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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Big Excitement for 'Small Lots'

May 13, 2010

VictorWinexpert often has the opportunity to secure small amounts of very special raw materials. These raw materials are unique and deserve special attention. The grapes are either unique varieties, come from special regions, or can be combined to produce exciting blends. The result is the ‘Small Lots’ program.

ENG-Small-Lot-Meritage_CropThis year we have a Meritage blend which is a combination of two or more “noble” Bordeaux varieties. Our Meritage 3 Continents is a blend of Petit Verdot from Australia, Cabernet Sauvignon from California, and Merlot from Chile. Meritage wines historically are prized for their smooth, silky texture and robust structure. The ‘Small Lots’ Meritage 3 Continents has flavours of blackfruit, soft notes of licorice, and hints of cedar and chocolate. I’m tasting it already!

ENG-Small-Lot-BC-Chardonnay_CropChardonnay is becoming one of the most popular grapes in BC, and has become a sought after wine. The ‘Small Lots’ BC Chardonnay provides us with the unique opportunity to choose the style of Chardonnay we wish to have. Keep the oak out to create an un-oaked ‘New-World’ style- crisper and more fruit forward. Alternatel you can add the oak creating a more traditional style bringing out some of the vanilla notes and extending the finish. I’m going to add the oak!

I’ll be making one of each as I don’t want to miss this opportunity.

If you buy yours before May 22nd you’ll receive a FREE $15 Wine Sense Gift Card!

We only have a few left and once they are gone that’s it- thus the name ‘Small Lots’…


Victor- Manager (McPhillips)

Filed under: New Products by Craig

Twisted Mist- News and Notes

May 4, 2010

BobTwisted Mist is back in stock at Winexpert and more is being shipped to Wine Sense right now. Although some Wine Sense locations may be low or out of stock right now- all should be back to normal by Thursday or Friday of this week.

The sales of Twisted Mit have been simply amazing. For those of you who don’t know you what Twisted Mist is- you can now make your own Mojito and Strawberry Margaritas! Click here for more details.


Many of you must be close to bottling at this time, and it would be to your best interest to review the instructions. The one big difference is that the fruit pack is added at bottling time. Also, the finished product will have a cloudy appearance. The final product should look this way- so do not worry. 

One other interesting note in the instructions concerns degassing. They suggest that after you have completed the degassing phase that you siphon some wine into your test jar- halfway is good. Insert a solid bung or cover with your clean hand and give a good shake. If you hear a pop or puff of gas then you should continue degassing. If the wine foams up but no pop of gas then you have completed the task. I think this is a great idea and should be applied to all wine kits.


Bob- Manager (Wine Sense- Springfield Rd)

Filed under: New Products by Craig

The Carboy Cleaner- a New 'Toy'

April 22, 2010

JimLast week when the Carboy Cleaners arrived- I had to try one. I had two carboys to clean and the Carboy Cleaner not only did a great job but it was fun to use. Think of a ‘car-wash’ inside your carboy.

No more having to scrub with a Carboy Brush while trying to get into the shoulders of the carboy. No more trying to carefuly ‘aim’ the tip of the brush to get that tough spot on the bottom of the carboy. 

It took only 1 litre of water and 1 tbsp of Sparklebrite to clean the carboy (not counting the rinse water). This significantly cuts down on the cost of cleaning by using less Sparklebrite and as a result less water.

The best part was that I finished with the cleaning and put the carboy away in 10 minutes (yes- I did play longer than necessary).


Make life easier- get a Carboy Cleaner!


In the past, my problem with cleaning carboys was filling them up to soak and forgetting to come back and finish. Now everything is cleaned up and put away before I leave the room… my wife likes this.

Click here to view a brief video and see why the Carboy Cleaner (exclusive to Wine Sense)  is the fastest, easiest and best way to clean your carboys!


Jim- Manager (Southdale)

Filed under: Equipment, New Products by Craig

Aussie GSM

January 6, 2010

JimThe Selection International Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre (shortened to Aussie GSM) was an interesting wine kit to make up. I really enjoy a blended wine for its variety of aromas and tastes. I started the wine on Oct 10th, 2009 and the aroma coming off the juice as I poured it into the primary fermentor was very ‘grapey’ with at least 4 different aromas that I could identify.

The filtering went well, and the bottling was an enjoyable event as the aroma coming up out of the bottles was fantastic.

Following the instructions, Stage One was very simple. The starting SG was 1.090 with a temperature of 24 C.

I arrived at Stage Two in 6 days, on Oct 16th, 2009. The fermentation was steady and slow, which I prefer. My SG reading was .998.

Stage Three took a little longer than usual due to the slow fermentation. After 13 days I finally got to two stable SG readings of .994 and moved on to the degassing. Using the wine whip, I degassed the wine in the instructed 3 minutes – but that whip is so much fun I kept going for a few more minutes!

On Nov 12th, 2009 I racked the wine over to a clean carboy and topped up with water.

I bottled the wine on Dec 4th 2009. I filtered the wine so we can taste the wine and pass our opinions on to our customers… Ok, Ok, I just wanted to drink it early…

The Aussie GSM on first tasting after bottling had an interesting aroma and the colour was a nice medium red. The taste was very young (I would give it at least 3-6 months of aging). I was surprised by the taste of the wine because the Shiraz was obvious, but it was not the predominate taste – the Grenache and Mourvedre were also very evident.

On first tasting it’s evident this will smooth out with aging. I would personally age this wine for one year and enjoy all the proper flavors that this will develop. If you can’t wait a year at least make sure you can enjoy a bottle or two after 6 months. Your patience will pay off.

Because I plan my cellar needs in advance and have patience, I am actually able to wait about a year to drink my wines – my definition of patience is “enough wine to drink until the next kit is aged”.

Here is Winexpert’s description of the wine:

The blending of these three grapes is a classic, originating in the South of France where Côtes du Rhone and Chateauneuf du Pape concentrate on these varieties. The small, thick skinned berries are deep blue-black in colour, high in extract, flavour, aroma and tannin.

 Grenache also thrives in hot climates and warm soils, producing deep purple, sugar-rich, burly ripe fruit, it offers a cornucopia of dense, lusty aromas and flavours of black cherry, blackcurrant, jam, pepper and liquorice with an explosively mouth filling texture and deceptively heady alcohol.

Mourvèdre also favours a warm climate and abundant. The tiny berries are deep blue-violet in colour, with extremely thick skins and high sugars, acidity, colour and tannin, making Mourvèdre an excellent contributor of structure and density in the blend. Mourvèdre is an especially good foil for Grenache’s lusher, low-acid, and low-tannin fruit. The three grapes together make for a blend of length, power, and fruitiness and above all, balanced intensity of flavour.

This wine will benefit from ageing and will pair well with beef, lamb, barbequed ribs and grilled pork chops.



Manager (Wine Sense- Springfield)

Filed under: New Products by Craig


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