Wine Making Radio - March 7 to March 20, 2005
Rob Linder:Welcome to another episode of WineMaking Radio. I trust you will enjoy the next twenty minutes as we explore the world of winemaking from all different perspectives and interests. If youíre new to WineMaking Radio, I encourage you to visit our website, winemakingradio.com and learn about our past episodes and subscribe to the free biweekly e-mail newsletter that announces future episode information and special offers available only to program guide subscribers.
In todayís episode, we will start where most of our journey in wine making begins, at the local wine and beer supply store. We will be hearing about a product that was invented by an amateur winemaker and may make your life easier when it comes to cleaning your glass carboys. For the person just contemplating the making of wine, we will have part one of a three part series on Introduction to Winemaking. Finally, we will have news about wine that may be of interest to the people who make it. So sit back, relax, and enjoy. WineMaking Radio is ready to roll
Rob Linder:Iím with Jon Mendrick today, with Mountain Home Brew Beer and Wine Supply Store. I wanted to find out today, when did you start, when did you open up your retail operation?
Jon Mendrick: We opened up in April of 2000. So weíre actually coming up on the five year anniversary.
Rob Linder: Okay. Now, what got you into the beer supply and wine supply business?
Jon Mendrick: Years ago in college, thought that it would be just the coolest thing in the world if I could make my own beer, and I started out as a beer brewer. And when I moved to the northwest from Florida in 1998, winemaking was not nearly as popular in Florida, but when I came here in í98, it was a reality check. Thereís a lot of winemaking going on and it kind of forced me to learn the hobby. Since then, Iíve become an avid winemaker and I have a much greater appreciation for the process and the product.
Rob Linder: What makes you successful as a retail operation?
Jon Mendrick: I would say it is our selection of product. We really strive for great customer service and our customer really Ė they tell us this a lot Ė the reason why they shop here, and they even drive from Seattle when thereís a closer shop or somewhere, is because of our knowledge and our customer service, and we push that because not everyoneís an expert, and we are expected to be the experts.
Rob Linder: I notice that you also have a website. Itís www.mountainhomebrew.com.
Jon Mendrick: Correct.
Rob Linder: And do you get a lot of business off of your website presence?
Jon Mendrick: We do. Weíre seeing a giant increase in sales over the past year. When we first opened, Iíd say we had a very somewhat amateur website, didnít really do a lot of sales. Almost two years ago now, we completely reformatted it, upgraded it to a much more professional appearance and customer shopping friendly.
Rob Linder: Now, do you have a lot of people who to the website, are local people?
Jon Mendrick: Absolutely, absolutely. Not only has it enabled people to shop nationwide and actually international now as well. It serves as a catalogue for our local customers as well and itís not uncommon for someone to come in with pages printed off our website, knowing exactly what they want, and they shop there first and then they bring the list in and weíll hook them up. We continue with our interview with Jon Mendrick, proprietor of Mountain Home Brew Beer and Winemaking Supply Store.
Rob Linder: You say you started about five years ago and the landscape has changed a lot. What do you see happening in the next several years?
Jon Mendrick: I see winemaking itself becomingÖ Itís increasing every year. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of people that are getting into home winemaking, and I definitely see a need for Ė I want to say heavier equipment use. We brought in more wine presses, more crushers, de-stemmers than ever before this year. When that semi pulled up full of presses this year, I got a little nervous.
Rob Linder: So just a lot more maturity of the winemakers themselves?
Jon Mendrick: Maturity of the market. People are investing in the equipment, so itís really come a long way.
Rob Linder: Thatís great. And I notice that you, being located here in Western Washington, you have access to a lot of grapes in Eastern Washington.
Jon Mendrick: Yes.
Rob Linder: And you have also, for several years now, been providing essentially a grapevine service for people. Is that correct?
Jon Mendrick: Thatís correct. We contract threw a grower over in Prosser, Washington - utís about forty-five minutes east of Yakima Ė and every year our grape sales are increasing. We brought back close to 23 thousand pounds this year and that varies from a person doing twenty-five pounds, up to somebody who may say orders a couple thousand pounds, and access to approximately thirteen different varietals of grapes. And we provide Ė when you purchase the grapes through us, we provide the crushing and de-stemming service, and the shipping. We look forward to that every year, driving a big truckload of the grapes over the pass.
Rob Linder: If I recall correctly, itís about two years ago you had a U-Haul.
Jon Mendrick: Yes.
Rob Linder: Has that U-Haul grown in size?
Jon Mendrick: That U-Haul is the largest I can personally drive, and we have two of those now.
Rob Linder: Okay.
Jon Mendrick: So yeah, itís as close to a semi without a commercial driverís license that you can get.
Rob Linder: Thatís wonderful.
Jon Mendrick: And we pack that sucker full.
Rob Linder: And maybe we have to come back and do a show, come in fall time when youíre doing this Ė itís quite a sight to be in the back of your building here and to have all that activity, and people Ė a well orchestrated process.
Jon Mendrick: Yeah. The first year, Iíd say it was a good comedy of errors. We just brought the grapes in and said, ďCome and get it.Ē And that was the last time we said that. Itís all now a well-oiled machine that runs smooth. People are scheduled.
Rob Linder: Would say in the most part, that winemakers tend to be organized and scheduled people? OrÖ?
Jon Mendrick: Some of them, most of them. Some not, but mostly yeah, they are. Theyíre good people to work with. And if you have to wait, thereís twenty other winemakers standing around and thereís nothing more than they love than to talk to other winemakers. So itís a good time.
Rob Linder: Do you find that a lot with this store Ė I know from my own experience, I sometimes enjoy coming into a store thatís empty to talk to the proprietor, but do you find that thereís a lot of people who come here and they socialize and they use this as a meeting place?
Jon Mendrick: Yes. Itís not uncommon for people to meet here. Every Friday, theyíll meet after work and take out what theyíre going to be making this weekend. And yeah, theyíll meet their friends from Everett or some other area and come in the shop and get their winemaking ingredients to do the batch theyíre going to work on this weekend.
Rob Linder: Do you see any need to expand?
Jon Mendrick: I do see that in the future, absolutely. We are in a space now that, although itís a wonderful location, at some point down the road it will become a hindrance in that we donít have enough room to carry all the inventory, the equipment that Iíd like. And weíre definitely busting at the seams now and I can see us growing out of this location.
Rob Linder: And continuing through your relationship with people and through your employeeís relationship, striving the customer service Ė are you afraid that expanding might hinder that?
Jon Mendrick: No. No, that will always be a focus. And it is such a niche hobby. Itís not like a big box store. Most of our customers we recognize by name. Thereís always going to be that personal level of service involved in the business.
Rob Linder: We'll be back with Jon Mendrick later in the show as we discuss an Introduction to Wine Making.
End of Interview
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WineMaking Radio is always looking to introduce our listeners to interesting and useful products for the winemaker, especially if those products are designed by winemakers for winemakers - and todayís product really fits that bill. Iím on the phone with Margie Wolderoder of A&M Manufacturing. You have a product called Turbo Scrubber. Could you tell us a little bit about the Turbo Scrubber.
Margie Wolderoder: Yeah, sure. Turbo Scrubber is a device or a tool that you can use to clean anything from small bottles up to thousand liter vats. It is like a chamois cloth that is attached to a stainless steel frame that fits into any standard drill, and because the cloth is so soft, it does not scratch the glass or the plastic, stainless, whatever you might be cleaning, yet it gets it very, very clean.
Rob Linder: Wonderful. And how did the invention of the Turbo Scrubber come about?
Margie Wolderoder: Oh, it was a frustrated home winemaker. Actually, this is a family business and it was my uncle who had developed it. He started using the wire brushes and was just so frustrated with them that he threw them aside and made the first prototype.
Rob Linder: And itís important to keep that fabric wet, and I notice that you can angle your carboy and really swish it around. It will clean the neck of the carboy, as well as the bottom.
Margie Wolderoder: Right, and thatís very important. The fabric that we use will actually wring nearly dry when it is out of the water. So if you donít have it rotating in solution, whether itís water or some other solution, Clorox solution or whatever you might be using, it wrings dry. For instance, if you stand your carboy upright to clean it, by the time it gets to the shoulder, itís too dry to clean it effectively. You have to either lay it down or angle it so that solution is available to the scrubber and it gets it thoroughly clean.
Rob Linder: What kind of feedback have you been getting from most of your customers?
Margie Wolderoder: Oh, extremely positive feedback from our customers. We have had virtually no complaints from our customers, except for when they donít have the solution available and the cloth wrings too dry. And the other problem that is common is if the drill is not rotating quickly enough, the fabric wraps around the rod or the frame and it looks like itís not effective. All you need to do is just get a drill that rotates a little bit faster and itís fine.
Rob Linder: Time is limited as far as being able to go into a lot more detail, but I do really encourage people to check out this product. If youíre interested in purchasing the Turbo Scrubber, how do you go about and find more information?
Margie Wolderoder: Well, you can visit our website, or alternatively, you can check out your local store. Many stores across the United States and Canada carry the Turbo Scrubber. If they donít, they can either contact us directly.
Rob Linder: Great. Iíve been speaking to Margie Wolderoder of A&M Manufacturing, maker of the Turbo Scrub product line. Just go to their website at www.turboscrub.com and find out more information. Thank you very much for your time, Margie.
Margie Wolderoder: And thank you.
Bold news for people who make bold wine.
Sweet news for people who make sweet wine.
Introduction to WineMaking a discussion with Jon Mendrick Part One
Rob Linder:Weíre back with Jon Mendrick at Mountain Home Brew and Wine Supply Store, asking him the question Ė I just came in here, Iím a newcomer, Iím interested in this hobby. Jon, what would you tell me I should use and look at to get started in this winemaking hobby?
Jon Mendrick: Well, Rob, actually it just so happens we have a starter kit geared towards the person whoís never made wine before and doesnít have any equipment. We oddly enough call it our winemaking starter kit. And what that is, itís geared towards a six gallon batch size, which is your typical wine kit size. It comes complete with two fermenters. It comes with a polyethylene plastic fermenter and a glass carboy, six gallon size. You get a corker and some corks, sanitation, which is very important in all aspects of winemaking Ė gotta keep things clean. Some brushes, comes with a spoon, syphon hoses, a bottle filler, and it comes with a book on actually winemaking. And this kit is very, you can switch it around, depending on what you want to do. If you wanted to make wine from fresh grapes, you would just need a larger fermenter, and thatís easily switchable. If you go Ė a lot of people in the summer time, thereís a lot of fruit being picked Ė blackberries, peaches, pears Ė a few extra additions to the kit and youíre good to go there too. You can make really any kind of wine you wanted with this kit. You can add to it and itís pretty much all you need.
Rob Linder:Now, if I were starting off here and I looked at this and I realized that my Aunt Sue had a bucket, a nice big gallon bucket...
Jon Mendrick: We call them fermenters.
Rob Linder: Aunt Sue has a bucket, but you have a fermenter. So I would go to Aunt Sueís Ė well, I have to make sure itís a food grade.
Jon Mendrick: You absolutely want to make sure that itís a food grade plastic. Do not ferment in your trash can, please.
Rob Linder:Okay. And she assured me, Aunt Sue did, that it was food grade. So I took it from her, it is now a fermenter, and we also have a bucket here, but it has a cover on it Ė this is important Ė itís got a cover because that probably keeps things clean.
Jon Mendrick: You want to keep it covered. The idea is to keep it clean, exactly. You want to keep dust, airborne matter. Thereís a lot of things that you donít want in your wine, so you keep it covered. And youíll notice here you have whatís called an air lock, and what that does, CO2 is produced during the process of fermentation and you want that to be able to gas off, otherwise you have one big pressurized container that eventually the lid will find its way off the bucket. So the air lock just allows the CO2 to escape while keeping things clean.
Rob Linder:Okay. And again, this is used primarily for kits, about something of this size, which is only about two and a half feet high is used primarily for winemaking kits where essentially you got the juice or fruits.
Jon Mendrick: You know, it can be used for both actually. Typically if youíre going to ferment with the fruit, so you would want something a little bit bigger because you have all the mass of the fruit. And so to make six gallons, youíre going to need that little extra space, so usually double the size, like a twelve gallon for a fruit wine Iíd say.
Rob Linder:Okay. So we have a primary Ė this is called a primary fermenter.
Jon Mendrick: Yep.
Rob Linder:And youíre going to let it go through what is considered the bulk of the fermentation process.
Jon Mendrick: Yeah. Itís typically in your primary fermenter from anywhere from seven to fourteen days. And at that point, most of your sugar has been converted over to alcohol, and at that point, what you want to do is do a process called racking, which is just a technical word for syphoning or transferring. You transfer it over to your six gallon glass carboy there. And at that stage, thatís where you finish the fermentation if thereís any residual sugar and the clarifying process is in that stage.
Rob Linder:Why a glass carboy?
Jon Mendrick: Well, thatís a good question, but for the best reason is you wantÖ Most people like to see it. Itís easy, you can see when itís ready to bottle because youíll see it clarify and itís easy to keep Ė you want to always keep the wine topped up, because oxygen is wineís worst enemy. And so you want to minimize your airspace and the carboy allows you to keep it filled to the complete top, so you donít have that oxidation issue.
Rob Linder:Okay. And I notice your kit here has a six gallon, but those carboys come in various sizes. So if you werenít to do that big of a batch, you could literally put these things in a one gallon glass container.
Jon Mendrick: We have sizes from fifteen gallons all the way down to half gallons.
Rob Linder:Fifteen gallons must be pretty fun to move around.
Jon Mendrick: You put it where you want it and pretty much itís going to stay there. Yeah, itís kind of a heavyÖ And fifteen gallons in a glass container of wine can be dangerous
Well have part two and three of Introduction to wine making with Jon Mendrick in future episodes of WineMaking Radio.
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Rob Linder: Wine News, news of interest to wine lovers and wine makers or both.
In a recent article in Wine Spectator Magazine, they reported that the high court hears wine shipping cases. The two sides battling over direct to consumer shipments of wine got their day in court on December 7th, when the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases that could change how wine is sold in the United States. By June, the court will decide whether Michigan and New York have a reasonable justification for banning shipments from out of state wineries, when both states permit in state wineries to ship within their border. The justices must weigh the twenty-first amendment, which permits states to regulate how alcohol crosses their border, against the U.S. Constitution commerce clause, which prevents states from unfairly interfering with interstate trade. Currently, about half the states ban consumers from ordering from out of state wineries, while the rest allow such order with limits, and we will be following this as this develops, on WineMakingRadio.com.
The worldís largest bottle of wine changes hands. The worldís biggest bottle of wine, holding a hundred and thirty liters of Berringer Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley Private Reserve, will be making its home in New Jersey for a big price of 55 thousand, eight hundred and twelve dollars. The four foot, five inch Maximus, which was created by Berringer and Mortonís Steak House chain, weight three hundred and thirty five pounds and contains the equivalent of one hundred and seventy three standard seven hundred and fifty milliliter bottles, or one thousand two hundred glasses of wine.
That about wraps it up for the second episode of Wine Making Radio. I hope you've enjoyed the show and found the information useful. I encourage you to sign up for the Wine Making Radio Audio Program Guide. The free email newsletter will provide information on upcoming audio shows and contain a special offer or promotion available only to the Program Guide subscribers. It's free. To sign up, visit our web site, www.WineMakingRadio.com. Wine improves with age, and hopefully, so will this show. Visit us at www.WineMakingRadio.com, and give us some feedback about our show.
Thanks to Jon Mendrick of Mountain Homebrew and Wine Supply Store and Margie Wolderoter of A&M Manufacturing; sound recorded by Otto Schwebbe Studios. Edited by Ollo Rudd Post production by Forest Rain Studios. I am your host and producer, Rob Linder. The opinions expressed on Wine Making Radio are those of its hosts and guests and may not represent the opinions and advice of Clear Data and its employees. Wine Making Radio is copyrighted 2005 by Clear Data. All rights reserved. Until next episode, keep crushing, keep fermenting, and most of all, keep listening. Spread the word. www.WineMakingRadio.com.
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