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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A Concrete Idea

February 9, 2011

Brian KentWhile sorting through my photos of my trip to Ontario wine country, I was reminded of the experimental storage of bulk wine that Hillebrand winery employed. They created a large cement casks to store reisling wine in bulk. It was interesting to see two large cement wine casks sitting in the midst of its storage facility. One also contained patched cracks because cement, as we all know in Manitoba, cracks due to seasonal temperature differences.


Traditional oak in the background and innovative concrete in the foreground.

The belief was that the cement would impart minerals into the wine during its storage in the winery. Hillebrand’s counterpart winery Peller Estates has also tried this experiment and had bottled a Sauvignon Blanc. Upon tasting the Sauvignon Blanc it was very apparent that the mineral content enhanced the fruity and earthiness of this great white.

So if you venture somewhere in wine country, see if the wineries are doing their part to enhance the wine experience like these two wineries do.


Brian (Wine Sense- Portage Ave.)

NOTE* Wine Sense wines that would really display a natural mineral characteristic would be 2006’s Limited Edition Australian Verdelho and this year’s Limited Edition Austrian Gruner Veltliner.

Filed under: General, Wine by Craig

Cheeky Monkey 2010 White

January 11, 2011

BobTo all 4 week white wine makers I want to say that the Cheeky Monkey 2010 White is a real keeper.

The 2010 White has a very distinctive nose to it and a real distinct flavour also. Most of you have probably heard of and probably made Pinot Grigio with it’s unique citrus and tropical fruit flavours but it’s the Verdelho grape in this blend that makes it so special, with it’s unusual mineral like flavour.

CheekyIt’s very distinctive and is very good and I recommend it to any 4 week wine kit maker. 

I also must admit that I’m drinking this wine with little or no ageing but what was i to do-  my rack was empty!


Bob, Manager (Wine Sense- Springfield Road)

Filed under: Wine by Craig

Wines for the New Year

January 6, 2011

NeilNow that the New Year has past us by- its time to think about making wine for all of your celebrtions coming in 2011. May I suggest trying the first two Limited edition kits which have now arrived in store… and are perfect wines for every occasion you may have planned!

January LimitedsThe Australian Shiraz/Viognier is a unique twist- the small amount of white Viognier amplifies the fruit character of the red Shiraz. It was a huge hit at the Limited Edition Wine Tastings.

The Pacifica White is all about instant gratification. The blend of four grapes is all about easy (and early) drinking.

click for more details on both wines

I know many customers have already been in and picked up their Jamuary Limited Edition wines. For those customers who have not pre-ordered these kits, you still have an opportunity to for a limited time while stocks last (which won’t be long).

Both are fanatastic wines and you will not be disappointed in purchasing one or both of these wines!  They will help make all of your celebrations most enjoyable!

Happy New Year from the Staff at Brandon Store!

Neil, Manager (Wine Sense- Brandon)

Filed under: General, Wine 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


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