Beer & Wine Hobby Blog

  • 2017 Chilean White Grape Delivery

    Tuesday, April 11th is the last day to order fresh white Chilean Grapes - they're hitting our docks next week!

    This includes Chilean Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.

  • 2017 South African Juice Update

    Hi everyone,

    One thing is for sure about grape season - the timetable is controlled by Mother Nature!

    Be sure to get your orders in now for South African Juice.  The juice will begin arriving the first week of April!  We will continue offering South African juice through the end of March or until it is sold out.  The Chilean timetable presently remains the same as previously quoted:

    • Chilean Grapes  - End of April/early May (white grapes may arrive earlier)
    • Chilean & South African Juices - End of April/early May

    If you have questions, reach us in the most convenient way possible for you - a phone call, Facebook, Twitter, or email!

  • 2017 Spring Grape Harvest Update

    To our fellow winemakers - welcome to the 2017 Spring grape harvest season!  We've got some details to share which will ensure you get your first choice of grapes and juices !

    Spring 2017: More countries, more varieties!

    This year we have expanded our line to include NEW South African juices, additional South African Grapes, and NEW Argentine Mendoza Valley Grapes!  These grapes and juices come in early, so please get your orders in ASAP!   These country's offerings will be in addition to the fine Chilean grapes and juices that we have offered for several seasons.

    Deadlines & Arrival Schedule  - in order of delivery:

    • South African Pinotage Grapes - Deadline 3/25, delivery end of March!
    • South African Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes End of April
    • Chilean Grapes  - End of April/early May (white grapes may arrive earlier)
    • Argentine Grapes - End of April/early May
    • Chilean & South African Juices - End of April/early May

    Crate & juice pail sizes

    All Chilean and Argentine grapes are hand-packed in 18 lb crates, yielding approximately 1 - 1.5 gallons per case.  Your results will vary based upon maceration and crush efficiency.

    South African grapes are hand-packed in in 20 lb. crates.  Expect approximately 10% more yield per case, i.e. 1.1 - 1.6 gallons of juice, based on the same criteria as above.

    All juice buckets are 6 gallons of pure juice.  All will require yeast except the Mosti Mondiale Chile Fresco juice.

    2017 Grape Harvest Details

    Chile: 

    The Curico Valley has been a wine grape growing region since the 1800’s and is located about 115 miles south of Santiago in the Central Zone of Chile.  It is known as the “Heart of the Chilean wine industry”.  Curico has the perfect fertile soil and is best known for its micro climates and the ability to grow over 30 different wine grape varieties.  Situated along the Guaiquillo River and nestled between mountains on its east and west sides, Curico’s Mediterranean climate and unique topographical features helps to create some of the finest wine grapes in South America.

    The climate in the valley is characterized by morning fog and wide day-night temperature fluctuations. Climatic conditions in some parts of the valley favor wines with higher acidity, such as white varieties including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Vert and Gris.  High quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, and Carménère grapes are sourced from warmer areas of the valley, such as Lontué, particularly when produced from ancient vines.

    Terroir: Sandy, clay, decomposed granite, volcanic-alluvial

    Grape Varieties Available: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Malbec, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc

    Juice Varieties Available: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet-Merlot Blend, Carmenere, Malbec, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Muscat

    The current growing season for the Curico and Colchagua Valley’s was hot and dry. Expect wines with great character, intense flavors, complexity, and distinction. Carmenere will be in shorter supply this year as the demand has gone up for this grape, so put your orders in early!

    Argentina:

    The first Cantinian vineyard was planted in 1923. As of 2012, the wine grapes grown in the Cantinian vineyards were certified organic by Argencert (in conjunction with the USDA Organic Certification) and accredited by Global Program IFOAM. The vineyards are situation on elevated terrain with views of the Andes Mountains.

    Our grapes are sourced from Mendoza, Argentina – specifically the Perdriel area in Lujan de Cayo county

    South Africa: 

    Our Pinotage grapes are from older vines and are cultivated at the highest altitude in South Africa. You can expect intense flavors with high levels of complexity. These grapes produce excellent Pinotage and can be compared to Napa and Sonoma in terms of quality.

    Breede River Valley:

    The Pinotage grapes should be arriving towards the end of March and the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes should arrive at the end of April.  We are expecting more information about crop estimates, clones, yeast pairings, photos, and more. So stay tuned for more updates! Cheers!

    The Breede River Valley is surrounded by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and is nestled between the Simonsberg and Drakenstien mountains.  Because of this unique topography, cool air from the oceans flows through the valley creating small, cooler micro-climates.  Farmers are able to use the Breede River to irrigate their vines, thus creating ideal grape growing conditions in an otherwise un-farmable part of South Africa.  The valley is an hour’s drive from Cape Town and more temperate than the Stellenbosch Valley – resulting in grapes that express good fruit characteristics without overripe jamminess.

    Yet even with the cooler micro-climate and irrigation, South Africa had a very dry growing season. Unseasonable heat waves in December and February caused earlier-than-normal harvest schedules.  These heat waves also caused some varieties to become unavailable to us this year. Unfortunately due to this season’s climate and berries not reaching full maturity, the Cabernet and Merlot from South Africa did not meet our quality standards and thus will not be available this season. However, the Pinotage and Sauvignon Blanc matured perfectly and are on their way to Connecticut. We expect the grapes to arrive around March 18th. While the hot and dry growing conditions this season will result in lighter yields, the berries will be more intense thus leading to more complex and intense finished wines.

    Please pre-order South African grapes as last year we quickly sold out of the Pinotage.

  • Winexpert LE16 Wines

    We've been asked so many times - what exactly are WinExpert Limited Edition wines? So I thought I would give you an explanation of the program and why you should consider them!

    For years, WinExpert has created some really excellent Limited Edition wine kits. These kits are really special - they often contain pure varietals or blends that you may have never experienced. This year, WinExpert is releasing some blockbusters, that I really look forward to making and tasting. The kits are Eclipse-quality - the finest wine kits offered by WinExpert - and they are best enjoyed when aged 6 or more months.

    The releases are monthly starting in January and the schedule is:
    January
    Cabernet Franc
    Vermentino

    February
    Milagro

    March
    Blanc de Noir

    April
    Grenache Cabernet

    Each wine is unique and you can read their detailed descriptions at the links below.  What we've found though is that WinExpert really takes time in selecting their grapes to ensure an AMAZING wine - like the Cab Franc from Washington's Yakima Valley.  Usually a great blending grape, the Washington Cab Franc is literally the finest our country has to offer.  It grows at the same latitude of France's Loire Valley, and the climate makes the pure varietal wine absolutely exceptional.

    Similar to the Cab, the Vermentino is sourced from another fine winemaking region - Tuscany!  The Italian white is easy on the palate and perfect for summer parties.

    The Blanc de Noir is special.  Made from red pinot noir grapes, the blanc de noir grape is crushed and immediately pressed, creating a white wine that is wonderfully bodied and refreshing and crisp.

    To learn more visit this page and choose your wine: Winexpert Limited Edition Wines.  

    Remember, if you want to make these exquisite wines, be sure to order by November 30!  Choose your delivery method and we'll either ship your kit when it arrives, or notify you to stop by!

  • Fall Harvest Update

    We expect to see some grape varietals the weekend of September 12 - barbera, muscat, thompson seedless and many others. Be sure to order early to get the freshest grapes!

  • The Fall Harvest Grape Flyer

    Its time again to get your grapes and juice for winemaking! This year we're offering grapes from Southern and Northern California with a special surprise - grapes from Paso Robles! Get the grape flyer here or go to www.beer-wine.com and order online.

  • Meet Christina Musto of Lanza Musto Vineyards

    Here's an event to put in your calendar - taste fine wines of the vineyards from which we offer grapes!

    Stop by this Saturday 12-3 for a special wine tasting event and meet Christina Musto of Lanza-Musto Vineyards. We source grapes for you from this exquisite vineyard, located in Suisun Valley, CA, one mountain range away from Napa Valley. The terrior and climate of Suisun is identical to Napa, producing wonderful award-winning wine grapes and wine varietals.

    Be sure to stop in this Saturday and taste these fine wines. And don't forget, even if you want to try a couple cases we will crush and destem the grapes for you.

    Lanza-Musto wine grapes are exclusively available at Beer & Wine Hobby!

  • Beer & Wine Hobby's Brew Club! First meeting Thursday, May 7, 6:30 - 9 PM

    One of our great friends asked recently 'hey, would you be interested in having a brew club at Beer & Wine Hobby??'  It took about 3 seconds to think about it, and the answer was a resounding 'Yes!!'  So here we are, ready to launch something new for our Brewers - your own brew club with a place to call home!

    Our all-grain teacher, Erick C., will be our Inaugural Club Leader.  He's the brains behind the Club - the guy who thought up the idea and put our collective words into action.  Erick - thanks from all of us at Beer & Wine Hobby for spearheading the effort!

    We have some basic principles that we hope you'll appreciate.

    • Our Brew Club is open to all brewers, regardless of expertise . Extract or all-grain brewing.  Newbie or seasoned brewer.  Your expertise level is expected to grow as you both learn and share.

    • We are all about learning.  This club will help you learn about every aspect of beer.  Share and participate.  Sample unique styles.  Suggest new topics...and maybe even present a topic!  The Club is yours to build.

    • New brewers are always welcome.  If you've never brewed before, we'll teach you how to make fine craft beer from the first batch.

    • Participation is FREE.  There are no dues, no room fees, nothing.  If you want to have light refreshments before meetings, we will accept donations to cover their cost.

    Please join us!  Our first meeting is Thursday, May 7.  Arrive between 6:30 and 7:00 PM.  The meeting will start promptly at 7.  Please click here to reserve your spot in the first meeting.

    First meeting topics:

    • Name the Club
    • Set club guidelines
    • Brainstorm meeting topics
    • Open Question and Answer Period
  • How to Adjust Specific Gravity

    Specific Gravity Adjustments

    To increase the specific gravity of juice: Add table sugar to increase the gravity. To calculate the amount needed, take an initial gravity reading, then subtract that from the specific gravity you wish to begin with. The difference will determine approximately how much sugar to add (use column on right). Continue reading

  • Wine Making from Concentrates

    Winexpert "I Made This" DVD
    These easy-to-follow instructional videos for Winexpert kits will help you make the perfect wine every time! If you are just starting out, wine concentrates offer an easy way for you to get rolling. They come with simple directions and all the ingredients pre-measured and ready for use, that eliminates all of the guess-work. Concentrate kits produce impressive grape wines with remarkable flavor, body and character for a fraction of what they would cost you at the store. A truly rewarding hobby! Continue reading

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