Frequently Asked Questions
“Can I make wine that is as good as store bought brands?”
Yes. It may help to allow the wine to age after taking it home.
“Is it expensive?”
Not at all. The prices for a batch of wine range from $115to $229. This means you can have a bottle of quality wine for between $3.83 and $7.63. As a general rule of thumb, you are often saving up to half (typically 40%-50%) of what you would be spending in a wine or liquor store for a comparable bottle of wine, and even more if you are making the top-end, premium wine kits. Read our blog post on the cost savings of winemaking for an eye-opening breakdown of the numbers.
“How much wine does a kit make?”
With the exception of specialty wines (such as dessert wine & icewine), all of our wine kits yield approximately 23 litres (or roughly thirty 750ml bottles) of finished product.
“How long will it take?”
We offer you the choice of 4 week, 4-6 week, 6-8 week, and 8-9week wine kits. Our 4 week wines (On The House, Island Mist & Twisted Mist) are light and refreshing and ready to drink immediately after bottling. Our 4-6 week wines (Winexpert Classic) are made from the finest blend of grape juice and concentrate. They are designed for easy drinking at an early age, typically ready to drink a few weeks after bottling. Our 6-8 week wines (Winexpert Reserve & Après) are made from premium quality grape juice blends. They are designed more with aging potential in mind and thus have more flavour, fuller body, and more fragrant aromas. While also drinkable early, these wines vastly improve with a longer aging time (at least 2 to 3 months). Our 8-9 week wine kits (Winexpert Private Reserve & Winexpert LE) are produced using 100% varietal grape juice from country and region specific vineyards. The Private Reserve & LE series have redefined the quality expectations of the advanced winemaker and the wine kit industry alike. They are another step up from the 6-8 week kits in terms of body, flavour, and aroma, and benefit greatly from 3 to 6 months or more of aging.
“I’ve never done any winemaking on-premise, what do I need to know and how much work is required of me?”
The process of making wine on premise starts with choosing the type of wine you want to make and what quality of wine kit you want to use. The BCLCB requires that the customer own the ingredients and begin the process by sprinkling the yeast into the juice to begin fermentation. We assist you at all times to whatever extent required. After the batch is started, we do all the necessary work during the next four to 8 weeks and the customer has no further obligations until the wine is ready to be bottled. When you arrive for your bottling appointment you will need to sanitize your bottles, fill & cork them, and finish by applying labels and shrink caps if so desired. We provide all the necessary equipment and guidance/assistance for you to accomplish this with ease.
“Do I pay tax on the wine I make at Just Fine Wine?”
In short, no – except for a small amount of GST ($2.25) which is applicable to the service fee portion of the price only. The wine you make at our facility is not subject to Provincial and Federal liquor and excise taxes. (See next question for further explanation).
“Do I have to come into the shop in person? Can I order over the Phone? Can you start/bottle my wine for me?”
No. Federal and Provincial laws dictate that you are required to purchase up-front, start your kit(s) by sprinkling the yeast, and return to bottle the finished wine. We are not a licensed winery. We are a licensed On-Premise U-Brew/U-Vin which means we are a facility where you can make your wine. You are authorizing us to do the work involved after the pitching of the yeast and before the bottling of the finished product. The wine never belongs to us. It is always your property held under contract of bailment until such time as it is bottled and taken home with you. These are the reasons why you do not pay liquor or excise tax.
“What determines quality?”
Wine quality is determined by several factors. The first being the quality/availability/accessibility of the raw ingredients contained in a kit. We primarily use Winexpert products as they have extremely high standards, strict quality controls, and access to vineyards around the globe for the raw material used to make their kits. The second is the amount of non-concentrated juice contained in the kit. All wine kits contain some level of concentrated juice in order to increase their shelf life in warehouses and retails outlets. Without concentrate, wine kits would spoil after just a few short months on the shelf.
“What kinds of wines are available?”
Winexpert offers award winning wines from around the world. There is pretty much a wine for everyone. Please see our Products Page for further details.
“Why don’t I recognize all the types of wines you offer and what if I don’t know what I like?”
Many commercially available wines have trademark or legal protection for their names. In order for us to offer similar wines, Winexpert has, in many cases, had to use alternate names for their kits. If you don’t know what you like we can usually determine through questions and discussion what you would enjoy.
“Can I do a half batch of red and a half batch of white?”
Unfortunately, no. The on-premise wine industry and the relevant equipment/tools have been standardized for 23 litres. However, there is nothing stopping you from bringing as many friends, relatives, or neighbors with you at the time of purchase. Each of you can start different wine, set your bottling appointments together, and then split up the wine amongst each other in any way you see fit.
“What is the alcohol content?”
With a few exceptions, the alcohol level in our wines range from 11.5% to 15% depending on the brand and varietal. You can chexk out our Products Page or pick up a product guide at the shop which contains details on all Winexpert products.
“Can I sample wine before I purchase it? How do I know if it’s any good?”
No. All wine kept on-premise belongs to our clients under contract of bailment. Therefore, the wine is not our property to offer to anyone else, even just a sip. Sampling would also be in violation of our on-premise liquor licensing. JUST FINE WINE uses Winexpert wine kits because they are the industry leader in quality and performance. We offer a 100% guarantee on all Winexpert products made on-premise. If for any reason you are not satisfied with the wine you have made with us we will work with you to ensure you are happy. You are allowed, by law, to sample your wine at the time of bottling.
“When can I bottle my wine?”
The calibre of wine you purchased determines how long it will take for the fermentation process to complete (anywhere from four to eight weeks). Once fermentation is complete, the wine is ready for bottling. Please note that at JUST FINE WINE we typically hold wine a week or two longer than the instructions dictate as we feel even this short period of extra time allows us to send you home with a better finished product. Due to the heavy volume of wine and clients, you will require a bottling appointment with us which we encourage you to make at the time of purchase. It can be changed in the future if necessary. We endeavor to give you a courtesy reminder call before your appointment.
“I’ve never filled and corked bottles of wine before. How will I know what to do?”
We will take you step by step through the entire process (or refresh you if you have done it before). We are always available for assistance. You will never feel neglected or forgotten at JUST FINE WINE.
“Do my bottles have to be clean?”
Yes. We provide time and equipment for sanitizing already clean bottles. So while your bottles will receive a protective rinse, this will not help if there is mold, sediment, insects, debris, etc. in your bottles. The shop is often very busy with a full schedule of bottling appointments and unfortunately we do not have the space or resources for people to wash dirty bottles in-store. So please bring your bottles in clean. Remember: dirty bottles can ruin your wine! Keeping bottles clean does not have to become a big chore. Soon after you finish a bottle, remove the shrink cap and label, thoroughly rinse the bottle several times, and finally drain it completely. Doing this as soon as you empty a bottle eliminates the need to spend a lot of time cleaning bottles that are left to the last minute. HINT: Store the clean bottles upside down to avoid contamination by foreign objects, dust, insects etc.
“Can I drink my wine right away?”
Yes. All wines are drinkable immediately after bottling; however, how good they will taste that young will depend greatly on what wine and category you purchased. Not to mention that everyone’s taste and preference is different. Wines may experience agitation or “bottle-shock” from the filtering and bottling processes. Bottle shock generally settles down after a couple of weeks. From there, each calibre of wine has a recommended waiting time before drinking. If you are unsure of what your wine criteria is, you can refer to your Winexpert Product Guide or just give JUST FINE WINE a call at 604-944-7818.
“How long will my wine last?”
Winexpert and JUST FINE WINE guarantee all Winexpert products made on-premise for one year. Here are the average lifespans of our wines (with ideal storage conditions):
4 Week White & Red (On The House, Island Mist, Twisted Mist): 1 Year
4-6 Week White (Winexpert Classic): 1 Year
4-6 Week Red (Winexpert Classic): 2 Years
6-8 Week White (Winexpert Reserve): 2 Years
6-8 Week Red (Winexpert Reserve): 3 Years
8-9 Week White (Winexpert Private Reserve, Winexpert LE): 2 Years
8-9 Week Red (Winexpert Private Reserve, Winexpert LE): 3 Years
These are recommended consumption windows. With proper storage and care, wines can and do last longer. Many of our clients enjoy wine that has been cellared for years. If you are unsure of what your wine criteria is, you can refer to your Winexpert Product Guide or just give JUST FINE WINE a call at 604-944-7818.
“Can I store my wine at Just Fine Wine?”
Sorry, no. Provincial regulations state that once your wine is ready, you need to bottle it and remove it to your home within a reasonable length of time (30 days). Once the actual bottling is completed, the wine must be immediately removed from our premises. This is required by law as well as determined by the limited availability of containers and space in the shop.
“Are Winexpert wine kits dry or sweet?”
Our wine menu has sweetness indicators next to the wine names. Most of our wines have a dry finish but we can adjust the levels to your taste. Just ask.
“What are Tannins?”
Tannin comes from the skins, seeds, and stems of the grapes, and also from wood. These are the culprits when you taste a wine that gives you an astringent, mouth-drying sensation or causes your mouth to pucker. Tannins give wine its longevity and character. They are also found in strong tea.
“What about wine with food?”
The fuller flavoured the food, the more full-bodied the wine should be. A simply prepared chicken can match well with a light bodied white wine. If you add a rich cream sauce, then a medium to full-bodied white may be preferred. Learn more with our Wine & Food Pairing Page.
“What about wine with cheese?”
Similar to how milk softens tea, cheese serves to round the tannic tastes of wine. Brie with sparkling wine is a good combination. Blue cheese overpowers most wines except dessert wines.