Brewing

  • 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 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.

  • 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

  • Grains for Brewing

    Barley malt is the basis of most beers. The malting process converts the starches in the grain to sweeter, softened kernels. The grain is first steeped in water until it has absorbed a fair amount of moisture; then drained and kept at controlled temperatures until it begins to sprout. During this time, enzymes are activated which will later convert starch to sugar. The sprouting is halted by gently drying the malt. The sprouts are removed and the malt cured before use. The remaining starches are later converted in a process called “mashing” to fermentable sugars by the previously activated enzymes. Modification refers to how much of the original starch had been used in the germination process. The higher the modification, the more starch was used. Highly modified malts are easier to mash, yield a clearer beer, but also have less sugar to extract into the wort. Less modified malts will yield more sugar after a mash, but also require a controlled mash schedule and protein rest. Continue reading

  • Calculating Specific Gravity For Your Beer or Wine

    The specific gravity is the ratio of the density of a liquid to the density of water. Water has a specific gravity of 1.000. In case of wine, as you add sugar (water soluble) the specific gravity increases, for example 1.015. The specific gravity indicates the amount of fermentable sugar or potential alcohol in the must (or wine).

    A hydrometer is used to measure the specific gravity and has three scales, Specific Gravity, Balling or Brix and Alcohol Content. The Balling or Brix scale expresses the amount of sugar as a weight percent and the Alcohol scale indicates the potential alcohol content. To determine the alcohol content, you must take two readings, one before fermentation and another after fermentation is complete. Subtract the two numbers (Alcohol Scale) and the difference is the alcohol content of the wine. Continue reading

  • Beer Making Frequently Asked Questions

    What is “Single Stage” brewing? “Two Stage”? “Blow-by Method”?

    Single Stage: the beer goes through the entire fermentation cycle in one bucket. It should be brewed at room temperature (65-75ºF), take about 5-7 days, and be bottled as soon as it is finished fermenting. As beer brews, a sediment is formed, and if the beer sits on this sediment too long, it will pick up some “off” flavors. This is nothing that will harm or hurt you, but will just taste and/or smell bad. The sediment consists of spent yeast, used hop pellets, and boiling by-products. Continue reading

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