Winemaking

steps

Less than 1 in 10 Canadians know this secret:

Wine you “make” tastes as good – or better – than commercial wines and costs significantly less.

Wine is fermented grape juice, pure and simple, and the winemaking process at Bloor West Winery is the same as commercial wineries use. The only difference is scale – we make 23L of wine at a time; commercial wineries make thousands of litres at once.

Here's the process:

step1

Primary Fermentation

The grape juice (also called the “must”) is fermented in a sanitized container. If there are grape skins and/or oak included, they are added at this stage.

Fermentation is initiated by adding wine yeast (usually Lavalin EC1118) to the must.

step2

Stabilizing and Clearing

The next step is to remove any additives from the primary fermenter – i.e. grape skins, oak or elderberries, if they were included.

Once done, the wine is siphoned from the primary fermenter into a sanitized carboy, which is sealed with an airlock. The sediment at the bottom of the primary fermenter (also called the “lees”) is left behind and discarded.

Since the fermentation process produces gas, we de-gas the wine using a specialized power drill – one that is not used for any other purpose!

Later, 5 grams of Potassium Metobisulphite and Potassium Sorbate are added to the 23L carboy of wine. All wines contain sulphites; but, importantly, our wines have much lower levels of sulphites than commercial wines; they are much closer to organic than commercial wines based on sulphite levels.

Then, Kielelsol and Chitosan are added – these are finishing agents and present in all wines.

Finally, a new sanitized airlock and bung seals the carboy. (The airlock allows any remaining gas to escape, but does not let air into the carboy.) Over the next 2 – 6 weeks, depending on the overall quality, the wine clears naturally.

For some wines, notably big reds, the transfer process (also known as “racking”) is repeated before the next stage.

step3

Filtering

At Bloor West Winery, we filter all wines using an industrial 10-pad wine filter into a freshly sanitized carboy, where it awaits bottling by the customer – using our equipment and efficient process.

But, the similarity does not end with the winemaking process, because...

Our suppliers are commercial wine businesses!

craft_winemakingvineco

At Bloor West Winery, our suppliers – RJ Spagnols and Global Vintners – are owned by commercial wine businesses (Constellation Brands and Andrew Peller respectively). In some cases, grapes from the same vineyard can be found in “our” wines and commercial wines you can purchase at the LCBO.

Now... to the cost savings!

In Ontario, so-called “commercial wine” is sold to the LCBO, which then applies a string of taxes, fees and mark-ups…

First, the “Federal Excise Tax” at $0.62 per litre,

Then, “Federal Import Duty” if applicable,

Then, “Freight charges”, if applicable,

Then, “LCBO Mark-up” of 65.5% for Ontario wines; 71.5% for all other wines,

Then, “LCBO Wine Levy” of $1.62 per litre,

Then, “LBCO Bottle Levy” of $0.29 per litre,

Then, “LCBO Environment Fee” of $0.0893 per container,

Then, “HST” at 13%, and, finally,

The “Container Deposit”, usually 20 cents per bottle.

The bottom line: The 750mL bottle of wine purchased by the LCBO for about $3.75 sells in one of its stores for $10.45.

At Bloor West Winery, you pay zero tax on the wine ingredients. You only pay HST on our service fee and consumables (corks, labels, etc.). As a result, you pay almost no tax on the wine you “make” with us.

Our top-selling line, Cellar Classic Winery Series, cost $218 each when made on-premise. Of that amount, $7.93 is tax.

Since each CCWS wine style makes approximately 30 750mL bottles, the cost per bottle is $7.27. (This cost includes all costs except the bottle. You can bring your own clean wine bottles or purchase a new, refillable set. Refilling bottles beats recycling them any day of the week.)

Of course, we welcome your questions and would be pleased to answer them. This is your invitation to visit us during our business hours, to call us at 416-604-8463 or to e-mail (judy@bloorwestwinery.com).

Thank you for your time and interest. Feel free to check out other pages on this site.