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ONLINE Winemaking Classes!

Musto Wine Grape is Now Offering Online Winemaking Classes!

Musto Wine Grape and Winemaking Professor Frank Renaldi are proud to bring you WinemakingInstructions.com. Take our Winemaker Bootcamp Course or take whichever winemaking instructions classes that interest you the most. With over 45 videos to choose from there is something for everyone! Videos range in price from Free to $19.99 depending on the topic. Check out WinemakingInstructions.com today and get prepped for harvest!

Videos Available at www.WinemakingInstructions.com:

  • Introduction to Winemaking
  • Cleaning and Sanitizing
  • Fermentation Protocol Descriptions
  • Storage Vessels
  • Washing and Using Used Bottles
  • Wines to Blend
  • Winemaker’s Bootcamp Bundle
  • Corking Wine Bottles
  • Degassing Wine
  • Electrodes
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Testing for Pectin
  • Adding Oak Powder
  • Adding Yeast
  • Bench Testing
  • Blending Wines
  • Bottles, Corks, and Foils
  • Cold Soaking and Enzymes
  • Handling High Brix
  • Measuring and Adjusting SO2
  • Oaking Your Wine
  • pH and TA in Your Wine
    Racking Your Wine
  • Stuck Fermentation
  • Wine Faults
  • Yeast and Nutrients
  • Addressing Sulfur Issues
    Back Sweetening
  • Bentonite
  • Bottling Wine
  • Filtering Wine
  • Making Port
  • Malolactic Fermentation
  • Measuring Alcohol
  • Post Fermentation Adjustments
  • How to Make Rose
  • Tannins
  • Wine Stability
  • Working with Barrels
  • YAN
  • Crushing and Destemming
  • Making Wine from Juice
  • Measuring and Adjusting Must
  • Pressing
Interested in Making Your Own Wine? Give us a call (877-812-1137) or email us (sales@juicegrape.com) and we will help you get started!

How to Set Up Your Home Winery

Setting up your home winery

There are two factors to consider when you decide to build your home winery.

  1. How much money are you willing to spend to buy more equipment, build rooms, or add air conditioning?
  2. The second factor is how much room do you have to create your winery?

I converted my entire basement into a winery. But, I did it slowly, one room at a time. Let me walk you through that and see if what I have done could apply to your place for a home winery.

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I have a room which holds my variable capacity tanks and carboys. This wine is aging and waiting to be moved into barrels. This room is air conditioned due to poor cellar temperatures at my home. I also have a sink in this room for cleaning and washing. I added a five foot counter to do all my lab work. Wine racks were added to the walls above the tanks to store all my 375ml bottles of port.

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The next room I built was a barrel room. I finally took the step to barrel age my reds and have never looked back. The barrel aging makes the wine so soft and complex. I have seven barrels ranging from 15 gallons to 30 gallons. I suggest you stay in this range as a home winemaker. They are easier to handle and clean. You must also remember, you will need wine on “standby” to place into the barrel once you remove the existing wine to bottle. Plan well.

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My final room was needed to store all the wine moving out of the other rooms – a bottles storage room. I bought wooden wine rack kits online, and after assembly I bolted them to the walls. I then put down a floor, nice lighting and a bit of decorating to tie it all together. The most critical thing I added was air conditioning, because bottle storage needs four things – cool constant temperature, darkness, proper humidity and no vibration. All the bottles are lying horizontally and peacefully aging.

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Besides proper areas to process your wine, you also need the tools to take care of this wine. Some of the “must have” tools are hydrometers, pH meters, pipettes, burrette, stir plate and an SO2 meter. These tools are needed to balance your grapes perfectly before pitching the yeast. They are also needed to adjust and protect your wine as it is aging.

Be sure to have other supplies on hand such as tartaric acid, potassium metabisulfite, fructose, tannins and oak. You will build your supplies and equipment as time goes on. Everything I talked about above will take you a level where you can become a dedicated, creative and proud winemaker!

Written by Winemaker Frank Renaldi

How much wine will my case of California grapes make?

Crates, pounds, liters, gallons, must, finished wine, juice… there’s a lot of terms and volumes floating around in your head during winemaking season. Simplify your life with the following explanation of how much volume you should expect to be getting from your grape order.

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Each case of wine grapes from California and Washington State is 36lbs. Depending on the grape variety, you should yield about 2-2.5 gallons of must per case.

*Keep in mind that all of these are estimates. Some grapes will yield a bit more and some a bit less depending on the variety.*

A good rule of thumb is that 20lbs of grapes will yield roughly 1 gallon of finished wine. So each case should give you about 1.44 gallons of finished wine, equating to about 7 bottles of finished wine generally speaking..

If you want to make 5-6 gallons we suggest using 3 cases of grapes. The extra case will give you room for error when pressing and racking, plus extra wine for topping off during the aging process. If you use only 2 cases of grapes, make sure you have a 5 gallon carboy handy in case you loose a little juice during the winemaking process. You don’t want any headspace in your carboy.

For more information regarding the Fall Harvest please feel free to contact us at sales@juicegrape.com or give us a call at 877-812-1137. We are looking forward to helping you with your next great wine!

Lanza-Musto Vineyards and Suisun Valley Harvest Update {071720}

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Lanza-Musto Vineyards and Suisun Valley Harvest Update

as of 07-17-20

We were able to catch up with Ron Lanza this week. He said, “Harvest in Suisun Valley is looking to be about 1 to 2 weeks earlier than last year. Bud break was 10 days earlier than last year and Mother Nature seems to be keeping up with that trend. We are already seeing color (veraison) in the Brunello Clone Sangiovese vineyards! We have been busy doing a lot of thinning this year and the crop should be the perfect size. The Malbec is looking especially good this season. We are looking forward to sending these great grapes to the East Coast!”

Grape Varieties Available:

  • Barbera
  • Chardonnay
  • Clone 8 (“Valley Cab”) Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Clone 15 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Clone 169 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Koch Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Malbec
  • Muscat Cannelli
  • Merlot
  • Mouvedre
  • Petite Sirah
  • Petit Verdot
  • Primitivo
  • Riesling
  • Brunello Clone Sangiovese
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Syrah
  • Tempranillo

*All grape varieties are available in 36lb cases or in frozen must by request

Juice Varieties Available:

  • Chardonnay
  • Napa Gamay (Pink)
  • Muscat Cannelli
  • Riesling
  • Sauvignon Blanc

*All juice varieties are available in 5.25 gallons pails, cold settled, zero additions or balancing done to the juice. 

For more information regarding the Fall Harvest please feel free to contact us at sales@juicegrape.com or give us a call at 877-812-1137. We are looking forward to helping you with your next great wine!

Musto’s Winemaker Bootcamp Testimonial

Winemaker Bootcamp Testimonial from The Shifrins

If you are thinking about learning how to make wine, and want to have a lot of fun doing it, you should definitely consider Musto Wine Grape’s Winemaker Bootcamp.

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Knowing nothing about wine making, but with family heritage that included it, we retired on a Friday, attended our first Wine Making Bootcamp the following day, and thoroughly enjoyed each session! Frank Renaldi is not only an informative and highly capable wine maker, but he made sure each Saturday morning was great fun.

We had a really good time, made new friends, learned all the “basics” we needed to begin making wine, and came home with five gallons of great wine!

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Since Bootcamp, and equipped with the knowledge it provided, we have been able to successfully make several batches of wine at home, and have even planted a small vineyard! Since becoming part of the “bootcamp family”, the Musto crew has been extremely helpful and supportive of our wine making ventures. We are very pleased that we decided to attend the Musto Bootcamp, and can’t imagine getting a better start into our new hobby!

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Michelle and Sam Shifrin

Why you’ll love Pinotage! From our grower Grettchen van der Merwe

Why Pinotage rather than other red wines?

Because it is different. Because it is uniquely South African. And because it allows you to strike a blow against the tyranny of the conventional.

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The popularity of this variety unique to South Africa has steadily been growing in the US. The 2020 harvest is well underway and the Pinotage destined for US cellars is on its way. After careful vineyard selection the grapes that are deemed worthy are immediately cooled and packed by our friendly pack house ladies.

The attitude of reverence that many people have towards wine is perhaps best illustrated with the above quote. There are surely many reasons for drinking wine and as far as Pinotage is concerned it has many things going for it. For one, and most importantly it is enjoyable. Another is that is it red – somebody once said that the first duty of wine is to be red.

pinotage grapes-how to make wine

Yeast choice should be primarily based on alcohol and cold tolerance and secondarily on aroma production. Aeration during yeast rehydration is recommended for high risk fermentations (e.g. high sugar concentrations, potential nutrient imbalances and low temperatures). An enhanced estery character, suitable for wines that will be marketed earlier, will develop at fermentation temperatures of 22 – 24ºC. A less estery character, for full-bodied wines that will be marketed later, following wood maturation, is possible at temperatures of 24 – 28ºC. Fermentation at 28 – 32ºC is only recommended for full-bodied wines. Frequent mixing of skins and must by pump-overs or punch-downs is important. Skin cap temperatures exceeding 32ºC could potentially cause stuck or sluggish fermentations, or even bacterial spoilage.

Frequent pump-overs or punch-downs during the early stages of fermentation will give less tannins as well as softer tannins. Concentrated aeration during the last phase of fermentation produces a softer tannin structure. Skin contact towards the end of fermentation or after fermentation depends on the required wine style, but pressing is usually done before completion of fermentation (2 to 8º Balling). Extended maceration is only recommended for wines made from healthy grapes harvested at optimum ripeness and that are destined for further maturation. Sensory evaluation on a daily basis is necessary.

By Grettchen van der Merwe

  • To read more about the South African Wine Harvest click HERE.
  • For more information about Grettchen and her winemaking click HERE.
  • For more information about making Pinotage wine click HERE.

Questions? Or would like to make an order?

Call us at 877-812-1137 or email us at sales@juicegrape.com!

 

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.