Must Haves

Easy Electric Bottle Filler

If you’ve ever used the Buon Vino automatic bottle filler, you know how easy it is to bottle a batch of wine. Buon Vino has made the job even easier with its new FILLjet  bottler, an electric version of the automatic bottle filler. The greatest advantage of the FILLjet is that carboys and heavy demijohns no longer need to be moved to a high table. The FILLjet uses a self-priming electric pump to displace wine into bottles; it does not operate on the force of gravity. It can fill a standard 750 mL bottle in 17 seconds.

To bottle using the FILLjet, a bottle is placed in the stand under the filler head. The pump is started to initiate the flow of wine into the bottle. When the wine reaches the desired level, the filler head stops the flow of wine. The pump does not need to be turned on or off; this is all done automatically. Subsequent bottles are filled by only pressing on the filler head mechanism.

The filler nozzle can be adjusted for different volume bottles (it can accommodate most 375 mL, 750 mL and one-liter bottles). A separate filler nozzle sleeve is available for bottles with smaller or larger mouth diameters. The sleeve is required to allow bottles to be filled to the desired level, based on the cork length used. The unit has its own stand, so you can use it anywhere. The FILLjet  retails for approximately $200 to $250 U.S. For information, call (519) 622-1166, email [email protected] or go to the Website at www.buonvino.com.

The Bigger Book

Véhicule Press is releasing a new edition of Daniel Pambianchi’s book “Techniques in Home Winemaking.” The new release, subtitled  “A Practical Guide to Making Chateau-Style Wines” is now 30 pages longer. An enhanced version of the original home winemaking guide, some of the revised portions include chapters on acidity, pH and sulfite analysis and control. The new edition also includes an easier procedure for determining total acidity in red wines, as well as a procedure for determining the strength of a sodium hydroxide solution used in total acidity measurements. Other subjects that have been expanded upon are maceration, troubleshooting, maintaining stainless-steel equipment and using the Pearson square for blending. The book includes many new pictures and diagrams. It sells for $17.95 U.S. To order, call (800) 243-0138 (United States) or (800) 805-1083 (Canada) or go to www.vehiculepress.com.

Premium Sterile Must

RJ Spagnols has entered the American “must” market with its new Bolero line. Each pail contains six gallons (23 liters) of premium sterile grape must — no need to add water or sugar. The pails come with easy-to-follow  instructions and the wine is ready to drink in six weeks. The Bolero line offers eight international selections, including European Riesling, Italian Pinot Grigio, California Cabernet Sauvignon and Australian Shiraz. Ask for the pails at your local winemaking shop. For information, call RJ Spagnols at (800) 890-3815 or go to www.rjspagnols.com.

Effervescent Sulfite Tabs

Vinquiry offers a unique potassium metabisulfite tablet for sanitizing your home winemaking equipment and safeguarding grape must and wine against microbes and oxidation. The Efferbaktol tablets are effervescent, which allows them to dissolve easily — there’s no more need to crush tablets or measure tiny amounts of sulfite powder. The tablets come in three different dosage sizes: 2, 5 or 10-gram tablets in packages of 42, 27 and 18 tablets, respectively. Each package costs $15. Each two-gram tablet adds 528 parts per million (ppm) of S02 to a gallon of wine. Ask for the tablets at your local home winemaking supply store or, for more information, contact Vinquiry at (707) 838-6312.

Age Wine in No Time

The Perfect Sommelier is used to “age” a bottle of wine in 30 minutes or less without changing its nuances or characteristics. Red wines respond the most dramatically. Described as a “tannin tamer,” this new device artificially brings out maturity and subtlety, resulting in a rounder wine with a better nose, bouquet and flavor. Simply open your bottle, replace the cork with the Sommelier’s top and then place the bottle in the provided stand. This creates a strong magnetic field, which change’s the wine’s structure by re-orienting flavonoids and other key compounds (phenolics, such as tannins). The Perfect Sommelier retails for $49.95 U.S. (for the black finish) or $59.95 (chrome). Call (805) 526-4303, email [email protected] or go to www.cellarnot.com.

Napa Valley Whodunit

“Guilty as Zin” is a new mystery novel set in California’s wine country. The thriller uses contemporary Napa Valley as its backdrop and opens a fascinating window on the commercial winemaking business by discussing vineyard techniques, wine lore and history. Former journalist and author Chuck Toubin teaches wine seminars and is a former member of the Society of Wine Educators. The hardcover book, set for release in the first quarter of 2002 by Publishing Visions, Inc., will sell for $12.95 U.S. A limited number of pre-publication copies are available at www.guiltyaszin.com. For information, email [email protected].
A Practical Guide

“Wine: A Practical Guide to Enjoying Your Selection,” by Jens Priewe, is a lively new book packed with tips, tricks, illustrations and eye-catching photographs. The informative and entertaining text covers everything from chilling and decanting wine to food-wine pairing and deftly pulling a cork. Price: $27.50 U.S. from Abbeville Press. Phone: (646) 375-2039.

Wine Course by Computer

“The Wine CD” is a handy introduction to wine appreciation, led by host Francis Dumaurier and filmed in such New York City locations as Tavern on the Green. Interactive sections and hands-on demonstrations by experts unlock secrets of serving wine, tasting wine and understanding how it is made. The CD-ROM includes a section that allows you to keep records of your own cellar. Price: $19.95 U.S. (including shipping) at www.winecd.net. It runs on Windows and Macintosh.