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Editorials

Lodi Rules: Grow great grapes, make delicious wine, leave everything a little better than we found it

“May we farm in a way that meets the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to create their livelihoods.” – The LODI RULES motto.

Started in 2005, the LODI RULES certification program is a collective of growers who are focused on all thing’s sustainability. Many of these Lodi Farmers are 4th or 5th generation winegrowers who are focused on farming with the next 100 years in mind. We at Musto Wine Grape, are lucky enough to work with some of these amazing farmers – Mettler Ranch and Costamagna Vineyards. Look for the LODI RULES seal on the wine grape boxes this season.

LODI RULES seal-musto wine grape

LODI RULES growers use a unique risk model to quantify the environmental and human impact of all pesticides applied in the vineyard. This model considers the dietary risks to consumers, as well as the acute risk to farm workers; small aquatic invertebrates; birds; and bees; and bees and beneficial insects. The Lodi region has documented a great decline in the use of high-risk pesticides since 1992, thanks to sustainability adaption by farmers.

LODI RULES Sustainability Standards Overview:

  • Water: They carefully manage the quality and efficiency of their water, appreciating every drop
  • Soil: They do their part to make sure that soil – the foundation of the vineyard- thrives for generations to come
  • Community: They support the neighborhoods and schools around the farms
  • Ecosystem: They encourage biodiversity and act as stewards of the land
  • Pest Management: They us an integrated approach to pest management, which includes protecting beneficial insects and minimizing risks to birds, bees, water, and people
  • People: They make sure that their vineyards are a safe and rewarding place to work
  • Quality: They design farming practices to improve wine grape quality
  • Generational Farming: They farm with the next 100 years in mind

How is certified sustainable farming different than organic and biodynamic?

  • Organic and biodynamic farmers follow a set of practices related to the environment. Certified sustainable farming includes practices related to the environment, the people, and the business.

LODI RULES has over 100 sustainable practices included in its certification; with over 28,776 acres certified.

Over 150 wines bear the LR seal (Mettler Ranch & Costamagna being some of them!) A wine must contain 85% certified grapes to be the LR seal.

“Sustainability means leaving everything – people, places, etc.- as good as better than how we found it” – Kevin Philips, Michael David Winery

“When you drink a glass of wine made from LODI RULES certified grapes, you are supporting a farmer, a vintner, and an entire agricultural community that embraces their responsibility to care for the environment and the people”

This is a certification I think we can all get behind. Musto Wine Grape is grateful to be bringing in these grapes this season. If you are interested in grapes from the LODI RULES program, please give us a call at 877-812-1137 to pre-order. We are looking forward to assisting with your winemaking this fall!

Grapes Available from LODI RULES Certified Vineyards:

Mettler Ranch:

  • Barbera
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Grenache
  • Merlot
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Pinotage
  • Petite Sirah
  • Rousanne
  • Sangivoese
  • Syrah
  • Viognier
  • Zinfandel

Costamagna Vineyards:

  • Old Vine Primitivo
  • Cabernet
  • Merlot
  • Sangiovese
  • Barbera
  • Aglianico
  • Montelpulciano
  • Mourvedre
  • Nero D’Avola
  • Sagrantino

Cheers,

Christina Musto-Quick

Home Winemaker Chris Pallatto and his Winemaking Crew were featured in their local magazine.

Home Winemaker Chris Pallatto and his Winemaking Crew were featured in their local magazine.

A great article about how winemaking brings people together.

Click HERE to read the full article.

Special Primitivo coming from fifth generation farmer Berton Costamagna

old vine primitivo_lodi rules_musto wine grape

Special Primitivo coming from fifth generation farmer Berton Costamagna

 

There is something very special about walking through this Primitivo vineyard for fifth generation farmer Berton Costamagna. “Since 1902 my family has been here in Lodi farming these wine grapes”, says Berton. “To think that my Nono (Great, Great, Great Grandfather) had the foresight to start a farming adventure back then, by planting his first vineyard of Primitivo here, and to see where it is now, is so inspiring to me.” With its sandy loams, and ideal climate, farmers back then quickly saw the potential for growing wine grapes in Lodi, in the heart of California. Fast forward 120 years, and Lodi California has come to be known as the Zinfandel Capital of the World, and is now one of the top producing AVA’s in the world. The Costamagna family has continued farming their family’s clone of Primitivo for all these years for wineries and home winemakers to enjoy with their families. “These grapes make for a great wine, but what is truly special, is these grapes connect us to the hard work, traditions, and memories of my family before me. My hope is that folks can make as many memories drinking the wine from these grapes as our family has made farming them.” 🍇🍷 We can’t wait to receive these grapes from the Costamagna Family!

 

How to Order
We are an old school company. Give us a call at 877-812-1137 or email us at sales@juicegrape.com to get the ball rolling on your pre-order. Don’t forget, we can create custom fermentation templates for you if you would like!
If you aren’t local to New England and need your product shipped, please email sales@juicegrape.com for a freight quote. We will be shipping out of our Bronx, NY location – D’Arrigo. If you live in the Metro NY area and are interested in a freight quote please reach out to sales@juicegrape.com
Unfortunately, we cannot ship fresh juice. We can ship our sterile juices (Original All Juice (juicegrape.com)), they ship year-round without refrigeration. This is the best option for home winemakers who cannot pick up the fresh product from MWG’s facilities.
If you have a large fresh product order (2,000lbs and up), please contact sales@juicegrape.com for a freight quote.
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!
Sincerely,
Christina Musto
Musto Wine Grape Co.

What is Fermaid K? And Why/When do we use it?

fermaidk-winemaking

Femaid-K is a blended complex yeast nutrient that supplies ammonia salts (DAP), free amino acids (organic nitrogen derived from inactivated yeast), sterols, unsaturated fatty acids, key nutrients and inactive yeast. The unsaturated fatty acids and sterols provided by Fermaid K are important survival factors yeast cells need to maintain alcohol resistance and permease activity, and help keep volatile acidity levels low. Nitrogen is critical for protein synthesis and to maintain cellular growth. Fermaid K’s alpha amino acids provide a nitrogen source which is easier and more efficient for yeast to metabolize than nitrogen from traditional ammonia salts. The cell wall fractions in Fermaid K absorb short and medium chain fatty acids that are toxic to yeast, and provide nucleation sites to help keep the yeast in suspension.

Fermaid K is like the power bar they hand out to runners at the last mile. The power bar gives you the energy and nutrients get through those last few miles of the race.

You can add Fermaid-K at 8 Brix

2022 Harvest Menu and Announcements

2022 harvest menu, harvest, wine grapes, wine juice, harvest tracker

I hope you’ve been enjoying your summers winemakers because the fall season will be upon us soon!

Have you started thinking about what you want to make this season? There are so many grapes and juices to choose from. Make a straight variety, make a blend, make multiple batches, we will have you covered this vintage!

The grapes are about 1-2 weeks behind last season. It feels like this season will harvest more in line with “normal years”.  We will most likely have some early ripening grapes and winemaking juices arriving the week after Labor Day (September 5th).  We have some new winemaking grapes and interesting vineyards being added to the MWG winemaking portfolio this season. Check out our 2022 Harvest Menu (link: harvest menu) to see what new and find your consistent favorites.

CROP OVERVIEW

Suisun Valley, CA:

We’ve started to see color changes in the Merlot, Barbera, and Petite Sirah. The Lanzas are currently walking the vineyards and doing bunch counts to get an accurate crop reading. It was a great growing season for Suisun Valley. It should be another vintage year.

Lodi, CA:

With veraison happening we are getting a clear outlook for what to expect this year in crop yields. Overall, the Lodi area has set a nice crop with estimates at or above last year’s tonnage. As you move east into the foothill vineyards, yields look to be much lighter due to the frost damage experienced back in February.

Central Valley, CA:

The berries are starting to show color in the Barbera, Zinfandel, and Merlot vineyards. Central Valley is almost always the first of the vineyards to harvest. If you are interested in CV fruit be prepared to make wine earlier in the season. We will have some new and interesting varieties from this region, such as Grenache Blanc, Fiano, Teroldego, and Touriga Nacional. Check out the Harvest Menu (link) for the full list of varieties from all vineyard regions.

Washington:

They are currently in the middle of lag phase. Washington should have crop estimations in the next week or so. The crop looks nice so far and they are about to get some hot days. As of right now they are predicting harvest will be about 2 weeks behind last year’s harvest. If you are interested in Washington fruit, plan to make wine in late October and/or early November.

What’s Available this Season?

Download our Harvest Menu to see everything that is offered this season. Please note that many vineyard specific grapes such as Lanza and Mettler do sell out. If there is a specific vineyard you want your grapes sourced from, we encourage you to put in a pre-order.

 

In Person Winemaking Classes

Making Consistently Flawless Wine Seminar with Daniel Pambianchi

Don’t miss out on this special opportunity to attend Daniel Pambianchi’s third seminar on advanced winemaking on September 10th, 2022, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, at Musto Wine Grape Company in Hartford, CT.

Click HERE to sign up! 

This third seminar will focus on advanced home winemaking techniques, including advanced analytical techniques for measuring and adjusting key quality control parameters, and to integrate these learnings in reviewing detailed protocols for making outstanding white, rose, and red wines and in different styles.

This seminar is intended for intermediate and advanced amateur and small-winery winemakers. Lunch and coffee are provided. Please alert Christina of any food allergies at cmusto@juicegrape.com.

SEMINAR FEES

Until August 10th – $275.00

August 11th to September 10th– $300.00

Please email Christina Musto at cmusto@juicegrape.com with any questions.

Winemaker Bootcamp

Our Winemaker’s Bootcamp is back! We will begin on Saturday September 11th. To sign up click here. Whether you are just starting out or have a few years under your belt, our Winemakers Bootcamp will enrich your winemaking skills while having a lot of fun along the way. The only hands-on winemaking bootcamp in the area; this course offers each student the opportunity of experiencing hands-on winemaking. In addition to making wines, the course will cover the science behind modern wine making and fermentation techniques including additives commonly used by commercial wineries throughout the wine making world. Classes will be about 3 hours each Saturday, starting at 9:00 am or 12:00PM (depending on the session you pick, total of 5 sessions), in the offices and winemaking showrooms of Musto Winegrape Co, 101 Reserve Road, Hartford, CT, 06114. If you have any questions, please email Christina at cmusto@juicegrape.com.

Virtual Winemaking Classes

Our Virtual Winemaking Classes are available year-round but in order to kick off harvest, we are running a flash sale for the month of August. For the month of August our Full Winemaking Course will be discounted from $397.00 for 46 videos (over 24 hours of content) to $297.00. That’s $100.00 off! And you have access to the videos forever. If you have any questions, please email cmusto@juicegrape.com.

How to Order

We are an old school company. Give us a call at 877-812-1137 or email us at sales@juicegrape.com to get the ball rolling on your pre-order. Don’t forget, we can create custom fermentation templates for you if you would like!

If you aren’t local to New England and need your product shipped, please email sales@juicegrape.com for a freight quote. We will be shipping out of our Bronx, NY location – D’Arrigo. If you live in the Metro NY area and are interested in a freight quote please reach out to sales@juicegrape.com

Unfortunately, we cannot ship fresh juice. We can ship our sterile juices, they ship year-round without refrigeration. This is the best option for home winemakers who cannot pick up the fresh product from MWG’s facilities.

If you have a large fresh product order (2,000lbs and up), please contact sales@juicegrape.com for a freight quote.

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!

Sincerely,

The Musto Crush Crew

 

Have you tried Super Smoother?

Have you tried Super Smoother?

super_smoother

Super Smoother is great tool that’s ideal for home winemakers because it comes in small packages intended for 6-gallon (23-L) batches.

It contains glycerin and liquid oak extract. The combination of these two adds a subtle oak flavor while softening harsh tannins and smoothing out wine mouthfeel.

How Much Wine will a Case of Grapes Make from Chile?

Each case of wine grapes from Chile is 18lbs. Depending on the grape variety, you should yield about 1.5-2 gallons of must per case.

However, keep in mind that certain wine grapes are “juicier” than others. For example, Syrah is considered a “juicer” grape than a Cabernet. If you look closely, you can see the difference in the shape of the berries. The Syrah grape has more of an “egg” shaped berry to it. The Cabernet is more of a circle shaped berry. The berry size, climate, soil, and vineyard practices will all help determine how much juice is produced in each berry, and the berry intensity.

Usually each case of 18lb wine grapes will yield about 1.25-1.50 gallons of finished wine.

That equates to about 7 bottles of wine.

Other factors that influence how much must and/or juice you yield per case:

How your rollers are positioned in your crusher destemmer
How much you press after fermentation is completed
How much wine you loose during racking
If you barrel age your wine
If drink a lot of wine during bottling

Keep these topics in mind when you are deciding on how many cases of grapes you want purchase versus how much wine you want to make. If you ahve any questions do not hesitate to reach out to us via email (sales@juicegrape.com) or phone (877-812-1137).

How to Make Chilean Cabernet at Home

musto wine grape chilean cabernet sauvignon grapes for winemaking for wineries and home winemakers chilean cabernet

Cabernet is King, no matter the region. At MWG we are grateful to be able to bring in Cabernet grapes and juices frrom Chile for wineries and home winemakers. Cabernets from Chile are very bold with notes of blackberry, casis, and plum. The tannins are medium to medium plus on the palate make this a great wine to enjoy with a steak or a hearty meal. Introducing oak into this style of wine only helps create more complexity on the palate and finish. Some winemakers also blend thier California Cabernet with thier Chilean Cabernet to create an “International” Cabernet Wine. There are lots of fun things to try when making Cabernet from Chile!

  1. Crush Cabernet grapes into a sanitized bin or tub. (Each 18lb crate will make 1.25 gals of finished wine).
  2. Apply 50ppm of Potassium Metabisulfite and stir well. Allow to sit for 8-12 hours.
  3. Apply .5ml of Color Pro Pectic enzyme per box diluted into a 10% solution with water to the must and stir. Allow to sit for another 8-12 hours.
  4. Mix Booster Rouge, FT Rouge, and Opti-Red, with spring water until it is the consistency of pancake batter and pour over top of crushed grapes. Mix in well.
  5. Add rehydrate CSM yeast (1g/gal) with Go Ferm rehydration nutrient and warm water. Allow to sit for 15 minutes and pour over top of crushed grapes.
  6. Punch down grapes 3 times per day throughout the duration of fermentation and monitor temperature and Brix levels daily. Use a hydrometer to test sugar content in a strained juice sample. Make sure the temperature does not exceed 85F.
  7. One day after adding the yeast, add Fermaid O, mixed with spring water in to the pancake batter style slurry. Dump into grapes during a punch down.
  8. After the depletion of 1/3 of the Brix (when the Brix level is between 16-11), add Fermaid O that is mixed with spring water into the pancake batter style slurry. Dump into to grapes at a punch down.
  9. Add Malo-lactic bacteria the same day as the Fermaid K. If you are using liquid cultures, just pour over the grape must and mix. If you use the dry cultures, rehydrate them in warm spring water according to their specific directions, utilizing any rehydration nutrients recommended.
  10. When the Brix have dropped below zero, press the wine into a sanitized tank, carboy, or demijohn. Make sure the vessel is topped up all the way to the top of the neck and sealed properly with a bung and airlock.
  11. Rack after 48 hours and then again in a week. Allow MLF to complete before adding sulfites.
  12. Allow the wine to age and rack it every 2 months and add sulfites when racking.

Recipe by the Winemakers at Musto Wine Grape

Interested in making your own wine? Musto Wine Grape Company is here to help! Musto’s New England’s largest supplier for home winemaking products and services. Visit juicegrape.com or give us a call at (877) 812 – 1137 to learn more.

Spring Harvest Menu

The Spring Harvest Menu is now available to download HERE

Browse what’s available to create this Spring and give us a call (877-812-1137) or email us (sales@juicegrape.com) to secure your order!

Top 7 Winemaker Resolutions

It’s that time again! Where you start to reflect on the past year, look forward to a fresh start, and set forth some new year’s resolutions. But resolutions don’t just apply to weight loss and self improvement, they can also apply to winemaking. According to the Merriam-Webbster Dictoinary a resolution is defined as “to make a definite and serious decision to do something“. So what do we want to decide and do, when it comes to our winemaking? What can we do to elevate our winemaking? Or better yet, make the type of wine we love drink to and share.

We’ve come up with a few resolutions for the winemaking year ahead. Many of them come from our own mistakes during the winemaking process, tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way, and some of it is super fun.

new-year-resolutions

7 Suggested Resolutions for Winemakers in 2022

Be more detailed when recording winemaking notes.

You know how it is. You’re exhausted from crush day. You’re covered in must, sticky, maybe a little tipsy from enjoynig last year’s wine while crushing (we all do it, and love it ;)), and the last thing you want to do is record your starting must numbers. No matter which way you slice it, detailed winemaking records aid us in creating wines without flaws, keep us on track, and help us create our favortie wines. Need help with record keeping? Email cmusto@juicegrape.com for an example.

Have that blending party.

Wine blending can be meticulous for some, but really, it’s a great excuse to get togther and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Blending wines is one of the best ways to tweak your wine to make it even more delcious than the year before. There’s a great free video you can watch on WinemakingInstructions.com for inspiration as to how to throw a wine blending party.

Visit the grapes….FINALLY

That’s right I said it, it’s time to go see the grapes. If you haven’t been out to visit Lanza-Musto Vineyards it’s time. It’s finally safe to travel again and Suisun Valley is right next to Napa. So it’s part research, part vacation, or maybe it’s just all vacation. Either way you’re in California, enjoying wine country. Who wouldn’t want to do that? If you’re interested in visiting Lanza-Musto Vineyards email cmusto@juicegrape.com to learn how you can set up your vineyard visit. Musto Wine Grape is very transparent about who we source from and are happy to introduce you to our growers.

Read that wine book

Who doesn’t have a wine book laying around that they have been meaning to read? I know I have at least three. My list includes Daniel Pambianchi’s newest book – Modern Home Winemaking, The Academie Du Vin Wine Cellar Book by Steven Spurrier, and I Taste Red by Jamie Goode. A second part to this resolution is to take notes on each book. Kind of like a book report you did back in school. Nerdy I know, but it helps me retain the information better. Plus I have a feeling I’ll be refering back to all of these texts. Which books are on your list? Suggestions are welcomed, feel free to email me -cmusto@juicegrape.com.

Visit more local wineries, breweries, distilleries, and cideries

Inspiration can come from anywhere. Many wineries were inspired by distilleries and the flavor profiles they produced with thier bourbons, igniting the bourbon barrel aged wine trend. And who doesn’t like supporting local? Plus getting to know your local fermentors can help if you ever have questions or need help with your fermentations. Plus it’s always a ton of fun. So get tasting!

Clean that wine room

You knew I was going to bring this up. Clean, sanitize, repeat. It is one of the best ways to ensure your wine turns out the way you want it. Cleanliness is key and my cellar needs some sprucing. How about yours? Here is a great blog post with best practices.

Plan out your winemaking year

Perfect the process. Every year harvest sneaks up on us, yet we know when it will happen every year. Put a reminder in your phone and on your calendar for the start of the Spring and Fall seasons. South African grapes/juices usually arrive around late March, Chileans late April / early May, California starts in early September, and Washington State starts in October. Think about what you want to make (new varieties to try?), your fermentation protocols (any new yeasts you want to try?), your fermentation and aging vessels (should I spring for the stainless?), and how much wine you need to get bottled before they all arrive. Plus if you plan ahead you’ll have more time for blending parties, bottling parties, and good old fashioned friend get togethers where you share your wine.

We hope you enjoyed some of our resoultion tips and look forward to seeing you all in the new year. Cheers to 2022 Winemakers!