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The Wine Maker's Toy Store™

1410 Dunn Dr., Carrollton, TX 75006

Pressing News


November 2003
Volume1, Issue 6


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!

I hope you like the new format for the newsletter. I changed formats because, quite frankly, I thought the old text format was rather bland. If you would like both formats available, please let me know.

In addition, I am continuing to make enhancements to the web site and adding valuable content. If you want to see what has been changed or added, please visit 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 indicate 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!

I think you will find that we have been very busy this month. Read on to find out about what we have been up to!

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.


Since this is our sixth issue, it must mean finevinewines.com is coming up on its six month anniversary. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our visitors to our site and especially to those of you who have ordered from us. Be sure to check out this month's special for a token of our gratitude.



If you have any questions about our products, our service and/or wine making, please, please, 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.

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.


I have added a MY ACCOUNTS page. It still needs a lot of work, but in the meantime, you can see all of your shipped orders, as well as, any open orders that you have. You can also modify any open orders by using this page. You can find this new page here.

FEATURED ARTICLE - Oxygen, It's not all bad!

Since we first started making our own wine, almost all we ever heard was, "Keep oxygen away from you wine; otherwise it will spoil." To a large extent this is true; however, it depends on where you are in the wine making process and how much oxygen is exposed to your wine.

Our most valuable friend, yeast, needs oxygen to begin its work. No oxygen, no active yeast. No active yeast, no wine. Its that simple!

The activity of the yeast really has two phases, multiplication and fermentation. The first phase occurs as soon as you pitch the yeast. When those dormant little rascals hit the juice, they go nuts. With all that food in the juice, they just start multiplying faster than rabbits. Actually, under ideal conditions, they double every hour. Ideal conditions include plenty of oxygen. That is why we start fermentation in a bucket. The open bucket with a lid that is not air tight allows plenty of oxygen to be available for the yeasts.

After several days, the second phase begins and the yeasts start converting the sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2). The ratio is about 53% alcohol and 47% CO2. This is when you see the rapid bubbling action. As the alcohol level rises, the yeasts stop multiplying, and when the alcohol level gets too high (around 14% for most strains), the yeasts start dying.

Once the yeasts start converting the sugar to alcohol, you want to limit its exposure to oxygen. During the early days of fermentation, the yeasts do the job for you by producing CO2. CO2 is heavier than air, so as the CO2 is produced, it creates a "cap" on top of your wine. However, this protective cap only last for 3-5 days. Therefore, the wine maker must rack his wine into another vessel on which an airlock can be used, to protect his or her wine. We use carboys, but oak barrels, glass jugs and demijohns work just as well.

From this point on, you want to "limit" your wines exposure to air. In other words, a little oxygen is all right. A lot of oxygen is bad. For instance, when you rack your wine, a little splashing is good for the wine. A lot of splashing is not good for your wine. You also want to make sure you "top off" the carboy each time you rack.

"Topping off" is the process of adding additional liquid to the carboy to raise the level of your wine to within 2 inches of the stopper. This additional liquid can be either more water or more wine. Beginning winemakers often have trouble finding ways to keep their storage containers full, so here are a few suggestions.

-Top up with the same wine.

Some wine is lost each time wine is racked, so 10 to 15 percent of extra wine should be made specifically for topping up containers. Store the extra wine in 5-gallon, 1-gallon or 1.5-liter containers, and use the wine from the smaller containers first.

-Add any available wine to fill the headspace.

Most red wines are not significantly affected by small additions of other wines. Even white wine can be used, and sometimes a small white wine addition will actually improve the red color. Of course, red wines cannot be used to top up white wines, so keep the Cabernet out of he Chardonnay.

-Top up with a commercial wine of the same type.

A bottle or two will often eliminate the headspace, and small additions of commercial wine often improve homemade wine. The major disadvantage here is the cost of the commercial wine. If using a commercial wine, be sure to use a good quality wine. I would strongly suggest against Boonesfarm.

-Add water.

The disadvantages here are a small change in acidity and some flavor dilution; however, small additions of water may not be noticeable, and water is always available. Keep in mind that the manufacturers of the kits take into consideration that a lot of people will just add water (I do most of the time.), so you will not ruin your wine by just adding more water.

Perfectionists use the first method, and they always make extra wine just for topping up. They acquire a large assortment of different size carboys, jugs and bottles so the right size wine storage container is always available.

Most home winemakers prefer a combination of the first two methods, but in an emergency, any method should be considered because any reasonable way of eliminating headspace is preferable to oxidized wine!

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


Did someone say "Beer"? Starting this month, we will also start carrying "The Brew House" beer kits. These kits are also produced by R.J. Spagnols, the maker of our great wine kits. The following flavors will be available for purchase:

  • 3701 - Pale Ale
  • 3702 - Honey Blonde Ale
  • 3706 - Prairie Wheat
  • 3711 - Mexican Cerveza
  • 3712 - Winterfest
  • 3713 - Red Ale
  • 3719 - Octoberfest
  • 3731 - Stout
  • 3741 - Pilsner

Just click on the following link to order your beer kit:

Beer Kits


As I stated earlier, we are starting our sixth month in business. It would not have happened without all of my wonderful customers. To show my appreciation and to help you with your Christmas shopping, here is the November Special:

10% off all orders placed by registered users!

That's right! If you have completed your registration with finevinewines.com, you get 10% off of every order placed during the month of November 2003. Why am I limiting this to registered users only? Because I want you to register. Registration makes re-ordering a lot lest time consuming for you and it gives me the ability to provide you with your order status and history. I will also be able to set up a "Wish List" page. This way you can be sure you get what you want for Christmas. In addition, remember, I DO NOT USE COOKIES!

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 the November Special. For those of you in the FVW Growers Club, this discount is in addition to your 5% permanent discount.

Happy Shopping!


I will be adding an option to the ordering system that will allow you to request a shipping quote without placing an order. Until then, if you want a shipping quote, just complete your order as normal, but choose the prepaid option, instead of credit card, and type into the comments "Shipping Quote Request". I will send you an email with the estimated shipping costs, then you can decide if you want to place the order or not.


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.


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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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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