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The Wine Cellar
Life is too short to drink bad wine
Life is too short to drink bad wine

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Each year Passport Series takes us to new countries - from highly touted up-and-coming regions to age-old vineyards with long histories of excellence. This is an adventure through some of the most prominent and well respected wine growing regions around the world. From classic varietals to charismatic blends, this limited release wine series celebrates the unique, thrives on the exploration, and insists on excellence.

Available for just a short time and by reservation only, the exclusive Passport Series takes you on a new, exhilarating journey every year, making this collection a highly sought-after one of a kind wine experience.

Consumer pre-order deadline: November 17, 2017
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Reasons to Love Red Wine

According Agra-Food Canada most of us Canadians are drinking more red wine than ever before. Is this cause for concern? As if you needed an excuse… other than the obvious after work stress release that comes with a glass of red wine, the habit of drinking red wine a daily can help you lose weight, and keep your heart healthy. Here are the facts about red wine.

It can help lower your cholesterol levels. A University in Spain found that the fiber found in Tempranillo red grapes can play a significant role in reducing cholesterol in the body. Healthy participants in one study consumed the same grape supplement found in red wine and saw a 9% drop in “bad cholesterol”. And unhealthy study participants (with high cholesterol levels) dropped bad cholesterol levels by 12%. Since bad cholesterol or LDL is a direct link to arterial wall plaque, high blood pressure, and ultimately heart attack, red wine can be considered a health drink!

It protects the heart. Polyphenols (or antioxidants in red wine) keep blood vessels from becoming ridged and reduce clotting according to Dr. John Folts PhD of the University of Wisconsin, USA. He says that these Polyphenols are “almost as effective as aspirin” but that’s only in moderation as chronic heavy drinking damages the heart.

Red wine can help control blood sugar. A rich source of the natural compound resveratrol is found in the skins of red grapes. One study published in the journal Nutrition found that when participants took just 250 mg of resveratrol once a day for three months, they had lower blood glucose levels than others who didn’t take resveratrol. Participants taking the supplement also had lower cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. Some researchers speculate that resveratrol may stimulate insulin secretion or activate a protein that may help regulate glucose and insulin receptiveness.

Can make you smart. One scientist thinks that resveratrol found in red grape skins may also help keep your memory sharp. Resveratrol can slow the formation of the protein beta-amyloid a building block of the plaque found in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers.

Antioxidants in red wine can help you avoid getting a cold. The American Journal of Epidemiology followed 4000 faculty members at five different Spanish universities and discovered that people who drank 14 + glasses of red per week were 40% less likely to catch a cold. This is because Antioxidants are thought to help fight infection and protect cells against free radical effects that might play a role in more serious illnesses or disease.
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Crafting your own Wine for Your Wedding. Why it’s a Great Idea?

If you’re getting married or you’re paying for one, you should consider making your own wine instead of commercial or “store bought” wine. Your first thought may be “sure if your cheap”, or maybe a kinder way of saying it… “but we have different standards.” It’s defiantly true, it does cost less. Instead of $18-$30 for LCBO wine, you might pay $6 or even $8 per bottle when crafting your own. I once thought crafting your own wine was for people who couldn’t afford the good stuff. After trying a few different wines at the Wine Cellar and having them explained to us, we realized that it really is just a matter of value. It may have been true in the past that there was an obvious taste difference, and that you could tell by the first sip that you were drinking crafted wine. That certainly was not the case with the wine we made for our son’s wedding. When considering this important process, it also makes a difference where you make your crafted wine. They may all look the same on the outside, explaining that they are an “on-premise” craft wine store, but very different on the inside. What separates one store from another are the product line they carry, knowledge on making wine, cleanliness, atmosphere and much more.

The only way our guests could tell that we didn’t purchase the wine from the LCBO was by what was on the personalized labels. For one of the 3 bottles on each table we labeled with the table # (see image below) which was kind of different and easier than place cards. Because we were serving beef, we had 2 reds and a white all were made from high quality juices, and aged for 4-6 months. Everyone commented on how good it was.

As for legality of using it, the only additional stipulation in Ontario is that you can’t sell craft wines and you must apply for a special occasion permit at the LCBO. You can only give it away, which is what you do at a wedding dinner anyway. Since it lasts up to 3-5 years if stored properly, the new married couple will have lots left over with their custom labels to remember their wedding day.
Another good reason for using crafted wine is the variety. The Wine Cellar has more than 100 different juices to choose from that come from all over the world, including Australia, Chile, California, Washington, Italy, Argentina, and more.
My final reason for suggesting this is the education you get from being part of the process of making your own wine. The Wine Cellar staff knew their stuff. They knew everything about the wine, why it was different than other similar wines, where it came from, what extra steps are involved with some and why. Then they walk you through the production from the yeast addition to the printer settings on your custom labels. The whole time it was Fun!

I might never go back to the LCBO for wine again. Many thanks to Marie and Pat, owners of The Wine Cellar, for adding their awesome wine to the many details that made our Son’s wedding day great!

Alan & Rosslyn Merswolke

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The Wine Making Process

The art and science of making wine has been known for thousands of years. Although the process of making wine happens naturally, intervention through specific stages can make the final product better. From the vine to your lips there are five steps.

Step 1 – Harvesting
Getting the grapes off the vine is the obvious first step in the process. Why grapes? Can you make wine out of other fruit? Yes you can, but grapes have the needed acids, esters, and tannin's that keep the process stable enough to constantly make good wine.

Timing is essential because the instant the grapes are picked, their sweetness, acidity, and flavor are locked in and determine then and there the flavor of the final product. Although deciding when to pick the grapes is a science, wine makers also depend on tasting the grape to make that decision. And as all farmers know, weather plays a major role in determining harvest timing.

Step 2 – Crushing
Once sorted the stems are removed, the grapes are crushed, usually by a machine, but if you want to use your feet that’s how it was done in the past. The grapes are crushed into “must”, which is basically freshly crushed grapes that include the skins, seeds, and other solids.

White wine grapes go through the same process except the wine maker will work quickly to separate the juice from the skins and seeds to avoid unwanted tannin's and color seeping into the juice. With reds, this isn’t an issue for the tannin's and color are welcomed as they help provide a richer flavor and added body.

Step 3 – Fermentation
If you are making wine with us at The Wine Cellar than fermentation is your first step as we have over 100 different high quality Juices from the finest vineyards around the globe.

Must or Juice begins fermenting naturally when exposed to yeast in the air within 6-12 hours. Most wine makers help this process get off and running by adding their own commercially cultured yeast. Doing so will help the wine maker predict the result, making sure to produce quality wine consistently.
If you are making wine from “kits” you must include the yeast in order for fermentation to occur. That is because all wine kits are pasteurized. This pasteurization is done to “kill” any wild yeast that occurs naturally in all fruits of any kind growing outside.

This process continues until all the sugar is converted into alcohol creating a dry wine. For sweeter wines, the process can be stopped before all the sugar is converted. This fermentation process lasts between 10-30 days.

Step 4 – Clarification
Clarification is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the process where proteins, tannin's, and dead yeast cells are removed. The wine is transferred to different containers usually glass jugs, oak barrels, or a stainless-Steel tank, during which time it’s filtered or fined. (Finning is where a substance is added to attract and adhere to unwanted particles or solids)

Step 5 – Aging / Bottling
The wine maker decides at this point to bottle the new wine as is, or to move it to oak barrels where the wine becomes smoother, more rounded, and takes on some of the flavor from the oak.

The aging process can take anywhere from a couple of more months or as much as 8 months to a year before consuming. This is actually the hardest part about making wine.

Some of my best wines are the ones I forgot I had hiding down in my wine cellar.
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How to Remove Wine Labels?

One of the best things about making wine is the variety of available juices. Eventually you will find your favorites, but chances are you will be reusing bottles for different wines. That means removing old wine labels and returning the bottle to its original pristine condition. So, what is the best way to remove the old labels?

Using harsh chemicals of petroleum based lubricants is not an option as even small amounts that get inside your bottles could be harmful if consumed or even worse, effect the quality of the wine (lol).
Not all suggestions on the internet are good ideas.

We recommend the following two methods:

Warm Water & Baking Soda

• Soak the label portion of the wine bottle in room temperature water with 5-10 tablespoons of baking soda for 30 minutes.
• Remove the bottle from the water, and wipe the label off with a rag.
• If any of the label remains, use steel wool to remove the rest.

* Since the water is at room temperature, and if you do not submerge the cork end of the bottle in water, you can use this method to remove labels from full bottles of wine.

Hot Water Inside (To remove labels from EMPTY bottles)

• Fill the bottles with very hot water (About 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit)
• let stand for 10 minutes.
• The heat will partially melt most adhesives and allow you to peel off the label.

* You Will Need: A sink or bucket, baking soda, a rag, a towel, steel wool

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We use barrels in our wine making process!
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