Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why do I have to come into the store to place an order?
A. By Law, you must sign a release and add the yeast to prove the wine belongs to you.
Q. I like the idea of making wine with you, where do I start?
A. Start by talking to us; this is our area of expertise. We help you Choose the right wine for your taste and budget.

Place an order, then all you have to do is Bottle it a few weeks later — we do the rest!

Q. How long does it take to make a batch of wine?
A. 4-8 weeks, depending on the wine.
Q. I want to make wine and drink it right away, should I buy a 4-week kit rather than a premium 8-week one?
A. Drinking a premium wine right away could be superior to a 4-week wine that is slightly aged. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best tasting), a 4-week wine could start at a 2 and peak at 6 with ageing, whereas a premium wine could start at 5 and peak at 10 with ageing.

Consider this: Once bottled, wine takes 2 weeks to overcome the shock of bottling. You could start drinking it then, but if you let the wine age a further 3 months, it shows more of its character. For whites and most reds, 6 months lets the wine smooth out and gives it a mature character. Heavy reds continue to improve for at least a year, rewarding your patience with delicious bouquet.

If you really can’t wait, we suggest a wine aerator, which helps release the aromas and flavours in the wine. You can find these at our store.

Q. When a red wine has ‘skins’ added, what does this mean and what are the benefits?
A. A pack of crushed grape skins are included in all premium red wines and a selection of 5-week red wines. The natural skins and solids from variety-specific grapes are captured for extra flavour, tannin, colour, and body during the fermentation stage. The finished wine shows character never before possible from a kit wine.

Truly a breakthrough in home brewing, you really taste the difference. grape skin packs can also be purchased at McBarleys and added to Cellarcraft 4 week red wine kits.

Q. I have ordered my wine, when will it be ready?

A. You can check the status of your wine on www.brewcheck.com. Your personal ID number is on your receipt. We contact you about bottling when your wine is ready.

Q. Can we age the wine at McBarley’s and collect it in 6 months?
A. That’s OK with us as long as we have space. We recommend you collect it no later than 6 months and begin to enjoy it.
Q. Once the wine is ready, do I need an appointment to bottle, or can I just show up?
A. We encourage you to make an appointment as your wine needs to be filtered before you arrive. We are flexible and can usually accommodate you at short notice if you call ahead.
Q. At what temperature should I store my wine?
A. The exact temperature is not as important as making sure there aren’t any extreme and rapid temperature changes.

The higher the temperature, the more rapid the aging process, which lowers the life of the wine and if the wine is kept too cool it will take longer to soften and reach its peak of perfection.

A cool, dark location is ideal and stored at a constant temperature between 52 (11) & 58 (14) degrees.

If the wine goes through temperature changes or fluctuations you will notice damage to the wine straight away as a sticky deposit often forms around the capsule of the bottle and the wine will taste ‘off’.

Q. How should I store my wine?
A. It is crucial you store your wine in a cool dark location and at a constant temperature, don’t store wine where temperatures fluctuate. Avoid direct sunlight and artificial lighting, avoid storing on concrete floors.
Q. At what temperature should I drink my wine?
A. This is recommended; however, drink your wine how it best tastes to you:

* Blush, rose and dry white wines: 46-57°F (8-14°C)
* Sparkling wines and champagne: 43-47°F (6-8°C)
* Light red wine: 55°F (13°C)
* Heavy red wines: 59-66°F (15-19°C)

Q. How can I chill my wine?
A. Chill the wine for about 20 minutes in the refrigerator, or 10 minutes in an ice bucket. When a wine gets too cold the flavours get locked in. Do not use ice cubes to cool the wine as that will dilute it. Do not store wine in the fridge for a long time. The vibration from the motor will age your wine and it could spoil.
Q. Why do the prices of kits vary so much?
A. A wine kit’s quality is the reason for such a difference in price. A high-quality juice concentrate is a higher price. You are going to pay more for grapes that come from a premium growing area and from a vineyard that prunes back its vines to give a lower yield. This gives a much better product as all the goodness is going into fewer grapes.
Q. When can I drink my wine?
A. This can vary from 3 months to a year, depending on the type of wine you make. Most commercial wines sit in tanks or barrels for one or two years before bottling. Even then, some of those wines need another 3 or 4 years to reach their peak. With wines made from kits, you don’t usually have to wait this long. It is the quality of the wine that determines this.
Q. How long can I keep my wine before it goes bad?
A. Wine quality determines shelf life, which is often indicated by price. Red wine lasts longer than white wine because it has more tannin and a higher alcohol level. Sulphite is also a factor: Too much and it is undrinkable; too little and the wine goes bad quickly. Keep wine out of direct sunlight and store it at a proper temperature.

A rule of thumb is to drink white wine in a year and red wine up to two years.

Q. I heard that sulphites give you that ‘fuzzy head’ feeling the day after drinking wine. Can you leave the sulphite out of the wine-making process?
A. Without sulphites the wine oxidizes and spoils rapidly. It start to go off in less than 4 weeks, and is undrinkable in less than 3 months. If you opt to leave sulphites out of your wine, we will not guarantee it.

Also, yeast makes sulphites during fermentation, so no wine is ever sulphite free.

Q. I hear wine last for years. Why do I have to drink my wine so soon?
A. Those long-lasting commercial wines are rare. Most commercial wines are produced on the assumption they will be consumed within 6 months.
Q. What if I don’t like my wine once it is made?
A. At McBarley’s, we guarantee if you don’t like your chosen wine, we will make you an alternative. We find our customers are so pleasantly surprised with the quality and taste of our wine, they go on to refer friends. Please note: we replace full or nearly full batches of wine only.
Q. So, I love your wine and want to refer a friend. Do I get anything for this?
A. You bet. We give you a 10% discount on your next batch of wine, and your referred friend receives 30 free bottles for her first batch. Please make sure your friend lets us know you referred her.