In our last post we talked about what kind of wine we liked and the foods that paired well with them. Now we’ll explore when it’s the right time to start your wine.

Our kits require between 4 and 8 weeks of processing in the shop before they’re ready to bottle. However, that doesn’t mean they’re ready to drink at that point, with the exception of our bronze 4 week kits. All of our wines, including the bronze, benefit from being stored for some time before drinking them. A number of factors are involved in determining the right amount of time to cellar your wine.

First and foremost is the kind of wine: red, white, rosé or dessert. White wines tend to take less time to be ready to drink after bottling as they have softer tannins. Aging wines softens the tannins and allows more subtle flavours to shine. Heavier red varietals have more intense tannins and benefit from longer aging. Dessert wines, with their sweeter nature, overpower the tannin effect and many are ready to drink after about 4 weeks.

We’ve developed a general guideline to help you determine appropriate cellaring time:

 

Wine Type

Weeks to
Ferment

Months to
Age RED for

Months to
Age WHITE for

Months to
Age ROSÉ for

Platinum 8 3-6 1-3 1-3 
Gold 8 2-4 1-3 1
Gold: Dessert 6-8 1-4 1-4  
Gold: Ice 6-8 1-3 1-3  
Silver 6 2-3 1-2
Silver: Mist 6 0 0  
Bronze 5 1-2 1  
Bronze 4 0 0  

Keeping these times in mind, if you’re looking forward to serving a bold platinum-level red wine with your Christmas dinner, you should start your kit in July at the latest (8 weeks to bottling followed by 3 months of aging). It’s not too late to impress your guests this Christmas because you could serve them numerous other options as you can see from the above chart. Perhaps a platinum white to go with your turkey or a port to enjoy with dessert.

Keep in mind that, as in all things wine, these are guidelines.  Personal tastes and preferences play a major role in determining when the wine is right for you. Some people enjoy wines when the tannins have not smoothed out fully. A great way to determine the best time for you is to open a bottle after a month or two and take a test drive. Make notes about your experience. After another month, open a second bottle and compare your notes. Repeat this process until you’re happy with the amount of aging. This is all part of craft winemaking, making it how you like it. Using this method, I’ve discovered that some of the wines the guideline says require 3 to 6 months, I’m happy with in a month and are actually quite drinkable from the day they are bottled.

Don’t forget, if you’re crafting your wine for a personal event like a wedding or family reunion, leave enough time for your wine to age to perfection.

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