Wine Kits and Labels

all beverageHome wine making is considered an artistic, creative hobby and is enjoyed by a large number of today’s society.

This is partially because both kits and ingredients are inexpensive. However, if you’re looking to save money you can always create your own kit from readily available products. Here are the various items you’ll need to purchase in order to build your own wine making kit.

1)      Purchase a large jug of bottled water, a 5 to 7 gallon size. This will become your fermenting vessel.

2)      You should try to buy a large amount of unsweetened, white grape juice frozen concentrate. You’re looking for enough to make four gallons of juice.

3)      A tube of clear silicone caulking and 2 three foot lengths of aquarium tubing, one for your airlock, the other for siphoning off your home brew.

4)      The only thing you will need to purchase once you have your kit ready is wine yeast. While bread yeast in readily available in a pinch, wine yeast is highly recommended as it tend to make a far superior wine.

When you get home, remove the lid from the water jug. Place a dishtowel or other cloth over the jug opening. Drill a hole in the center of the jug that will allow you to insert one end of the tubing snugly. You want to keep the hole as close as possible to the diameter of the tubing.

Insert the tubing until you have at least two to three inches inside the cap. Apply silicone around the tubing on the inside and outside of the cap and let dry overnight. You have now made your airlock and bung.

Now that you have your brewing equipment ready to go you can begin making wine. Directions can be found here.

Once your wine is finished you can now think about branding and labeling.

Many wine bottles have two labels, the front label (which gives the name of the wine and is meant to grab the consumer’s attention), and the back label (which can include the more useful information, like total acidity and pH level). A variety of uniquely shaped wine bottle labels and hang tags designed to make your wine perfect for holiday get-togethers, wedding gifts and other special occasions can be found at Labels on the Fly.

Wine Bottle Ideas – 4 Wine Bottling Tips

So you’ve decided to invest in the world-wide trend of home wine making.

And why not?

Owning your own micro-winery equipment is cost effective and the actual hobby is fun and allows for lots of experimentation.  That, and it’s an opportunity to produce one of the world’s oldest and most beloved beverages.

Below are some tips for wine bottling that will help you take what you’ve produced and turn it into a full-on finished product.

1)      What type of bottle should you use?

There are a surprising number of different wine bottles to choose from, and you need to keep in mind what will be the best style and size for your wine. You should also consider whether or not your wine will be fermented before being placed into the bottle or afterward. Having said that, bottles can range in shape and size from narrow and tall (for Mosel and Alsace wines), to tall with sloping shoulders (usually used for Bugundies and Rhone varieties of wine), to thick-walled with sloping shoulders (most commonly used for sparkling wines and champagne). Most wine bottles come in brown (Rhine or Alsace), clear (used for sweet wines and white wines), dark green (red wines), and light green (dry white wines). There are no strict rules to bottling your wine – in fact many wineries experiment with color, shape and style to make their wines stand out- but, as stated earlier, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to bottling wine so make sure to research thoroughly before deciding on what type of bottle to use.

2)      Cork vs. Crown-cap

Deciding on whether or not to use a cork or a crown-cap depends mostly on two things; the style you’re going for, and what kind of impression you want to make. Wine corks can be made of either a single piece of cork, or composed of particles, as in champagne corks. The study “Analysis of the life cycle of Cork, Aluminum and Plastic Wine Closures,” commissioned by cork manufacturer Amorim and made public in December 2008, concluded that cork is the most environmentally responsible stopper.

However, a 2005 closure study showed that 45% of corks did not prevent gas leakage during pressure testing both from the sides of the cork as well as through the cork body itself. The majority of non-sparkling wine production now uses these caps as a cork alternative as it’s much cheaper. So, again, it all comes down to opinion. Whether you want to go with a more environmentally friendly cork that’s got that old-fashioned, traditional style to it, or the more practical crown-cap that’s slightly more reliable but less safe for the earth, well, it’s up to you. It’s the wine inside the bottle, not the cork plugging it, that counts.

3)      Labels and hang tags?

After you’ve chosen your bottle and bottle-stopper, it’s time to start thinking about packaging and labeling. A label is very crucial as it shows the type of wine and date of the wine (two things you’re customer will be interested in knowing). It also can help show your specific winery style.

Wine labels are often very affordable and can come in a variety of shapes and materials including transparent adhesive paper, foil paper, and top grade paper. If you want to avoid hand-labeling every bottle you produce, try going with the simpler, more decorative hang tag.

A wide variety of expertly designed, customizable wine labels and hang tags can be found at Labels on the Fly.

4)      Where will it be stored when you’re done?

Most wines should be stored in a dark area as UV rays can cause wines to become ‘light struck’ and pick up an unpleasant smell. Darker bottles are better protected from this, but not enough to be stored in direct sunlight. If you’ve decided to cork your bottle you should store it on its side, as bottles kept upright for too long will dry out and spoil.

Make sure the temperature in the place of storage is kept constant – it should never go over 75 degrees F (24 degrees C).

Letting the temp drop below 54 degrees F won’t hurt it, mind you – it will just slow down the aging process. It’s also a good idea not to move the wine. Try to keep it isolated and make sure to store for an appropriate amount of time. And remember to adjust the temperature before serving.

There you have it! Bottling wine, while slightly less simple than switching the channel to the evening news, can be a fun way to make your wine more self-styled and personalized.

Good luck on bottling your new batch of home-made wine, and stay tuned for more wine making tips and recipes!

The Right Wine for Any Occasion

different kind of wineIf you’re just getting into home wine making odds are you’re apt to want to start learning about what wine goes best with what type of food, and which wine is right for certain occasions.

While there are really no real rules when choosing the best wine for each occasion, you’ll probably want to take into consideration who’s coming to the event (certain people have certain wine preferences) and, if there’s food at the event, what’s being served (pairing food and wine together can be fairly easy if you have a rough idea of what you’re doing).

Wine is meant to complement certain occasions and dishes.

With that having been said, here are a few ‘soft’ guidelines to help you choose the right wine for the right occasion.

  • White wines are often used for starting off an evening on the right foot, and are also wonderful for toasts and special occasions.
  • Champagne is a regular fixture at weddings and is indispensable at such occasions.
  • Red wines are great for main courses and are typically served during the latter part of any occasion. Their full bodied nature makes them a great complement to hearty meals.
  • Pinot Noir is not as heralded as Merlot or Cabernet, so many people may not recognize its unique blend, but it goes well with creamy sauces.
  • Shiraz is a fiery complement to spicy dishes, and its taste can enhance the flavor in barbecues and roasts.
  • Chianti is the best wine to accompany tomato dishes and poultry.wine for holiday

When choosing what wine you want to bring to a special occasion you should also consider how it will be presented during the occasion.

For example, will you be branding your bottle for the occasion? If so Labels on the Fly offers a wide variety of decorative, customizable holiday, wedding, and birthday themed wine labels and hang tags.

Sometimes the look of the bottle can represent whats inside it.

Above all, though, if your instinct cries out for a special type of wine for a special occasion go with it. Your instinct is usually right, especially if its in an area you’re experienced in.

Good luck on picking your wine, and stay tuned for more wine making tips and recipes!

Wine Bottling Fun Facts

wine bottle colorsAre you getting ready to bottle your first batch of home-made wine? If so, here are a few facts you ought to keep in mind for choosing the right bottle for you.

What’s Your Wine?

Different wines belong to different bottles by tradition. Although you don’t have to follow tradition with every wine you bottle, knowing the information will still come in handy. Don’t forget to keep the temperature constant in the place where you store your wine.

  • Port, sherry, and Bordeaux varieties: straight-sided and high-shouldered with a pronounced punt. Port and sherry bottles may have a bulbous neck to collect any residue.
  • Burgundies and Rhône varieties: tall bottles with sloping shoulders and a smaller punt.
  • Rhine (also known as hock or hoch), Mosel, and Alsace varieties: narrow and tall with little or no punt.
  • Champagne and other sparkling wines: thick-walled and wide with a pronounced punt and sloping shoulders.
  • German wines from Franconia: the Bocksbeutel bottle.
  • The Chianti and some other Italian wines: the fiasco, a round-bottomed flask encased in a straw basket.

What Color Bottle?

Different wines belong in differently colored bottles, but remember – lighter color bottles should be stored in dark areas as wine can be subject to UV rays which cause wine to become ‘light struck’ (meaning it will develop an unpleasant odor).

  • Bordeaux: dark green for reds, light green for dry whites, clear for sweet whites.
  • Burgundy and the Rhone: dark green.
  • Mosel and Alsace: dark to medium green, although some producers have traditionally used amber.
  • Rhine: amber, although some producers have traditionally used green.
  • Champagne: Usually dark to medium green. Rosé champagnes are usually a colorless or green.

Now that you have a basic idea of the types of wine bottles that are out there, you should begin thinking about branding your wine. A bottle label can say everything about the wine in the bottle, making your wine appear more professional and helping it stand out among competitors.

A variety of expertly designed wine labels and wine hang tags, perfect for holiday and wedding wines, can be found at Labels on the Fly.

Mead Recipes and Mead Labels

Are you looking for some great, beginner’s brewing recipes? Why not try Mead.

customizable wine bottle labels with photo

Mead , or honey wine, is made from honey and water via fermentation with yeast and can be still, carbonated, or sparkling. Meads range from dry, semi-sweet, or sweet. The earliest archaeological evidence for the production of mead dates to around 7000 BC. Mead is very adaptable, meaning you can change it significantly by doing things at different times. For example, the taste of mead can be changed by something as simple as pitching in flavors, fruits and spices before it ferments or even pitching them in after the ferment is done.

A wide variety of mead recipes can be found online. Here is a simple recipe for sweet mead that’s guaranteed to be a smash hit at the next wedding, birthday party or holiday event you go to.

Ingredients/Supplies for Sweet Mead

  • 18 lbs of Honey
  • 4 gallons of spring water
  • 2 teaspoons of yeast nutrient
  • 2 teaspoons of yeast energizer
  • 2 packets of Lalvin 71b-1122 yeast (or suitable replacement)

Directions:

  1. You mix a batch of water and Honey (around 4 gallons of water and 12-15 pounds, or 4-5 quarts of honey. You usually heat this mixture, but doing so is not mandatory.)
  2. You add yeast and yeast nutrition to the honey water mix. The yeast will consume up the honey and transform it into Mead. Adding some kind of store-bought or random nutrient (such as lemon peels or tea leaves) to the mixture so the yeast can grow is a good idea.
  3. You let it sit for a period of time, about two weeks for the initial fermentation to occur. Following this you move it to a large clear bottle for observational purposes. Keep it in this new glass bottle for another two weeks to two months until it ceases to bubble.
  4. Place your mead into individual bottles and store it. Depending on how much honey you put in the mixture it will be ready to drink anywhere from 4 months (less honey) to a year (more honey).

And there you have it. Now that you know how easy it is to make mead you begin thinking about how you’re going to label each bottle of your delicious honey-sweet drink. You can try Labels on the Fly for a wide range of expertly designed, uniquely shaped, colorful wine labels and hang tags that are sure to give your newly made mead that stylishly customized, professional flare you want it to have.

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