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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.

Notes from our Winemaker Frank Renaldi about the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc: After the Press

Notes from our Winemaker Frank Renaldi about the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc:

After the Press

“Adjusted Brix to 21.5 (11.8% alcohol). Adjusted with Tartaric Acid to get pH = 3.24 and TA = .60. Will have to acidify after fermentation. Could have adjusted further, but ta would still be low (desired .7 – .9). Used Vin13 yeast – Very slow start. Took over 24 hours to get started. Still at 58 degree with a slow cool fermentation. No big nose yet. Looking forward to reporting more on the results once fermentation has completed.”

Don’t forget to sign up for the Spring Bootcamp with winemaker Frank Renadli! Learn how to make great wine at home in just 5 weeks!

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The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 9 – How long will my wine last?

Wine expert testing wine silhouette image

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! :)

How long will my wine last?

All wine ages differently. Certain varietals benefit from aging, others are meant to be consumed quickly. Generally, the more tannic the wine, more it will benefit from aging. Other factors influence a wine’s potential to age as well. If the winemaker chooses not to add sulfites to the wine (not recommended), the wine will not age as well and should be consumed within a year. If the proper level of sulfites are added, the wine stored at an appropriate temperature (55-62 degrees Farenheit), and not exposed to light, it should be able to age for many years. Some varietals that benefit from aging are Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec. Some varietals that do not necessarily benefit from aging are Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cayuga.

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?

Wine expert testing wine silhouette image

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. 

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:

basic-equipment-kit

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!

gift-certificate

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!

 

Who Won Best in Show?

Thank you to everyone who entered Musto Wine Grape Company’s Wine Competition. We cannot wait for the Competition Dinner to give you all of the results! Dates for the dinner are coming soon….

You will be receiving an email this week with your medal results. All medals and feedback will be given out at the dinner.

And now for Best in Show…

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Best in Show – Commercial: Winemaker Amanda Brackett from Southern Connecticut Wine Company for their “Dark & Dirty Red Blend”

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Best in Show Amateur: Eric Albetski & Ed Smith for their 75% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon Blend.

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Congratulations to all the Winemakers who submitted their entries. We can’t wait to see you at the dinner and celebrate your wines!

Juices and Grapes In Stock as of 9/22/16

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Variety Label 36/42
Cabernet Sauvignon Cry Baby 36lb
Pinot Noir Paso Robles 36lb
Muscat Muscat King 42lb
Old Vine Carignane Smiling Baby 36lb
Syrah Lodi Gold 36lb
Barbera Lucerene 36lb
Muscat Valley Beauty 36lb
Cabernet Franc Cry Baby 36lb
Merlot Lugano 36lb
Zinfandel Lucerene 36lb
Old Vine Zinfandel Paso Robles 36lb
Syrah Paso Robles 36lb
Cabernet Franc Paso Robles 36lb
Zinfandel Zinderella 36lb
Old Vine Zinfandel Lugano 36lb
Cabernet Sauvignon Costamagna 36lb
Merlot Lugano 36lb
Merlot Washington State 36lb
Old Vine Carignane Caterina 36lb
Petite Sirah Caterina 36lb
Merlot Caterina 36lb
Petite Verdot Caterina 36lb
Chardonnay Lanza 36lb
Ruby Cabernet Lodi Gold 36lb
French Colombard Cry Baby 36lb
Malvasia Bianca Lodi Gold 36lb
Black Muscat Lodi Gold 36lb
Carignane Uva di California 36lb
Merlot Paso Robles 36lb
Alicante O’Caprio 42lb
Alicante Smiling Baby 36lb
Barbera Valley Beauty 36lb
Zinfandel Valley Beauty 36lb
Mixed Black Uva di California 36lb
Old Vine Grenache Cry Baby 36lb
Ruby Cabernet Valley Beauty 36lb
Malbec Cry Baby 36lb
Muscat Cry Baby 42lb
Muscat Cannelli Lanza 36lb
Chardonnay Cry Baby 36lb
Syrah Cry Baby 36lb
Cabernet Sauvignon Caterina 36lb
Carnelian Pia 36lb
Zinfandel Pia 36lb
Mixed Black Smiling Baby 36lb
Mixed Black Uva di California 36lb
Old Vine Zinfandel Caterina 36lb
Muscat Treasure 36lb
Grenache Teaser 36lb
Zinfandel Teaser 36lb
Sangiovese California Special 36lb
Barbera California Special 36lb
Brunello Pia 36lb
Merlot Lodi Gold 36lb
Old Vine Zinfandel Caterina 36lb
Sangiovese Pia 36lb
Petite Sirah Pia 36lb
Gamay Pia 36lb
Barbera Pia 36lb
Alicante Lodi Gold 36lb
Petite Verdot Paso Robles 36lb
Barbera Valley Beauty 36lb
Viognier Lodi Gold 36lb
Pinot Grigio Lodi Gold 36lb
Thompson Seedless Valley Beauty 36lbs
Merlot Lanza-Musto 36lb
Sangiovese Lanza-Musto 36lb
Barbera Lanza-Musto 36lb
Nebbiolo Pia 36lb

 

Juices:

Variety
Merlot
Thompson Seedless
Muscat
Sauvignon Blanc
Muscat
Carignane
French Colombard
Syrah
Thompson Seedless
White Zinfandel
Malvasia Bianca
Malbec
Chablis
Burgundy
Gewürztraminer
Syrah
Viognier
Petite Sirah
Merlot
Chardonnay
Malvasia Bianca
Riesling
Barbera
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon
Muscat
Zinfandel
Thompson Seedless
Grenache
Pinot Noir
Ruby Cabernet
Merlot
Mixed Black
Sauvignon Blanc
Sangiovese
Pinot Grigio
Cabernet Sauvignon
Zinfandel
Merlot
Barbera
Zinfandel
Muscat

 

Paso Robles Merlot Harvest

Good Morning from Paso Robles Winemakers!

Our crew is working very hard to bring you some of the finest wine grapes Paso Robles has to offer.  Yesterday and Today we are harvesting Merlot and Syrah. They are being picked around 24-26 Brix. They should be arriving in Hartford, CT around 9/23/2016.

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We are still awaiting the Petite Sirah which is currently at 22 Brix. We are thinking it will harvest around 9/23.

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Make sure to place your orders!

These are fantastic grapes for making Award Winning Wines!

-PS-

Drop Off You Wine Competition Entities at Pick Up!  http://www.juicegrape.com/community/wine_classic/

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Washington Merlot Harvest

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Extra, extra, read all about it – we will have Washington Wine Grapes This Year!

Specifically Own-Rooted Merlot from the Rattlesnakes Hills in Yakima Valley.

About the Soil:

The surface layers of vineyard soils are based primarily in loess, which is mostly wind-deposited silt and fine sand derived from the sediments of the ‘Missoula’ ice age floods. The content of the soils consists of a mixture of minerals derived from both the local basalt bedrock and the granite and limestone of northern Idaho and Montana.

Most of the soils are classified as silt loams (mostly Harwood-Burke, but also Weihl and Scoon), which are low in clay. The low clay content creates well-drained soils, encouraging the vines to root more deeply, a factor generally associated with high quality grapes and wines. It also creates an inhospitable environment for phylloxera, an aphid-like pest that feeds on the roots of grapevines. Due in large part to the clay-poor soils, the Yakima Valley is one of the few places on earth where European wine grapes (such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir) can still be grown on their own roots, also a factor generally associated with high quality.

The shallow soil profile contains large chunks of calcium-caked gravel and calcium carbonate horizons called “Caliche”. In most areas, the caliche forms a conspicuous white layer under the topsoil that adds mineral complexity. The deep roots of the vines penetrate through the surface layer of loess, which averages 18 inches in thickness throughout most of the vineyard, and into the underlying calcium-rich substrate. This gravelly, high pH substrate forces the vines to struggle, an additional factor associated with high quality grapes and wine.

About Being Own-Rooted:

An Own-Rooted vine is a vine that has no rootstock. This is not common in most wine regions around the world. The rootstock & vine grafting was necessary at one point to protect from specific diseases such as Phylloxera. The Washington soil type is made up of a fine silt loam which Phylloxera hates – this is why they can plant Own-Rooted vines.

It is said that there are differences in the wines from Own-Rooted vs. Rootstock Grafted Vines. There is much debate around this issue. It looks like you will have to be the judge! 

About the Merlot:

The Merlot Clone coming from this vineyard has clusters that are small to medium in size. The berries are small and round. This clone produces a high vigor vine that creates a dense canopy. Yield is usually around 3-5 ton acre depending on the growing season.

The clone produces a soft, full-bodied, fruity wine full of many different complexities. A great Merlot that can stand alone and age – or be added to a blend to give the wine that extra punch of structure.

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