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!

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It's Gamay Nouveau Party Time!

November 2, 2010

Craig1Most folks will have their Gamay Nouveaus bottled by now and will be getting ready to have their Gamay Nouveau parties in the next few weeks.

For those of you who missed out on the Gamay Nouveau kits here’s a refresher:

GamayNouveauBottleThe Selection International French Gamay Nouveau kit is our chance to make Beaujolais Nouveau. 100% of the grape that goes into Beaujolais wines are Gamay and the Gamay grapes in the Selection Gamay Nouveau are all sourced from Beaujolais!

‘Nouveau’ wines are not about great vintages, ‘futures’ or ‘nose in the air’ wine tastings. They’re about making a good wine and enjoying it right away. Gamay Nouveau is ready on the day you bottle it and is fresh and juicy, with a bold purple-pink colour and bursting with an amazing array of fruit aromas, its low tannin levels makes it extremely drinkable when young. They say it’s the only white wine that is actually red! Lightly chilled (13°C/55°F) it has happy red berry aromas along with hints of banana, pear, cotton-candy!

It’s Party Time…

And the parties have started! Brian Deutscher from Brandon kicked things off with family and friends when they were in Saskatchewan for a family wedding this past weekend. Brian said of the Gamay:

“It was excellent, attendees were amazed at how great a wine could taste that was only bottled two days earlier.”


Brian proudly shows off his Gamay Nouveau... "Vintage 2 Days Ago!"

Gamay customers are planning Gamay Parties around the weekend of November 18th (the traditional release day for Nouveau wines) and there’s a big one in Virden at the start of the week.

If you’re a Gamay Nouveau wine kit maker and you’re having a Gamay Nouveau party don’t forget to email/post to our facebook page any photos you take. If you do you will recieve a $20 Wine Sense Gift Card, a $20 Winexpert Gift Certificate and will be eligible to win a Winexpert wine kit of your choice.

If you need any Gamay Nouveau Party planning help you can link to the Gamay Nouveau Facebook Page for recipes and tips.

Gamay Nouveau est Arrive!


Craig, Wine Sense

Filed under: General, Events by Craig

Limited Edition 2010

September 30, 2010
winesense_icon[1]Here you go folks! This year’s Limited Edition styles… Remember-These unique and intriguing wines are available only during their month of release so pre-ordering is highly recommended to ensure you’ll receive these sought-after winemaking kits.
January – Australian Shiraz/Viognier
The Region: The warm climate and rich sandy loam soils of Australia’s Riverland region could produce high yields, but the artisan grape growers at Salmon Gum Vineyards remove half the fruit at budburst and limit irrigation. With smaller numbers of berries and water–stressed vines, the resultant grapes display highly concentrated flavour, aroma and body.
The Wine: Blending red and white grapes brings lush balance to this lively, deep ruby wine. Ripe berry fruit and violet aromas from the Shiraz are balanced by floral and stone fruit notes from the Viognier, with beguiling hints of orange blossom followed by toast and smokiness. There’s sufficient acidity to give it structure, but the overall impression is soft and velvety. The long, gentle finish is ripe and appealing with surprising complexity.
The Food: A great choice for game or meat dishes, it also works spectacularly with ratatouille and even soft fruit, especially combined with soft–ripened or goat–s cheeses. It–s also great all by itself as an elegant sipping wine.
Ageing: Appealingly bright and fruity when young, it will develop more of its floral aromas after six months, and after a year will begin to show violets and blackberry flavours, and continue to deepen in flavour.
Sweetness Code: 0 (dry)
January – Pacifica White
The Region: The Pacific Rim has micro-climates and terroir as diverse and excellent as any in the world. With Semillon from the blazing sunshine in Australia, Chardonnay from the crisp valley air in Okanagan, British Columbia, and Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier from the hot sunny mornings and cool afternoons of California’s North Coast, each vineyard also has unique soil ranging from sandy river bottom loam, to stony red clay, and nearly pure limestone.
The Wine: Pacifica White showcases bright fruit, excellent structure and a long layered finish running out from a veritable fruit salad of flavours and aromas. Complex pear and honey notes, grassy citrus and grapefruit, ripe apple, fig, melon, peach, and pineapple all mellow into spicy, honey, butter, butterscotch and hazelnut flavors that linger beguilingly.
The Food: Full–bodied yet supple, this wine has a range of fruit characters and enough acidity to stand up to a wide range of foods. Off dry, but perfectly balanced it works well with spices, seafood, clams, mussels in saffron cream, and especially with Asian food.
Ageing: Delicious and ready to drink almost immediately, this wine has the ability to change with time, evolving dominant notes from one grape to the next. Sauvignon Blanc’s citrus and herbs provide crispness early on, giving way to melon and honey notes of Semillon, then Viognier rises to show stone fruit, flowers, ripe apricots and candied orange peel while Chardonnay asserts its green apple and notes of white fruits and minerals.
Sweetness Code: 1 (perfectly balanced and luscious)
February – Italian Primitivo
The Region: Puglia forms a long narrow peninsula, making up the heel of the boot of Italy. Dry and warm, it basks in the Mediterranean sun, and has a long, rich history of grape growing. The Appenine mountains give an excellent range of elevations and soil types, and it produces more wine than any other region in Italy, specializing in intensely ripe grapes from its hillsides.
The Wine: Italian Primitivo is medium red in colour veering to brick, rich, and concentrated, exuding aromas of blackberry, plums, tobacco, prunes and red cherries, with the Italian signature of firm tannins and a long, gripping finish with notes of vanilla and toast. Like most Italian reds it retains acidity to balance fruit character and marry well with food.
The Food: Primitivo shines in the company of assertively flavoured foods like lamb, pork, grilled beef, ribs, roasted red meats, wild game, spicy cheeses and pizza. Its firm backbone of acids and tannins make it work well with rich and spicy foods like Italian sausages or lasagna.
Ageing: Medium–bodied but with good grip and intensity, this wine will begin to open up after six months, the richer flavours will show at 12 months.
Sweetness: 0 (dry)
March – Austria Grüner Veltliner
The Region: Grrüner Veltliner is almost unique to the Niederösterreich, Austria’s growing region along the Danube River North of Vienna. It finds its finest balance in loess, the fine-grained, densely compacted glacial dust that has blown in to the vineyards over many thousands of years. This unique terrior is largely responsible for the distinctive characteristics of arguably Austria’s greatest asset.
The Wine: Grrüner Veltliner produces stunningly intense and concentrated wines that start with citrus and grapefruit aromas, hinting from the very beginning at the variety’s most distinguishing characteristic, the spicy fragrance of freshly ground white pepper. In addition to white pepper they can also show aromas of sour apples, flowers and minerals – surprisingly delicate.
The Food: The steely dryness and bracing acidity of Grüner Veltliner works brilliantly with seafood, mussels, salmon, grilled halibut, fish stew, and grilled oysters.
Ageing: This wine has huge ageing potential. After three months in the bottle it will present bright, simple flavours of citrus, but after a year the tropical fruits will come out to duel with the white pepper.
Sweetness: 0 (dry)
April – Portugese Douro Tinto
The Region: The Douro valley is Portugal’s premium wine region. Situated along the Rio Douro (River of Gold), the scenery is spectacular and the soil is just about perfect for growing quality wine grapes. The climate is continental, very hot and desert-dry in the summer; cold and wet in the winter. Douro’s most memorable feature is its difficult terrain. Most of the slopes are so steep that the only way to grow anything is by creating terraces, the painstaking construction of dry stonewalls to support the banks of soil.
The Wine: A blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca, the names may be unfamiliar, but Tinta Roriz is the same grape as Spanish Tempranillo. Together they make an intensely aromatic wine with an impressive depth of fruit and complexity. Black fruits such as cassis along with mulberry and raspberry predominate and are complemented by plums and tobacco, followed by the resinous aromas of violets and rockrose. High tannin levels and good natural acidity mean that the wine has an excellent potential for ageing without loss of structure or balance.
The Food: Incredibly flexible as a food wine, Douro Tinto will match perfectly with roasted lamb, or duck, barbecued meats, grilled eel and meat sauces. The finesse and complexity also make it intriguing just on its own.
Ageing: This wine will show black fruit, plums and a firm structure of acid and tannins. Six to twelve months will reveal more floral aromas and a hint of ripe berries and cassis.
Sweetness: 0 (dry)
Intrigued? Join us at our Limited Edition Wine Tastings to get a sneak preview!

Filed under: General, Events, Wine by Craig

It's Tasting Time!

September 15, 2010

BobAs summer draws to a sad end it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming wine making season and more specifically- Wine Sense’s annual Limited Edition Wine Tastings. (click here for dates)

For those of you who never attended, the Limited Edition Tastings give you a sneak preview of the 2010 releases. You get to learn about the 5 styles of wine- where they come from and the foods they go well with. You also get to taste each wine paired with an appropriate food pairing.

The evening is presented by Tim Vandergrift, the Technical Services Manager for Winexpert. Tim is as entertaining as he is knowledgeable- and he knows a lot about wine!


Tickets are moving quickly and Friday night is already sold out- so move quickly to reserve your tickets. November might seem like a long time off but this event sells out faster every year. It is a nice informative evening, with good wine and food in an informal atmosphere. So don’t delay and stop by or call your favourite Wine Sense location to reserve your tickets.

See you there!

Bob, Manager (Wine Sense- Springfield Road)

Filed under: General, Events by Craig

Looking Back at 19 Years

April 28, 2010

Craig copyTime flies – a lot has changed in 8500 years!

Evidence tells us winemaking originated in 6500 BC and in recent years has come full circle. Wine was first made in the home and as time progressed it became a commercial endeavor. Along the way the quality of wine evolved and improved into the amazing beverage enjoyed today.


Home winemaking... We've come a long way baby!

Wine Sense opened 19 years ago and in that time the home winemaker has seen a lot of history repeat itself. We opened just as the first major change in the recent history of home winemaking was occuring. It was about 20 years ago that Winexpert(orignally named Brew King) created the modern wine kit. Cans of low-grade red or white grape concentrate were vastly upgraded to the bag-in-box wine kit featuring high quality varietal grape juice and concentrate that we know today.


The 'modern' wine kit- by Winexpert

Next, Canada’s largest wineries took notice and bought into the ‘cottage’ wine kit industry. As a result the industry gained access to technology that further improve the quality of wine kits. Along with technology, we gained greater buying power and access to better, more sought after raw materials from all around the world. We’ve gone from making ‘red or white’ wine to making Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon and New Zealand Marlbourough Sauvignon Blanc!

Most importantly to our valued customers- because of the above mentioned innovations, the wine that you are making today is significantly better than the wine you were making when we first opened in 1991.

What else has changed? 

A big one certainly was our name. In 2006 we changed from The Brew Doctor to Wine Sense. Why? Because you our customers told us we were in the wine business. In the early days, beer kits carried the load. I recall many years ago boasting in our Yellow Pages ad that we had over 140 different beer kits. But you the consumer changed as your tastes have shifted from beer to wine. While we still have a selection of beer, we now offer over 180 different wine kits!

Why the change?

Because home winemaking made wine affordable for everyday enjoyment. Wine was no longer just for special occasions- we can now afford to make every occasion special by opening a bottle of wine that we made.

Do we still carry beer kits?

We sure do. We also carry a variety of products that allow you to offer more choice for yourself, your family and friends: Island Mist and Niagara Mist patio wines, Twisted Mist Cocktail kits and Still Spirits liqueurs extracts.

As we’ve grown, so has our ability to communicate with you. We’ve grown from little ads to a full-colour presence in newspapers, from a black and white newlsetter to full-colour, from radio to TV commercials and now as you read our blog, the social media scene which you probably linked to from our Facebook Fan Page that you likely first learned about from our email marketing.

We are also renovating all of our stores. Four have been completed with two more remaining. Our Southdale store will be converted this summer. So for our customers in that area you can expect to see new colours, a new layout and a new way to shop for your wine kits.


Our new store design... 4 down 2 to go!

The Wine Sense family has also grown over the years. We have more staff than ever and I’m pleased to boast that they are unmatched. They all love wine, winemaking and they have a passion for what they do. They are trained in winemaking and wine enjoyment and are happy to share their knowledge with you.


The Wine Sense Family

As I write this 19th Birthday Blog I’m seeing the trend… Change and Quality. And as we move into year 20 and beyond, Wine Sense will continue to evolve to offer you a great shopping experience and provide you with leading edge quality.

It’s one of those birthday’s that’s a pleasure to celebrate. Cheers!

Filed under: General, Events by Craig


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