Choosing The Right Wine
Often overlooked, this is the most important part of the winemaking process — not every variety (or type of kit) is appropriate for everyone. Choosing the right wine for you will ensure maximum enjoyment.
Choose the basic style of wine you’re currently interested in:
Choosing the right brand is also important. Basically, if you need a wine for early consumption, choose a four-week kit such as Vintner’s Reserve™. But, for maximum enjoyment and quality (as long as you have some cellaring time available), the premium kits (such as Selection™) are definitely the way to go.
Light & Fruity Reds
Often unoaked, the emphasis is on light fruit flavours, such as cherry and red berries. Sometimes, these wines are best off chilled slightly. Serve with lighter fare.
|Vintner’s Reserve Bergamais™||A nouveau-style red, with red berry flavours. Great served with pizza & pasta.|
|Vintner’s Reserve Valpolicella||Smooth, easy drinking style with notes of red fruit. Serve with finger foods & picnics|
|Vintner’s Reserve Ruby Cabernet||An easy drinking house style Cabernet for everyday enjoyment.|
|Commercial grape variety examples||Alsacian Pinot Noir, French Cotes du Rhone, French Gamay (Beaujolais), Italian Bardolino|
Keep in mind, you can upgrade to the premium Selection brand with these wines… the body stays pretty much the same, but you add quality, flavour and bouquet!
Available with or without oak (your option), the emphasis is on balance – fruitiness & oak; not too light, not too heavy on the palate.
|Bordailles™ Rouge||Usually a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (heavy red grape) and Merlot (softer, fruitier) to provide a balanced red dinner wine.|
|Bourgeron™ Rouge||A Pinot Noir blend, often fruitier (cherry) than the Bordailles™.|
|Merlot||Medium bodied, very smooth red, due to the ample fruitiness from this grape. Wonderful with roast beef & gravy.|
|Pinot Noir||Elegant, fruit-forward wine with aromas of black currants & cherries.|
|Vieux Chateau du Roi™||A Rhone-style red blend, usually with a subtle oak background. Red and black berries, with a hint of spice.|
|Commercial grape variety examples||Merlot, Cabernet-Merlot, Pinot Noir, South African Pinotage, Argentinian Malbec|
Keep in mind, most four-week kits will yield a medium bodied wine. You can upgrade to a premium Selection™ brand with any of these wines… the body stays pretty much the same, but you add quality, flavour and bouquet!
Heavy, Robust Reds
Usually the fuller-bodied reds have some element of oak (they can handle it), and it’s in the design of their profile. Emphasis is on mouthfeel – heavy on the palate, with ample flavours to roll over your tongue.
|Selection Luna Rossa™||One of the heaviest reds on the market, simulating the big, bold Bordeaux style reds. Loaded with black fruits, oak and tannins.|
|Selection™ Barolo||Deep purple colour with a very full, robust mouth-feel of oak and dark fruit.|
|Selection™ Cabernet Sauvignon||The king of the reds. Aromas and flavours of blackberry, pepper, red and black currant, with a touch of earthiness & oak.|
|Selection™ Cabernet-Shiraz||Complexity of Cab blended with the spiciness of Shiraz make for a righ, heavy blend. Well oaked, designed for longer-term cellaring.|
|Selection™ Italian Montepulciano||Deeply coloured with flavours of blackberry and black pepper. Full bodied with moderate tannin and balanced acidity.|
|Commercial grape variety examples||Australian Cabernet-Shiraz, Italian Barolo, California Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah (or Shiraz)|
For the fullest-bodied wines, it’s best to use the premium type kits — you must plan on aging these in the bottle for 3+ months, or you risk not being pleased with your investment. For more on “Why to use Premium?”, click here.
Blushes & Roses
Blush wines are actually made from red grapes – but without the skins, which is where 95% of the colour in red wine resides. By removing the skins prior to crush/press/ferment, the wine stays light, fruity and smooth. Add in a touch of sugar, and blush makes for a very pleasant wine on the patio, or picnic table… or anywhere!
|Vintner’s Reserve Blush (1)||A light, refreshing, sipping wine with flavours of strawberries & raspberries with just a touch of sweetness.|
|Vintner’s Reserve White Zinfandel (2-3)||Sweet plums on the palate; refreshing & light with juicy, grapey sweetness.|
|Selection™ White Merlot (1)||Fresh strawberries burst from this off-dry, refreshing rosé style wine. Serve with spicy foods and/or lunches.|
|Commercial grape variety examples||White Zinfandel, White Merlot, Grenache|
Dry Whites – Soft & Easy Going; With Fruitiness
Most white wines are classified as dry – some (especially German & Alsatian whites) can be sweeter. This chart is for wines with no residual sugar, but which still have some fruitiness which may smooth out, or balance, any acidity.
|Riesling||Arguably the best white wine grape (the other would be Chardonnay), it can be found sweet or dry (so watch your labels). Easy drinking with a slight fruit/floral nose.|
|Viognier||Medium bodied, aromatic white with fresh spring blossoms, peaches and apricots on the nose. Very pleasant for everyday use.|
|Ruisseau Blanc™||Plenty of fruit on the palate, with balanced acidity in the finish. Made mostly with Chardonnay – but without the oakiness.|
|Pinot Blanc||Dry, refreshing white with delicate tree-fruit notes, such as apple and pear.|
|Commercial grape variety examples||New World Rieslings (Canada, Australia, New Zealand), Muscat, Unoaked Chardonnay|
Dry Whites – Full-body, full-flavour
Dry & Crisp (herbaceous, fresh, grassy)
|Selection™ Italian Pinot Grigio||Very bright, refreshing & crisp white, with notes of perfume & spice. Hints of citrus & almond.|
|Selection™ Sauvignon Blanc||Dry, grassy & herbaceous character, with plenty of pleasant acidity and a palate-cleansing mouthfeel.|
|Selection™ Australian Murray River Reserve||Blended Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat & French Columbard; herbaceous notes with a touch of oak and tropical fruit.|
|Selection™ Chamblaise||A clean, refreshingly crisp white wine with floral hints on the palate.|
|Commercial grape variety examples||Sauvignon Blanc, Fumé Blanc, any Italian white, Sancerre & Bordeaux blanc|
Dry & Full-bodied (fruity, oaky)
|Selection™ Australian Chardonnay||Very bright, refreshing & crisp white, with notes of perfume & spice. Hints of citrus & almond.|
|Selection™ Chilean Chardonnay||A full-bodied wine with rich ripe fruit (hints of pear) and plenty of vanilla & buttery flavours from the ample oak background.|
|Selection™ Chardonnay-Semillon||Structure from Chardonnay blended with body from the Semillon. Dry, with good balance of fruit and oak.|
|Selection™||A clean, refreshingly crisp white wine with floral hints on the palate.|
|Commercial grape variety examples||Chardonnay (avoid the unoaked ones), French Burgundies (Graves or Pessac Leognan), Italian ‘Barrique’ wines.|
Whites – Sweeter & Fruity
You can have fruity without sweet (Rieslings, Viognier), but generally this does not occur the other way around… sweetening wine is usually done because there is a lot of acidity in the harvested grape, and some residual sugar balances this acidity beautifully.
Germany & Alsace (northern France) are famous for their off-dry white wines!
|Selection™ Liebfraumilch (1)||Floral bouquet, ripe, sweet grapey fruit flavours.|
|Selection™ Piesporter (2)||A soft, easy drinking wine with flavours of apple, pear, honey and an elderflower-nose.|
|Selection™ Muller Thurgau (1)||Crunchy green apples on the palate, with a touch of sweetness – elderflower bouquet.|
|Commercial grape variety examples||Gewurztraminer, Australian Gordo, Liebfraumilch, Vina Esmerelda (Spain).|
Off-dry (and medium-dry) whites are also available in the 4-week Vintner’s Reserve line. The examples above are all 6-week premium varieties.
Mists & Coolers
Niagara Mist & Island Mist
Mists are a uniquely refreshing wine beverage with a bold splash of fruit that is designed to bridge the gap between traditional coolers and light wines. It is a light, cool and crisp wine beverage balanced with a refreshing bouquet and flavour of fresh fruits. It is slightly sweeter than table wines, yet not as sweet as traditional coolers.
It’s simply a wine kit with a separate bag of fruit juice which provides the dominant flavour.
Each kit makes 23 litres, and is slightly lower in alcohol than traditional wines, at about 7%. They ought to be great crowd pleasers for your outdoor get-togethers, and are made the same way as wine kits are (4 weeks).
Lone Cactus Wine Coolers
Peach: The sweet, natural aromas and the creamy peach colors of this soft, tree-ripened fruit are fully transferred into rich, refreshing and deliciously balanced Peach Wine Coolers. They are a taste of summer all year round!
Black Cherry: LoneCactus Black Cherry Wine Cooler encompasses the deep color and strong character of the special Black Cherry fruit. The rich and vibrant flavour marries well with a red grape concentrate base, which is offered in the delicious LoneCactus Black Cherry Wine Cooler. Experience all the pleasures of fresh cherries when you entertain with this refreshment.
Wildberry: An insatiable blend of northern berries, including the unique Loganberry, is found in this delicious Wildberry Wine Cooler. The Wildberry Wine Cooler, finished medium sweet, is very flavourful with the white wine base in our kits. It can also be made with a red wine base, with which it will be full and bold in character. Grab your parka! When you sip this frosty berry medley, you’ll feel like you’re in the North! Wildberry is also an excellent flavour in Cider.
Apple-lime: Apple, combined with the thirst quenching spice of Lime, makes the wonderful blend available in our Lone Cactus Apple-Lime Wine Cooler. Dry or medium dry, add a dash of Tequila, and enjoy this zesty sweet and sour combination with friends or family.
Raspberry: Raspberry’s deep red, full, vine ripened flavour creates a delicate acid balance found in Vinoka’s Raspberry Wine Cooler. Our kit contains a white grape concentrate base, but try it with red! They are excellent on their own or with chocolate desserts!
Cranberry: The Cranberry Wine Cooler is excellent for special occasions, festive turkey dinners and summer barbecues. This flavour should also be tried with a red concentrate base! Tip: Cranberry, with its agreeable tart interior and intriguing crimson exterior creates a delightful Cranberry Cider.
Blackberry: Blackberry is one of our natural fruit flavours that marry well with a red grape concentrate base, which is offered in the delicious LoneCactus Blackberry Wine Cooler. You’ll love its comprising character and engaging fragrance.
Strawberry: Fresh picked off the stem, the sweet, ripe flavours and aromas of this shiny red berry are carefully transferred into the Strawberry Wine Cooler. Add a dash of sunshine to any occasion by sharing these pick-me-ups with friends!
Kiwi: Camouflaged in a brown fuzzy skin, Kiwi fruit (also known as Chinese gooseberries) harbour emerald green juicy flesh loaded with surprising aromatic and savoury values. The Kiwi Wine Coolers have a rich fruity character and bouquet that make you feel like you’re in New Zealand! Try them with Oriental cuisine!
Tropical: This very popular flavour is a delicious medley of Mango, Papaya, Pineapple and sweet Orange, with a fragrance and taste that make you feel like you’re in the Tropics. Its lush, exotic flavour is outstanding as a sparkling LoneCactus Tropical Wine Cooler!
Citrus Dry: The Citrus Dry Wine Cooler offers a refreshing, thirst quenching assortment of lemon, lime, grapefruit and oranges. Pop the top, add a splash of Tequila and serve this taste of Florida with its favorite companion…Crustaceans!
Pineapple-orange: The Lone Cactus Pineapple-Orange Wine Cooler is an awesome combination of Pineapple, Tangerines and sweet Mandarins. Deliciously fresh and simple, it is sunshine caught in your glass. If you desire, fortify it with white rum or vodka for extra excitement.
Hard Lemonade: Vinoka’s Hard Lemonade Wine Cooler is just what you are imagining…refreshing lemonade with a kick. This slightly sour gold nectar of the Gods is thought to be a great source of vitamin C, but you won’t find it at your local lemonade stand!
Hard Cranberry Lemonade: Vinoka’s Hard Cranberry Lemonade Wine Cooler is a delightful and complex blend of cranberries, tart lemons and unexpected hints of citrus fruits. Hold the cranberry sauce! This drink is an excellent compliment to turkey dinner or dessert.
Margarita: The fabulous, traditional taste combination of Lemon, Lime, Tequila and sparkling CO2 is presented in the Margarita Wine Cooler. It’ll make you feel like you’re south of the border! Don’t forget to add a fresh slice of lime to your glass!
Pink Grapefruit: Dangerous! That’s the only way to describe Vinoka’s Pink Grapefruit Cooler because it tastes so light and refreshing, and it has a kick! Sorry, we don’t recommend the pink grapefruit cooler with breakfast! However, it’s got great appeal (pun intended) with grilled fish and poultry during summer barbeques.
Vinoka Ice: Responding to numerous requests from our valued customers Vinoka developed a kit which enables the home winemaker to make a product similar to Ice. It is simply fabulous. Responses from early samplers are, that it’s even better than the original. ‘A chip off the old block’, Vinoka’s Vinoka Ice is the popular lemon-vodka drink that you can make yourself! You may even think it’s , but it’s not. This exciting beverage will make you feel young! It tastes like a carbonated light Vodka Ice drink with lush flavours of citrus fruits. It’s a fabulous blend of natural ingredients.
Ask about other flavours for 2005 — Watermelon and Blueberry are to be available as well!