Frequently Asked Questions

At The Village Winery we love good wine conversations almost as much as we love a great bottle of red or white wine.

We’ve assembled a list of frequently asked questions for our wine-making friends in the Greater Victoria area. Please feel free to contact us should you have any further questions.

Q: How do I make wine?

Q: Why should wine be left upright for a day after bottling?

Q: Are we supposed to ‘sniff the cork’ when a waiter presents it in a restaurant?

Q: What is the proper temperature to store wine?

Q: Do you offer customizable labels for the bottles?

How do I make wine?

The Village Winery is a 'winemaking' shop (in fact Victoria's 2006 #1 choice for making wine in a poll by the News Group). Each batch of wine makes approximately 30 – 750ml bottles (or the equivalent). The prices quoted with the descriptions are for the cost of the kit or ingredients. To make onsite, we add an 'on premise' fee of $50 per batch. There is no extra charge for corks, shrink caps or labels (including customizable labels). The only additional charge is if you have to purchase bottles at you bottling appointment. It takes 4 to 6 weeks from starting wine to the bottling stage.

To get started simply come in and we can answer any questions you may have about the types and styles of wine that can be made. All of the wine kits we carry have been tested and we guarantee their quality. Our suppliers are all Canadian based, but they source grape juice from worldwide sources—New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Spain, Italy, France, Germany and the United States.

According to the rules set out by the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch the customer is required to start the batch in person by 'sprinkling the yeast' on a batch of juice to initiate the fermentation process, and to return and bottle the wine at a later date. An appointment to start a batch is not required, only to bottle when it is done.

There is an aging period required after bottling, as the wine does improve dramatically with age.

Why should wine be left upright for a day after bottling?

The action of corking a bottle compresses the cork and forces it into the bottle. By leaving bottles upright for a day or two, some of this compressed air is allowed to escape. If bottles are laid on their side immediately, the pressure will not be released and the wet corks will seal with extra pressure against them, possibly causing the corks to be pushed part way out. Once a day has passed, bottles should be stored on their side so the corks provide a seal. Occasionally, a drop or two of wine will be forced past the cork with the air as the wine is bottled. This is no cause for alarm, just a sign that a little of the air pressure is being released.

Are we supposed to ‘sniff the cork’ when a waiter presents it in a restaurant?

Most people believe they are supposed to sniff the cork. This is really unnecessary as it is the wine itself you should rather smell. After all, a cork simply smells like a cork! The cork is presented so you can check its condition. A moist cork is a good sign, whereas a dry cork suggests there may have been storage problems. If a cork is dried out, air may have entered the bottle and oxidized the wine. A dried out cork could also mean the wine has been stored upright rather than on its side.

What is the proper temperature to store wine?

The 'ideal' temperature for long term storage is 45 – 55° F (7 – 13° C), but wine can be stored within a degree or two of freezing or as warm as room temperature. The cooler the temperature, the slower the ageing, the warmer the temperature, the quicker the maturing, and constant temperatures are the key. What should be avoided are i) direct sunlight, ii) heat, iii) temperature fluctuations. Therefore, keep your wine at a constant temperature, preferably room temperature or cooler, and in an area that is not exposed to direct sunlight.

Do you offer customizable labels for the bottles?

New to The Village Winery is our lineup of customizable labels. There is no extra charge for these full process colour labels when a batch of wine is made on our premises. Simply choose a label and decide what you would like to have printed. When you arrive in four to six weeks to bottle your batch, one full set of 30 customized labels will be ready for you. These high quality professionally designed labels are 'peel and stick' and will soak off the bottle in 5 – 8 minutes as you prepare for the next batch.

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