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how to make wine

How to Make Wine in between Grape Harvests

So, it’s winter, my wine is settled in from the fall and I’m bored….

I know winemaking is a year long event, between racking, oaking, sulfiting, filtering, and bottling. But I just love the smell of Fermentation. The nutrient additions, the pressing, and the creation of another vintage for my wine cellar.

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I know my wife will call me crazy, but I need to make more wine. But the fall winemaking season is over, right? Wrong! There are options to make wine all year round.

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You could wait until April and get grapes and juice from South Africa. I have made the Cabernet and the Pinotage from grapes and both came out great. Believe it or not, the grapes came in clean and gorgeous.

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You can wait until May and get a large selection from South America. I make the Malbec or Carmenere every year. They are Chile’s signature wines and they come out wonderful.

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There is also an option of buying frozen must. These are grapes that Musto crushed and destemmed. The must is placed in 5.25 gallon pails and frozen. You take the 5.25 gallon pails home, let them thaw out and treat it like your usual must. The benefit of the frozen must is you get a free “cold soak” which creates a dark, full bodied wine. You can also purchase frozen white juice which is just as easy.

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My final recommendation is the good old wine kit. Many new winemakers start off with kits, which is a good way to get introduced to this hobby. There are so many choices from all around the world. Even as a “grape” person, don’t be ashamed to make a kit. It rounds out your skills and allows you to make a Riesling from Germany – you can’t get those grapes in the fall!

Well, I hope I gave you some options to keep you busy during the winter “quiet” time for your fall wines. The more wine you make, the better you get. Trying these options will hone your skills and allow you to make other types and styles of wines for your wine cellar. So keep your wine making equipment out and enjoy your hobby all year long!

Written by Frank Renaldi, Musto Wine Grape Bootcamp & Winemaking Professor 

Interested in making your own wine? Musto Wine Grape Company is here to help! We are New England’s largest supplier for home winemaking products and services. We can get you set up with all of your juice, grape and equipment needs and have you on track to making your own perfect pairing for next fall! Visit juicegrape.com or give us a call at (877) 812 – 1137 to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!

Wine Spotlight: South African Pinotage

Pinotage wines are on the rise throughout the world.

Wine drinkers enjoy it because Pinotage is complex, yet light in body. Winemakers love working with the grapes because fermentations are for the most part simple and smell amazing. “Strawberry cotton candy” are descriptors we’ve heard in the past. Yet, despite it’s wonderful characteristics, it is still a wine that is relatively unknown and under rated.

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The Pinotage Grape was created in 1925 and is a cross between two vinifera grapes, Pinot Noir and Cinsault. Abaraham Izak Perold created the grape to bring out the brilliant robust flavors that both Pinot Noir and Cinsault possessed, while making the grape easy to grow.

Pinotage is known to produce smoky, earthy flavors with hints of tropical fruits. We (MWG) source our Pinotage from the Breede River Valley.  This is because the Breede River Valley produces wines that express notes of cedar, plums, and dark berry notes. The wine then rounds out with a smooth, tannic structure. Lots of complex and flavorful wines come out of this valley and now you can make your very own at home!

Quick Winemaking Tips:

  • Please note that if you punch through too vigorously during fermentation you can get an almost burned plastic characteristic. It is better to ferment Pinotage at lower temperatures.
  •  The yeasts we recommend utilizing are D254, D80, and BDX
  • Our Winemaker Bootcampers have made this serval times. If you ever have any fermentation questions please do not hesitate to reach out.
  • Check out our blog post about making Syrah from South Africa too!
  •  Click here for information about our Grower from South Africa.
  • Food Pairing: Enjoy these wines with a hearty stew or red meat.

Interested in making your own wine? Give us a call at 877-812-1137 to get started!

Winemaker Lab Skills Class – October 9th

Musto’s Winemaker Lab Skills Class will be held on Wednesday October 9th at 7:00PM.

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Want clarification on TA, pH, and Adjusting Your Wine?

Then this is the class for you!

Professor Frank Renaldi will go over the following lab skills every winemaker needs. It can be difficult to feel comfortable testing your wine. However, Frank has some easy tricks and tips of how to test and adjust your wine.

Class Outline:

 

Sign up today and start sharpening your Winemaker Lab Skills!

Sign up via the website HERE or give us a call at 877-812-1137 to sign up over the phone. We look forward to seeing you in class. Cheers!

 

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.

2019 Winemaking Class Schedule – *UPDATED*

Musto Wine Grape’s Updated Winemaking Class Schedule 

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Oak Alternatives Class

Fermentation Planning Class

Making Consistently Flawless Wines with Daniel Pambianchi

  • Focused in fermentation science, both alcohol and malolactic, understanding and managing pH and TA changes during fermentation, and advanced wine analysis skills.
  • Saturday September 7th
  • Cost: $250.00
  • Link: http://www.juicegrape.com/Seminar-Daniel-Pambianchi/

Winemaker Bootcamp

  • Musto’s hands on winemaking class. Learn how to make wine in class from start to finish.
  • Session 1: Starts Saturday September 21st – 9:00AM-12:00PM for 5 consecutive weeks
  • Sessions 2: Starts Saturday October 19th at 1:00PM-4:00PM for 5 consecutive weeks
  • Cost: $150.00 for class
  • Cost of Adding Grapes: TBD – depends on which grapes the class is working with. You will find out the this cost the day of class
  • Link: http://www.juicegrape.com/EDUIBL-5-WEEK-WINEMAKING-BOOTCAMP/

Winemaking 101

Winemaking 201 

We look forward to seeing you in class! Please email Christina at cmusto@juicegrape.com with any questions about our winemaking classes.

How to Make Tempranillo Wine

Taking on Tempranillo

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This thick skinned complex berry bomb will fill your palate with notes of ripe red cherry, blackberry, baking spices, strawberry jam, cocoa powder, tobacco, and black pepper. A fresh, vibrant, meaty wine ready to be drunk young or cellared for extra complexity. Sounds delicious doesn’t it?

Wine breakdown: Fruit forward with earthy qualities, usually oak aged 6-18 months in French or American Oak, med (+) tannin, med (-) acidity

Yeast Suggestions: VRB yeast is our top suggestion due to its consistent fermentation rate and enhancement of flavor complexity while softening tannins. This yeast helps improve the mid-palate structure, showcase black and red fruit flavors, and works well with malolactic fermentation. Originating from Logroño, Spain this yeast is the perfect pairing to your Tempranillo fermentation.

Tempranillo Available this Fall:
– Grapes from King’s River Ranch, Sanger, CA
– Grapes from Lanza-Musto Vineyards, Suisun Valley, CA
– Juice from Central Valley, CA

Winemaking Tips: We suggest the addition of the following additives when working with Tempranillo

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– Fermentation:
o Tannin FT Rouge to help preserve the Tempranillo’s natural tannins and help preserve color. Add at the beginning of fermentation. Sprinkle into the must and punchdown.
o Booster Rouge helps enhance your wine’s color, tanninc structure, and fresh varietal aromas if you your fermentation is shorter than the grape usually needs. If you don’t have a temperature controlled cellar this is a cheap and easy tool to help enhance and maintain your fruit/wine quality. Add at the beginning of fermentation. Mix with a little distilled water, mix it up so that there are little to no clumps, mix into must.
o Opti-Red helps your wine obtain fuller body, more stable color (helps protect against oxidized color changes), and smooths the palate. Add at the beginning or towards the end of fermentation. Mix with a little distilled water, mix it up so that there are little to no clumps, mix into must.
o Maloactic Bacteria addition

– Aging:
o Oak Chips
o Oak Spirals
o Oak Barrels

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If you don’t want to do a 100% Tempranillo, but are interested in blending we have a few interesting blends for you to try. Tempranillo blends well with Grenache, Cabernet, and Syrah.

Australian Style: 65% Tempranillo, 25% Grenache, 10% Syrah

Spanish Style: 95% Tempranillo, 5% Grenache or Syrah

Rioja ”Crianza” Style: 95% Tempranillo, 5% Grenache + Age for 2 years in a French or American Oak barrel.

Rioja ”Reserva” Style: 95% Tempranillo, 5% Grenache or Cabernet or 100% Tempranillo + Age at least 1 year in barrels and 2 years in bottle

Rioja ”Gran Reserva” Style: 95% Tempranillo, 5% Grenache or Cabernet or 100% Tempranillo + Age 2 years in barrel and 2 years in bottle

Rioja ”Gran Anada” Style: 95% Tempranillo, 5% Grenache or Cabernet or 100% Tempranillo + Age at least 3 years on the lees in barrel. Grapes must be hand harvested.

Tempranillo is show stopping, crowd pleasing wine for everyone to enjoy. A great addition to any red wine drinkers cellar. Please call 877-812-1137 or email sales@juicegrape.com for more details. 

2019 Winemaking Class Schedule

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Start the year off right with Winemaking Classes! Learn new tricks and tips, or start your first batch.

Musto Wine Grape has a winemaking class for everyone!

Free Winemaking Classes:

  • Working with Chilean Wine Grapes & Juices – Saturday May 4th at 10:00AM

  • New England Viticulture –  Saturday May 18th at 10:00AM

  • SO2 Management – Saturday July 13th at 10:00AM

  • Working with Hybrid Grapes in the Winery – Saturday July 13th at 10:00AM 

$4.99 Winemaking Classes: 

  • Oak Alerntatives Class – Saturday August 17th at 10:00AM
  • Fermentation Tips & Planning – Saturday August 24th at 10:00AM

  • Making Wine from Juice – Saturday September 14th at 10:00AM

Winemaker Bootcamp Classes:

  • Chilean Bootcamp – Starts Saturday May 25th at 9:00AM

Daniel Pambianchi Seminar:

  • Saturday September 7th, 2019

Winemaking 101:

  • Spring classes: TBD Fall 2019

Winemaking 201:

  • Spring classes: TBD Fall 2019

Black Muscat: A Grape by Any Other Name

The oldest genetically traceable family of grapes is the Muscat family. Over the centuries, the grape has traveled around the world and transformed itself through many genetic mutations. One of the most well known genetic crosses of the original Muscat grape is the Black Muscat.  Black Muscat is a cross of the Schiava Grossa and the Muscat of Alexandria. The grape has very large, plump berries, with white flesh and black skin. The grape has intense, sweet floral and candy-like flavors.

              Black Muscat can be used for a very wide variety of wine making purposes. It can be pressed to produce a white juice, that has been used in famous dessert wine productions as well as left on the skins to produce a flavorful rose or red table wine. It is popularly used for table wine production in California, China, and Eastern Europe. Quady Winery in California has gained fame and many acclimations over their dessert wine, Elysium, produced from the Black Muscat grape. The intense florals and sweet fruit flavors that are found in the unprocessed grape, translate in the finished wine product. Big flavors of raspberry jam and candied citrus make the wine deliciously sweet with enough acidity to create a harmonious balance. Because the wine can be made in so many different styles, the winemaker has many choices to control the outcome of the final product. If creating a dessert style wine, beneficial yeast strains would be Vin 13 or R2 to promote the complex floral aromatics. If creating a rose or table wine, QA23 or 71B yeast strains will help to promote aromatics and to capture the ripe red fruit flavors. Skin contact time will be critical; a few hours on the skins will produce a flavorful rose and then full maceration/fermentation on the skins will create a fruit forward table wine.


              Musto Wine Grape has had such wonderful results with this grape, that Frank Musto has planted his own fields of this varietal. The vines are coming up on their 20th birthday, generating large but complex fruit and excellent yields. Frank Musto’s Black Muscat has started being harvested and is arriving in Hartford currently. Brix levels are averaging in the mid 20’s with smooth acidity. We are looking forward to making a fruit forward rose this year with some of the fruit. It is exciting to create a new style of wine with such an ancient, treasured strain of grape.

 

By Maureen Macdonald

Ger-whaaaat? You may not be able to say Gewurztraminer, but here is why you should be making it.

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Gewurztraminer is an aromatic German varietal that has been twisting tongues of wine enthusiasts for decades. Only in the past decade has Gewurztraminer been making a more consistent appearance on wine lists and in wine stores. With interest in not just sweet, but complex, sweeter wines trending amongst millennial drinkers, varietals like Gewurztraminer are seeing a surge in their popularity.

              Gewurztraminer is a grape variety that is originally from the Alsatian region of France, on the German border. Its attractive pink to light red color of its skins was thought to be a genetic mutation of the Red Traminer grape of Germany and Northern Italy. Its name comes from the German “Gewurz”, which means “herb” or “spice”. When sipping Gewurztraminer, it is easy to see the development of its name, as the grape is famous for its floral, slightly herbal, and spicy aromas. Upon vinification, the grape often has large aromas of lychee, rose petal, white pepper, and passion fruit. The varietal is most well-known for its intense aroma. Even small amounts, when added to a blend, will greatly enhance complexity of the aroma.

              When making your own Gewurztraminer, Musto Wine Grape imports Gewurztraminer from the Central Valley of CA. This premium grape growing region generates a ripe, bold example of Gewurztraminer. The grapes average around 24-26Brix upon arrival, with appropriate, refreshing acidity. We would suggest using Vin 13 or R2 yeast to enhance the varietal character and to help promote the fruity and floral aromas that the Gewurztraminer is known for. The addition of supplemental yeast nutrients such as Booster Blanc and Opti-White will help to preserve the intense aroma for long term enjoyment and a small addition of FT Blanc Soft can help to increase the mid-palate volume and intensity of flavor. We always advise to use a complete nutrition program throughout fermentation, including the use of Go-Ferm, Fermaid O, and Fermaid K. This will help avoid any stuck fermentations and off aromas.  Gewurztraminer will not benefit from malolactic fermentation.

              The intense perfume-like aromas and luscious tropical flavors found in Gewurztraminer make it an excellent pairing for spicy food such as Asian cuisine or Indian Curry. It is a refreshing patio sipper with such an astounding aroma, it is guaranteed to impress anyone who you may pour it for.

Written by Winemaker Maureen Macdonald

How to Work with Anciet Wine Grapes

Our Ancient Vine Wine Grapes come from one of the oldest grape growing regions, Madera County, CA. The grapes were planted close to 80-100 years ago and are being farmed by the 3rd and 4th generations. These are low production and low yield vineyards. They yield 2-4 tons/acre depending on the variety. These berries are small clusters with high concentration of phenols and color. Incredibly concentrated grapes which create a very concentrated and complex wine.

To see a video of our Ancient Alicante Vineyard click the play button below.

Our Suggested Ancient Vine Blend:

60% Alicante, 20% Muscat, 20% Grenache

Ancient Vine Wine Grapes for Home Winemaking from Musto Wine Grape Co.

pictured above – ancient vine Grenache

Yeast Suggestions: 71B, VRB, and D254.

  • If you want to make a more fruit forward wine: 71B is a great yeast for fruit forward wines such as Grenache and Alicante. It helps bring out the fruity aromas Grenache and Alicante are known for.
  • If you want to make a make a wine with a more balanced ratio of tannin to fruit: VRB yeast is a consistent fermenter that helps bring out the tannins while enhancing varietal characteristics.
  • If want a wine with a balance of fruit and earth: D254 is a yeast that helps develops ripe fruit together with mild spiciness while increasing mouthfeel.
  • *Please note that we always suggest using nutrients and putting your red wines through malo. Click the links below for more information on Musto Wine Grape’s Fermentation Protocols.

Ancient Grapes Available:
– Alicante
– Carignane
– Grenache
– Barbera
– Muscat

Fun Fact: For a grape to be considered an Ancient Vine it must be 75+ years old. To be considered an Old Vine it must be 35+ years old.

For more information on purchasing ancient vines grapes please give us a call at 877-812-1137 or sales@juicegrape.com.