With all of the wine kits available, how do you choose the right kit for you? This is the most common question I hear. In the following paragraphs, I will try to explain the various levels of wine kits available to assist you in your purchase. Whenever you are ready to choose your kit, you can click on the brands listed below or use our Wine Varieties page to see a list of our wine ingredients kits by varietal.
The most important factor in choosing your wine kit is "WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DRINK?" Do you like red wines, white wines, fruit wines, light body, full body, sweet, dry, etc. Hopefully, the information presented below will help you in your decision making process. If not, remember, please call us and we will do our best to help you select the wine kit that will best suit your taste!
Except where indicated, all of the wine kits listed below make 6 U.S. gallons of wine (30 standard wine bottles). All subsequent references to gallons will be U.S. gallons. In addition, except for water, these kits come with all of the additives you need to ferment, stabilize and clear your wine.
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A fair number of wine makers like to start here as the wines in this group are low alcohol, sweet and quick to drink. These wine kits have a traditional wine for the base, but a flavor pack is added just before bottling to give the wine a fruit flavor and much sweeter taste. Even seasoned wine makers like to make these wines for guests that don't care for traditional wines. These wines kits take about 4 weeks from start to finish and can be enjoyed immediately after bottling. As as result, these wines are great for large gatherings like family reunions and weddings. Brands in this group are:
10-12 LITER KITS
These wine kits are normally ready to bottle in 4-5 weeks. This does not mean they are ready to drink. These kits improve substantiantially during the first 2 months in the bottle and will continue to improve for up to 6 months. If stored properly, you can reasonably expect them to keep for up to 2 years.
These kits contain at least 10 liters (approximately 2.5 gallons) of a blend of grape concentrate and fresh juice. You add approximately 3-3.5 gallons of water to make a traditional wine with an alcohol level in the 10-13% range. You can expect a wine with good flavors and aroma with a light to medium body. These kits need to age at least 2 months and will improve for up to 18 months. In addition, some of these wine kits come with a 1.5 liter package of grape skins to give the wine more flavor and body. These wines are best consumed before 2 years. The brands we carry are:
15-18 LITER KITS
These wine kits contain approximately 4-5 gallons of concentrate and juice; consequently, they also contain more total dissolved solids which results in more body and higher alcohol. With these wine kits, you only have to add a maximun of 2 gallons of water. You can expect to get traditional 12.5-14% wines from these kits. You can also expect more flavor and aroma. The downside is these wines take longer to make (6-12 weeks) and require longer aging time to bring out the full flavors and aromas. With good storage conditions, these wines should cellar for 5 years.
Not only do these kits contain more juice, some of them also come from specific geographic locations, like New Zealand, Chile, and Washington. As a result the quality of juice used in these kits is exceptional and will produce an outstanding wine. These wines also contain more tannins which will increase the required aging time. Usually a minimum of 1 year of aging is necessary to bring out the full characteristics of the wine, but they will continue to improve for another year and store for at least five years. In addtion, some of these wines also come with raisins or a grape pack to add additional tannins, sugar and structure to the wine. The following brands fall in this grouping:
23 LITER KITS
These wine kits contain 23 liters of grape juice and do not require the addition of water. The juices are pasteurized to give the wine kit a shelf life of one year. These kits can be bottled after 2 months, but it is recommended to leave them in the carboy for 4 months. Optimization occurs at nine months, but the wines will continue to improve for up to 2 years. These wines should cellar for at least 5 years. Brands included are:
These wine kits contain 11.5 liters of grape juice and do not require the addition of water. The juices are pasteurized to give the wine kit a shelf life of 18 months. These kits can be bottled in 6-8 weeks and can be fortified to increase the final alcohol level. Theese wines are usually ready to drink in 3 months, but will continue to improve for up to 2 years. If you fortify these wines, you should wait an additional 3-6 months to drink to allow the additional alcohol to marry with the wine. These wines should cellar for at least 5 years. Brands included are:
I hope this short synopsis of the wine kits helps you decide which wine kit is right for you or the person receiving your gift. If you still have questions, please give us a call. We are always available to assist you in your home wine making needs.
Help! I want to make wine, but don't know where to start!
Also, don't forget to register. Registration is NOT required, but it can save you 5-10% on your first order and will automatically enroll you in our FVW Growers Club.