877.812.1137

cabernet

Winemaker Spotlight Interview with Manuela Astaburuaga

Christina, Sebastian, Patrick, Manuella in vineyard

Winemaker Spotlight Interview with Manuela Astaburuaga

How did you get started winemaking? 

I’m the 5th generation viticulturist in my family so I was born between tanks and vineyards. When we were kids we played hide and seek in the tanks of the winery and we rode a bicycle among the vineyards.

When I finished the school, I decided to study Agriculture because I love the nature and live in the countryside, then in my last year of university I went to Australia to do my first vintage and I loved it. After I started to work with my family and I decided to go to France to do a Master in viticulture and Oenology.

What I love the most about Oenology is that most of the time there is a family tradition behind it. In my case my father founded the company Viña Correa Albano in 1991 but my grandfather, great grandfather, … also had their own winery Viña Astaburuaga.

Who were your wine mentors? 

My mentors where my father and grandfather. My grandfather was one of the first to broker of wine in Chile and one of the first to export wines. We also have photos of the first exportation where you can see the boats with tanks full of wines.

I really don’t pay attention to the winemakers. I love to taste different wines from different wineries, valleys and countries, but I never pay attention who was the winemaker, for me is a team job.

What do you look for when you make wine? What is your general winemaking philosophy?

The most important thing is have good quality grapes. A healthy grape, free of disease, means we can start making a good wine.

In white wines the expression of aromas and acidity is really important, so we try to have long fermentations at low temperature.

In reds, the wine aging is the most important for me. It is necessary to have the micro oxygenation to soften the tannins and it is very important to limit the oxidation to preserve the fruity aromas that come from the grape.

What is the most difficult aspect of making wine? What’s your biggest challenge as a winemaker?

The first thing is to have good quality grapes, for that we have to work all year.

In viticulture/oenology we say that we never have two equal years so for me the biggest challenge is to know how to react quickly in different situations as a rain or excessive heat for example can cause challenges.

What bottles of wine in your cellar are you most excited about? 

A few weeks ago, we were sorting out and we found samples of our first exportation of wine. We opened a bottle and it was really good so now that we found the bottles we take care of them the most. Also, I have a box of 12 bottles of my grandfather’s wine from my year of birth that he gave to my parents at my baptism and I’m waiting for a special occasion to open it.

I don’t have any favorite wines but for me the history behind the wine is very important, we cannot compare a big Chateau of Bordeaux with unlimited means with a small producer with all the adversities of nature.

In general, I enjoy more a wine from a small producer with a tradition behind them, than a wine from a big winery.

IMG_8665

What’s your philosophy on Oak and Wine?

For me the most important is oxygen in aging the wine, the barrels have porosity so they give a micro-oxygenation to the wine which is very important to the complexity and the maturation of tannins.

I use barrels, but I always try to not exaggerate because I prefer to preserve the fruity aromas over those gave from the oak.

Are you filtering your wines?

Yes and no. We have a tangential filter which is very good in preserving the quality. For our premium line, which has a minimum of 8 months in the barrel we will not filter.

Are there any new winemaking techniques or tools you’d like to experiment with?

We are thinking about implementing the pulsair system in our winery, so we don’t have to us the remontage method and limit the oxidation.

What’s been your greatest challenge as a winemaker?

The generational change.

Any advice for a new home winemaker? 

Have patience. We cannot rush the aging and to have complexity, sucrosity and soft tannins are important and take time.

Also, you have to have in mind that the oxygen can be the best friend or the worst enemy in the aging. Is important to have micro-oxygenation to help the maturity of wine but if it is not controlled, he can oxidize some components and be harmful to the final quality.

If you had to pick one wine to drink for the rest of your life what would it be?

I cannot pick only one wine, for me the wine depends the occasion and is important to change and try different wines.

What’s your favorite wine region?

I don’t have a favorite region but I loved the whites of Alsace and the Cabernet Franc of Saumur Champigny.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am shy and I have a very bad memory, that’s why I can never remember the names of the winemakers and wineries I have tasted (that’s why I always write my tasting notes).

If you weren’t making wine what would you be doing?

I really have no idea!

 

Summer Sangria Recipes

As summer comes to an end and the fall harvest begins we wanted to share some fun Sangria recipes for the weekend. Happy Friday!

List of sangria with red, pink and white wine. Toning. selective focus

Pink Lemonade Sangria
Makes about 1 gallon
2 750ml bottles of Pinot Grigio
1 can frozen pink lemonade concentrate
1 quart tub of frozen strawberries (sugar added is fine) (frozen fruit breaks down better and leaks out more flavors as it defrosts plus it keeps it cold)
1 2 Liter of Sprite or Club Soda (depending on how sweet you want it)
*If you want to make it stronger, you can add strawberry schnapps however this will make it much sweeter so use club soda

Peach Mango Sangria
Makes about 1 gallon
2 750ml bottles of Pinot Grigio 
1 cup of Peachtree schnapps
1/3 cup lime juice
1 bag frozen peaches
1 16oz can Goya Mango nectar
1 quart of Ocean Spray White Cranberry Peach Juice
1 liter of lime seltzer

Mixed Berry Malbec Sangria
Makes about 1 gallon
2 750 ml bottles Malbec
1 cup of Chambourd Raspberry Liquor
1/3 cup lime juice
1 quart of cran raspberry juice
1 liter of raspberry seltzer
1 bag of frozen mixed berries

Blackberry Pomegranate Cabernet Sangria
Makes about 1 gallon
2 750 ml bottles of Cabernet
1 cup black berry brandy
1 quart pomegranate juice
1 quart cranberry juice
1 small container of pomegranate seeds
1 small container of fresh blackberries
.5 quart raspberry or pomegranate seltzer

Two lovers cheering with sangria in a restaurant

New Vineyard: King’s River

The King’s River Vineyard is located in Sanger, CA – Southeast of Fresno, on the way to Squaw Valley, Tahoe and the Sierra Foothills.
The vineyard is made up of 40 acres of white ash & sandy loam soil. The vineyard has been in existence since 1954 and the family has grown everything from grapes for wine and raisins to peaches, plums, and apricots on this little piece of paradise. However, they ultimately decided to focus on what they love most – boutique style wines. The vineyard produces Cabernet Sauvignon (Clone 337), Petite Sirah, Alicante, Syrah, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Primitivo, Albariño, Muscat, and Chenin Blanc. Each block is meticulously managed. They thin leaves, drop fruit to secure intense flavors, and drip irrigate as to not over-water the vines. This family definitely produces grapes of distinction.

Their Wine Awards Include…
• 2014 Reserve Petite Sirah- Silver Medal
• 2014 Syrah- Bronze Medal
• 2014 Alicante Bouchet- Bronze Medal
• 2015 Reserve Albarino- Bronze Medal

king's riverg_7_petite sirah king's riverg_16_muscat king's riverg_14_albarino king's riverg_3_cabsav king's riverg_5_alicante king's riverg_1_syrah king's riverg_12_chenin blanc king's riverg_11_tempranillo king's riverg_10_primitivo king's riverg_10_cabernet franc

The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 25 – Why is my wine evaporating?

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! :)

Smoke or vapor coming from a wine glass on black background.

Why is my wine evaporating?

Just like water or any other liquid, with prolonged exposure to air, wine can evaporate. When aging wine in an enclosed container such as a tank, carboy, or demijohn, the container should have an airtight seal via an inflatable gasket or an airlock and bung. This will help prevent against oxidation and will reduce the amount of evaporation dramatically. If you still see some evaporation happening in one of these closed containers, evaluate your bungs and seals as they may not be working properly.

The main source of evaporation in winemaking is through barrel aging. Barrels are a porous environment that allows the wine to “breathe” over time. This “breathing” process is essentially evaporation. The wine is exposed to air through the porous staves and small portions of the wine evaporate into the atmosphere. This has positive effects on the wine as it creates a creamier mouthfeel, can reduce the perception of acidity, and imparts oak flavor. The barrel must be filled monthly with additional wine to reduce the head space and replace the evaporated product. This will prevent the wine in the barrel from oxidizing. While the breathing process may be a source of frustration, as you witness your wine evaporating into thin air, it will help you to create a fuller, heavier, more lush wine.

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.

Making Wine from a 1 Gallon Wine Kit By Frank Renaldi

VNP 1 US Gal Packaging (2)

I have never made a gallon of wine in my life; I mean not that small a batch. I am used to making much more wine at a time, from a few gallons to 4000 gallons at a winery. I have made wine from mostly fresh grapes, white juice and even 6 gallon kits. In fact I have made over 50 kits in my days, but I had to think twice before I made a ONE gallon kit.

Well, I did it and guess what? It was fun! I made a one gallon kit from Mosti Mondiale Vinifera Noble. I tried the Malbec, since I just made 45 gallons from Chilean grapes. I thought it would be a good comparison on the nose and the taste. Since I made kits before, I was familiar with the process. And this small kit was no different – It was the same process you have for the standard six gallon kits.

The biggest challenge I had to deal with was the smaller fermentation and storage vessels required for one gallon of wine. I started by pouring the grape juice in a one gallon bottle and then topping it with water to measure out the correct volume. You can buy a two gallon fermentation pail, but I thought I would try using one of my 3 gallon carboys with an air trap. So I poured the gallon of adjusted wine into the 3 gallon carboy and then poured the yeast into the opening in the carboy. It worked fine.

In order to test the specific gravity of the wine during fermentation, I just poured some of the wine into a hydrometer jar. After taking the measurement, I poured the wine back into the carboy to continue fermenting. There was no wasting of wine on this batch. When I had to stir the wine, I simply shook the entire carboy.

When fermentation was complete, I racked the wine into a small pail. Then I added in the packets of sulfite, sorbate and clarifying agents supplied with the kit. Then this finished wine was poured into a gallon jug to settle for further rackings and aging. Always remember to top off the storage vessel to avoid oxidation.

I think the biggest challenge was the de-gassing of the wine. Normally, with a six gallon kit we whip the wine with a degassing wand on the end on a drill. We need to get rid of the gas trapped in the wine for clarifying and for a still wine (no fizz). With this small batch, there really is not enough wine to whip. I decided to use a vacuum pump to degas the wine, which I have also used on larger batches of kit wines. A small vacuum pump is easy to use and economical.

So, my wine is aging and smells wonderful. I will get five 750ml bottles of wine from this kit. So why make such a small batch? It is a great way to learn how to make wine as a beginning wine maker. The cost is minimal, but the experience is great. You can make 2, 3, or 4 different grape varietals and blend them when they are finished. Once you get your feet wet with these starter kits, you can move onto six gallon kits which yield 30 bottles – now we are talking. Then you have the confidence to move up to juice and grapes. After that, there is no stopping you!
Have fun with this smaller kit. I did and had fun doing it!!

Frank Renaldi

Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec Numbers

Hello Winemakers!

We hope everything is fermenting along well! Below are some numbers were able to take on the grapes yesterday. Cheers and Happy Fermenting! :)

Musto Wine Grape_Chile_1 (4)

pH= 3.55, TA= 4.27, Brix 21.5

cabsav_1

pH= 3.85, TA= 3.31, Brix =23.5

carm_1

pH= 3.95, TA = 4.25, Brix = 23.2

Chilean Wine Grape Update: Arrivals & In Stock

mer_malb_syrah

As of 5/2/2017 the following is in stock…

Juices:
ALL Chilean Varieties
ALL South African Varieties

Grapes:
Malbec
Carmenere
Merlot
Petite Verdot
Syrah

To Arrive 5/5/17….

Juices:
ALL Chilean Varieties

Grapes:
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Franc
Carmenere
Pinot Noir
Petite Verdot
Malbec
Merlot
Syrah

Please feel free to contact us at sales@juicegrape.com or 877.812.1137 to schedule your pick up!

We are looking forward to working with you this Spring Harvest! Keep an eye on our Facebook Page and Harvest Tracker for more harvest information and upcoming wine classes.

2017 Southern Hemisphere Harvest Update E-Book

Extra, extra! Read all about it! The Spring Harvest will be here soon! Catch up on what Musto Wine Grape Company has in store for your Spring vintage by clicking the link below.

IMAGE - 2017 Spring Harvest E-Book (2)

2017 Musto Wine Grape Company Spring Harvest E-Book

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!

 

 

Harvest Update: 8/25/2016

ARRIVING to Hartford, CT Early Next Week:

harvest calendar

8/29/2016:

LODI

  • Costamagna Chardonnay
  • Lodi Gold Grenache
  • Valley Beauty Barbera
  • Smiling Baby Merlot
  • Valley Beauty Zinfandel

9/1/2016:

LANZA – Suisun Valley

  • Sauvignon Blanc

CENTRAL VALLEY

  • Cry Baby Muscat (42lb)
  • Muscat King (42lb)
  • Cry Baby Thompson Seedless (42lb)
  • Lugano Old Vine Zinfandel
  • Lucerne Old Vine Zinfandel

JUICES from LODI

  • A Mix of Varieties

 

 

Call 877.812.1137 or email sales@juicegrape.com for more information