Let us put our expertise and selection to work for you! With award-winning wines, top quality ingredients, recognized industry credentials and exemplary fermentation techniques, our goal is to make every beverage the perfect fit for your palate.
From the moment you walk in the door, we strive to ensure your enjoyment. Making top quality wine, beer and cider is our passion, and we hope you get just as excited about the results as we do. Your satisfaction is paramount, from beverage selection through to bottling and, of course, in your glass!
Whether straight from the kit or completely customized, beverages are created on-premise under the personal care and attention of the owner, Duncan – a WSET Level 3 Sommelier and Recognized Beer Judge who thrives on crafting each batch to meet your desired flavour profile. Our production service includes artisanal brewing and vintning expertise, kit modifications and additives, fermentation monitoring, filtering, sweetening, and carbonation to style, plus corks, caps and labels. With 12+ years of fermentation experience, modern equipment, quality ingredients and leading techniques, we stand behind our customer satisfaction guarantee!
We also cater to the home wine and beer making enthusiast through retail sales, rentals and as much information and support as you need.
The Happy Homebrewer has the West Shore’s largest selection of kits and supplies, and offers equipment rentals as well as knowledgeable responses to any and all fermentation inquiries.
With kits and ingredients for top quality wines, beer, coolers, ciders, fruit wine, icewine, port and limited or seasonal releases, our stock both covers the basics and caters to the specialist. Inventory includes fermentation equipment, cleansers and sanitizers, yeast strains, malted grains, hops, additives, conditioners, candi, bottles, stoppers, corkers and cappers. If we don’t have it on the shelf already, we can probably get it for you!
Duncan is both a WSET Level 3 Wine Sommelier and Recognized Beer Judge, lending credentials to his passion for the craft and providing a skill set unique among British Columbia’s on-premise fermentation providers. These certifications are gained through applied and tested knowledge of established wine and beer styles, so let us put that savvy to use for you! Tell us your tastes or provide a commercial example of your favorite style and Duncan will definitely be able to please your palate.
With a full range of yeast strains and additives, custom modifications can be applied to any of our quality wine, cider or beer kits to make each batch unique to your tastes, whether dry, sweet, oaked, smooth, fruity, tannic or floral. Our ever-expanding selection of international bulk grain and hops are available for creating customized beer recipes from scratch, whether crafted on-premise by Duncan or brewed at home. Any batch can be made bubbly, with carbonation levels to match desired styles… just ask!
Making fruit wine or cider from scratch is a particular pleasure – what’s more rewarding than using your own harvest to create a delicious beverage to share with family and friends? Just ask Duncan how to best prepare your selected fruit and how much is required for your desired flavour outcome (or check out our Fruit Wine & Cider page). We also carry a range of fruit purees that can be added to kits for flavour, used to supplement your raw materials, or fermented on their own to create the beverage of your choice.
We are dedicated to providing a full range of kits, grains, hops, yeasts, additives, fermentation equipment and kegging supplies for home brewing and vintning enthusiasts. Whether you are just getting started with the basics, or have been making your own beverages for years and need a specialized piece of equipment, we are here for you! If a desired item isn’t in stock, we will do our best to find it for you and may bring it in as regular inventory to meet demand. Duncan is continually sourcing new suppliers, both domestic and international – ask away!
Every aspect of our production process is subject to review and enhancement as new applications of fermentation science become available. What this means for our clients is continuous improvement of the Happy Homebrewer’s production standards, materials and processes; For example, we apply the same sanitizers as used by wineries and breweries, which are held to a higher standard than UBrew operations. This dedication to progress shows in the quality of the end product – each improvement we make leads to better beverages for you.
Duncan has 12+ years of fermentation experimentation, experience and expertise to draw on when crafting your custom beverages on premise… and he is happy to share that knowledge with anyone making their own personal batches at home. No question too small, no problem too picky; making quality wine, beer and cider is Duncan’s passion. It’s part of our mission to grow interest in the practice of craft fermentation, so guidance, advice and troubleshooting is part of the service package. The Happy Homebrewer is here to help!
Other Client Benefits
Largest selection of kits, styles and supplies in the West Shore
Exceptional customer focus and service
100% guarantee on all batches fermented on premise
Loyalty rewards credited to your account for future purchases
New client referral rewards for you and all your friends
On-premise production volume deals
Military discount for members of the Canadian Armed Forces
Convenient parking and easy access to premises
Specials, sales and seasonal kit releases
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Wine made on-premise. It’s Easy.
What is a Wine Kit?
Our supplier selects the highest quality grapes from the finest vineyards around the world, using the same grapes as many familiar wine brands. The grapes are shipped to state-of-the-art facilities where experienced staff sort, crush and press the grapes with modern techniques and high-tech equipment. The juices and concentrates are blended, and monitored by a skilled Quality Assurance team to ensure the best possible quality for every one of the kits. The wine “must” is packaged into wine kits, along with other ingredients to create your favorite wine style.
Let’s get started!
We are ready to help make your experience the best it can be. It all starts with selection; winemaking is so much more than just the process of converting grape juice into a delightful wine. It’s about personalizing your experience by learning about wines and selecting from the many unique varieties and styles. More importantly, it’s about the pride and pleasure you feel when you taste the first sip of a wine customized just for you.
Why Make Wine?
Winemaking has changed drastically from the past when it was just an inexpensive alternative to store bought wines. Our supplier has access to top level vineyards around the globe and applies the highest quality standards and techniques to create superior quality wine kits. That’s just the starting point – as a level 3 WSET sommelier, Duncan is able to assess your palate and customize your wine through yeast, oaking, additives, blending and fermentation techniques to match your exact taste. Now there are so many more reasons to craft your own wine!
Craft winemaking is a unique experience that’s stress-free. It’s easy to get started and you’ll have fun learning more about wine throughout the process.
Craft winemaking is a great activity to enjoy with friends and family. The Happy 10 Packs also give you a chance to meet other community members and share the appreciation for wine while expanding your cellar with 10 different styles.
Create a custom wine cellar you are proud of and can share with friends and family while entertaining.
It’s not about price, it’s about value. As a wine enthusiast, you’ll appreciate being able to craft and serve quality wine at a fraction of the cost.
By crafting your own wine and keeping a stocked cellar, you’ll always have bottles on hand with fewer trips to the local liquor store.
Reusing your wine bottles reduces the amount of glass that needs to be produced for wine consumption. Being enviro-friendly benefits us all.
Make wine in-store with a craft winemaking specialist
Get started in three simple steps:
Select your wine and start winemaking
We will help you choose the wine that’s right for you, and can fully customize to match your palate. You will start the fermentation process by adding the winemaking ingredients to the juice, and we will keep an eye on your wine as it develops.
Bottle and label your wine
After 4 to 8 weeks of fermentation (depending on the wine you have chosen), you will return to bottle the wine. You will also cork your wine and finish it off with your choice of labels and shrink tops. Get creative and personalize your labels with our in house label printer to make the wine truly your own.
Take home and enjoy!
Fruit Wine & Cider
Whether it’s been a great year for grapes, plentiful with plums, an amazing apple harvest or a bountiful blackberry season, we can help you make the fruits of your labours into something delicious to drink.
The Happy Homebrewer offers completely customized fruit wine and cider production services, using your choice of prepared and frozen fruit. You bring the raw ingredients, we bring the facilities and fermentation expertise!
As each batch is unique to the type of fruit and customized to reflect your desired qualities, pricing reflects the degree of specialization and complexity required to produce each beverage, and is typically $140 for a 23L batch or $80 for 12L of wine or cider. As with on-premise kit production, the service fee includes labels, corks, and shrink caps. The price also reflects all of the additional ingredients and tests required to make your batch to your specifications, eg. initial consultation, acid balancing, additional sugars. If you would like your beverage sparkled (still ciders exist, and are quite delightful) just ask for it to be carbonated when placing your order.
The difference between a cider and a wine is the starting quantity of sugar, which leads to differences in final alcohol content, body, and flavour. Ciders tend to be between 5% – 7% alcohol, lighter and crisper; wines are 11% – 12%, fuller bodied and more complex, all from the same amount of fruit!
Fruit needs to be clean of blemishes that would prevent you from eating it, and have its skin intact. For optimal juice extraction, soft fruit has to be brought to us frozen, or we will kindly ask you to put it in your freezer for a day before you bringing it into the shop. If you are short on fruit or want to try blending different flavours, we also carry a range of fruit purees to play with.
Please see the table for guidelines on the quantities required of each type of fruit to produce a 23L batch. If you would like to mix fruit types (strawberry and rhubarb, for example), please contact us directly.
We are always pleased to brew on your behalf, but if you are excited to ferment fruit-based beverages at home we have everything you need to keep a batch on track, including troubleshooting advice and the full range of yeasts and additives used on-premise.
|Fruit|| Quantity for 23L|
| Quantity for 12L|
|Apple||41 (90)||20.5 (45)|
|Blackberry||18 (40)||9 (20)|
|Blueberry||27 (60)||13.5 (30)|
|Cherry||20 (45)||10 (42.5)|
|Cranberry||16 (35)||8 (17.5)|
|Grapes||27 (60)||13.5 (30)|
|Kiwi||18 (40)||9 (20)|
|Peach||34 (75)||17 (37.5)|
|Pear||50 (110)||25 (55)|
|Pineapple||11 (25)||5.5 (12.5)|
|Plum||20 (45)||10 (22.5)|
|Raspberry||14 (30)||7 (15)|
|Rhubarb||9 (20)||4.5 (10)|
|Strawberry||14 (30)||7 (15)|
|Tayberry||18 (40)||9 (20)|
|Watermelon||18 (40)||9 (20)|
The Happy Homebrewer offers cider kits with modification options as well as ciders from your own fruit. Please come in and talk to us about your delicious cider ideas, and stay tuned while we develop this part of the site!
The Happy Homebrewer offers two styles of beer kits, with modification options. We also have all the grains, yeast and hops required for custom recipes crafted from scratch, either at home or on-premise with our new 50L Blichmann BrewEasy System. Stay tuned while we develop this part of the site!
Q: How long after bottling should I wait to drink my wine? How long do I age my wines?
A: Short answer: it depends.
Long answer: A young wine will be full of fruity esters, which may or may not be a characteristic of that wine. Over time the esters will decay leaving more room for the earthy and spicy phenols to develop. A middle-aged wine will have a balance of these traits, while a well-aged wine will be more phenolic as the volatile esters have nearly completely decayed. When you drink your wine will depend on your personal taste for each wine’s characteristics. Whites should be consumed younger than reds to highlight their aromatic ester profiles.
In a recent issue of WineMaker magazine, an article on aging wine has the following quote: “Whether made from grapes or kits, there is no reason to age for more than a few months to a year. They are designed with low tannin extraction and younger, fruit forward qualities. If you like drinking wines with more fruity characteristics, you may not wish to age at all”.
We suggest to leave full-bodied red wines for at least 6 months, try medium-bodied reds at 3 months, and enjoy light-bodied reds, blushes and white wines immediately. At the Happy Homebrewer, our de-gasser artificially ages your wine for several months prior to bottling, so we suggest trying it on a monthly basis until you feel it is ready to be consumed.
Q: How long will my wine last?
A: That depends on a few factors: storage conditions, the type of corks you used, the amount of sulfites added and the type of wine. When making the wine at home, if you want to keep your wine over 6 months add an extra ¼ teaspoon of potassium metabisulfite. Most wine made on-premise should last a minimum of 2 years, although many are able to surpass 5 years if you are patient and storing it correctly; full-bodied reds and dessert wines should last longer.
Q: How should I store my wine?
A: Your wine should be stored in a dark, humid, cool (12°-15°C/55°-60°F) place with little temperature fluctuation and no movement. If you’ve used natural or agglomerated corks, store the wine on its side. If you’ve used synthetic corks or stelvin caps, it can be stored either standing up or on its side. After bottling, your wine should be left standing while the cork expands, minimum 24 hours and ideally 10 days.
Q: What type of cork is best?
A: There are several types of corks on the market: Natural cork, agglomerated cork, and synthetic cork. Stelvin caps (screwtop) have become more popular in recent years as well.
Natural: This is cork that is punched directly from the bark and shows a grain. It is the most traditional cork, and will let the wine breathe best, allowing it to age and oxidize naturally. This will decrease the amount of time that you are able to age a wine as the oxidation process will always occur, and cannot be reversed. This cork has the highest risk of cork taint which can ruin a bottle of wine and is undetectable until it is too late. Wine must be stored on its side as early as possible after the cork re-expands post bottling, to prevent the cork from drying out, shrinking and letting in bacteria. These are mid-range priced corks, and are becoming hard to locate. Life expectancy of wine: 6 – 18 months.
Agglomerated: Granulated cork bark is adhered to itself and formed into corks creating a higher density cork with fewer air pockets and no risk of cork channeling. This helps decrease the risk of cork taint and the speed of oxidation although does not remove either. Wine must be stored on its side as early as possible after the cork re-expands post bottling, to prevent the cork from drying out, shrinking and letting in bacteria. These are the cheapest corks and very easy to find. Life expectancy of wine: 1 – 2 years.
Synthetic: Made from food grade PVC, synthetic corks are sterile and do not breathe. There is no risk of cork taint, and oxidation happens at the slowest rate. Wine does not have to be stored on its side as these corks will not dry out if there is no contact with the wine. This is the most expensive option for corks but is becoming more popular and readily available. Life expectancy of wine: 2 – 5 years.
Stelvin caps: These are aluminum with an oxygen absorbing barrier. If sealed properly, they eliminate oxygen inside the bottle and increase the life expectancy of your wine. They carry no risk of cork taint, and can be easily sanitized prior to use. They are the easiest and most convenient seal to remove, requiring no additional equipment. They are, however, difficult to seal properly and require very expensive equipment to do so. This is the most expensive option due to the materials and equipment required. The Happy Homebrewer has Stelvin caps for your screw top bottles, but does not have a sealer. Without the Stelvin cap sealing equipment, the life expectancy is only 6 – 18 months; if they are sealed properly you can enjoy your wine for up to 10 years.
The Happy Homebrewer uses synthetic corks to decrease the need for preservatives, increase the life expectancy of the wine, and remove the risk of cork taint. The additional cost is worth it for us, and most customers agree.
Q: What temperature should I store/drink my wine?
Wine is best stored in a dark location at the same temperature it is to be consumed. Below is a guide but for the most part store it as close to the temperature you enjoy it at!
|6 – 8 °C|
43 – 47 °F
|Off dry whites and sparkling wines like Gewurztraminer, Pinot Grigio|
|9 – 10 °C|
48 – 50 °F
|Medium to lighter bodied whites like Sauvignon Blanc, unoaked Chardonnay, dry Riesling|
|11 – 13 °C|
51 – 55 °F
|Juicy, fruity reds and full bodied oaked whites like White Burgundy, Chardonnay, and Valpolicella|
|14 – 16 °C|
56 – 60 °F
|Medium to lighter bodied reds like Pinot Noir, Chianti, Zinfandel|
|17 – 18 °C|
61 – 65 °F
|Rich, intense, spicy warm reds like Amarone, Bordeaux, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon|
Q: Can I store my wine in my fridge then?
A: That is not a great place to store wine long-term because it is too cool, too dry and is generally vibrating. However if that is the temperature you enjoy drinking it at a year isn’t considered long term for a wine that is destined to be enjoyed.
Q: What temperature should I store/drink my beer or cider?
Wine and beer is best stored in a dark location at the same temperature it is to be consumed. Below is a guide but for the most part store it as close to the temperature you enjoy it at!
|Temperature||Beer and Cider|
|0 – 4 °C|
32 – 39 °F
|Pale Lager, Malt Liquor, Golden Ale, Cream Ale, Low Alcohol Cider|
|5 – 7 °C|
40 – 45 °F
|Pilsners, Wheat ales and lagers, Premium Lagers and Fruit Beers.|
|8 – 12 °C|
46 – 54 °F
|Amber Ale, Stout, Porter, English-style Golden Ale, Belgian Ale, Bohemian Pilsner, Dunkel, Dortmunder, Vienna, Irish Ale, French or Spanish-style Cider|
|13 – 15 °C|
55 – 59 °F
|Bitters, India Pale Ale, English Pale Ale, Saison, Unblended Lambic, Bock, Scottish Ale, Strong Ale, English-style Cider|
|16 – 18 °C|
60 – 65 °F
|Barley Wine, Quadrupel, Imperial Stout, Imperial/Double IPA, Doppelbock, Eisbock, Mead|
Q: After three years my wine tastes different. Has it turned to vinegar? What happened?
A: Wine doesn’t ever just “turn to vinegar”; vinegar-making is an entirely separate process. Over time, wine will start to oxidize and you will notice the flavour is not as nice as it once was. The wine will not be as fruity and fresh tasting due to the decay of esters. It may become one-dimensional and flavourless, and possibly have developed an entirely different mouthfeel. Acetalhyde bacteria may have decayed the alcohol into a vinegar-like compound, resulting in that unpleasant taste – please don’t cook with it.
Q: Well then, what wine should I cook with?
A: If you won’t drink it, don’t cook with it! Otherwise, enjoy and experiment; cooking with wine, beer or cider is a very rewarding endeavor. Chefs often recommend cooking with the same beverage you intend to pair with your meal.