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Don't whine about the cost of wine! Make your own for $3 a bottle!

Pressing News

 

January 2004
Volume2, Issue 1
www.finevinewines.com
866.417.1114

 

Happy New Year!

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

THIS MONTH ON THE VINE!

WELCOME

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 indicate 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 company!

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

MY ACCOUNT

I am continuing to work on the MY ACCOUNT page. It still needs a lot of work, but in the meantime, you can see all of of your internet orders. I am working on adding all of the phone-in orders. If you notice a discrepancy with your orders, please let me know. The orders are separated as follows:

  • Pending - Orders that you have not completed.
  • In Process - Orders that you have completed, but all or part of your order is awaiting shipment.
  • Shipped - Orders where all items have been shipped.
  • Cancelled - Orders that have been cancelled.

If you are a registered user and you request a shipping quote and then decide to place the order, you can find your open order under the Pending link.

FEATURED ARTICLE - Helpful Hints (I hope!)

Since we took so many orders from and for new home wine makers, I decided it would be a good time to offers some of my tips.

Controlling the Mess

It seems that no matter how hard I try, I always wind up spilling some wine somewhere during the process. Whether it is when I pour the concentrate in the bucket or during racking or while bottling, I have always found a new way to make a mess! (I won't go into the ways I have spilled a glass of wine just trying to drink it!)

I am fortunate in that my kitchen is ceramic tile, so any spillage is easy to clean up, but I don't like to clean the floor every time I make wine. I found the perfect addition that can find it at most hardware stores for less than $7.00. It is a flat plastic tub. The interior dimensions of my tub are 16" by 24" and 6" deep. It will hold a fermenting bucket or carboy or 25 standard wine bottles. As a result, I can use it at any point in the process. When I am finished, I pour the spillage into the sink. Wash it out and it is ready for my next mess.

In addition, I keep plenty of paper towels handy. Since red wine has a tendancy to stain anything it touches, if you use wash cloths and hand towels, you will just wind up throwing them away; therefore, just use paper towels. It's a lot less expensive.

Garden Hose

As I mentioned earlier, I do most of my wine making in the kitchen. I have yet to find a kitchen faucet that is tall enough to get my carboy under for cleaning. I found a very simple, inexpensive solution - a 6 foot length of garden hose! Like the plastic tub, you can find one at any hardware store and the adaptor that is used for the bottle washer also fits a standard garden hose. Just hook it up and you can easily rinse your carboys and buckets with minimal effort and almost no mess(If you remember to turn the water off BEFORE you take the hose out of the carboy. Experience talking again!).

Blender

I have read dozens of wine books and they all talk about the benefit of Bentonite in the clearing of wines. I do have to admit that I have a mental issue with putting CLAY in my wine; however, I continue to follow the instructions and add the clay. For those of you that have never made a batch of wine, bentonite is a type of clay that is used to help clear your wine. I won't go into the details, but it has to do with negative and positive ions in the wine. To make you feel even better about bentonite, I will tell you that it is also used when drilling an oil well to lubricate the drill bit!

Anyway, if you add the bentonite straight to the wine, it will form clumps and drop immediately to the bottom of your bucket. This is not good. What you need to do is mix it with warm water before adding it to your wine. You want to make sure you have a liquid and not a paste when you pour it into your wine. This involves some really good stirring, but since I don't like to stir, I got an inexpensive blender just for my bentonite. Put about a cup of warm water in the blender, turn it on the lowest speed and slowly pour the bentonite through the hole in the top. Let it mix for 15-30 seconds and you have a nice mixture to add to your wine.

Recycling Bottles

This is one of the easiest ways to save money and it is good for the environment. I usually recycle about 3 cases at a time, so I bought a plastic trash can ($9.99 at Lowe's). It will hold at least that many bottles, if not more. Your fermenting bucket will also do the trick, but it will only hold about 9 bottles at a time.

I start by always rinsing my bottles as soon as they are empty. This keeps mold from forming in the bottles, which you definately do not want. When I am ready to clean them, I fill my plastic trash can 2/3 full. Then I pour about a 1/4 teaspoon of Oxi-Clean in each bottle. Next I put each bottle in the trash can, making sure it fills with water and drops to the bottom of the trash can.

In a day or two, I take a bottle from the trash can and start removing the label. Some of the labels have already come off and some come off with a single pull. Others require more work. For those, I use a box knife to scrape the label off. I have come to the realization that some labels were not meant to be removed, so instead of spending a lot of effort and frustration to remove them, I throw those bottles away. For the remaining bottles, after I have the label off, I use an SOS pad to remove any remaining adhesive. At this point, the bottles go on the bottle drainer and I open a bottle of wine to celebrate!

Speaking of friends, they are an excellent source for wine bottles. They are going to throw them away, anyway, so why not ask them to save them for you. If they do, be sure to ask them to rinse the bottle and to not re-insert the cork. It's that mold thing again. If your friends are reluctant, you can always bribe them with a bottle of your own home made wine!

Bottle Shock

All wines go through a phase called bottle shock. This occurs when you bottle the wine, DUH! What happens is that the wine gets exposed to oxygen while you are bottling. It is not enough to have a lasting effect on your wine, but it does affect the taste for the first 2 weeks after bottling. After you bottle your wine, allow it to sit up for several days. This allows any oxygen in your wine to escape before the cork completely seals. After a couple of days, lay your wine down for 2 weeks before drinking. It will be worth the wait.

Fizz-X

When you get tired of stirring, get a Fizz-X. It attaches to your power drill like a drill bit and it saves a lot of wear and tear on your arms. I made 6 batches, before I gave in and bought mine. I would only recommend using this with a variable speed drill. If you get the Fizz-X spinning too fast, you will find that you have wine everywhere, so you need to be able to control the spin.

I hope these tips have helped and I am always looking for more, so please, if you have a tip you would like to share, send it to me. I will include it in the next newsletter and I will give you a $5.00 off coupon.

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

NEW PRODUCTS

I don't know when they will arrive, but soon you will see a new cork with the "finevinewines" name on it. These will replace the "grapestompers" corks on our web site. We will have finevinewines cork in both the 1.50' and the 1.75' sizes and it will be the same exact cork, but with our name on it. We are doing this for a number of business and branding reasons, but be assured that our wonderful relationship with grapestompers has not changed!

MONTHLY SPECIAL

This month we have 3 specials as follows:

  1. 30 free corks with every purchase of a Vino Del Vida or Grand Cru wine concentrate kit.
  2. 30 free corks and 30 free capsules with every purchase of a Cellar Classic or Cru Select wine concentrate kit.
  3. Electric Transfer Pump for $109.99! This normally lists for $126.50, but this month, you can save $16.51. This translates into a 13% savings. If you are tired of lifting those carboys, get an Electric Transfer Pump and never lift a full carboy again.

For specials 1 & 2, be sure to tell us which cork and which style of capsule you want in the order comments.

In addition, for all of you lucky people that received a wine kit from us for Christmas, finevinewines.com will give you a $10 off coupon on your first order with us. In the order comments, just tell us that you received a kit from us for Christmas and who ordered the kit for you. We will do the rest.

Remember, 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 conjuction with any specials.

Happy Shopping!

AND THE WINNNER WAS?

Last month, we decided to give away one Vino del Vida wine kit based on a drawing among everyone who ordered a wine kit in December. We are proud to anounce the winner was:

Carol Harris

Congratulations to Carol and chances are extremely high that we will do this drawing again in the coming months. I never know when the urge will strike, so read your newsletters and watch the web site.

SHIPPING QUOTES

I have added an option to the ordering system that allows you to request a shipping quote without placing an order. Upon receiving your request, I will send you an email with the estimated shipping costs. You can then decide if you want to place the order or not. You can learn more about our shipping policy on our Shipping Information Page.

CALL US!

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 definately 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.

CUSTOMER APPRECIATION PROGRAM

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.

CUSTOMER FEEDBACK

We appreciate all of your comments, whether good or bad. To demonstrate our committment 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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