Wine Classes - FAQ
Q: At what temperature should I store my wine?
A: Ideally, wine should be stored at 50-55 degrees. If that is not possible, store wine at a consistent temperature. Cold temperatures will slow the aging process. A cool and slightly humid environment is ideal.
Q: Does wine need to be stored on its side?
A: Wine should always be stored upright for 3 – 5 days. After that, it depends. In an ideal world, wine should be stored on its side. Wine you make at Central Street Farmhouse is not made to be stored indefinitely (no more than two years), so it is not necessary to store wine on its side if you will drink it within a few months. For longer term storage, place bottles in a wine rack or tipped box such that the wine itself touches the cork. This will keep the cork moist and prevent air from getting into the bottle.
Q: Does light affect my wine?
A: Not really. Don’t store your wine in the window or directly under fluorescent lights that are left on all the time.
In general, all wines will get better with age. Our kits are not meant to age more than two years, however, due to their low sulfite levels. Keep in mind that part of the winemaking experience is to try your wine as it ages and taste how it changes!
Fruit Wine: (This refers to the Island Mist line from Winexpert. For homemade wines, see Country Wine below.) After being corked, these wines should be left alone for at least 2 weeks. According to Winexpert, these wines do not experience bottle shock, but we recommend erring on the side of caution anyway.
White Wine: White wines will age faster than reds but slower than fruit wine. Generally speaking, let all white wines age for at least one month after bottling. Kits from the World Vineyard line (about $100) will be good to go in a month. Selection and Eclipse kits ($129 and up) will benefit from aging 3-6 months or more.
Red Wine: World Vineyard kits will be ready after about 3 months, while Selection and Eclipse kits need 6 months to a year. Some customers swear by the Eclipse wines, but will not even touch them for at least 8 months. Again, remember that trying your wine as it ages is part of the experience. Young wine - especially red wine – is a taste profile all its own. Flavors tend to be bolder and the wine will be boozier. We always compare it to a stew that needs time to meld in the pot. Dessert wines (from the Speciale line) will benefit from aging at least 6-8 months in the bottle.
Country Wine: Wine made from your own grapes or other fruits are a bit of a gamble. They tend to take longer than our wine kits. Give them at least several months in the bottle, but if you take your time and sanitize carefully, you will make excellent wine! We recommend and sell a great book with recipes and instructions!
Bottle Cleaning (Please note: We guarantee wine that is made in store and bottled with new bottles. Due to the various factors outside our control, we cannot guarantee wine bottled with reused bottles.)
Q: How should I clean bottles before bringing them to the store on my bottling day?
A: The best practice is to rinse the bottle out thoroughly with hot water IMMEDIATELY after it is emptied. Allow it to dry upside down – if you do not have a way to do this already, ask us about a bottle tree.
Q: Can I use detergent or a dishwasher?
A: Please don’t. Dish detergent tends to be loaded with dyes and odorants that will linger in your bottles even if you rinse thoroughly. Dishwashers work well for most plates, bowls, glasses, etc., but do not effectively clean bottles as they have a wide base but small opening. Dishwashers can be helpful in removing labels and other gunk on the outside of bottles, but if you insist on cleaning bottles this way, at least do not use soap. A better way to clean bottles - if they still have mold, wine residue, or other junk in side despite good rinsing habits – is a product called PBW. PBW is an oxygen-based cleanser that is very effective at removing labels and other stuck-on problems. You may also need a bottle brush. Buy one before your bottling day!
Types of Bottles
Q: Does the color of the bottle matter?
A: Not really. Beer should be in amber bottles, but wine bottles are color-coded according to tradition more than any function. Red wine is generally in green bottles and white wine in clear (so you can see how clear it is). Riesling is the exception as it is traditionally bottles in blue. Fruit wines can go either way. It really just depends on your aesthetic preference. We keep 750ml clear and green Bordeaux (or claret) bottles in stock; all other sizes, colors, and styles are special order items.
Q: Can I use screw top bottles?
A: Yes! Those are becoming increasingly popular, even for more expensive wines and they will all take a cork. The only downside to screw top bottles is they tend to be made of thinner glass and can break with repeated use.
Q: How do I carbonate my cider?
A: On your bottling day, we provide a sugar tablet that will work with the yeast left in the cider to carbonate your cider. The bottles must be stored at room temperature (65 to 75 degrees is ideal) for at least one week. Open a bottle after a week to test the carbonation level: if you are happy, get them to a cool place for storage.
Q: How should I store my cider?
A: Just like wine or beer, a cooler temperature is better, but the most important thing is consistency. Cider will be good for several months in any case. On the plus side, capped bottles will not experience bottle shock the same way wine does!
Q: Does the type or color of my bottles matter?
A: The color does not matter. We only stock amber bottles because that is ideal for beer. If you are reusing bottles, see the wine section for recommendations on cleaning them. The bottles cannot be screw top! Bottles with screw caps will not cap properly and thus will not carbonate and are prone to oxidation. You can use any size bottle – 12oz, 22oz, and even Grolsch-style bottles.