, repeat.

The importance of proper cleanliness and sanitation practices from the get go cannot be stressed enough. B-brite, One Step, soda ash, and Proxycarb are all cleaning agents. Potassium metabisulfite + citric acid is a sanitizing solution.

You want to clean and then sanitize, not sanitize and then clean. Don’t let anything with residue of fruit, juice, or must sit out for longer than necessary. That means that before you finish up for the day, your work space should be nice and clean and ready for the next day. Otherwise you will attract fruit flies, which can lead to VA issues in the wine. (Not to mention they’re a pain and difficult to get rid of anyway.)

Cleaning the inside of a carboy

3) Underestimating the need for nutrients

Adding yeast nutrients may seem like an optional add on, but why wouldn’t you want to ensure that your yeast have all of the nutrients that they need to be happy and healthy and get your juice to become the wine of your dreams? Some yeast strains almost require the addition of them to work well. There’s no harm in using them, but there can definitely be harm in choosing not to.

Lack of nutrients can lead to stressed yeast which can produce off odors (H2S, the smell of rotten eggs or cabbage) that are very difficult to get rid of.

4) Skipping steps/guesstimating

Eyeballing an SO2 add, rounding up on Brix levels, or having a “eh, it’s more or less correct” attitude when making wine can really complicate your life down the road. Sure, some people see winemaking as only art and some see it as only science; but the wise see it as the perfect blend of both.

We all know the feeling…

Bear in mind that measurements are used for a reason; the order of operations for certain nutrient adds are not arbitrary, as adding one with DAP before the right point can actually hurt the yeast; too little SO2 and the wine will suffer, too much and it will also suffer. The list goes on, but be sure you:

  • do not generalize
  • do not come to conclusions without taking all variables into account
  • do not guestimate unless you know for a fact that a “more or less” mindset is applicable in a given circumstance

Don’t guesstimate on your math – it may cause problems down the road

5) Forgetting that there’s a difference between US and metric system

Freshen up on your middle school math conversions so you can quickly maneuver between gallons and liters and ounces and grams. Some labels include g/L and lb/gallon. Double (or triple) check your math to be sure you’re consistent and working with the same unit of measurement. These early stage additions very much set the tone for the wine throughout its whole life so you want to get it started on the right foot. Online calculators like WineMaker Mag’s sulfite calculator and winebusiness.com’s conversions caulculator can be really useful because you can toggle back and forth between these systems depending on what you are most accustomed to.

In Stock as of Thursday September 5th at 9:06AM

In Stock as of Thursday September 5th at 9:06AM

GRAPES:

Variety Label Brix Cases
Ruby Cabernet Cry Baby 25 192
Albarino King’s River 26 54
Alicante O’Caprio 24.5 252
Muscat Cry Baby 26.5 162
Pinot Grigio King’s River 26.5 50
Pinot Noir King’s River 26.5 108
Sauvignon Blanc King’s River 26.5 50
Syrah King’s River 27 54
Thompson Seedless Cry Baby 26.5 126
Barbera King’s River 162
Grenache Cry Baby 42
Mixed Black Cry Baby 0
Teroldego King’s River 54
Zinfandel King’s River 270

 

JUICES:

Variety Label Pails
Barbera California Select 108
Sauvignon Blanc California Select 72
Alicante California Select 72
Cabernet Sauvignon California Select 72
Riesling California Select 108
Merlot California Select 108
Mixed Black California Select/Bella California 36/36
Pinot Noir California Select/Bella California 72/72
Sangiovese California Select 72
Thompson Seedless California Select 72
Zinfandel California Select 72
Syrah Bella California 36
Muscat Bella California 36

Lodi Wine Grape Harvest Update (as of 9/3/19)

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Lodi Harvest Update:

  • Lodi Gold Pinot Noir – at 24.5 Brix, harvesting Thursday 9/5
  • Mettler Sangiovese – at 21.5 Brix
  • Mettler Petite Sirah – at 22.2 Brix
  • Lodi Gold Chardonnay – at 23-24.5 Brix, harvesting Wednesday 9/4
  • Costamagna Contra Costa Italian grapes are at 21-22.0 Brix, harvesting around 9/16
  • Smiling Baby/Lodi Gold Petite Sirah – at 21.5, harvesting around Monday 9/9 of next week
  • Lodi Gold Grenache – at 23.5 Brix, harvesting Wednesday 9/11
  • Zinderella – at 22.8 Brix, harvesting around Monday 9/9 of next week
  • Valley Beauty Zin – at 24 Brix, harvesting Wednesday 9/4
  • Valley Beauty Barbera at 22 Brix, harvesting late next week

Adding pectic enzyme to your wine

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Pectic enzyme at a glance

  • AKA pectinase
  • A protein that breaks down pectin within fruit
  • Added to juice or must pre-fermentation
  • No notable downside of using this additive
  • Available in powder or liquid form

Right… but why is it important?

  • Using pectic enzyme increases juice, tannin, flavor, and color extraction
  • Aids in clearing wine by eliminating potential “pectic haze”

Who should use pectic enzyme?

If you’re making wine of any kind, whether from grapes or any other fruit, adding pectic enzyme will be a positive influence on the end result. Both home and commercial winemakers use pectic enzyme as a means of extracting the most they possibly can from their fruit.

When should I add it?

Since it works more slowly after fermentation has completed, add it beforehand. Add at the beginning of fermentation after temperatures have begun creeping up. It works best at around 80F; lower temperatures.

How much do I add?

For white juice/wine, 1-2g/hL. For red must/wine, 2-4g/hL. It comes in either powder or liquid form; depending on the producer the recommended dosage may be different so always be sure to double check the label before making an add.

What happens if I don’t add it?

Simply put, there’s no reason to not add it. Not adding it runs you the risk of having a pectic haze develop. This can be very tricky if not borderline impossible to fix later on; adding pectinase post-fermentation will also not work as well, if at all.

OK, I think I’ve got it now. But can we go over this one more time?

Adding enzyme post-crush/pre-fermentation increases free run juice, color and tannin extraction in both reds and whites, increases filterability and clarification, and lowers chances of pectic haze development. There are many options you can choose from for your pectic enzyme needs, either powder or liquid form.