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Elderberries: There is a unique story behind the use of elderberries in making some red wines. 700 years ago, the Catholic Church elected a new Pope. Not liking the results, the second place finisher set up a new papacy in France near present day Avignon. He built a lavish palace and called it Chateau Neuf du Pape. Then came a cathedrale around which the village by the same name. A lover of wine, the new Pope bought up (took?) land, serfs and all and set up his winery. As the grapes grown in the Rhone Valley tend to produce lighter bodied reds, elderberriers were used to add colour, aroma and taste The humble elderberry is still used today, either included in a few wine kits or available separately in 30g bags. Truly wonderful in the lighter Burgandy style reds.

P.S. Yours truly visited the Chateau, the cathedral, the town but mostly the vineyards and wineries!

Clarity: In years past many substances have been used to clarify wines. Egg whites, bentonite, sparkalloid etc. Most kits today include liquid Chitosan and/or Kieselsol. We carry packs of SuperKleer (which contain both), and having used them for a few years now, we know how well they work. Use of these require an extra transfer but the 10 minutes is worth it.

Quality: Far more than anything else, the quality of the juice used is paramount. Though 7.5L kits make a decent table wine, they do not match up to a high end 18L red for example. And the price diffference per bottle is most reasonable and the work involved is similar. Home winemaking shops in Manitoba carry reputable kits but some box store carry brand XY with questionable quality on the juice – but its still called "wine". As they say, you can put lipstick and a wig on a pig but its still a pig!