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Don't whine about the cost of wine! Make your own for $3 a bottle!
Pressing News
June 2004
Volume2, Issue 6

First Anniversary Issue!

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!



Memorial Day 2004 marks our first anniversary on the internet, so I would like to take the time to offer the following:

  • To all of you that have taken time to visit my site, I extend my thanks,
  • To all of you that have placed an order with me, I extend my appreciation, and
  • To all of you that have registed with my site, I have a special promotion for the month of June to show my gratitude.

If it were not for you, my customers and visitors, I would not still be here.

The first year of any business is filled with numerous trials and tribulations, but the joy of watching my business grow and interacting with you far outweighed any difficulties I encountered along the way. I will have to admit that the most enjoyable facet of my business is the interactions with my customers and visitors; whether, through e-mail or the telephone. I especially enjoy hearing your stories of success.

As I have tried to display throughout the web site and through my actions, the #1 priority of is to provide you with the best customer service, anywhere! I do this not because I realize the value that it brings to my business. I do this because I feel that YOU are entitled to excellent customer service. If I wanted to be "just another store", I would lower my prices to rock bottom and just sell products; however, anybody can do that and way too many companies do. I do make sure that my pricing is always competitive and I realize that I may not be the least expensive on every item, but overall, I believe my prices are fair and competitive.

Although, I have to sell products and make a profit to stay in business, that is not a primary concern to you. What does concerns you, besides price is:

  1. Does the merchant stand behind his products?
  2. Does the merchant offer support for his products?
  3. Does the merchant ship orders in a timely manner?
  4. Does the merchant communicate with the customer regarding order status, i.e., delays in shipping, back orders, etc.
  5. Does the merchant offer free information?
  6. Does the merchant use good packaging?
  7. Does the merchant offer a 100% money back guarantee on every product they sell?

I trust the when asking these questions about, the answer to ALL of them is "Yes"!

As we are start our second year in business, we remain committed to staying extremely flexible in meeting your needs and desires and, nothing we have done so far is “etched in stone.” We will continue to add products and content to the web site; therefore, if you have any special requests, please let us know. We like to hear what you have to say about our site, our products and/or our customer service, good or bad. Please send your comments and/or suggestions to

I want to extend my thanks again for making your home for your wine making needs. It continues to be my hope that everytime you visit you have an enjoyable experience and you find everything for which you are looking.


There seems to be some confusion surrounding whether wine kits make 5 or 6 gallons. All of the wine kits that I sell, as well as those made by Winexpert (except where specifically noted, i.e., Port, Sherry and Ice Wine Style) are designed to make 6 U.S. gallons (30 bottles). I can make this statement with 100% certainty based on the following quote:

"That's not a five gallon kit. It's designed for 23 litres, 6 US gallons. Making it to 5 gallons throws off the acid balance, the pH, and the ability of the yeast to correctly metabolise sugars. This can lead to unexpected flavours and aromas.

If you did make it to 5 gallons, it would take at least a year, as described, before you could drink it--it would always be very strong, and a bit acidic and sharp, however. "

This quote appeared on the forum and comes from Tim Vandergrift and was used with his express permision. For those of you that do not subscribe to WineMaker Magazine (a must have for every serious home vintner), Tim is a featured writer, but most importantly, he designed the RJ Spagnols wine kits that I sell, as well as, the Winexpert kits made by Brew King. Tim worked for 10 years at RJ Spagnols before becoming Technical Services Manager at Brew King Limited.

In addition, RJ Spagnols and Brew King warrant their products, but only if you follow the directions. Should you decide to only make your kit to 5-gallons, neither manufacturer will honor their warranty.

In conclusion, let me re-iterate, the vast majority of wine kits I sell were designed to be made to 6 U.S. gallons. If you choose to make your kit to 5 U.S. gallons, be prepared - the quality of your wine will suffer!

HELPFUL TIP (from a customer)

You'll like this one! As a kid in Texas, some of us had "swamp coolers" at home before air conditioning became the norm. It chilled (& Humidified!) the air through evaporative cooling (water dripped over grass mats suspended in a large louvered box on the porch) and blew air into the room with a squirrel cage fan. On a hot day you could see a much appreciated 15 degree F. drop in indoor temperature.

To extend my brewing season without keeping the house expensively cold, I've adapted the swamp cooler to my "wine cellar" in an unused half bath: Put the secondary in a basin or clean oil pan with a couple of inches of water. Put a wet t-shirt on the carboy to get the same effect you'd get with it on. Adding a fan or well directed AC duct can add to the cooling effect. In several tests, we've gotten a 5 to 15 degree F drop and a cheap way to extend the brewing season in hot climes. A thin cotton t-shirt works better than a thick one. Use one that's not your favorite-it will tend to get discolored in places and not wash out.

I haven't tried it yet, but adding some (I'm thinking 10-25%) rubbing alcohol to the water bath may chill it a bit more. Will get back to you on this.

Matt Matthews - Dallas, TX.

If you have a tip you would like to share, send it to me at Not only, will I include it in the next newsletter, I will give you a $5.00 off coupon.

FEATURED ARTICLE - New Fining Instructions

RJ Spagnols is in the process of changing its fining instructions for the Vino del Vida and Cellar Classic wine kits. This is great news in that all of the RJ Spagnols kits will have the same fining instructions. Outside of packaging, there are only 2 real changes.

The first change relates to the bentonite, which is a clay that is used to assist in the clarification of your wine. Instead of adding it with the rest of the fining agents (day 20 for Vino del Vida and day 28 for Cellar Classic), the bentonite is added at the very beginning on Day 1. The reasoning behind this change is two-fold.

  1. By adding the bentonite on Day 1, the churning action of the vigorous fermentation and subsequent evolution of CO2 stirs the bentonite up again and again, letting it attach to stray yeast cells and proteins, pulling them down and keeping the wine clear.
  2. The churning action is so efficient that the amount of bentonite used can be substanially reduced (80 grams to 15 grams).

The second change involves the Isinglass, which is also used to clarify your wine. Spagnols is replacing its liquid isinglass with a powdered form. To add this to your wine, you will first disolve the isinglass in a cup of your wine and then add the cup back and stir it in your wine.

RJ Spagnols estimates it will take approximately 8 months for this change to work it way through all of its kits. In the meantime, be sure to read the directions that come with your kit and follow them, precisely.

---If you would like to offer your comments and/or suggestions, please send them to


We now have the Better-Bottle with the racking outlet in stock, item #0101. In addition, we have added the following wine kits:

Part Number


Current Price

Malbec - CC

Cellar Classic

Malbec - GC

Grand Cru


This month, I have 2 specials, one for your bottling needs and one just for registered users.

I have placed all of my 375ml bottles on sale this month. The discounts average about $3.00 (18%) per case of 24.

Part Number
Regular Price
Current Price

Clear Bordeaux style bottle 375 ml, Case of 24


Clear Flute Wine 375 ml, case of 12


Clear Ice Wine 375 ml Bellissima, case of 12


Cobalt Blue Stretch Hock style bottle 375 ml, case of 24


Dark Antique Green Ice Wine 375 ml Bellissima, case of 12


Frosted Stretch Hock style bottle 375 ml, case of 24


Green Bordeaux style bottle 375 ml, Case of 24


In addition, to celebrate my first anniversary and the start of the Country Wine season in Texas, all registered users get an additional 5% off all products. To get your promotion code, go into MY ACCOUNT and click on the June 2004 Discount. An e-mail will be sent to you with the code to use to receive your discount. As with all discounts, it will not be reflected on your order summary, but will be deducted from your final bill.

Don't forget that when you are finished 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 10% off all items, except starter kits. 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.


I am discontinuing the surveys. To be honest, I just don't have the time to create the surveys. In addition, it does not seem to be important to most people as very few visitors have answered the survey.

I am replacing the survey with on-line polls. They are much easier to create and maintain, so I can cover a variety of topics in a short amount of time. I am going to update the polls weekly, so please take a few seconds and vote in my polls whenever you visit the site.

The first poll asks whether you would like me to add a public forum to my web site. The forum would allow you to post questions for others visitors to see and answer. I would moderate the posts to make sure no rude or offensive posts are allowed. If you have never been to a home wine making forum or a forum in general, let me point you to WineExpress.US. It is a well run forum and has a lot of information for all home wine makers, whether you use kits or start from fresh fruit.

I will be interested to see what you think of the forum idea and my polls, in general.


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.

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 weekdays between 4-10pm CST or all day Saturday and Sunday.

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.


We are going to start featuring a different wine varietal each month. The featured wine will be available at discount prices to give you the opportunity to try different varieties. We are going to "kick off" this promotion with the versatile Zinfandel grape. This fabulous grape is used to make Red, White and Blush wines. When made as a Red, the wines are usually dry with a hint of cherry, while the White and Blush styles tend to be a little sweeter. Below are the Zinfandel kits and their special prices:

Part Number


Regular Price
Current Price

Raspberry White Zin - OB

Orchard Breezin' $41.25

Red Zinfandel - VDV

Vino Del Vida $53.13

Strawberry White Zinfandel - WA

Wine Art $45.43

White Zinfandel - CC

Cellar Classic $76.01

White Zinfandel - VDV

Vino Del Vida $48.51

Zinfandel - CC

Cellar Classic $89.76

Zinfandel Blush - GC

Grand Cru $47.63


Please check out our 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 stipulations are as follows:

  1. You must be a registered user of,
  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 and is not redeemable for cash.

That's all you have to do to get another discount from


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.


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 contact me.


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Feel free to pass this newsletter on to any of your friends and thank you for your continued support of Fine Vine Wines.

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