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gawine 01-10-2010 02:49 PM

brewers thoughts on home wine quality
 
So I have a batch of wine and beer fermenting along and am curious what type of results to expect. I think home brewed beer quality will be pretty good/decent while as with the wine I'm not so sure it would be as tasty as the brew. any thoughts/experience there? It seems like wine can be more complicated to get a good batch, it has a lot to do with terroir and the grape quality which could be hard to control when doing home wine kits. so, i have higher hopes for my beer as opposed to the wine.

Vinic 01-10-2010 03:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gawine (Post 1799012)
. I think home brewed beer quality will be pretty good/decent while as with the wine I'm not so sure it would be as tasty as the brew. any thoughts/experience there?


That was my assessment 20 years ago when I first started homebrewing. I REALLY like nice wines, but at that time, the wine kits were in cans and just did not produce a quality I cared for. Back then, all I was drinking (wine wise) was big reds. Now I recognize the many different times and places appropriate for a wide variety of wines... well, beverages of all kinds!

But times have changed, and I've had some very nice wines made from the bag in a box kits, especially the whites. The reds still lack in body and have a little bit of cooked fruit character. The end product is usually drinkable, but IMO not worth the money and effort.

If you're really looking for high quality, there are frozen musts that produce wonderful wines. If your LHBS doesn't carry them, check out Brehms grapes. These require a bit more equipment as you'll have to press the juice/wine from the grapes, but if you're looking for top quality, it's really the only way to go, for reds.

Another alternative, our LHBSs will have fresh local grapes available in the season (August-October), and they usually will have crush days.

Home brews, have long been able to match or exceed many commercial brews.

gawine 01-10-2010 04:38 PM

Interesting, thanks a lot for the feedback. I was going to spend $180 or so and buy an expensive red kit next, we'll see how this first batch turns out before I take that step. I saw some that come with grape skins, I imagine that will help some. The down side as we all know is you have to wait one year for those good kits, that can be tough to do.

I was going to do a white but after having a decent bottle of Benziger Reserve Chardonnay yesterday I realize I'm just not a big enough fan to have 30 bottles of it.

summersolstice 01-10-2010 04:42 PM

The characteristics in red wines Vinic referred to is also sometimes known as "kit taste". Some people swear they can detect it while others swear it's a myth. Personally, I feel that lower end red kits will have a certain sweet or carmelized smell and taste that isn't there at all in a well aged higher end kit made with raisins or a grape pack, or in wines made from grapes. I feel the addition of these grape solids greatly improve the overall quality of a red kit and, when properly aged for a couple of years, the kit taste is completely, or virtually, undectable.

DaveAllen 01-10-2010 04:49 PM

Of the red kits that I have made, I haven't found one that I find good. Passable, but not good. White wine kits I have found can be exceptionally good, but I don't drink much white wine at all.

gawine 01-10-2010 04:58 PM

Ha yeah, I've been skeptical of the red kits; hesitantly optimistic that it will turn into something good. Of course everyones' taste's vary. On a wine forum, I presented a similar question and everyone swears they are just great. But when I see that that reviewer is making peach wine, mead and other things that I wouldn't drink I realize we likely have different tastes!

jcobbs 01-10-2010 05:13 PM

I've never been able to appreciate all the subtle differences in wines that others taste; I just find some that I like better than others. So I can't really speak to the differences in kits, although I would speculate that it seems logical that it would be harder to reproduce the subtleties of very fine wines at home. To me one of the great advantages of home winemaking is that you can make delicious specialty wines that aren't economically feasible for a commercial winery to make and market. I daresay that one would be hard-pressed to find a quality blueberry-vanilla melomel commercially available, even though there are numerous examples on this website.

gawine 01-10-2010 05:16 PM

Ha, true. I'm not looking to make a $100 retail equivalent bottle. Would be happy with $20 retail really. We'll see how this first batch turns out. It's a blend of three red grapes, mid tier quality I'd say at $80.

david_42 01-10-2010 05:25 PM

I've only made specialty wines. I haven't heard enough good things about grape wine kits to tempt me. To me the problem is lack of control over the grapes, which is 90% of the process. When I do a blackberry wine, I've picked each berry myself.

boo boo 01-10-2010 05:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by david_42 (Post 1799240)
I've only made specialty wines. I haven't heard enough good things about grape wine kits to tempt me. To me the problem is lack of control over the grapes, which is 90% of the process. When I do a blackberry wine, I've picked each berry myself.

I don't drink much wine, even the wine I make, but I agree with everyone here who said that IMO a red wine made from a kit just don't taste right.
To me it is a bit thin compared to commercial.White wine seems to be OK in my book.

I do make berry wines and like David_42, I pick the berries myself. My blueberry wine is much better than the commercial blueberry wine available locally, at least according to the comments I get from those who drink my own. I really don't taste much difference between mine and the store bought.
I guess it comes down to the ripeness of the berries I pick compared to that of the local winery who buy their berries and perhaps don't pick through them by hand like I do. I imagine both our processes are much alike.


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