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Welcome to the 40 Knots Vineyard & Estate Winery blogs. Here is where we will be highlighting events and news from around the winery. Keep up to date of the latest trends, the happenings of the winery, learn how we farm and make wine, and get the inside scoop of our new releases and events.
Layne Robert Craig, Janitor and Blogger
As co-owner with his wife Brenda Hetman-Craig, Layne spends his days enjoying getting back to his family roots of traditional farming. You may see Layne out in the vineyard, at charity events, delivering wine or giving guests special attention as he takes them through the cellar for an in-depth look into how 40 Knots is able to make such delicious clean wines by using traditional methods. Layne's passion for flying is evident. With the vineyard directly below planes turning final for YQQ, it does appear that indeed Layne has found his sanctuary. Contact Layne for anything vineyard or winery.
Megan Thiel, Wine Sales, Tour Guide and Blogger
Megan has a passion for all things wine- from vineyard to tank to bottle. Her passion led her to an extensive apprenticeship with a German winery where she acquired a humbled appreciation for the vines. She comes to us with her WSET 3 accreditation and a comprehensive background; including a season with an Okanagan winery. Having recently moved from Vancouver, she is excited to become a part of the Comox Valley community.
Michael Johnson, Vineyard and Cellar, self-proclaimed sipster
A self-declared sipster, most unlikely to have become a wine lover. Read about my adventures in the vineyard and cellar, as my palate goes into training to become as honed as my wife's palate.
Sweetness in Wine
The sweet sounds of summer are drawing to a close. The leaves are changing colour and the first day of harvest in our 40 Knots vineyard has begun in our Schoenberger block.
At this stage of the grape growing cycle, sugar levels are monitored to decide if the grapes are ready to harvest by units called Brix. The volume of sugar levels can be measured with a small contraption called a refractometer by dripping the grape juice onto its detection lens.
One Brix equals 1% of sugar found in a liquid solution and usually equates to half of the alcohol in the final product. This means that a grape harvested at 20 Brix should equate to roughly 10% alcohol in the bottle.
Once the grapes are harvested and the juices start to ferment, the term Brix is no longer used and the residual sugar level is the unit of measurement. As a wine ferments, the sugar levels drop and the alcohol levels rise. The term residual sugar is the sugar left over once the fermentation is complete. Wineries describe the residual sugars found in wine as grams per liter, this can be confusing as liquor retail shops use a “sweetness code” to rate the sugar levels found in wine. Here’s a handy charge to help better distinguish how much sugar is actually found in finished wine:
There are many different styles of sweet wine and different methods to achieve higher sugar levels if the natural sugars don't do so. Fortififying a wine is the addition of a grain or a grape spirit to halt the fermentation, keeping the natural sugar levels high, and our port style dessert wine is just that. Late harvest wine is achieved by leaving the grapes on the vine for a longer period of time to allow the grapes to bring on a good rot called botrytis. Our Trie Emily is a late harvest Sauterne style that is created with our Pinot Gris grapes.
Indeed a very rare wine
Want to learn how to harvest grapes without a huge commitment? Come join me for a harvest tour! Learn about the terroir, climate and growing stages of the vineyard, join the crew for a half-hour hand harvest session, and come inside for a refreshing glass of wine and a picnic lunch!
When looking at the quality of a wine, the most important step is to decipher if the wine is well balanced. Tannin, sweetness, acidity and alcohol are all key considerations. Over my next four blog posts, I will be touching on all of these components, what they mean, and how you can upgrade your palate by knowing what to look for.
ACIDITY IN WINE
In my previous blog post, #rootedincool, we discussed climate and acidity levels. Generally speaking, cooler climate regions produce wine of higher acidity. Winemakers follow the PH levels to rate acidity levels. If a wine has a high PH, that will mean that the acidity levels are on the lower end. Red wine, for the most part, has a lower acidity than white wine. Usually, if the wine is sweeter, the acidity levels will be high to match it. Acidity can be felt on the sides of your tongue and produce a mouth-watering feel. There are three main acids found in wine:
This is said to be the most important of the acids. Rarely found elsewhere in plant material, it hosts itself well in grapevines. It is a prominent component in maintaining chemical stability and also affects the color of the wine. Ever found small glass-like substances at the bottom of your wine glass? These “wine diamonds” are tartaric acid that has crystallized to become free-standing. Typically, winemakers will put the wine through a cold stabilization to encourage these tartrates to expel before bottling.
Added during primary fermentation to increase acidity, citric acid is naturally found in very small quantities in wine grapes. The addition of citric acid in old world regions, aka. Europe is prohibited. Cooler climate regions like ours in the Comox Valley requires less addition of what is naturally occurring, allowing us to leave the addition of citric acid out of the equation.
Malic acid is found in all fruits and berries. Its Latin translation is “apple” and its duty is to transport energy throughout the vine. Malic levels are at their highest just before the onset of sugars in the grape and this slowly dispels as the grape becomes riper. The trick is to harvest when the levels are just right!
If a winemaker chooses to decrease the levels of malic acid, wine can undergo a process called malolactic fermentation, or MLF, which is the conversion of malic acid to lactic acid. All of our 40 Knots red wine undergo MLF. This process in white wine is usually reserved for the Chardonnay grape. Chardonnay that does not undergo MLF would be considered a Chablis style (crisp and fresh), and our Uncloaked Chardonnay is just that.
Next blog post we will discuss sweetness in wine!
Two weeks away until our 2019 harvest folks! Want to get your hands dirty and take part in our harvesting without an entire day's commitment? Join us on a harvest tour! Get picking with the rest of our harvest crew as well as learning about our terroir, climate, and then learn how to harvest the grapes, pick with our pickers for 1/2 hour and join us up by the winery for a charcuterie lunch and a glass of wine. Plan for 1 ½-2 hours. Wear proper footwear, a hat and bring gloves if possible.
Here at our 40 Knots Vineyard, located on the 49th parallel, we are #rootedincool. Our climate is similar to the Northern part of France and many of the German wine regions. The varieties proven over centuries in these areas thrive in our terroir.
With food trends moving towards more white meats, fish, vegan and vegetarian, our Estate wines naturally pair well. With wine trends moving towards lower alcohol, lower residual sugar, and higher acidity, our Estate wines are increasingly popular. Cool climate grape varietals are wonderfully suited to our location here in the Comox Valley. Pinot Gris with crisp bright green apple notes, Chablis style Chardonnay with soft hay and pineapple on the palate. White Seas, a local favorite, offers balance with juicy aromatics and mouth-watering acidity.
If you are looking for those bold reds, big tannins, high alcohol that cut through fat in a steak like no other wines, then we do have those too, under our Stall Speed brand. These grapes come from "warm climate" areas such as Naramata Bench and the Black Sage Bench in British Columbia.
July 15 201920190715
Fully ripe Chardonnay
Veraison - color change
Fully ripe Pinot Noir
Balance is a term used quite frequently in the wine world. At 40 Knots, we are able to achieve perfect balance without intervention in the cellar. Each fall, each row of vines of each variety are carefully checked daily for pH and Brix (sugar level). The day of harvest for each vine is decided by these levels and the forecast. This is not the easiest harvest using this method, however, when the grapes are perfect, intervention is not necessary. This is where cool climate regions have a leg up to create the perfectly and naturally balanced wine.
Tannins develop naturally as grapes grow in the vineyard. They begin accumulating during fruit set and continue until veraison (when the grapes change color). Different grape varieties have different levels of tannins. Tannins, in part, function as grape’s sunscreen—the more light that reaches a grape’s surface, the more tannins the skins produce. Light intensity is a major influence in the development of skin tannins at higher altitudes. Because light intensity is lost as light travels through the atmosphere, the light reaching higher-altitude vineyards is more intense and therefore contributes to conditions that yield more intensely tannic wines.
At 40 Knots, canopy management is important. We have the ability to influence the type and amount of tannins that develop in our grapes. It is a balance of providing protection from sunburn, allowing airflow to keep grapes dry, allowing the sun to create tannin, and avoid irrigation so grapes and small and contain more tannin.
Visit our grapes!
Want to check out for yourself what stage the tannins are at? Take a stroll in our interpretive trail and join us in guided tasting/tour:
Or... not feeling that adventurous, taste the tannins in our tasting room. Our staff will walk you through taste comparisons of tannins.
Looking for a super ripe and juicy wine that is bone dry? This week we will be releasing Sieg, just being bottled today.
In our next blog, we will take a closer look at the naturally occurring acids in wine: tartaric acid, malic acid, and citric acid.
If you have strolled through our vineyard lately, you will have noticed rapid growth. If you haven't had a chance to check out the vineyard for yourself through our self-guided interpretive trail, or one of our guided tours and tastings, read on... we have some exciting progress to tell you about.
"all you need to make great wine is great grapes. Grow them well and the grapes will make the most delicious wine"
Every year is unique and therefore every vintage is unique. 2019 has indeed started out as an interesting year. 40 Knot's vineyard saw early bud break, however, vines were slow to get any height.
And then......came the heat.
We are now ahead of 2015 growing degree days. I know that a lot of Canada has been a bit cold, but not here on Vancouver Island.
40 Knot's Vineyard has now completed the flowering phase and with the dry hot weather, the fruit set has been perfect.
The canes are now ready to have a final tuck in the top wire on the VSP trellis.
This vigor will soon deplete in vertical growth and energy will be focussed on fruit development.
We have completed our pre and post liquid kelp application to grow our soil and provide nutrition.
The stuff smells bad... but it is an incredible product. Just two liters will cover two acres through irrigation lines (fertigation).
You can see these black irrigation/fertigation lines running through our entire vineyard. This is the most efficient means to transport the nutrients to the plant.
We do not irrigate after these applications. The roots are 12 to 16 feet deep and are very well established to provide energy to the vine drought condition.
Our vineyard interpretive trail is open year round, as well we have guided tastings and tours. Please give us a call when you are ready for the adventure or book on-line. As always, tastings are complimentary, and premium tastings are available.
"Clean ethical wines are our promise. Great wines are not made in the tank and the barrel. Great wines come from the vineyard." Layne Robert Craig
Wine, Wind and Sea.
Excitement spurs in the Northern Hemisphere for wine geeks and nature enthusiasts alike. At 40 Knots Estate Winery in the Comox Valley, we have patiently awaited budbreak throughout the vine's swelling stage and with an earlier start than last year, we can begin countdown to harvest as we watch our new shoots grow daily. Swelling precedes budburst, and these first two stages of the vineyard bring invigoration and life to all of us.
Each and every vineyard begins to show life again in the "swelling" stage. The nodes of each cane, with roughly 6 on each side, will display a soft fuzzy looking bump. Waiting for the perfect temperature to begin its new year of abundant growth, the new crop waits in the wings until the temperature is just right. When temperatures finally hang out around 10°C, the signal is given for growth to proceed.
Vine growth is fueled by nitrogen and starch reserves stored in canes, trunks, and roots from the previous year. Believe it or not, compressed shoots are already formed within the winterized cane! Budburst is simply releasing what Mother Nature has already created. Within our 40 Knots Vineyard, we kick off, as always, with two German varietals – Schoenberger and Siegerebe. In this stage, we closely monitor weather patterns and pray that cold evenings do not bring frost to our delicate new growth. We "desucker" or remove shoots that will not flower. This ensures that optimal energy is reserved for eventual fruit. Shoots will reach up into the sky at a vigorous pace as we await flowering to begin.
As part of our biodynamic farming, we continue to watch the vineyard floor and follow its phases. Leaving the yellow dandelion intact to attract a variety of bees, the flower's first release of filament means we can begin to weave between rows to mow the grass. It's also the time of year that you may witness a 40 Knots employee frantically chasing deer out of the front gateway. We have not gone mad, we're just conscious of old deer-y's insatiable appetite for new growth of any kind. We have four cute little goslings on the move and have happily made space for some retired chickens that will live out the rest of their days amongst the 40 Knots vines. Sounds like a dream if you ask me!
Wine, Wind, Sea & the Vineyard Floor
The life cycle of the grapevine can be discussed at great lengths. From budburst to harvest, the hours and energy put into vine, canopy and fruit management are extensive. Some of that attention, however, should be directed beneath our feet to the life found along the vineyard floor. This important cover crop has profound significance for the vineyard ecosystem, productivity and inevitably, wine quality. Here are just a handful of native and foreign plants, and even weeds, that help our 40 Knots Vineyard work with Mother Nature to achieve our increasing biodynamic farming practices.
White Clover (Trifolium Repens)
Chances are, you’ve seen this shamrock shape not only in a vineyard. Incredibly common in North America, this herbaceous perennial is a part of the bean family. Eventually, within its life cycle, a small white flower will draw in many bumblebee visitors, which are powerful pollinators. Into maturity, the white flower will begin to turn pink. Its ground coverage helps balance nitrogen levels and maintain soil health. If you happen upon one with four leaves instead of three, some would say you’d be blessed with the luck of the Irish!
Dandelion (Taraxacum Mongolicum)
The Taraxacum Mongolicum has been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years, providing many health benefits. When aged, how beautiful the feathery filaments appear when caught up in a summer’s breeze. Kind of nostalgic, isn’t it? For the vineyard though, this perennial's wide-spread root systems are amazing for loosening soil and pulling up calcium from the depths. Grape vines require proper aeration and drainage to produce quality fruit set. Less is more when it comes to water!
Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine Hirsute)
This little white flower is part of the mustard family. In this particular photo, you can see the long slender seed pods getting ready to burst and spread themselves along the vineyard floor. Flourishing in damp, sunny and loose soil conditions, the vineyard is just the spot for the annual Cardamine Hirsute to thrive. It is also edible. It can add a little zip to your salad with peppery flavours, a perfect 40 Knots Pinot Noir pairing! Just like all other types of plants within the mustard family, this one is loaded with nutrients. It’s a spring weed, so as temperatures increase, the sight of them decreases.
Fescue Grass (Festuca Arundinacea)
The grass is basically the bodyguard of the vineyard, its main goal is to protect. The grass' heavy root system safeguards the soil from eroding and compacting. In the heat of the summer, it will enter dormancy and turn brown. This is favourable because it no longer competes for water. It also reduces excess moisture, avoiding unwanted heavy vine vigor.
Where this foliage thrives, so do bugs that feed our vineyard animals.
Biodynamic law teaches that everything has a purpose. With the knowledge of this, we can truly revel in the bounty that is found all around us.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” –Albert Einstein.
With Spring upon us, we invite you to partake in one of our newly introduced guided vineyard tours. While you’re sipping our 40 Knots wine amongst the vines where it all began, see if you can find some of these vineyard helpers in between your feet!
40 Knots grows and crafts high quality, ethical, clean wines that are distinct to Vancouver Island.
If you've ever purchased a bottle of 40 Knots wine from our cellar door, you may have noticed the Northern Rough-Winged Swallow that adorns our Estate label. These swallows are endemic to our area and frequent our vineyard. Each year we celebrate their arrival because, for us, they are not only our friends but a part of our biodynamic crew. Swallows will only live in areas that surround biodynamic balance and their presence speak volumes that our clean, green vineyard practices are working. Swallows are an excellent bug predator. Unlike other species of birds, they will never harm our grapes. 40 Knots Vineyard is surrounded by farming land and swallows always nest near other farm animals. Next time you're here, perhaps during a guided or self-guided vineyard tour, keep your eyes peeled for swallow birdhouses built to keep the birds safe and give them a home to return to every year.
Swallows are also songbirds, and in maintaining balance it is believed that sound vibrations are important to vine health. Italy has been piping opera out into their vines for many years, and the proof shows that vines closer to the music are the healthiest in the vineyard. At 40 Knots, our version of this is offered not only to our vines but to our guests as well. If you haven't yet had a chance to partake in one of our vineyard terrace Wine Wednesday events, better book now before reservations fill up!
40 Knots is just a stone’s throw away from the Salish Sea. Because our land was created by a glacier, our vines are reaching down through glacier till soil. The rich salt air flows through our vines keeping them aerated, healthy and strong, and the salt air imbeds our oak providing beautiful aging that cannot be accomplished in dry wine regions. While walking the interpretive trail or sipping on our vineyard terrace or balcony overlooking the vineyard, you can hear the swallows singing alongside the sea lion’s barking at the arrival of the new day.
Swallows are an important friend of sailors and are believed to be a good omen. Sailors will often get a swallow tattoo to show off their sailing experience. According to one legend, one swallow symbolizes successful journeys adding up to 5,000 nautical miles, two swallows symbolize 10,000 nautical miles and so on. Another legend is that since swallows always return to the same land each year to mate and nest, the swallow will guarantee the sailor returns home safely. Sailors also believe that if they were to drown, the swallow will carry their soul to heaven.
40 Knots believes that all of us have the right to love and be loved. This is showcased with our gold medal winning Soleil Rose French Traditional style. The label, "Love is Love", supports the LGBTQ2 community. We believe that all are equal and we share the responsibility to support this belief. Even our swallows live with a similar motto. The female and male swallow not only look almost identical, but they also share in responsibilities of the daily chores and protecting their family. Once they mate, they mate for life. This is another quality we give great importance to. We practice loyalty to our community, our family, our friends, and our environment.
Awaiting our much-loved swallows, budburst in the near future and the days lasting a little bit longer, you better believe that we're dusting off that patio set! Come visit us Tuesday through Sunday between the hours of 11 am and 5 pm for a tasting, a glass (or bottle!) and a picnic.
#See you soon in our Vineyard Terrace!
-Marmalade is a big word
Marmalade is a big word. So is sustainability, biodynamic and lutte raisonnee to mention a few. The environmentally friendly wine scene abounds with all kinds of words. It is not easy to know what the terms mean, and sometimes they are carelessly bandied about by producers, consumers and reviewers alike. But alas, there are control agencies monitoring compliance with a diversity of rules. The most talked about is biodynamic, and 40 Knots Vineyard and Estate Winery is excited to be working towards certification. In fact, we have been since the owners purchased the property in 2014. And in fact, it was how their grandparents always farmed before there was a name for it.
So what is biodynamic? Basically, it is quite straightforward... just as marmalade is another word for jam... biodynamic is respect for the environment. It means using products which are not harmful to humans, flora, and fauna. It is about a hands-off approach to farming and allowing Mother Nature to do her thing, and for us, to learn how to work in harmony with her.
Hard Working Pilgrims
At 40 Knots, all of our crew works with Mother Nature in mind. Each has a deep respect for the vineyard and every task they do. And one doesn't have to go far on Vancouver Island to find like-minded farmers and customers. In fact, it is well recognized how forward thinking our community is, and their deep care for this land. It is a big reason why the owners chose this area to farm. When 40 Knots won the 2018 Comox Chamber Award for Sustainability, it was indeed recognized that we could not have done this without you. Check out our video below of Layne giving the "Marmalade" speech.
So what is everyone else doing? Trends are showing that in France, organic wine producing acreages went up 39% in two years, and as of 2012, 8% of wine growing acreage was biodynamic or organic. But is it possible, to ever get the land back to how Mother Nature intended? Some say that it will be for the New World wines such as ours. However, some say that some European vineyards that copiously used lead and arsenic (arseniate de plomb in French) as an insecticide during the twentieth century are beyond repair. As is the high lead content in soils in Bordeaux that may be due to lead arsenate.
Great wines are not made in the tank and the barrel. Great wines come from the vineyard.
So, what about all the fluffy, weird burying of horns and following the moon? It may sound like some sort of witchcraft and some may balk at the idea that moons can have any effect. Well then, we call upon all you non-believers to take the:
Following a lunar calendar is not only the main direction for biodynamic farming, but it can actually help your wine taste better! Have you ever wondered why one day your favorite bottle of wine can taste glorious whereas other days not so much? Studies have proven that the moon can affect the way wine tastes. Following this calendar states that there are root days, fruit days, flower days and leaf days.
There are lots of references to this on the internet, and at 40 Knot's we all love Wine Folly. Check out their link to the Wine Lunar Calendar: https://winefolly.com/update/biodynamic-calendar-fruit-day-wine-tasting/
Fruit Days: The best day for drinking your favorite bottle of 40 Knots wine!
Root Days: Good days for plant development. Wine flavors not at their best
Flower Days: Good days for tending to your flowers and drinking your floral wines such as Ziggy
Leaf Days: good days to prune back your vine’s, don't break out the expensive bottle of wine...
We want to hear back from you after you have completed the Lunar Challenge. Let us know what wines were most affected by the moon, and which wines you think are best left for Root and Leaf days. Leave a comment below, and I will be excited to learn alongside you as we discover together.
Want to connect with our little slice of Mother Nature’s heaven? I will be guiding guests through a vineyard tour where you can sip the wine among the vines that created them. Book for yourself and your loved ones! Offered throughout the Spring and Summer on selected dates and times.
40 Knots grows and crafts high quality, ethical, clean wines that are distinct to Vancouver Island.
Stabilizing and Clarifying
In the 40 Knots cellar, it’s quiet. Our estate grown wine is well past the fermentation stage and is relaxing well into the New Year. Layne’s hard work for 2018’s vintage is mostly behind him, and our close to final product is ready for testing by our consulting chief winemaker Michael Bartier from the Okanagan Valley. http://http://www.bartierbros.com/index.php/the-brothers At this stage, our cool climate wine undergoes sensory analysis and grading. Michael’s suggestions help us push boundaries to ensure you’re receiving the highest quality. Through our biodynamic practices and green farming techniques, we aim to offer you the absolute best of what Vancouver Island has to offer.
Just as this time of the year calls for quiet reflection, so is the stage of a wine’s life. We’re ultimately at the fine-tuning stage, where a young wine prepares to either age or become bottled. There are a few methods to help separate the last naturally occurring unwanted components; clarifying and stabilizing.
Clarification is achieved through two methods:
Fining is the process in where a substance is added to the wine to help it bond with unwanted particles, such as grape fragments or dead yeast cells. Some common agents are animal based, egg whites and fish bladders to name a few. 40 Knots is proud to offer you vegan and gluten-free wine, using none of these products. Our fining methods are achieved by way of bentonite addition; a clay compound notable for absorbing protein and bacteria.
Where our red wine is unfiltered, the filtering process is reserved for our white’s. A biodegradable sheet filter is used to gently run through, polish and ensure sterility of the wine.
Stabilization is achieved through manually lowering temperatures:
This takes place with our white and orange wine. Tartaric acid is the most prominent acid found in wine. This tends to bind with tannins and lees during fermentation and when the wine is inevitably cooled down before consumption, there is potential for crystallization. This has the appearance of glass, which appears unappealing to the naked eye. These are commonly referred to as “wine diamonds” and are 100% food safe! Cooling down our stainless steel tanks through cold stabilization helps to shake down these crystals before the wine hits consumers mouths.
*UPDATE* Absolute excitement for our 2018 vintage, stay tuned for release date announcements!
Guests coming into town for a visit? Looking for exciting new opportunities for your family and friends? Keep your eyes peeled for our upgraded 40 Knots Tour Program! Stay tuned on our Facebook page or website for updates. https://www.facebook.com/40KnotsWinery/
What's in 40 Knots Wine:
This entry is dedicated to learning about what it is that we're drinking when we pick up that delicious glass of vino. Wondering what is specifically in 40 Knot's wines? Read on!
What's NOT in 40 Knot wine? No chemical or unnatural preservatives are used. No added flavoring is used. Our wines are vegan and gluten-free. We achieve our GOLD for our efforts. And we often have customers come to us, surprised, and say they can drink wine again with no adverse effect.
Wine-making methods: First and foremost, there are conventional methods. Sulfites, eggs, milk, and fish are sometimes found in the conventional process of winemaking. Although by law these additions must be stated on the label, this is not always the case, so if this is important to you, read the label or ask the winery. The next level is the certification of organic. It costs a lot of money to get certified and it doesn't always guarantee that what you're drinking is 100% preservative free or that the methods are good for the environment. Us at 40 Knots? Well, we're above organic standards. The term biodynamic has come up a lot over the last couple of years, and while we're working towards fully achieving this certification, you can always rest assure that what you're drinking out of our 40 Knots Cellar is clean, natural, and rooted in our cool climate to give you fruit forward juicy and elegant wines.
What's found in All Wine:
Now let’s take a look at a broader scope and discuss the components found in all wine all over the world.
The number one ingredient found is actually water. No, water is not added, this is the natural "water" found in the grape. Around 75% of wine in fact. Shocking, right? Following this is alcohol, typically ranging anywhere between 8-16%. Doesn’t leave much left. But this is where it gets interesting.
Traditional wine is always made out of a few strains of winemaking grapes. Vitis-vinifera is the most common type used. So when people say they taste blackberries, cherries, or spices- this doesn’t normally mean that those flavors have been added. Although some producers do sneak flavoring into wine, 40 Knots does not. Each grape varietal brings out different characteristics, depending on soil and climate. The only other way that different kind of fruits would be used, would be where the producer would state that what they carry is a “fruit wine” or country wine, as they define it in Europe. So rest easy, you are always drinking juices from grapes that have been affected by a fermentation process!
So moving on, let’s look at what makes up the rest of that 5-10%.
Acids - this is naturally derived from the grape skins. White wines will typically have more acids than reds. There is also a small amount of amino acid found. Volatile acidity, mostly acetic acid, is what would give the wine its vinegar taste if gone bad.
Acetaldehyde - this is a volatile compound that is created when a wine starts to slightly oxidize. It sometimes gives off aromas of yellow apple. Some winemakers purposely oxidize before bottling if they are looking for a result of these flavors, but mostly only found with very old wines.
Glycerol - this is a sugar alcohol that is not technically sugar and gives wines their sweetness. Sugar is also found when the grapes don’t ferment all the way, leaving the wine with residual sugar, or RS for short. Dry wines will have less, typically 0-8 g/liter, off-dry will typically have 8-15 g/liter, and sweet wines will have 20+g/liter.
Higher Alcohol - these are found in very small amounts and will help aid in the wine's primary aromas.
Minerals - calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. Get your daily dose by drinking some wine!
Esters and Phenols - these are compounds that give off aromas of a wine.
Sulfites - this is a naturally occurring preservative of all fruit (easily seen as the white on blueberry skins), and something of a conversation piece. Levels of sulfites range in a wine, but they all have it. Most have an addition of sulfites to help preserve it, especially if being shipped from other countries, or if it is a big commercial winery, or if the wine is packaged in a lesser stable container like tetra boxes or boxes with spouts. Even VQA wines are allowed to have large volumes of sulfites added. People claim that sulfites are what create headaches, this is up for debate. Some people say its the histamines. Varying countries have different histamines and the person's reaction might come from certain parts of the world and not others. If an Australian wine gives you a headache, try Italian. Easier yet, if you get a headache from wine, perhaps it's simply dehydration! Best using the one to one method. One glass of wine, one glass of water etc.
Antioxidants and healing properties? Just google "is wine good for you", and you will come up with many, many claims that it is. Articles say that a daily glass of wine can help with brain function, heart function, ovary function, blood clots, stress, and the list goes on. Hmmmm... is that why it is common to cheer "here's to your health"?!
And so we took this to the road! Spreading the love most recently at the Hopscotch Festival in Vancouver. Soleil Rose - Love is Love (supporting the LGBTQ community) was a major hit!
40 Knots grows and crafts high quality, ethical, clean wines that are distinct to Vancouver Island.