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Old 01-10-2010, 06:55 PM   #11
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I like the uniqueness of handmade wines. My blueberry and pear wines come from fruit that ripens outside my door and I have overseen every step of the process, made a wine that I have tasted and adjusted to my liking, racked into bottles and corked myself. There's not another wine like it on the planet, at any price. You can't buy wine like that, anywhere. That's the beauty of home winemaking, in my opinion. I'm sure there is a satisfaction for many in trying to replicate a fine wine they have enjoyed somewhere, but I get pleasure in creating wines that can't be duplicated by anyone.

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Old 01-10-2010, 10:39 PM   #12
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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.
same here. If I can "clone" the $10-$20 stuff at a lesser cost and have fun doing it, I'm good with that for now. It would be kind of cool to be able to grow your own fruit and do it all end-to-end like that, but unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to do that.
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Old 01-11-2010, 03:30 AM   #13
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Yea, I've really been looking at getting into some wines. I've been hedging with the reds, but am pretty committed to the whites.

As long as a I can make a good everyday red house/table wine, I'll be happy.

But it's concerning me that kits don't seem to want to do the job at getting up to the ~$20 range equivalent. Lots of other boards seem confident that theirs are, but are they jsut biased, or do we have a bunch of wine snobs on here?

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Old 01-11-2010, 03:42 AM   #14
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I've only made one wine kit, a relatively inexpensive cabernet sauvignon (can't remember the kit manufacturer). I thought it was a fantastic table wine. I'm not sure why, but some bottles were much better than others. Some had a very subtle off aroma/flavor that was a bit reminiscent of old fish (can you really taste chitosan?). None were obviously infected, and the off flavor seemed to be independent of age.

I was definitely encouraged to try another wine kit. Friends who drink far more wine than I seemed to think that it was fantastic and rivaled expensive bottles. I'm not certain a true wine expert would agree, but I definitely appreciated the positive feedback.

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Old 01-11-2010, 11:34 AM   #15
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I agree with other posters who say the real advantage of home winemaking is producing a unique wine that is unavailable commercially. Mead is a perfect example of an amateur being able to produce a superior product due to the fact that the ingredients are expensive and may not be commercially viable. I've tasted far more excellent mead made by amateurs than I have commercial mead. Like a home grilled steak, you can make exactly what you like and tailor the recipe to please yourself.

Having said that, I still maintain that upper end red kits containing 16-18 litres of juice and concentrate in the $150-$200 range can produce a wine equal to what most casual wine drinkers will buy commercially, assuming the wine is aged under proper conditions for at least a couple of years. I feel these wines will easily rival a $15 wine. You just won't be able to make wine of this quality with a 10L-12L kit.

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Old 01-11-2010, 01:09 PM   #16
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I bought a couple of high end kits, and a few cheaper kits. All made drinkable wine.

The "cheaper" kits, about $50-$60 Vintner's Reserve kits were fine. The valpollicella was better than the shiraz. I would say they were like a $5-$7 bottle of red wine. Fine for everyday drinking, and a nice wine with dinner. Now, would I brag this up to a winesnob? Of course not, no more than I would serve "Concha de Toro" wine and claim it's Rothschild. But I would serve it as a table wine with pizza, and enjoy it very much.

The higher end kits, that were on sale for $150 were much better. I made a special release tannot/merlot blend and one was a malbec. These are still aging, but I've had several of them. The tannot is about 2 years old, and is wonderful. In 3-5 years, it should be fantastic. I would say these are comparable to $20 bottles.

I make "country" wines, too. My best wines are a crabapple (white) and oaked chokecherry. These don't taste like the actual fruit, any more than grape wines taste like grapes.

I have yet to buy a bucket of juice and try that- it's just not easy to get fresh juice here. But I will do that in retirement!

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Old 01-11-2010, 01:45 PM   #17
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I'm sure I don't have an "educated" pallet, but the wines I have made so far taste good to me. My friends that I have shared them with for the most part have really enjoyed them as well-but of course a lot of that could be because they didn't have to pay for them.

My line of thinking is not many of us would drink a $20.00 bottle a wine on a regular basis and with these kits we can affordably drink "nice" wines whenever we want to. Plus, with the limited release kits I can get 30 bottles of quality wine from a region that I'm not likely to have even heard of other wise.

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Old 01-11-2010, 04:08 PM   #18
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My line of thinking is not many of us would drink a $20.00 bottle a wine on a regular basis and with these kits we can affordably drink "nice" wines whenever we want to. Plus, with the limited release kits I can get 30 bottles of quality wine from a region that I'm not likely to have even heard of other wise.
That's my line also. I like a bottle with dinner, but lots of the cheaper wines out there just suck. You can find some good ones, but not great ones for $5.

If I could make a nice reliable red table wine, I'd be happy.

I love Basque food, and a lot of good places serve a burgundy or something that is just a nice simple table wine with dinner which is obviously home-produced, and that's what I'm aiming for.

I think that I'll be just fine
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Old 01-11-2010, 06:28 PM   #19
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If you pick a quality kit and clsoely follow the instructions you should end up happy. The best part is the "cool factor" that comes with knowing you made it yourself. Enjoy!

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