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2017 Chilean Wine Harvest Update

 

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2017 Chilean Harvest:

2017 was a fantastic growing season up until the other day. As many of you might have heard on the news massive fires broke out in Chile. The fires have been a devastating blow to the Chilean people. However, The Curico Valley and the Southern regions of Colchagua Valleys were thankfully not affected. Unfortunately other Chilean wine growing regions such as the Maipo Valley were greatly affected by the fires and might not be able to produce vintages this year. We encourage everyone to donate to the Red Cross to aid in the relief of these fires.

The growing season for the Curico and Colchagua Valley’s was a hot and dry one. Expect wines with great character, intense flavors, complexity, and distinction. We should be receiving grapes around the same time as last year, maybe a little earlier for the whites. The first white grapes will be picked at the end of February. Carmenere will be in shorter supply this year as the demand has gone up for this grape, so put your orders in early!

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The wines of Chile – along with the winemakers and vineyards that produce them – have had some profound transformations in the past 30 years. Grape growers have successfully determined which varietals thrive in their vineyards, have experimented with unique trellising systems, and explored interesting new areas for planting. The wines now have a head start because of the wonderful grape quality.

Musto Wine Grape Company, LLC. has been importing quality Chilean wine grapes for over 10 years. We have developed long lasting relationships in Chile and are constantly growing and developing the program. The vineyards are located between the Andes Mountains and Pacific Ocean. Therefore, the vines have excellent growing conditions for perfect ripeness and complexity thanks to the ocean breeze and Mediterranean climate.

The Curico Valley has been a wine grape growing region since the 1800’s and is located about 115 miles south of Santiago in the Central Zone of Chile. It is known as the “Heart of the Chilean wine industry”. Curico has the perfect fertile soil and is best known for its micro climates and the ability to grow over 30 different wine grape varieties. Situated along the Guaiquillo River and nestled between mountains on its east and west sides, Curico’s Mediterranean climate and unique topographical features helps to create some of the finest wine grapes in South America.

The climate in the valley is characterized by morning fog and wide day-night temperature fluctuations. Climatic conditions in some parts of the valley favor wines with higher acidity, such as white varieties including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Vert and Gris. High quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, and Carménère grapes are sourced from warmer areas of the valley, such as Lontué, particularly when produced from ancient vines.
Terroir: Sandy, clay, decomposed granite, volcanic-alluvial

Grape Varieties Available: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Malbec, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier

Juice Varieties Available: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet-Merlot Blend, Carmenere, Malbec, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Muscat

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The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 4 – What is the best way to sanitize my equipment?

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What’s the Winemaker’s Think Tank? 

Every Thursday we will post about a few frequently asked questions that our winemaker has answered. If you have a winemaking question you would like to have answered, please email us at support@juicegrape.com and we will try to get into next week’s post. Cheers! :)

What is the best way to sanitize my equipment?

It is important to differentiate between cleaning, sanitizing, and sterilizing. Cleaning is removing any dirt, grape debris, or build-up from your equipment. Sterilizing is the process via heat or chemicals of eliminating all micro-organisms, which is nearly impossible in a home winemaking environment. Sanitizing is the goal for home winemakers. Sanitizing is the removal of harmful micro-organisms from the winemaking equipment. This will give the winemaker the healthiest environment possible for their wine. One of the most chemically and cost effective ways to sanitize winemaking equipment is by using potassium metabisulfite. Potassium metabisulfite works best in an acidic environment. To create a strong sanitizing solution, mix 2 tbsp. of citric acid and 1 tbsp. of potassium metabisulfite with 5 gallons of warm water. Mix all of these in a 6 gallon pail. You can now use this solution to sanitize all of your equipment. Submerge or rinse all of the equipment in this solution. This solution will sanitize the equipment of any harmful bacteria that could spoil the wine. Any tool, vessel, or hose that touches the wine should be rinsed thoroughly with the solution to prohibit contamination.

Also, check out our Youtube Video where our Bootcamp Professor Frank Renalid weighs in on sanitation

 

We hope this information helps with your winemaking. If you have any follow up questions or winemaking questions in general, please email us at support@juicegrape.com. 

The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 3 – What’s the procedure to use a French Oak Barrel?

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The Winemaker’s Think Tank? 

Every Thursday we will post about a few frequently asked questions that our winemaker has answered. If you have a winemaking question you would like to have answered, please email us at support@juicegrape.com and we will try to get into next week’s post. Cheers! :)

What’s the procedure to use a French Oak Barrel?

Most wines will benefit from some form of bulk aging. Young wine tends to be a bit harsh, raw, and green and it needs some time to settle and round-out. Many wines, especially reds, will get better if aged in oak barrels. Oak barrels will impart unique flavors in wine and will also create subtle chemical changes over time. From vanilla and tobacco to tea and spice, different types of oak barrels will impart different flavors in the wine. However, all natural oak barrels will allow for micro-oxidation to take place – leading to reduced astringency, better color, structure, stability, and tannin integration, and a richer, more complex flavor and mouthfeel.

Yet as is true in most instances, better wine requires more work – and barrel care, maintenance, and ageing is no exception. Detailed instructions on how to inspect, swell, care for, and maintain an oak barrel can be found in our handy .pdf file here –> Barrel Care PDF. Once you have the basics down, we will go over some common questions about the aging process – starting with, “How long should I age my wine in a barrel and what styles are best for barrel ageing?”

The length of time a vintner ages their wine in a barrel depends on several factors. Is the barrel new or has it been used before? How large is the barrel? What style of wine is going into the barrel? New barrels will impart more flavors than used one will. A rule of thumb is that after a single use the oak extraction of a barrel will decrease by 50%. After the second use it will decrease by another 25%, and once the barrel has been used four times it is usually neutral – meaning it will not impart any oak characteristics into the wine.
Barrel size is also an important factor when determining how long to age your wine. Smaller barrels will impart oak flavors much more quickly than larger barrels. For example, while a 59 gallon barrel will hold nearly ten times the volume of wine as a 6 gal barrel, its surface area is only about twice as much. This means that the wine in smaller barrels has significantly more contact with the wood than wine stored in larger barrels and can be oaked five times more quickly.

Lastly, different varietals and styles of wine will require different aging times. A Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux blend, for example, can usually be aged 1-3 years in oak. A New World-style Pinot Noir, however, probably shouldn’t be in a barrel for longer than 10 months. A buttery, creamy Chardonnay needs to be checked often while the ultra-tannic Nebbiola can stay in oak for over four years. However, remember that not all wines will benefit from barrel aging. Most German whites such as Gewurztraminer and Riesling rarely receive the oak treatment. Also, Beaujelea nouveau and many cold-hearty hybrids made in this style are often aged in stainless steel tanks rather than oak barrels.

So finally we can address the question on how long to age your wine in an oak barrel. The answer is up to the winemaker. Remember that winemaking is an art – and each artist will have their own inspirations and palates. My advice is to taste and to taste often. If using smaller barrels (less than 30 gallons), I would be topping off and tasting every month until the oak profile is where I want it to be. Larger barrels will take much longer to impart oak flavors, but still have to be topped-off monthly, so why not take a taste while adding wine to the barrel? Please note that it is much easier to add oak flavor to a wine than it is to remove it, so I recommend erring on the side of caution.

What about the wine going into the barrel? Should it be racked or filtered beforehand? In most cases your wine should be racked and stabilized before going into a barrel for bulk aging. For reds this means making sure your primary and malolactic fermentations are finished, the wine has been racked off its lees (we advise at least 2 rackings – once after primary fermentation, and then again as it is being transferred to the barrel), and it has been properly sulfited. Filtering your wine before it goes into a barrel may be a bit of an overkill, but one of our winemakers uses a course filtration before bulk aging and his wines are exceptional. However, there are unique winemaking techniques used by different vintners for certain styles. For example, in sur lie aging white wine is aged on its fine lees for an extended period of time. Obviously you would not want to rack or filter wines made in this style before starting the bulk aging process. Yet in most instances a wine should be clean and stable before going into a barrel. Additionally, the winemaker should not have to rack wine once it is in oak– save that step for when the wine leaves the barrel.

While aging wine in a barrel can seem like a daunting process, in most cases it is worth the extra effort. Just remember to taste often to avoid over-oaking, make sure the barrels are topped-off monthly, properly manage your S02 levels, and be patient – it will be time well spent.

We hope this information helps with your winemaking. If you have any follow up questions or winemaking questions in general, please email us at support@juicegrape.com. 

The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 2 – What do I need to get started making wine with fresh juice?

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The Winemaker’s Think Tank? 

Every Thursday we will post about a few frequently asked questions that our winemaker has answered. If you have a winemaking question you would like to have answered, please email us at support@juicegrape.com and we will try to get into next week’s post. Cheers! :)

What do I need to get started making wine with fresh juice?

When elevating your winemaking to the next level, often sourcing the best ingredients is the most direct path to better results. After getting great base experience using wine kits, the next logical step to wine making greatness is fresh juice. When making this change from wine kits to fresh juice, other ingredients may be needed to ensure the juice will reach its greatest potential as wine. First, evaluate your juice for acid (pH) and sugar (Brix). What are the levels present in your juice? If the Brix level is below 20, you may consider adding sugar to increase the Brix levels to 24-26. What is the pH of the wine? Juice should have a pH greater than 3.1 to ensure a successful fermentation. If the pH is higher than 3.8, consider adding tartaric acid. This will ensure a better tasting wine after fermentation as well as a more stable wine.

The next area to consider is yeast. Certain strains of yeast will amplify certain traits within the finished product of wine such as fruit character, spice notes, or floral notes. The yeast has certain parameters that it will ferment best within, so consult a winemaking expert at Musto Wine Grape to help you select the best yeast strain for your wine. The yeast is the important catalyst that will process the grape juice into wine. The yeast will need certain nutrients to best assist it with its fermentation such as a rehydration nutrient like Go Ferm, and subsequent nutrients to finish out the fermentation process such as Fermaid O and Fermaid K. Musto Wine Grape stocks yeast along with all of the aforementioned nutrients in small packages, designed for the individual buckets of juice. This will give you perfectly measured amounts of products to add to your wine, making proper fermentation simple and with no wasted/unused product.

We hope this information helps with your winemaking. If you have any follow up questions or winemaking questions in general, please email us at support@juicegrape.com. 

Wine Wednesday: South African Cabernet Sauvignon

As the Spring Wine Grape Harvest Approaches, we thought we would check out some of the wines that South Africa has to offer.

Today we tasted a Cabernet Sauvignon. #HappyWineWednesday

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WINE: Bob’s 2013 Overnight Express South African Cabernet Sauvignon

TASTING NOTES: On the nose are notes of raspberry, berry, flint, and oak. The palate is filled with flavor, yet soft supple tannins round out the mouthfeel nicely. A great wine to enjoy with grilled meats or a meaty pasta dish.

VITUCULTURE: The soil where these grapes were grown is considered “Clovelly, Stony Glenrosa soils”. Clovelly is a component derived from granite, usually red to yellow colored. It contains acidic compounds. It is found on mountain foothill slopes and on ranges of hills, with good physical and water retention properties. Glenrosa soils are typically compact, stony, and clean cut.

WINE REGION: Western Cape, 31 miles East of Cape Town

GEEKY THINGS: Wines from the Western Cape are where some of our Cabernet Sauvignon will be arriving from. Wines from these locations are often described as having a subtle mineral note which many believe is from the decomposed granite soils. The Granite Mountains are approximately 600 million years old, over 3 times as old as the soil in Napa where many of the Cabernet Sauvignon vines are grown.

Click to Download Tasting Notes

More information about our South African Grapes are on our blog. Check out the most recent “2017 South Africa Harvest” by clicking HERE.

Cheers!

The Musto Wine Grape Staff

2017 South Africa Harvest

Spring season is almost upon us and we have some great news.  This year we will not only be offering Pinotage from South Africa, but…

Wait for it…

Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa too!!

Also, we have additional higher-end regions where we will be sourcing our South African grapes.  In addition to the Breede River Valley we will also offer grapes from Stellenbosch, Olifantsriver, and the Cederberg Mountains.

Beautiful vineyard landscape, panoramic view on a great vine valley, autumn season, wine industry in South Africa

Stellenbosch:

Location: Western Cape, 31 miles East of Cape Town

Grapes Being Sourced: Cabernet Sauvignon

Grower Information: A meticulous vineyard manager, this Cabernet has intense fruit flavors.  The grapes create full, rich, complex wines that age well.

Geeky Facts:  “Wines from these locations are often described as having a subtle mineral note which many believe is from the decomposed granite soils. The granite mountains are approximately 600 million years old, over 3 times as old as the soil in Napa where many of the Cabernet Sauvignon vines are grown.” (via Wine Folly)

 

Olifants River:

Location:  One of the Northernmost wine regions in South Africa’s Western Cape. It spans 90 miles between Lutzville in the North and Citrusdal Valley in the South.

Grapes Being Sourced: Cabernet Sauvignon

Grower Information:  The grapes thrive in the hot, dry mesoclimates and are tempered by cool ocean breezes at night and good cold units during winter. These growing conditions make the perfect recipe for good quality Cabernet Sauvignon.  Also, you will find pockets of very old, almost ancient vines in this area. Vines were first planted in this area in the 1700’s

Geeky Facts:  The Olifants River is named for the elephants that roamed the region in the 18th Century. (via Wine Searcher)

 

Cederberg Mountains:

Location:  186 miles North of Capetown. The Cederberg mountains contain a nature reserve. The mountain range is named after the endangered Clanwilliam cedar, which is a tree endemic to the area.

Grapes Being Sourced: Pinotage

Grower Information:  These Pinotage grapes are from older vines and are cultivated at the highest altitude in South Africa. You can expect intense flavors with high levels of complexity. These grapes produce excellent Pinotage and can be compared to Napa and Sonoma in terms of quality.

Geeky Facts:  The mountains are noted for dramatic rock formations and San rock.

Grapes in South Arican Wineyard 2015

The Pinotage grapes should be arriving towards the end of March and the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes should arrive at the end of April.  We are expecting more information about crop estimates, clones, yeast pairings, photos, and more. So stay tuned for more updates! Cheers!

 

 

The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 1- Why is My Wine Fizzy?

 

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The Winemaker’s Think Tank? 

Every Thursday we will post about a few frequently asked questions that our winemaker has answered. If you have a winemaking question you would like to have answered, please email us at support@juicegrape.com and we will try to get into next week’s post. Cheers! :)

 

Why is my wine fizzy?

Wine may be fizzy for one of two reasons: trapped gas within the wine leftover from fermentation, or a re-fermenting wine. Yeast exudes two substances upon fermentation: alcohol and carbon dioxide. Often times, carbon dioxide is exuded in such small bubbles that the weight of the liquid wine is too heavy to allow the gas to escape. This gas can easily be discharged through a process called degassing. Degassing involves the extreme agitation of the wine via stirring or pumping over. If you own a pump, you can set up the hoses in a circuit, and pump over vigorously to allow the gas to escape. You can also buy a degassing stirring wand that attaches to a cordless power drill. Simply attach it to the drill, place in the wine, and stir. The agitation will allow any trapped bubbles to rise to the surface and dissipate.

The wine may also be fizzy due to a re-fermentation. Even after racking, there may still be suspended yeast cells within the wine. The addition of potassium metabisulfite is necessary to ensure the killing off of remaining yeast cells, especially if the wine has any residual sugar or if the winemaker has plans to back sweeten the wine. Potassium sorbate is also strongly recommended if the winemaker intends upon back sweetening a white wine. The potassium sorbate will encapsulate the yeast cells, rendering them sterile and unable to ferment any sugar that is then added to the wine. (Note: Potassium sorbate cannot be used on any wine that has gone through Malolactic fermentation.) If the winemaker would prefer physical rather than chemical sterilization, a sterile grade (.45micron) filter may be used to physically remove any yeast or bacterial cells and prevent any further fermenting from occurring in the bottle.

*Please Note:

  • Brettanomyces is carbon dioxide as well.
  • The issue of filtration raises a host of issues.  Sterile in winemaking is not achieved unless using an absolute filter (cartridge filter at the 0.45 or lower) and not a nominal filter (plate or pad filter  such as the Grifo or SuperJets).  The cartridges for the Enolomatic filter set-up are not rated as sterile either.

We hope this information helps with your winemaking. If you have any follow up questions or winemaking questions in general, please email us at support@juicegrape.com. 

Mini Malo Class to be Held December 17th at 10:00AM

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IS YOUR WINE GOING THROUGH MALO? BRING IT IN AND WE WILL SHOW YOU HOW TO TEST FOR IT!

OUR “MINI MALO” CLASS WILL BE HELD DECEMBER 17TH AT 10:00AM

Musto Wine Grape RAFFLE

JOIN US IN CELEBRATING YOUR WINES ON JANUARY 21ST, 2017 AT ZANDRI’S STILLWOOD INN!

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UPDATE: RAFFLE ITEMS:

  • Wine Grape Raffles:
  • 20 Cases of Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 20 Cases of Paso Robles Syrah
  • 20 Cases Lanza Musto Vineyards Cabernet 169
  • 20 Cases Lanza Musto Vineyards Petite Sirah
  • 20 Cases Lodi Zinderella
  • 20 Cases Contra Costa Montelpulciano

 

  • Equipment Raffles:
  • 200 Liter Stainless Steel Tank
  • 30 Gallon American Oak Barrel

 

  • Gift Certificate Raffles:
  • $100 Gift Certificate to Musto Wine Grape Company


CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE


THE RESULTS & JUDGING NOTES WILL BE RELEASED at the dinner

ALONG WITH A MEDAL CEREMONY, Dinner, DANCING, FUN GAMES, & RAFFLES!!

All raffle & wine game money will be donated to the wounded warriors project

Zandri’s stillwood inn:
1074 S. Colony Rd, Wallingford, CT 06492
January 21st, 2017
6:30PM – Midnight

Are you considering buying a gift? Let us help…

Are you considering buying a gift? Let us help…

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Musto Wine Grape Company, LLC. has gifts for those starting out in winemaking, those who are experienced winemakers, or those who simply love wine or have a special winemaker in their lives.

So, what sort of person are you buying for?

Is this person interested in making wine for the first time or relatively new to winemaking?

Those interested in making wine may want to start out with some of the following:

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A Winemaking Equipment Kit

Winemaking Equipment kits come with many of the basic and reusable items that are essential for making a basic batch of wine.  Kits can be purchased pre-packaged or you can work with a Musto sales rep to enhance the kit items.

A Winemaking Ingredient Kit

Winemaking Ingredient Kits exist for every budget and contain the ingredients needed to ferment and finish wine for bottling and enjoyment.  There are kits available for all tastes.

Basic Lab/Analysis Equipment

While there are many different pieces of equipment that can be purchased for winemaking, few are as essential to crafting consistently good wine as are these items…

Hydrometer
Acid Tiration Kits (we recommend our own Pro Acid Kit!)
pH meters

Professional Books on Winemaking

A Professional Winemaker Led Class At Musto Wine Grape Company, LLC at our Hartford, CT location.

Perhaps the person you are buying for falls into the “Experienced Winemaker” category?

Hydrometer used to measure the specific gravity of wine and beer

Hydrometer used to measure the specific gravity of wine and beer

An experienced winemaker may have been making wine for a period of time and should now have the basic equipment and supplies.  This sort of winemaker is generally looking for items to expand his or her cellar or for items that offer greater efficiency.  To the observer, an experience winemaker might also be one who consistently produces wines that beg you to have another glass.

If your winemaker is an “Experienced Winemaker” he or she may already have those items mentioned for the those who might just be getting started in winemaking. For those who do, you may want to consider some of the following items, big and small.

New Wine Barrels
Stainless Steel Variable Capacity Tanks
Chemical Analysis Meters
Wine Bottles

OR…Maybe the person you are buying for simply loves wine and/or a special winemaker?

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Check out our great selection of Merchandise including cool wine themed products for indoors, outdoors. We also have a large selection of stylish jewelry and apparel.

Gift Certificates…The Perfect Gift!

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There may be no better gift option than the gift certificate.  It allows the recipient to apply the value of the certificate to any item that they wish to purchase and at a time they are ready to do so.  Our gift certificates come with a gift certificate holder and may be used for either online or in-store purchases.  Click here to purchase a gift certificate in a convenient denomination.

 

Also, we are constantly running New and Special Deals on All of Our Products –> Check out our Shopping Page for more Information and Coupons!