Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about craft winemaking at our store. If you have a question that’s not answered here, go to our CONTACT page and send it to us. We appreciate you helping us to include more answers on our frequently asked questions page.

Can a group of friends do one batch of wine?

Yes, of course! One of the friends will be the vintner of record for the batch. A great way to start filling your ‘cellar’ is to each do a batch.  If one person makes a red, another makes a white and a third makes a mist, rosé or dessert wine, then you can each have 10 bottles of  different wines instead of having 30 of just one wine.

Can any type of bottles be used?

No, only standard size (750 ML or 375 ML) wine bottles can be used. Our corker can be used with cork-style or screw top bottles. The bottles must be clean inside and out with no commercial labels. 

Can I put my wine in bags instead of bottles?

Yes, we have 4.5L bags that hold the equivalent of 6 bottles (750 ml) of wine. We have different storage options for these bags:
  • recyclable cardboard boxes
  • reusable wooden boxes
  • reusable wine pokes

You’ll find photos of these on our Giftware page

Can we taste wines before making them?

No, our liquor license does not allow us to do this. We guarantee all of our wines and when you come in to bottle your batch, you are allowed to have a small taste of it at that time. It will be young and need to age a bit in the bottle to come to its full potential. Red wines generally take a little longer to reach that smooth finish.

Do you do winery tours?

Yes, there’s no charge and no reservation required. Come into the shop any time during open hours and we’ll take you through the process from selecting your wine, starting fermentation, the racking, filtering, fining, degassing and other processes we do while you wait for a call to come and bottle it, the bottling process, shrink capping and labeling. At the same time, you can learn about modifications you can make to the wines to make it your own unique product.

Does it take long to make a batch of wine?

Once you’ve selected the wine you want to make, it takes about 15 minutes to get it started. We’ll help you put the ingredients into a primary fermenter and you’ll add the yeast to start the fermentation process.  Depending on the kit, it will take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks until the fermentation process is complete. You’ll get a call to make a bottling appointment and it takes about 30 minutes to make your finished product. We’ll help with bottle filling and you’ll look after corking, shrink capping and labeling the bottles.

How do I search for a wine I like?

In the top menu bar, click on the magnifying glass icon and type the name of the wine. We may carry more than one if we carry platinum, gold, silver and bronze versions of that wine. Each one will have different qualities so click on each one to see which one will best suit your taste. This search functionality also works for finding foods you like which will in turn show you the wines that pair best with those foods. It also works in case you are looking for other information like oak, body and sweetness. We use a consistent format to display these and once you’ve looked at one of our wine pages, you’ll know how to search for those.

How long can I keep my wine once it's bottled?

We have kept our wine for up to 6 years and it’s been fine. Some of our customers have kept theirs even longer. These wines are not engineered to be aged much longer than 5-6 years. Commercial wines that can withstand longer aging have far more sulphites in them to preserve them longer.

How long should my wine be aged after bottling?

Each person’s tastes are different but as a general rule, here’s a guide:

 

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  

 

How many batches of wine do I need for a big event?

There are lots of factors to consider like:

  • number of guests
  • whether it’s a wine-drinking crowd
  • time of day
  • time of year
  • how formal it is
  • the menu
  • and more

Determine how many people will be drinking at the event. Expect each person to have 4 glasses at 5 ounces each (a standard drink). Each 750ml bottle holds 5 glasses of wine.

Estimate:
  • 100 guests
  • 100 x 4 glasses = 400 glasses
  • 400 / 5 glasses per 750ml bottle = 80 bottles of wine
  • 80/30 750ml bottles per batch = 2.66
  • Round up to 3 batches of wine
You may decide to do 2 reds and 1 white as 60-70% of people drink red wine.

How many bottles of wine are in a batch?

Each batch of red, white, rosé or mist wine will make 30 standard size bottles (750 ml).

Each batch of dessert or ice wine style wine will make 30 half bottles (375 ml).

How much work do I need to do to make my wine?

Once you’ve chosen the wine you want to make, we help you get it started and you pour the yeast into the primary fermenter. This takes about 15 minutes. We look after all the production and quality control processes until it’s time for you to come and bottle it. We then help you fill the bottles and leave the corking, shrink capping and labeling to you. This takes about 30 minutes.

We have a pneumatic corker which is easy to use but if you want to do it the old-fashioned way, we have a manual corker too. Then you pick the colour of shrink cap you want on your bottles. Anything goes but most people like to match it to their labels.  You’ll then place them on the corked bottle and slide the top of the bottle into a heated coil for 3 seconds. All our labels are the ‘peel and stick’ kind so the last step is easy too. Then you take your wine home and show it off by enjoying it with your friends and family.

Is a license required to serve personally crafted wines at a private special event?

Yes, there is a small fee for this. More information can be found here

 

Is there a place to store my wine at Steveston Winemakers?

No, once your wine is ready and you’ve bottled it, you need to take it home. This is required by law.

Should I store my wine in the fridge?

If you are storing it for a long time, it’s not a good idea because it’s too cool, too dry and is generally vibrating. It can negatively affect the flavour and aroma of the wine if it’s left in the fridge too long. We recommend that you place your wine in the fridge 30-60 minutes before drinking it.

What are your top selling wines?

Top reds: Amarone, Cabernet Malbec Carménère, Malbec, Rosso Grande

Top whites: Argentinian Trio, Gewürztraminer, Müller Thurgau, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc (NZ), Viognier Pinot Gris

Top rosé: French Rosé

Top mist: Peach Perfection

Top dessert: all are equally popular

Top ice wine: Rielsing

Our limited editions are always in high demand.  They run from December through April every year.  Every so often we get some at other times of the year.

What does it cost to make a batch of wine?

In the top menu, select PRODUCTS to see what the current price ranges are for the type of wine you’re looking for. These prices include everything except bottles and taxes on the bottles, labels, corks, shrink caps and winery fees.  The wine itself is not taxable because you are producing it.

Platinum (8-week) wines are the most expensive, then Gold (8-week), then Silver (6-week), then Bronze (5-week) and finally there are the cheap and cheerful wines.

If you bring your own bottles it helps reduce the cost. You can bring the cork or screw cap kind and they will both take corks. They need to be clean. If they have commercial labels on them, those either need to be removed or defaced.

What if I don't like my wine?

We guarantee all of our wines so if you are not happy with it, we will replace it with a different wine. The key is to select the wine that’s best suited to your taste. We have very strict rules on cleanliness which is important to ensure no wine faults occur. We have comprehensive quality control processes to measure aspects of your wine at each critical stage. We as owners have been making our wine at this shop since 2001 and have never been disappointed.

What is the best way to clean my bottles?

Dirty bottles can cause your wine to be contaminated. It’s easy to make sure your bottles are clean if you rinse them a few times right after you empty them, drain them well and store them upside down in a wine box. It helps keep out bacteria, dust, mold and insects. Our bottle sanitizer is not a bottle washer so please be sure your bottles are clean and if not, recycle them. You can buy new bottles from us if you don’t have enough.

What kind of yeast is used in the wine kits?

Most of our wine kits come with EC-1118 yeast. The EC-1118 strain was isolated, studied and selected from Champagne fermentations. Due to its competitive factor and ability to ferment equally well over a wide temperature range, the EC-1118 is one of the most widely used yeasts in the world. The fermentation characteristics of the EC-1118 – extremely low production of foam, volatile acid and H2S – make this strain an excellent choice. This strain ferments well over a very wide temperature range, from 7 to 35C (45 to 95F) and demonstrates high osmotic and alcohol tolerance. Good flocculation with compact lees and a relatively neutral flavor and aroma contribution are also properties of the EC-1118.
 
Some kits come with BOURGOVIN RC 212 which originates from the Burgundy Region. It’s recommended for hearty Reds and also lighter Reds where color stability is a factor. It is low foaming, has good alcohol tolerance and produces aromas of ripe berries and fruit.
 
A few kits come with QA23™ which has low nutrient and oxygen require­ments. It has been known to ferment juice at low temperatures (15°C/59°F) to dryness. It’s an excellent thiol converter making it a complementary yeast for developing varietal Sauvignon Blanc passion fruit character. It produces large amounts of the enzyme beta-gluco­sidase during growth which allows for the release of bound terpenes in aromatic varieties.

What will the alcohol level be in my wine?

The alcohol level in our wines ranges from 11% to 14.5%.

Where should I store my wine?

Ideally it should be in a dark, humid, cool (10°-15°C/53°-60°F) place with little temperature fluctuation and no movement. We use synthetic corks so it can be stored standing up or on its side.

Will you ship wines?

No, our liquor license does not allow us to do this. The wines you make in our facility belong to you and as soon as you have bottled your wines, you are required to personally take them with you. The extent to which we can offer free shipping is to help you get your bottled wines from our facility to one our free customer parking spots behind the shop.

Why are there crystals in my wine?

Crystals are affectionately known as “wine diamonds” in the industry.  They are tartrate crystals which are completely harmless and will not affect the flavor of the wine. Tartaric acid is the primary acid found in wine that promotes balance and lends to an elegant mouthfeel.