Wine Time Factory for Friends

Wine Time Factory for Friends
A home-based winemaking hobby with professional enhancements

Latest News from Ric the Vintner

What’s New at the WTF3: March 2014

The weather is what’s new. The incredible procession of winter storms, most striking on Wednesday has driven me into the wine room. I have put on a couple of carboys for friends and believe it or not, have room for a couple more.

Attended a Wine tasting at Vin Bon on the weekend, hosted by Davis Sala, a real estate agent with Home life, working out of the Rockingham office. Vin Bon brings in frozen 20L juice buckets from California and Europe. Yeast has already been added and you can tweak them any way you want (tannin, oak, extra fruit, etc.) I have ordered a white and a red to see what they are like.

The latest news from the U-Vint front is that the main U-vint operators have met with the government and put forward a couple of ideas. My contribution was a comparison of all the U-vint regulations of the 5-provinces that have them. Most of the regulations were recent and there was not much variability, although some interesting differences:

  • PEI is the only one that charges an additional tax ( $.50 / liter).
  • Saskatchewan and PEI require a retail operation that sells wine kit supplies.
  • Ontario requires the customer to pitch the yeast only, while all others make the customer. combine and transfer the must into a fermentor.
  • Only BC allows port to be fortified on premises.
  • Sask. won’t allow staff to carry your bottles to the your car.
  • PEI requires a Responsible Beverage Servers certificate.

There are many other minor differences, but this looks like something that all the provinces could standardize on. Will it happen?? Not in my lifetime.

BBC is reviewing their whole liquor retail and distribution system with the idea of allowing grocery stores sell beer and wine - what an innovative concept. Now there is push back from the BC wine makers saying that these retailers would bring in cheap plonk and undercut their BC VQA wine. And by the way, wine sales generally are increasing all over. Beer is flat and Spirits are dispirited.

What’s New at the WTF3 February 2014

The last couple of months has been busy, in a very satisfying way. The WTF issue with the CRA has been resolved and I am now officially not registered for a ‘Ferment on Premises’ registration (because I am not big enough.)

Discussion with the local CRA representative who came and did a site visit said I was a hobby wine maker with friends. His face kind of fell when I told him that I made wine for about 8 other people and over the last year we have made about 16 extra kits. Some people make more than one, you know. If I ever got to the stage where I had more than 33 carboys on the go at any one time, then they would relook at it. There apparently is some rule about 100 hectoliters per year. That is the equivalent of about 1,400 bottles of wine on site. They did ask that I adjust my web site to indicate that is was more of a hobby, and so the “official name” is now Wine Time Factory for Friends : WTFFF or WTF3.

The second event was the quick response by the government to formalize the ‘Ferment on Premises’ rules, although I am no longer affected by these rules apparently. Ross Harrington of Wine Kitz and Steve Haynes of Noble Grape have the most interest in this and trying to make sure there are no further taxes to be paid. We shall see. Lots of implications if they are required to collect and pay taxes that the NSLC will just cringe.

The third item is the addition of a new closure system for screw type bottles. As most of you know, screw top wine bottles are gradually taking over the market, with 90% Australian and New Zealand, 30% of California, and 40% here in Canada. Some progress in Europe but slower. The end result is that bottling wine in a screw cap bottle will be more predominant very soon and thus we need a way to do it.

Wine Time Factory for Friends Novatwist closures

Tetra Pak, a very large packaging company, through one of its subsidiaries Novembal, has developed Novatwist. The screw cap is a 30mm by 60 mm plastic cap that can be reused about 10 times, provides a locking seal on it's first use, has different liners for micro-ox infusion, and is cost effective, easy to use and quite attractive. I have used about 600 of them so far and will be going to them as my predominant closure system. Corks will still be available. See picture to right:

The wines from left to right are Amarone Classico 2014, Cabernet Shiraz 2014, Amarone Show Case 2012, and NS Muskat–Eagletree Vineyard 2014. Only three have the Novatwist, but they all look pretty sharp.

Time for a glass...

Ric the Vintner

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