Wine Making Tips

Getting ready to bottle

We will call you when your wine is ready to be bottled.  You may also call us any time to see how your wine is doing and to make a bottling appointment.

Wash your bottles before coming to the store to bottle your wine.  Fill your bottles with hot water and a tablespoon of bleach and let them soak overnight.  Use a bottle brush to get inside the bottle and scrub in the bottom corners of the bottle.  This is usually sufficient to rid the bottles of any mould and bacteria that may have been living in the bottle since it was last used.  Cut down your cleaning job by remembering to rinse your wine bottles thoroughly immediately after finishing your wine.

Remove the existing labels.  Water based label were moistened to adhere to the bottle.  These types will float away after soaking the bottles in warm water for just a few minutes.  Removing labels from store bought wine can be a challenge.  You may have to try steel wool or a utility knife if soaking alone doesn’t remove the label.  Self-adhesive (peel and stick) labels usually peel off much easier.  Fill your bottles to the top with very hot water and let them stand for five minutes.  This should melt the glue allowing the dry labels to be peeled off.  If the labels don’t come off try soaking them in a tub of hot water.

Once your bottles are clean and your labels removed place them in a wine box upside down to avoid dirt and bacteria from accumulating in them.  Once you arrive at the store sanitize your bottles on our bottle-sanitizing machine and you’re ready to bottle your wine.


Put a Cork in it

We offer two types of closures for your bottles; agglomerated and twin-top.  Each has its benefits which depend largely on how you choose to store your wine and when you plan to drink it.

Agglomerated Corks – These are the most commonly used corks.  Good for about two years, this cork is best for people who will consume their wine within two years of bottling.  It will allow the wine to develop naturally in the bottle if you age it for the full term.  Keep the bottle standing upright for ten days to two weeks then turn it on its side for storage until you are ready to drink it.

Twin-top Corks – These are good for up to five years.  They are best for people who plan to age their wine for an extended period of time.  Twin-top corks have an agglomerated cork centre with two ends make of solid natural cork.  Keep the bottle standing upright for ten days to two weeks then turn it on its side for storage until you are ready to drink it.


For those with really big wine cellars

If you are planning to age your wine beyond two years, we can add sulphite (potassium metabisulphite), a preservative which is used to extend the life of your wine.  Wine kits are designed and manufactured with enough sulphite to last approximately two years.  The levels of sulphite in store bought wines are generally much higher than wine kits; therefore, adding extra sulphite to your kit wine will not adversely affect its taste.  Sulphite may be added to your wine just before you bottle it.  Ask us about this when you come in to bottle your wine.



Decanting and Aerating

Decanting is simply to pour a wine out of its bottle before drinking it.  As wine ages, certain compounds suspended in the wine will join together, eventually becoming heavy enough to settle at the bottom of the bottle.  While not harmful, it isn’t especially tasty either.  When decanting an older bottle of red wine, don’t jostle it, and keep it in the same position in which it has been stored. This will keep the sediment at the bottom or side of the bottle and make it easier to pour the wine and leave the sediment behind.

The majority of wines sold are thoroughly clarified and meant for immediate consumption with no need for decanting. Aerating or ‘letting it breathe’, on the other hand, benefits many young wines, red or white, that are tightly wound and uncooperative right out of the bottle. Think of it as gently waking your moody, snoring teenager.

Several hand held and bottle-top aerators exist that accelerate the process for less patient drinkers. The aerator draws in and mixes the proper amount of air for the right amount of time, allowing your wine to breathe instantly. You’ll notice a better bouquet, enhanced flavors and smoother finish.  Newer models of aerators include filters to catch any unwanted sediment.


Wine making in Coquitlam has never been easier!