Wine FAQs – Part 1


Here is Part 1 of our Wine FAQs series!  We’ll provide you with the answers to any questions you have about Messina Hof, wine, and the winemaking process. Wine

How long can you store wines? 

Fruity light unoaked wines like, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Muscat Canelli, Gewurztraminer, blushes, and rose’ should be consumed within 2-3 years.  The joy of these wines is in the fruity freshness.  Though the wines continue to be drinkable later, the freshness will be gone.  Oaked whites live longer and can be enjoyed 5-7 years.  Light fruity reds with moderate tannin can be saved 5-8 years.  Big oaky reds usually can live up to 20 years.  Very few wines can live 100 years and still be palatable.  Port is one exception.  It can be stored 50-100 years.  The problem is that the natural cork will not last that long.

What is the proper way to store wine?
Wines should be stored in a dark, cool, slightly humid environment.  If the wine is cork finished, it should be stored on its side.  If it has a good screw top, it can be stored standing up.

What is the difference between a table wine and a cooking wine? 

Table wine is a label term that means a wine is less than 14% alcohol.  This excludes dessert wines and sparkling wines.  Cooking wines are usually lesser quality wines to which salt has been added.  You do not need cooking wine.  All cooking should be done with wine that is a quality you would serve to your guests at the table.  If you enjoy drinking it, then cook with it.  Remember, one for the pot and two for the cook.

Why are the wine bottles different shapes?  Can you judge wine by its bottle? 

Wine bottles are part of the packaging of the wine.  The winery chooses the wine bottle style that best reflects the image they have chosen to portray.  Messina Hof has tried to communicate to the consumer as much information about the wine as possible through the label design, the color coding and in the shape of the bottle.   Since Bordeaux wines are bottled in the claret or Bordeaux bottle, then we use that bottle for the Bordeaux wines we make.  These include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Sauvignon Blanc.  Since Burgundian wines are bottled in Burgundy bottles, we bottle our wines made from the Burgundian style grapes like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Burgundian bottles.  In that same vein, our German style wines are bottled in German style bottles.

How does un-oaked versus oaked differ in flavor?
Oak is the winemaker’s spice rack.  It adds flavor to the wine which we call adding weight to the wine.  Un-oaked wines tend to be lighter, fruitier, and crisper.  Oaked wines tend to be creamier with elements of smoke or vanilla in the flavor.

How long does it take to produce one bottle? 

Each wine requires different production times.  There are some wines that can be in the bottle within 3 months of harvest.  These are wines that are young, fruity, and unoaked.  There are other wines that require oak aging and blending that can take 3 – 4 years before it goes into the bottle.