To my wonderful friends at Wine Central…


Oh, how I miss you!!  I’ve moved to Alberta to be closer to my daughters and am enjoying the closeness immensely.

However, in Alberta there is no such thing as a ‘wine on premises’ store.  We have lots of wine and beer making stores, but legally they can’t make the wine.  We have to do it at home.


Scene One:  On premises at Wine Central

Walk in, have a great visit with Cosette, Rod, Maria, Brittney or Jane.  Find out what’s new, joke, choose a wine to make.  Wait, visit a little more while they mix it up, and then I sprinkle the yeast on.  Depending on how much visiting we do, the stop may last 5 to 20 minutes.  Then on with my busy day.


Scene One ‘A’:  Home in Alberta

Drive to the wine and beer making store, choose a wine to make.  Lug it out to the car, put it in the trunk.  Head home.  Grab the primary, scrub it with Sparklebrite, then rinse it thoroughly.  Make a solution of Metabisulphite and sterilize anything coming into contact with the wine.  Rinse.  Remove the packaging from the kit, add hot water to the primary fermentor, stir in the bentonite.  Pour the wine concentrate into the primary – but be careful!  It’s heavy!  It’s liquid!  It splashes!  Add water, and stir like crazy.  Sprinkle the yeast on top, just like adding salt to your French fries.  Next, move the primary (about 55 pounds of wine and equipment) to a shelf at least 3 feet off the floor.  Then, go wash the floor where you made the wine.  Relax, grab a glass of wine you made last year.


Scene One ‘B’:  Home in Alberta

A week later.  Time to rack the wine.  Clean the carboy with Sparklebrite, then sanitize with Metabisulphite.  Make sure to clean and sanitize the hose as well.  Suck hard to get the wine flowing (the wine on premises store are much more sanitary about this part), and move the wine from the primary to the carboy, leaving the sediment behind.  Clean and sanitize the airlock and bung, and top the carboy with them.  Then you get to clean.  Wash out any left over wine and sediment in the primary, then clean with the Sparklebrite, rinse, sterilize, rinse and put away.  Hopefully you don’t have to wash the floor this time.


Scene One ‘C’:  Home in Alberta

10 days later:  Clearing and stabilizing!   This is funJ  Clean and sterilize a small cup, a whisk, a large jug, the expensive whip you just bought, and wipe down the power drill you have seized from your husband’s workshop.  Pour out a couple of cups of wine – careful – heavy – wet – splashes – into the large jug.  Mix the chemicals according to directions, add to the carboy, then whip it like a rented mule.  One direction until it starts to swirl, then reverse the direction.  Do this for at least one minute, usually two.  Then add the final Chitosan or Islinglass and whip it again.  Try to avoid foaming…but it will happen occasionally.  Pour the remaining wine back into the carboy.  Top with a newly cleaned and sterilized airlock and bung.  Clean the floor.  Clean the equipment and put it away for next time.


Scene One ‘D’:  Home in Alberta

After 8  days you will rack your wine.  This will clarify it, and help you produce a clear, wonderful wine.  Yes, you guessed it:  clean and sterilize a fresh carboy, hose and tip.  Suck hard, and get that wine moving from one carboy to the other.  Leave the sludge behind.   Clean and sanitize the airlock and bung, and fasten to the new carboy.  Hopefully you were good enough you don’t have to clean the floor this time!


Scene One ‘E’:  Home in Alberta

Rack your wine again so you won’t have sediment.  Clean and sterilize a fresh carboy, hose and tip.  Move the wine, clean and sanitize the airlock and bung, and reseal.  You’re getting really good now…no floor mopping this time.


Scene Two:  On premises at Wine Central

Show up for your appointment!  Your wine is ready for bottling.  It’s been looked after, loved and coddled.  It’s filtered, and ready to bottle.  Put your bottles in the machine, wait 4 minutes, take them out, line them up, and start filling.  The automatic filler is great!  Two bottles at a time, and the levels are great.  An automatic corking machine saves your back from aches and pains.  Labels go on easily, shrink capsules take a second.  Beautiful!!  Let the wonderful staff load them in your car.  When you get home, grab the kids or your husband to help unload.


Scene Two ‘A’:  Home in Alberta

Rack your wine into a newly cleaned and sanitized primary or carboy to leave any sediment behind.  Don’t forget to clean and sanitized the hose.

Take all your bottles and soak them in a solution of Sparklebrite for at least 20 minutes.  Then rinse with clean water.  Sanitize them with Metabisuphite solution, then rinse and drain.

Make sure your wine is at least 3 feet off the floor.  Clean and sanitize your bottling tip.  Insert the hose and bottling tip into each bottle, and fill to the proper level.  Cork.  Fill.  Cork.   28 to 30 times.  Add a label if you have any energy left.  Date the bottles – there aren’t any labeling machines here!  If you want to have the shrink wraps on the bottles, move the wine to the kitchen, and hold the bottles with shrinks on over a boiling kettle to shrink.   Once you’ve finished, clean and sanitize the equipment.  Wash down the corker.  Wash the floors.   Have a shower.

Go pour yourself a glass of wine.  You deserve it!

Of all the things I miss about Kelowna, Wine Central is at the top of the list!!  You make wine making so easy.  And so great!