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The Wine Maker's Toy Store™

1410 Dunn Dr., Carrollton, TX 75006

Pressing News


October 2003
Volume1, 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 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!

We want to know what you think about us. Our first survey is posted on the site. Please take a few minutes and give me your feedback. In exchange, you get a 15% off coupon! Not bad for five minutes time. Click on the following link to take you right to the first survey:


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.


I want to personally thank every one of you that took the time to complete our survey. The results were extremely informative and, as such, I would like to share them with you.

  1. Over half of the respondents found the site via a search engine and Yahoo! was the number one engine.
  2. Two-thirds of the respondents only came to the site for information. The rest of you came to shop (Thank you). Only one respondent that came to shop did not buy.
  3. And the one thing on which almost everybody agreed, was you want MORE information about home winemaking.

I have heard your desires, so here's what I am adding over the rest of the year:

  1. More recipes (If you have some recipes, send them to me and I will post them.)
  2. Helpful online articles about various aspects of wine making, including oxidation, sulfites, stabilization, yeast and blending.
  3. Online videos that relate to each page of the tutorial, so you can see what to do, as well as, read about it.
  4. More links to other wine sites. If you haven't already, be sure to check out Jack Keller's Winemaking Home Page and the WineMaker Magazine.
  5. A searchable tip database. If you have any, send them to me and not only will I put them in the database, I will include them in the newsletter (with full credit, of course). Here is the first tip.
Tip - When using fresh berries for home winemaking, you can get a lot more juice from them if you freeze them and then thaw them just before pressing.

If you have not completed this survey, you can do so by clicking here.


From the numerous calls and emails that I have received regarding temperature and wine, there seems to be a significant amount of confusion surrounding this subject. The questions seem to be evenly divided between the correct temperature while you are making wine and while you are just storing it, so let me address those questions by specific time frames.

Fermentation - During this initial phase of winemaking, temperature is critical to the success of your wine. The yeast bacteria will only do its job if the temperature is between 60° and 90°. Some strains will work up to 95°, but to be on the safe side, let's stay in the smaller range. Since the yeast will generate heat while it is in the primary phase, 10° or more, you should make sure that your starting temperature is in the range of 60° and 75°. This should give you ample margin for error.

The reason for the narrow range of temperatures is two-fold. If the must is too cold, the yeast will go to sleep and no fermentation will occur. If the must gets too hot, the yeast die and your fermentation will stop prematurely, leaving unfermented sugar and a lower alcohol content. Since my house is temperature controlled, I always ferment in the house and have not encountered a problem yet. If you do not have this luxury, you have other options. If the must is too cold, you can buy a heating belt for your fermenter. I don't carry them right now, but you can get one from grapestompers.com for $17.43. If the must is too hot, put the fermenter in a larger pail filled with ice water. Monitor the temperature and add more ice as needed.

Stabization and Fining - Once you have stabilized your wine, its time to bring the temperature down, if you can. Cooling it helps particles floating in the wine to form crystals and precipitate down to the bottom of the wine. As you rack the wine, these crystals are left behind with the rest of the lees (sediment). 30° to 40° is ideal, but unless you have a basement and live in a cold weather climate, this option is not available to most of us.

I have the luxury of a wine cellar that stays at a constant 57°, so I move my stabilized carboys to the cellar while they clear. But alas, not all wine makers have a cellar or have one big enough for carboys. If you fall in this group, just keep the carboy in a room where the temperature range is around 75° and your wine should clear just fine. If its not clearing to your satisfaction, just rack it until it is clear. Be sure to let it sit for a week between rackings.

Aging - The temperatures during this time is more subjective than the other times, but the best rule of thumb has 2 components. First, don't ever let your wine get too hot. Second, don't store your wine in a place where the temperature fluctuates a lot. Both of these events will ultimately ruin your wine. Obviously, the best place is a cellar, either one built into your house or a stand-alone unit. However, if you can just keep it at room temperature, your wine should be fine.

Serving - Most wine experts recomend serving white wines at a temperature below 55° which means you should chill it in a refrigerator before serving. White wines tend to be more acidic than reds and the chilling of the wine makes the acid taste significantly less noticable. I have also seen where experts suggest chilling red wines for ten minutes prior to serving. Once again, this helps soften the wine for your pallet.

I hope this helps, but if you have any further questions or comments, please send them to geocorn@finevinewines.com.


I have expanded the number of different wine bottles that I carry and that I have in stock. This is a list of those items:

  • Frosted Bordeaux 750ml
  • Frosted Bordeaux 375ml
  • Green Burgund 750ml
  • Dark Antique Green Bellisima 375ml
  • Cobalt Blue Hock 750ml
  • Cobalt Blue Hock 375ml


For all of you that want to make wine from frest fruit, I have added 2 new kits:

  • 9001 - Scratch Ingredients kit
  • 9002 - Complete Scratch Kit

Both kits contain the following:

  • 5 packages of Montrachet yeast (substitutions allowed)
  • 1 jar of bentonite
  • 1 jar of campden tablets
  • 1 jar of yeast nutrient
  • 1 bottle of pectic enzyme
  • 1 jar of grape tannin
  • 1 jar of acid blend
  • 1 hydrometer
  • 1 acid test kit
  • 1 Wine Maker's Recipe Handbook

In addition, the 9002 kit includes:

  • 1 1-gallon glass jug
  • 1 1.5 gallon fermenting bucket with lid
  • 1 #6.5 stopper
  • 1 Airlock
  • 1 Small straining bag

Now, if you want to make wine from fresh fruit, but are not sure what you will need, these kits should help. These kits will normally be listed at $25.99 for #9001 and $34.99 for 9002, but during the month of October, you can get these kits for $23.99 and $31.99, respectively.


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 and so far, they have all been good. 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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