Wine kits - worth a go?

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r055c0

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I've been toying with the idea of making some wine at home, without getting into the arguments about how cheap wine is these days and whether or not it's worth the time to do it yourself, has anyone tried making wine from a kit?

I'm talking about kits like the ones they sell at Brewcraft, http://www.liquorcraft.com.au/afawcs0133826/CATID=287/SUBID=473/WINE-KITS/Red-wine-kits.html

Any thoughts or feedback would be ace, even better if you live in the eastern suburbs of melbourne and want to trade a bottle of red for a couple of beers ;)
 

Not For Horses

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Yeah I've tried a few of those sort of kits a few years back. Can't remember which brand exactly now.
They are ok. Not amazing, not rubbish. They are better wine than kit beer is beer if that makes sense.
 

QldKev

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I made one a few years back. Read ONE. IMHO it only made cheap wine and was not worth the effort. But if you drink alot of $5 wine bottles it would be worth it moreso.
 

Golani51

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I know of several people who were very impressed with he quality of some of the better kits. That being said, I have two to try out. One is a Reisling and the other a Merlot. I am in Bentleigh so happy enough if close enough to you and you want to catch up.

I will be doing real grapes next season with a mate or two (who have good connections with winemakers and equipment) so this would be a good starting point if you are interested in joining us. I can also email you some books that are excellend resources Ie Idiots Guide to Winemaking.
 

Beertard

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My neighbour's been making those kits for years, I'm not a wine drinker but the samples passed over the fence have been a decent drop, better than cheap cask I've tasted.
They showed me how they do it one day and they're as easy as a kit beer to brew but doesn't taste like a kit, you have to let it totally clear in the fermenter before bottling and he produces crystal clear bottles of white, red and some fruity ones for her.
 

Vini2ton

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Honestly,fair dinkum,wine-kits?I've read of them on seppo sites, but that says it all I reckon.Get grapes,stomp em,ferment ,plunge,press,barrel, rack,rack,bottle,yawn.
 

Not For Horses

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Vini2ton said:
Honestly,fair dinkum,wine-kits?I've read of them on seppo sites, but that says it all I reckon.Get grapes,stomp em,ferment ,plunge,press,barrel, rack,rack,bottle,yawn.
you can get cider kits. Is it really that much of a stretch to wine kits?
 

Greg.L

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Not For Horses said:
you can get cider kits. Is it really that much of a stretch to wine kits?
That's not a very good reason to buy a wine kit. As I understand it cider kits are a can of cheap concentrate with preservative and artificial sweetener. If wine kits are that sort of thing they definitely won't be worth buying. With wine the important thing is the quality of the fruit, if they use decent fruit the wine should be ok but if you want good quality wine you should get it made by a professional.
 

Beertard

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Theyre a large bag, i think 10l, of crushed grape juice and chunks of skin and shit, similar to what you'd get out of a grape press minus some of the solids.
Sachets of pectinase, acids, tannins and clearing agents you add to make your desired drop, not a can of who knows what and adjustable by the additives to make sweet or dry or how ever else you like it.
From my observations and as displayed to me.
 

Beertard

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Actually I was thinking one of the bags could make an ok cask beer conditioner/dispenser by fitting a tap to the lid and installing it in a small esky or barrel.
 

indica86

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Greg.L said:
That's not a very good reason to buy a wine kit. As I understand it cider kits are a can of cheap concentrate with preservative and artificial sweetener. If wine kits are that sort of thing they definitely won't be worth buying. With wine the important thing is the quality of the fruit, if they use decent fruit the wine should be ok but if you want good quality wine you should get it made by a professional.
Not all cider cans have preservative and sweeteners, the Blackrock does not.
By your logic we should all get beer made by the professionals too.
 

Greg.L

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indica86 said:
Not all cider cans have preservative and sweeteners, the Blackrock does not.
By your logic we should all get beer made by the professionals too.
Wine isn't the same as beer, so I don't follow your logic. It all comes down to what sort of quality you are expecting, do you just want a pleasant everyday drink or do you seek good quality wine. Everyone has different expectations.
 

Golani51

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The kits contain the grape concentrate, and in most bags there are oak chips or cubes, clearing agents, dried skins/stems, yeast, etc. Some are known as rubbish and others as producing a decent wine. The whites are ready in a couple months and the reds generally 6+. It is certainly more involved than beer kits, and a good way to learn the process. It is certainly a good stepping stone to the real thing and you can adjust it to your taste. At worst you have a lot of cooking wine and potential vinegar. The real thing takes a lot more in terms of cost (if no equipment such as presses and destemers) and certainly time so what do you have to lose.

R
 

Airgead

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Wine is however very much like cider and that's certainly possible to make at home. There are many families who also make grape wine at home very successfully.

The actual winemaking process is very simple. There is great skill in how that process is managed but the biggest determinant in wine quality (provided you manage the fermentation enough to avoid infections and the like) is fruit quality. Same as cider.

Working from kits means all you have to work with is the process. You may be using good quality fruit, you may not. its the same as making cider from shop bought juice. There's not much you can do to alter or improve it.

If however you work from fruit - buy good quality fruit from an orchard (for cider) of vineyard ( for wine) you get much better control of your final product. I have a very good relationship with my orchardist and can choose to pick when the balance of acid and sugars in the fruit is exactly what I am looking for. That's what you can't get from kits.

So... are they worth using? Depends... If they use good quality fruit, and that fruit will produce something you like, then maybe. But its not going to be the same as working from fruit.

Cheers
Dave
 

Greg.L

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Making wine at home is great fun and well worth trying, but much more satisfying if you start with fruit. My own experience is that making good wine is much harder than making good cider, but once again it depends on your expectations. My biggest tip would be always use glass demijohns for storage and clearing, you can make decent cider in plastic containers but it is much easier to make good wine in glass (kept filled to the top).
People underestimate the skills of good professional winemakers, I have met a few and the skill they have is quite awesome. It is a very difficult job to do well.
 

Deep End

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I wouldnt buy one expecting to make Grange, I'd buy one if the thought of making your own wine interests you. I cant say I'm a big wine fan, but at the right time,and place with the right wine I'll have a go. I've been pissing around making fruit wines and meads for the last few years and I enjoy the process more than the end result, but the end results have also turned out quite well. I'm at the stage where I'm interested in buying some grape juice concentrate or otherwise and just having a crack at a proper vino made from de grape, alternatively I go see the local vineyard at picking time and get myself a few buckets and start pressing etc. Long story short if the idea interests you or you can see some sort of reward from doing it go for it, taste is secondary in my opinion, its the journey not the destination.
 

Blind Dog

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Greg.L said:
Making wine at home is great fun and well worth trying, but much more satisfying if you start with fruit. My own experience is that making good wine is much harder than making good cider, but once again it depends on your expectations. My biggest tip would be always use glass demijohns for storage and clearing, you can make decent cider in plastic containers but it is much easier to make good wine in glass (kept filled to the top).
People underestimate the skills of good professional winemakers, I have met a few and the skill they have is quite awesome. It is a very difficult job to do well.
Sorry to be blunt but bollocks. Making good wine is easy, making good cider is a mystical art requiring Druids steeped in the ancient lore. And the sacrifice of virgins on mid summers, what poncy winemaker ever sacrificed a virgin?
 

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