September 2003 Volume1, Issue 4
This Month on the Vine
- Featured Article
- New Products
- Monthly Special
- Customer Appreciation Program
Again, I would like to thank each one of you for visiting my 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 just this 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 company!
We want to know what you think about us. I have (finally) started working on the online surveys. These surveys will focus on obtaining information about the home wine making market and how you feel about our site and our company. In exchange for completing the survey, we will reward you with special discounts and promotions. Until then, we like to hear what you have to say about our site. Send your comments and/or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEATURED ARTICLE – Wine Kits Vs. Wines Made from Fresh Fruit by Ronnie Abor
Let me begin by giving you a brief history of how I began my adventure in wine making.
I started about 12 years ago making my own beer. I did not drink wine except on occasion of dining out or special occasions. I did not know much about wines and seem to always pick wines that were off taste to me. I guess the thing was that I did not know what to look for in wines. Then I met a young lady that liked wines and we would occasionally have a drink at the end of a long week of work. At that time she was drinking wines that were sweet or semi-sweet. She would bring different types of wines for me to taste from time to time. Well I noticed the prices of these wines and some were expensive and I was unable to drink much due to the lack of the fruit taste. We visited places like the Olive Garden, Italian restaurants, etc. and tried their wines.
Then one day I was out buying some beer producing products and stumbled across a wine kit. Well I thought I would give it a try. The salesperson told me if I could make beer, then I should try making wine. I was a bit skeptical with all the steps involved, but why not try it. My first batch was a Blackberry Merlot. It came out very good and the kit had instructions that were easy to follow. I then ordered more kits and made more wines.
Now, I’m the type of person that likes a challenge. I strive for perfection as well. Living in this region of Texas where fruits are readily available, I thought I would try my hand in making a batch of wine from fresh fruit. My first batch was from fresh strawberries. Now I must admit, this was a learning experience for me. My advice is to try different recipes and share your experiences with others
Now, remember that wild grapes, berries, plums, peaches and pears are plentiful and not that expensive in most areas this time of the year. As a rule of thumb, I personally start out with 5 gallons of fruit per batch. This gives me a fruitier flavor. Berries and grapes, well, I pick in a 5-gallon bucket and there’s my 5 gallons. Peaches and pears or plums I cut them up removing the pits till I get a 5-gallon container of just fruit. I place my fruit in straining bags and add about 3 gallons of water to this. You can purchase Rubbermaid Roughneck 12-15 gallon containers at Wal-Mart to use as your primary containers. I place my bag of fruit in them pour in my water and squeeze as much juice as I can from them. I start out with 5 lbs. of sugar add to my juice and check my specific gravity. Continuing to add my sugar gradually until I reach a specific gravity of 1.060 – 1.070,this is just about what you would have if you were using a kit.
After reaching my specific gravity I then add 5 campden tablets, pectin enzyme and nutrient. Make sure you have an acid kit available and check the acidity level and add acid blend until you get the level needed. Instructions are included in the kit. After you have reached this level, let this sit for 24 hours and add yeast. Let this sit for about 5 days stirring and pressing on the juice bag daily. At then end of 5 days you are ready to rack to your carboy, just as you would if you were using a kit. If you have been using a kit, just remember it will take longer usually to get the specific gravity of 1.000 or less, but it will be worth the wait. (I tend to rack once a month, this helps with the clarity) When you do achieve the specific gravity, rack again leaving as much sediments behind as possible. You may need to rack this several times for clarity. Now that you have reached the specific gravity, rack into your main fermenter leaving behind as much sediment as possible.
At this point you want to stabilize your wine. Add your sulphite, then your sorbate, and then your bentonite, as directed. Now at this point I taste my wine for sweetness, if you desire it sweeter you can now add sugar to taste. Rack wine in carboy with airlock and leave for 10 days. Wine should be clear and ready to bottle. Now this is something I do, I filter my wine to give it that polished look and to remove any sediment that might settle in the bottom of the bottle. This is just an option. I will guarantee you that if you wait a couple of months or more and drink this wine you will be looking for fruit.
You can purchase all of your chemicals as well as your filtering machine from Finevinewines.com. They are very helpful and you will receive your merchandise without delays. I have been fortunate to win Best of Show, and First and Second Place with both Kits as well as from fresh fruit. I still use kits during the winter season when there is no fruit.
Kits or fresh fruit…………You be the judge
As I mentioned the last 2 months, I am going to mention Christmas, again. If you want to give bottles of your wine for Christmas, now is the time to get started! Bottles of homemade wine make excellent Christmas presents. Put a nice label on the bottle. Stick it in a nice bag, and voila, you have a nice present for under $10 dollars. If you want to keep it under $5, just put a tag with a bow around the neck. Besides the fact it is a very nice gift, the recipient will think you spent a whole lot more than you did! In business, they call that a win/win.
In an effort to help you get your winter hobby started, we are having our first Labor Day Sale! 37 of our wine concentrate kits have been marked down 25%. We have included kits from all lines, except Orchard Breezin'. If you have been waiting to try a Cellar Classics or Signature Series wine kit due to the additional cost, now is the time to buy!
This sale offers tremendous savings over our normal prices and over any other competitor. It is our way of asking you to try us for your winemaking needs.
Caveat: The normal 10% off on multiple wine kits is NOT available on any of the above kits while the Labor Day Sale prices continue.
CUSTOMER APPRECIATION PROGRAM
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