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

Pressing News

March 2004
Volume2, Issue 3


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


Any of you that have visited my web site recently, have noticed several changes, including broken links. I think I have successfully fixed all of the broken links and to those customers and visitors to my site, that have informed me of those problems and helped me fix them, I extend my warmest thanks.

For those of you do not know, as well as being the wine master and owner of this enterprise, I am also the web master and I am not a Web designer by trade. I learned how to accomplish this task by reading a lot of books and making a lot of mistakes. This is the same way that I learned how to make wine.

Although I am a long way from being finished developing my web site, I have made numerous changes over the last month that I hope will improve your experience with The following is a list of the significant changes:

First, I have finally added a shopping cart. You can find a link to the shopping cart on every page in the top right hand corner. When you click on this link, the system will look for an open order for you. If you have an open order it will take you to the order summary page. If you do not have an open order, it will ask if you want to create an order.

Secondly, shipping charges are now calculated while you place the order. So far, I have determined the shipping costs are generally correct; however, when they are wrong, they have been too high. When this happens, I will only charge you the actual shipping costs, not the amount calculated by the system. You will never be charged more than the shipping cost that appears on your order confirmation.

Thirdly, I have moved the ”My Account” link to the upper left-hand corner of every page. In addition, since you're already logged in, you can now start an order from here. Please note that the system will continue to log you out as soon as you complete an order.

I have also made the following additions and/or changes:

  • Added a checkbox for you indicate that your shipping address is the same as your billing addresses when you place the order.
  • Changed the color of the text from blue to red. This was done to reduce your eyestrain as I have discovered that blue is more difficult for the eye to read. (Thanks to Trent for this valuable information.)
  • Added the ability to cancel an order. If you cancel in order, you will be directed to a screen to ask why you cancelled. This information is not required, but will greatly assist me in building the best web site for home winemakers on the Internet.

I hope all of these changes improve your experience with us and if you have any specific requests, please contact me.


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. 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 30 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.

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 - Bulk Aging a Wine Kit

As I have discussed in previous articles, all wine kits are made from concentrated grape juice. Some of the more expensive wine kits have fresh juice, but the base is still a concentrate. The primary reason for the concentrate is to give the wine kit a reasonable shelf life. The downside of this process is that some of the solids are lost in the concentration process. The solids are what give the wine the ability to age.

Based on this information, several questions immediately come to mind:

  1. Is there any point to bulk aging my kit wine?
  2. If so, how long should I bulk age my kit wine?
  3. How long can I expect my kit wine to last?

Before we get into answering these questions, we need to have a brief discussion about aging in general. The wine coming into contact with oxygen causes aging. This is why it is important to limit the exposure to oxygen throughout the wine making process and why it is so important to always “top off” your wine. As a result, wine ages faster in smaller vessels due to the fact that the oxygen to wine ratio is much greater in a bottle, as opposed to a carboy. The problem is that faster aging does not necessarily mean better aging. On the contrary, a slower aging process will produce a better wine by bringing out more of the flavors and aroma of a wine, as well as extending the life of your wine.

Is there any point to bulk aging my kit wine?”

The answer to this question depends on 3 factors:

  1. Which kit is used,
  2. Which variety is being made, and
  3. What is your objective

Since fresh juice has more solids than concentrated juice, the kits with more juice (Cellar Classic) will lend themselves to aging better than kits that just contain concentrate (Vino Del Vida). This is not to say that one cannot bulk age a VDV kit. It is just that you will have better age ability with a kit that has some fresh juice in it.

Secondly, certain wines will age better than others. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, due to their complexity, require more aging time to bring out their flavors and aromas and to soften the acidity than other wines. That is why you see our recommended aging lengths on these wines.

Thirdly, if you don't plan to cellar your wine for over a year, there is little reason to bulk age your wine. If you want you wine to last more than 1 year, bulk aging will definitely increase the likelihood of having a wine that will last.

In conclusion, bulk aging is beneficial if you want a smoother tasting, longer lasting wine. In most cases 1-3 months is sufficient; however, some of the wines really need at least 6 months and will do better if you can wait a year before bottling. Without bulk aging, a kit wine will do well to last 2 years. With aging, a kit wine might be good for 5 years. I would never expect a kit wine to last over 5 years, no matter what.

It just depends on what you want from your wine kit.

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


Our new "" corks have finally arrived! We have two lengths, 1.5" and 1.75". Both are #9 and fit most bottles. In addition, I am getting feedback that these corks work just as well with hand corkers or floor corkers.

We have also added 11 new products for those of you making wine from fresh ingredients.

Item Number Description
2715A Isinglass
2716C Iodic (SO2) Solution
2716P Phenolphthalein Liquid
2717A Replacement Syringe
2717B Replacement Test Tube
2729A Malic Acid
2730A Tartaric Acid
2733A Yeast Nutrient, Fermax
2734A Lysozyme Solution 17.5%
2740A Oak Essence
2749 Glycerin
2749A Liquor Quik Super Yeast
2795 Bocksin



This month, we are offering a 10% price reduction on all of our VDV and CC Merlot kits. These kits are listed below:

Number Name Brand
Reg. Price
3117 Merlot Vino Del Vida
3133 Merlot Cellar Classic
3138 Cabernet/Merlot Vino Del Vida
3128 Cabernet/Merlot Cellar Classic

In addition, for all of you lucky people that received a wine kit from us for Christmas, 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 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,
  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 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.


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