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Virtual Winemaking Classes
Welcome to Musto Wine Grape’s Winemaking Instructions Course taught by Winemaker Frank Renaldi. We are excited to bring you in depth how to winemaking videos to help you grow as a winemaker. Whether you are a beginner just starting out, or someone looking to hone their skills, we have something for you!
What is an AVA or Appelation?
An American Viticultural Area (AVA) is a delimited grape-growing region distinguishable by geographic features, with boundaries defined by the United States government’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The TTB defines these areas at the request of wineries and other petitioners. There are 173 AVAs in 30 states, with 97 of them in California. They range in size from the Ohio River Valley AVA at 26,000 square miles (67,300 km²) across four states, to the Cole Ranch AVA in Mendocino County, California, at only 62 acres (25 hectares).
Unlike most European appellations, an AVA specifies only a location. It does not limit the type of grapes grown, the method of vinification, or the yield, for example. Some of those factors may, however, be used by the petitioner when defining an AVA’s boundaries.
WINEMAKING CLASSES AT MUSTO WINE GRAPE
Winemaking is a time-honored tradition that many people enjoy. Musto Wine Grape Company, LLC has developed a series of winemaker led classes that we hold at our Hartford, CT location, as well as virtual winemaking courses at www.winemakinginstructions.com. These courses help get your started on your winemaking journey. From a General Introductory Course to Lab Skills, Sensory Analysis, and even a hands-on bootcamp, these courses provide both new and experience winemakers with the foundation necessary to develop rapidly in this wonderful hobby.
To learn more about the classes we offer and the dates we will be offering them, click on the links to the classes in the related products inset to the right. If you have any questions regarding our classes, want to arrange for a group class, etc., please contact us.
Checkout our Virtual Winemaking Classes!
ABOUT GRAPE JUICES
|Over the course of several years and because we carry juices from different sources, we’ve collected the most common questions regarding fresh wine grape juices. Here we try to clarify some common questions.
Q: Are all juices the same?
A: No. Simply put, juices are no different than grapes in that they are as good as the grapes used to produce the juice. As the prices of juices go up, the expectation is that the quality will be better. It is a safe expectation.
Q: Does that mean I should not purchase certain juices?
A: Not necessarily. The juices we offer and distribute have a very substantial following and for the many many pails, drums, and totes we sell, the amount of issues that occur with these juices is minimal. We feel very strongly that customer retention is a strong indicator of the quality of juice we offer.
Q: Do wineries get juices that are different that those home winemakers get?
A: It depends. Our winery sales staff, works with the winery to understand their production requirements. The majority of juice we distribute can be considered winery grade meaning it is both suitable and consistent enought to meet winery requirements.
Q: Are wine grape juices “adjusted”.
A: Adjusted means that sugar and/or acid are manipulated at the time of processing to bring the juice into the appropriate window for making wine. Most juices are adjusted, unless coming from a specific vineyard or otherwise specified.
Q: Have sulfites been added to my juice?
A: To ensure stability, juices are transported are near freezing temperatures AND do contain an amount of sulfite to inhibit any native yeast that may be present.
Q: Does this mean I do not need to add sulfites prior to fermenting?
A: No. The proper method is to test for SO2 levels and base your decision off of that. If you do not have a tester, then we do recommend a modest addition to the pails while still cold. Instructions can be obtained on how to ferment juice.
Q: Do I need to add yeast to my juice?
A: Yes. Yes. Yes. There is one exception and that is for those people buying Mosti Fresco (not Fresh-Frozen) juices, which are yeast seeded at the time of packing.
Q: My acid reading appears low. Should I add acid?
A: Experience shows that for some juices, the acid numbers actually will rise post fermentation. This may be related to the acid source used in making adjustments. If you feel your acid is too low, feel free to call-in and discuss this with an Musto representative.
Q: I don’t live near you. How can I get your juice?
A: There are a number of ways you can get the juices we offer. There is a possibility that there is a local disctributor of our juices and we would be happy to direct you to them, if that is the case. If not, we can ship as little as a single pail (and fermentation supplies that you might need) or truck loads. There is no limit to the number of friends you can make wine with.
Q: What is this I hear? Fresh-Frozen juice?
A: Actually yes. We’ve developed a process to take the freshly processed juice and quick freeze it so we can ship it all over the country. All orders for fresh juice shipped in small lots will come as frozen to ensure stability. If you are unsure about how juice will come to you, discuss this with your Musto Sales Representative.
Alta Mesa is located in northern central Lodi, and is the second warmest area in Lodi. Alta Mesa is Spanish for “high table” referencing to the relatively higher elevation of the land. Most of the soil there consists of dense clay and heavy gravel. Typically you’ll find Cabernet Sauvignon and France planted here, along with other varietals such as Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel.
There’s Gold in them hills and not just the shiny kind. We’re referring to the type that hangs off the vines in Amador County. While steeped in Mediterranean winemaking tradition, for Wineries and Home Winemakers alike, Amador represents terrior where wine grapes reign supreme.
The following content can be found on www.amadorwine.com an excellent resource for information on Amador, its wines, wineries, and vines.
Head for the Hills
Located in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in central California, Amador County boasts 2,700 acres of wine grapes – – a high percentage of which are farmed organically – – and 25 wineries. The majority are in the northern part of the county in the Shenandoah Valley and Fiddletown appellations, near the town of Plymouth.
In these areas, vines are planted almost exclusively on rolling, oak-studded hillsides, ranging from 1,200 to 2,000 feet in elevation, in Sierra Series soils – – primarily sandy clay loam derived from decomposed granite. These friable, moderately dense soils effectively retain Amador’s 36 to 38 inches of annual rainfall, enabling most growers to dry-farm their vineyards.
Dry-farming, and the fact most vines are planted on their own roots or on self-regulating rootstocks like St. George, results in low crop yields averaging four tons per acre. These small yields, the vines’ sparse canopies (allowing excellent sunlight penetration into the vine), and Amador’s high solar radiance – – what the French call luminosity – – insure complete maturation of the fruit.
Amador’s warm climate also promotes full ripening of the grapes. Classified as a high Region 3 in the UC Davis heat summation scale, Amador is comparable to St. Helena – – but cooler than Calistoga – – in northern Napa Valley. While Amador heats up earlier in the day than those appellations, it rarely exceeds 100 degrees, a frequent occurrence in St. Helena and Calistoga. Equally important, temperatures typically drop 30-35 degrees in the evening as breezes cascade down from the Sierras. This rapid cooling helps the grapes retain the acidity essential to balanced wines.
Amador’s production of robust, intensely flavored red wines also is attributable to its high percentage of old vines: roughly 600 acres out of a total of 2,700 are 60 years or older, including several vineyards dating to the 19th century. These deeply rooted, head-trained vines, primarily zinfandel, found in vineyards such as Deaver, Fox, Ferrero, Esola and Lubenko, produce tiny crops of small-berried grapes which produce the heady zinfandels for which Amador County is renowned.
For more information on Amador, its wines and grapes, or to look into planning a trip to Amador, please visit Amador Wine Country – www.amadorwine.com or Amador County Wine Grape Growers Association, Inc. – www.amadorwinegrapes.com
Attention Wine Makers. Musto Wine Grape, Co. is pleased to announce a new service for our valued customers; a fee based wine analysis, using state of the art laboratory equipment.
Now you can get testing done on several critical metrics; Total Acidity, pH, and Free Sulfites.
We will be shortly expanding to Reducing Sugars, Nitrogen, and others.
Individual Test (per sample): $18.00
Two Test Panel (TA,pH): $30.00
Three Test Panel (TA,pH,Free SO2): $39.95
The results of each test will be communicated via a phone call and written report.
Is your wine ready for competition? You can find out…and we can help. Get a sensory evaluation done on your sample of wine according to current judging standards. The wine will be evaluated by a wine judge and you will receive feedback. The fee for this service is $10.
For a limited time…purchase a Pre-Competition Evaluation and we will credit $10 against your purchase of a Three Test Panel on the same sample.
Click here to access the Musto Analysis Request Form
Some tips on submitting samples…
- Use glass or plastic food grade bottles for collecting your samples.
- Place all samples into clean, non-reactive containers. These containers should placed in a plastic bag to contain any spillage should it occur.
- Sample bottles containing juice or fermenting product can be partially filled.
- Sample bottles containing wine samples should be full and sealed.
- We recommend sending 16oz of each sample, which will likely be more than is necessary, but it is better to have more on hand than to find there is not enough sample to perform a test.
- Keep samples cool and out of direct sunlight.
AREZZO – TUSCANY
At Musto Wine Grape Co., we are constantly searching for the intersection between quality and value. Take for instance, our bringing the Suisun Valley to the forefront as a supplier of high quality (Napa grade) fruit, but for less than Napa prices. Well, we’ve had similar success elsewhere. Over the past few years, we have brought Italian grapes to you each fall. Much goes into orchestrating such an offering and we have sought to refine our Italian efforts such that we have the right people there at harvest, the right fruit, the right logistics, etc..
This year, Musto Wine Grape is proud to offer you year #1 of a new Italian program. We have decided to venture away from Puglia for this endeavor into the Arezzo area of Tuscany, located in the Northeastern area of the Tuscan region and just South and East of Florence. Arezzo, as a region, perhaps is not as well known as other areas of Tuscany. However, that does not mean that its fruit is not Tutto Toscano! In fact, Well known Italian wine manufacturers like Antinori, have made significant investments in Arezzo.
Musto Wine Grape Co. believes that quality and value exists in Arezzo and for 2012 we will be offering both Sangiovese and Montepulicano from the area on a pre-order basis. The quantity will be limited, but we are very excited about this offering and hope you are too.
The grapes will come to us in 18lb lugs. Harvest is tentatively expected mid-September with and arrival the first part of October.
Grapes from Arezzo Will Not Be Available This Fall
BELLA OLD VINE BARBERA
Barbera is perhaps one of the most purchased grapes by home winemakers during the Fall harvest. While there are many good options for OVB, there is one of Musto’s selections that stands out. It is the Old Vine Barbera, that we pack under the Bella California label.
The picture shows it all, deep rich color of full clusters grown on old vines. Flavorful and mature. Amongst the best Barbera for a stand-out Barbera wine.
Contact us for more information.