A Sense of Wine

A Sense of Wine is Wine Sense's journal of new products, techniques and behind the scenes info for those who love to make wine. The authors are the Wine Sense staff. You will be familiar with them as the friendly faces that serve you whenever you stop by one of the stores. Join us as we share our insights on new procucts, advice and our experiences. Please feel free to comment on any posts- we look forward to your input!

July 2020


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on ALL regular Mist Wines!

Limited Release
Raspberry Mojito!

Summer's Here! Do you have enough Wine?

Great Beer!
Made Easy!

Hurray for IPA!

August 14, 2014

MikeThursday was National IPA day in North America, but what is an IPA? It is arguably one of the most popular styles in North America and it’s origin is also subject to strong debate. Known as Imperial or India Pale Ale, the most common story goes back to the 1700’s. The British had colonies all over the globe, including many in India. The British love their beer, and those living in parts of colonial India wanted British Ales.

Part of the problem with ales was their shelf life. The shipping conditions at the time, were less than optimal which just sped up the spoilage process. Most were low alcohol, with very low levels of hops. The trip was plagued with drastic temperature variations and could take between 3 to 5 months. Then there was the agitation from rough seas, all in all this was a tough journey for humans, let alone beer! The story claims a brewer named George Hodgson of Bow Brewery in East London began shipping his recipe to India during the 1790’s. He was said to have used sugar and grain to raise the alcohol, meanwhile adding more hops to help preserve the beer during the difficult trip.

While this is a great story, it is probably not true. There is strong evidence that shows the style existed before 1790. Other signs point to the high alcohol content as being IPA-Day-600x3001counterproductive, both on ships and on land due to the hot dry climate. Regardless of when or where it actually came from, it has become extremely popular. From White IPA to IIPA(Imperial India Pale Ale), there are so many different sub styles and brewers are experimenting with different malts and hops. Hops are so varied in bitterness, aroma and flavour that even methodology of when and how to add hops is being experimented with! All in all, there is a huge number of craft brewers doing amazing things with IPA.

Bitterness in beer is measured in IBU or International Bittering Unit. The scale is only 1- 100, although some brewers are pushing those limits as well with many claims of well reaching above 100 IBU. Bottom line, the higher the number the more bitter the beer. IPA’s generally stick between 40 and 70 IBU, but as I mentioned there are brewers who are going higher…much higher. While hops can impart bitterness, they can impart a variety of different aroma and flavours from tropical fruit, citrus fruit, spice, herb and more. This brings and endless array of possibilities to making a variety of great craft IPA’s.

909-Ersatz-606So, what makes a great IPA? There are a few factors, of course the ingredients used are very important. Balance of malt, hop aroma, hop flavour is integral too. A larger, and more important factor is you. Not everyone likes IPA’s, but I feel there is an IPA for everyone. So, while it’s origins are still fiercely debated, nobody can deny the variety of IPA’s to choose from thanks to the hops used in production. So keep trying IPA’s, you will definitely find one you like!

Wine Sense has a seletion of IPAs to choose from including Barons Pale Ale and a variety to choose from in the Paddock Wood Brewing Co. Readybrew kit line up.



Mike- Wine Sense Southdale Square

Filed under: General by WineSense

Our Trip to Winexpert

May 23, 2014

CraigOn Monday, May 5th the Wine Sense Management Team took a ‘field trip’ to the Winexpert plant in Port Coquitlam B.C. The goal of the trip was to expand our knowledge of th

products we sell by seeing the wine kit manufacturing process.

Tim Vandergrift lead us on this exclusive behind the scenes tour and it was very educational. We were fortunate to see the whole process- from the blending tanks to the box assembly and shipping.


Outside the tank farm- it looks small from the outside but is huge inside!

The plant produces about one million kits a year. To do this they need an incredible volume of grape juice and concentrate. They keep 1.5 million litres on site in their refrigerated tank farm which consists of about fifty 27,000L tanks. This does not include the off site storage that is held by juice producers and brokers. to the fill line to the final sealing and packing of the kits and the loading of the skids for shipping to our stores.


We also witnessed the receiving of a tanker truck of Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir juice from one of their California growers- the juice will be destined for the Eclipse Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir kits. Before any juice is received a sample is taken and tested in the on-site wine lab to ensure it meets the specifications of the raw material they ordered. If it doesn’t the order is refused.


Selection California Chardonnay kits being filled

The underlying focus of the Winexpert plant is quality assurance. There is non-stop testing going on during manufacturing of the kits with samples being drawn and tested while kits are being produced. Upon completion two kits are held for quality assurance and samples of each finished kit are fermented by the wine lab and held in their wine library for down stream product comparison.



It was an extremely valuable trip for all of the Wine Sense Managers and gave us a more complete understanding of the products we sell, which we are passionate about and which are backed with a 100% guarantee.






Filed under: General by WineSense

The Cider Revolution

April 25, 2014

CraigCider is one of the hottest sectors of the North American beverage alcohol industry!

Much like the explosion in the Cider Glamour_webpopularity of craft beers, cider is really making the same strides in its category- with growth of more than 60% in recent years! And the big boys are noticing with Budweiser, Miller and other mega breweries getting into the Cider game.

Why is Cider becoming more popular? Because it has broad appeal to both wine and beer drinkers and is often seen as a great alternative for those who don’t appreciate beer. Cider also tends to have just a hint of sweetness which makes it really refreshing and drinkable. Also, it’s not just about apples any more- there’s a variety of styles to choose from.

All of us at Wine Sense are please to be part of the Cider revolution- our Craft Series Cider kits come from the good folks at imake. imake is New Zealand and Australia’s DIY leaders when it comes to hand-crafted foods and beverages. And their Craft Series Cider kits are the leader in the industry. They only use the freshest and best quality fruit which is then pressed and cold filled. This care preserve the natural flavour of the fruit giving you Cider which is fresh, crisp and refreshing.

And it’s Easy! Simply mix the contents of the Craft Series Cider kit and top up to 23L in our our 32L sized Primary with Lid (it ferments and clears in about 10-14 days) and then you bottle. NO Carboy required!

So become part of the revolution and start making some Cider! Wine Sense has 5 styles of Cider to choose from including traditional Apple Cider, Mixed Berry Cider and more.





Filed under: Uncategorized by WineSense

The Perfect Summer Wine!

March 27, 2014

CraigThis is the fourth spring we’ve been fortunate enough to offer a Rose wine for summer sipping. The first two releases were from Spain, last year the was a French Rose and this year we have something even more exciting- Australian Grenache Rosé!

And don’t fall into the stereotype- we’re not talking about a super sweet blush style or White Zinfandel. Today’s Rosés are fruity with just a hint of residual sugar- just Selection-Roseenough to balance the wine with an off-dry finish. They’re not even a ‘1’ on the sweetness scale. They are however very, very drinkable and go with a huge variety of foods.

Australian Grenache Rosé has crisp hints of bright red cherry, fresh strawberry and a barely off-dry, refreshing finish.  It will go well with summer salads, fish, pork and burgers and anything with barbeque sauce. Australian Grenache Rosé will also go very well on  a hot summer day in a glass full of ice. It’s also great young- so this is a make it now and drink it this summer wine : )

Remember there’s only a limited quantity of this fantastic varietal wine available so get yours before they are all gone!




Filed under: Uncategorized by WineSense


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