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The Wine Maker's Toy Store™

1410 Dunn Dr., Carrollton, TX 75006
Pressing News
April 2004
Volume2, Issue 4


Welcome to Pressing News, the monthly newsletter published by Fine Vine Wines, LLC, designed exclusively to assist the home vintner in the pursuit of their hobby!

You can keep up with the changes and/or additions at the web site by visiting the Updates Page. If you discover anything that does not work properly, please let me know.



I would like to thank each one of you for visiting our site. I hope it was an enjoyable experience and you were able to find everything for which you were looking. As I indicated on our web site, we started this business last year, so unlike big business, we are extremely flexible and nothing we have done so far is “etched in stone.” As a result, being an early user of our site and subscriber to our newsletter gives you the ability to influence the future of our site and our company!

We like to hear what you have to say about our site and/or our customer service, good or bad. Please send your comments and/or suggestions to winemaster@finevinewines.com.


We have now added a second wine club page to our web site. It is the Space Coast Wine Guild, located on the East coast of Florida. Donnie Nettles is the president, while his wife Betty is the secretary. The Nettles took home 15 of the 87 medals awarded at the 2004 Florida State Fair Winemaking Competition, so I think it is fair to say that they know what they are doing. You can read the newspaper article about them on the Space Coast Wine Guild web page.

I now have 2 Wine Guilds posted on the web site and would enjoy adding more. If any of you are involved in wine clubs or guilds, and would like your club information posted, please pass it on to me. If I get one more, I will add a link for home winemaking clubs on my home page.


For those of you that live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and are interested in learning how to make wine from a kit, I am going to have my first instruction class on April 17, 2004. The class will run from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. and will cover all of the steps necessary to make wine from a kit. Specifically, we will perform the following:

  1. Start a wine in the primary fermenter,
  2. Rack the wine from the primary fermenter to a glass carboy,
  3. Rack the wine back into the plastic fermenter, add all of the stabilizing and fining agents and put it back into the glass carboy, and
  4. Bottle 60 bottles of wine, using the hand corker and the floor corker.

If you know of anybody that would be interested or if you want to just come yourself, please send me an e-mail. Space is limited, so only the first 20 people that RSVP will be able to attend. If more people are interested, I will have another class. I will confirm your attendance and provide you with the address and a map via e-mail. All attendees will be allowed to take home a bottle of red or white wine that we bottle that day.

Please note that I will also be hosting the North Texas Winemakers Guild that evening, so if you like to stay for the meeting, we would love to have you.

FEATURED ARTICLE - What are all those packets for?

Whether you just got you first wine kit or you have been making wine from a kit for some time, at some point you wonder what's in those little bags of "stuff" that come with your beautiful bag of grape concentrate. In addition, you wonder what each item does to and/or for your wine. In this month's article, I will explain what is in each bag and why you need it.

All RJ Spagnols' wine kits contain the following items:

  1. Yeast
  2. Potassium Metasulfite (sulfite)
  3. Potassium Sorbate
  4. Bentonite
  5. Gelatin

In addition, certain kits also contain the following additional items:

  1. Kieselsol
  2. Oak powder or chips
  3. Elderberries
  4. Sweetening Pouch

Besides the juice, the yeast is the most important ingredient. Without it, your chances of making wine from the juice is relatively nil and if it does ferment on its own, you may not be very happy with your product! The yeast included with your wine kit will make sure your wine ferments correctly and that when you are finished, you wil have a drinkable wine.

Next, is the Potassium Metasulfite (sulfite). The sulfites slow down the aging process of your wine. As I have stated before, fruit wants to ferment and fermented fruit want to turn to vinegar. The "trick" to wine making is to allow nature to ferment your wine and then, stop it, before it turns to vinegar. Sulfites are a great tool to help you keep your wine from aging too fast and; thereby, becoming undrinkable. I will write an article on sulfites in a later issue, but the simple explanation is that the sulfites in the wine create free Sulphur Dioxide (SO2). The free SO2 bonds with the oxygen to keep it from aging your wine. Without sulfites, don't expect your wine to last 6 months.

Potassium Sorbate is the next ingredient to add. It is added to prevent a renewed fermentation. The last thing you want is for the wine to start fermenting again after it is in the bottle. The best case is that you have fizzy wine. The worst case is that you have exploding bottles. Neither are acceptable rewards for all of your hard work. With kit wines, the Sorbate is really a precautionary item. If you ferment your wine to complete dryness (no residual sugar), the sorbate is not necessary, as the wine has no sugar left to ferment. However, to be on the safe side, add the sorbate and you have one less thing to worry about.

Bentonite is clay and it is used to help clarify your wine. It does this by bonding with floating particles in your wine and makes them too heavy to remain suspended. As a result, they fall (precipitate) to the bottom of your vessel and make up part of the sediment (lees). Some wine kits have you add the bentonite at the very beginning, while others have you add this at the end. I have been trying to find the logic behind each method, but so far, I have not found anything definitive. If anyone has information to share, I would love to add it to the web site's knowledge base.

Gelatin is the last item that is included in all RJ Spagnols wine kits. Its purpose is to help clarify your wine, like bentonite. The drawback of gelatin is that is also removes some of the tannins.

Kieselsol is used with Gelatin in low tannin wines, i.e., white wines. When used in this manner, the Kieselsol increases the effectiveness of the Gelatin.

The remaining items are predominantly for flavor, although the oak will add some tannins to your wine.

Now you know what is in all of those little bags and what they do. All of these items are necessary and good for your wine, when used in the proper amounts. Too much of any one of them will adversely affect the quality of your wine.

---If you would like to offer your comments and/or suggestions, please send them to winemaster@finethevinewines.com


For those of you tired of lifting those heavy glass carboys, I have a new product for you - the Better-Bottle. It is a PET plastic carboy that only weighs 1-1/2 pounds or 1/10th the weight of a glass carboy. As soon as I have all of the specs, I will post the information about these carboys on the home page.

I also have a new Fine Vine Wines 1.75" cork that is a slightly lesser grade cork than the original Fine Vine Wines cork. These corks are an excellent value at $0.10 each, but see this month's special for an even better deal.


This month, we are offering all of our Fine Vine Wine superior corks at the reduced prices listed below:

Number Name
Reg. Price
2320 Fine Vine Wines Perfect Agglomerate #9 X 1.75
2321 Fine Vine Wines Agglomerate #9 X 1.75
2322 Fine Vine Wines Perfect Agglomerate #9 X 1.50

Don't forget that when you are through with your tutorial VHS tape or CD, you can return it for a credit of $19.95. Also, as soon as you register, you get a coupon good for $5.00 off. This coupon can be used immediately and it can be used in conjunction with any other discounts.

For those of you in the FVW Growers Club, all monthly discounts are always in addition to your 5% permanent discount.


If you have any questions about our products, our service and/or wine making, please call us. We are not Corporate America! We are here to serve you. I bring this up, because a number of my callers apologize for bothering me or using my toll-free line. You are definitely not bothering me and I have a toll-free line so you WILL call me. By the way, my long distance rate is 4 cents a minute, so even if we talk for 1 full hour, it only costs me $2.40. If I can help you, it is worth every penny.

Sometimes, I am unable to answer the phone. If you get the voice mail, please leave your name, number, brief message and a best time to call. I will return your call as soon as I can. By the way, the best time to reach me is between 4-10pm CST.

If you don't want to call, just send me an email. I usually answer my email daily. In addition, your emails and/or calls do not have to relate to wine. I will discuss any topic you like, so please remember, I am your resource and I am here for you.


Starting June 1, 2003, we have created the FVW Growers Club. You can get all of the details on our website, but the bottom line is we want to buy your loyalty! Once you spend $1,000 with us, you get a 5% discount on everything you buy from us. Find out more on the website.


Effective March 1, 2004, we have a customer referral program that provides for additional discounts to registered users. We will give you a coupon worth 10% of the first order placed by any person that you refer to our web site. The only stipulations are as follows:

  1. You must be a registered user of finevinewines.com,
  2. The person placing the order must register and provide your name in the appropriate field on the registration screen, and
  3. The discount is only good for future orders with finevinewines.com and is not redeemable for cash.

That all you have to do to get another discount from finevinewines.com.


We appreciate all of your comments, whether good or bad. To demonstrate our commitment to outstanding customer service, I have created a web page with your feedback. As we receive emails that comment about our service, I will post them on this page.


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