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Don't whine about the cost of wine! Make your own for $3 a bottle!
Pressing News
May 2004
Volume2, Issue 5


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


I now have 2 Wine Guilds posted on the web site, Space Coast Wine Guild and North Texas Winemaker's Guild, 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.

FEATURED ARTICLE - Cleaning and Sanitizing

Whenever I talk to a new vintner, I always stress the importance of cleaning and sanitizing everything that touches your wine. Why do I do this? It's simple. The number one reason for a failed wine is not using clean and sanitized equipment!

The first thing to consider is that there is a difference between cleaning and sanitizing. Cleaning is the process of removing all of the visible matter from your wine making equipment and bottles. Sanitizing is the process of removing all of the bacteria that could spoil your wine.

As a point of reference, sterilizing refers to a process whereby all living microorganisms are eradicated. Sanitization, on the other hand, refers to a process that reduces the quantity of living microorganisms to an acceptable level. For wine making, we are concerned with sanitizing to the point that the remaining living microorganisms will not affect our wine.

Some of the products available to clean and/or sanitize your wine making equipment are the following:

  1. B-Brite - cleans and sanitizes
  2. C-Brite - cleans and sanitizes
  3. Bleach (plain, no additives) - cleans and sanitizes (see correction below!)
  4. OxyClean - cleans only
  5. Potassium Metabisulfite - sanitizes only

Please note: DO NOT USE DISWASHING CLEANERS! They tend to leave a filmy residue which you do not want.

When cleaning, I use a carboy brush, a bottle brush, a plastic bristle brush (like the ones they sell on the kitchen utensil aisle of the supermarket) and my hands. The use for the carboy and bottle brushes is obvious. I use the plastic bristle brush on the bucket and spoon. To clean the siphon and tubing, I just use my hands.

To properly sanitize, prepare a 1-2 gallon mixture of B-Brite, C-Brite, Bleach or Potassium Metabisulfite. For B-Brite or C-Brite, mix 1 tablespoon per gallon of warm water. For Bleach, mix 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. When using Potassium Metabisulfite, add 3 tablespoons per gallon(see correction below!). You can increase the effectiveness of the sulfite solution by adding an equal amount ot Citric Acid.

All of the mixtures above can be re-used and will keep throughout the day. If you store your sulfite solution in a stoppered vessel, it will keep for several months. I always keep a sulfite solution stored in a carboy with an airlock in my wine cellar. That way it is always ready and when I get the urge to sample my wines, I can dip the wine thief in the sulfite solution and start sampling!

To clean my bottles, I soak them for several days in OxyClean, then remove the labels. When I am ready to bottle, I rinse them with the sulfite solution. The sulfite solution adds a little more sulfite to the wine, without affecting the flavor.

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


This month, we have added four new wine concentrate kits from the Cellar Classic Harvest line. As with all of the RJ Spagnols kits, these kits also make 30 bottles of premium quality wine. The four new kits are listed below:

Part Number Description Price Status Order
3246 Pinot Grigio 91.75 Stocked Order
3248 Riesling Auslese 91.75 Stocked Order
3145 Sangiovese/Merlot 95.26 Stocked Order
3146 Tempranillo 95.26 Stocked Order


Also, be sure to check out our new labels.


Even though spring has just started and Christmas is still 8 months away, if you want to make wine to give as Christmas presents, now is the time to start your planning. For my Christmas wine this year, I am going to make Ice Wine Style wine(see correction below!). Ice Wine in the store costs anywhere from $20-$80 per bottle, but with this month's special, you can make it for $4.00 a bottle. If you, too, think this would be an excellent present, we are offering the following special for the month of May:

  • White Ice Wine Christmas Package $109.99
  • Red Ice Wine Christmas Package $114.99

With each of these packages, you get 1 Ice Wine Style wine concentrate kit, 2 cases (24 bottles) of Bellissima bottles, 30 perfect corks, 30 Shrink Wrap Capsules and 30 custom wine labels. This represents a savings of over $17.00 (14%) and works out to less than $4.00 per bottle. When ordering, just enter "Christmas Special" in the special instructions box on the the order form and I will take care of the rest.

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 $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.


May 3, 2004

First, do not use bleach as a cleaner or sanitizer. Based on subsequent comments, some people use bleach for sanitizing beer equipment, but Bleach is NOT recommended for wine equipment.

Secondly, there have been some questions regarding how much sulfite to use when sanitizing. The jar of Potassium Metabisulfite says 2 ounces per gallon, while I stated 3 tablespoons per gallon. 3 tablespoons is about 2 ounces, so the amounts are similar.

Lastly, regarding the Ice Wine Style wine, I offer this kit now as it takes 6 months to age, so if you start it now, it will be ready for Christmas. You should also note that you need a 3-gallon carboy to make this wine, as it makes 30-375ml bottles (splits). In addition, the instructions suggest filtering, but I do not recommend this as filtering will remove some of the color, taste and aroma. If you rack and age the wine properly, filtering is not required.

Please accept my apologies for the miss-information, confusion and the omission of the additional information on the Ice Wine Style and thanks to my readers for sending me their comments. I will be more thorough in future newsletters.


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