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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Wine Making Forum > Expensive vs inexpensive wines
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Old 02-27-2011, 01:30 AM   #1
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Default Expensive vs inexpensive wines

I've read in numerous places that give a blind taste test of wine, most people can't tell the difference between a really expensive wine and 5$ gallon jug wine.

Does it follow that wine kits are the same way?

I just started homebrewing and am slowly but surely persuading the wife to start making her own wine... *tents fingers menacingly*

Anyway since sources are always nice, a quick google search gave me these:

http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.co...16/cheap-wine/

http://www.vinography.com/archives/2...aste_bett.html

http://www.corbettbarr.com/cheap-vs-...the-difference


hm, it looks like the conclusion is that ignorance is bliss...

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Old 02-27-2011, 01:34 AM   #2
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Are you "most people"?

From all accounts, the *good* wine kits are well worth it, and you still end up paying well less than $10 a bottle.

In terms of commercial wine, most cheap wine (<$8 or so) tends to me to be very one-dimensional (usually very sweet), but I find plenty, plenty of great wines at ~$15 or so. Depends on what you're looking for. My sense is that there's a law of diminishing returns, there's a big difference (usually) between a $5 bottle and a $10 or $15 bottle, but less difference between a $15 bottle and one that costs $25. Speaking in VERY broad strokes, though.

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Old 02-27-2011, 01:46 AM   #3
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For the most part I'm most people

I can certainly agree with your suggestion of diminishing returns. I had a friend once who was 100% alcoholic and spent a lot of money on wines (and other booze...). When I drank with him I could very rarely determine a difference between $50 and $30 wines.

Seems the wines I like the most are in the $15-25 range. Probably partly because my pocketbook gets offended at excessive expenditures, heh.

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Old 02-27-2011, 01:58 AM   #4
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I agree with Bird. I've purchased some cheap wine kits and been disappointed in the result. I'd suggest purchasing at least the mid-range kits to start with - that way there's a better chance she'll continue making wine.

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Old 02-27-2011, 02:03 AM   #5
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I am definitely in the camp that says once you start getting past 25 dollars a bottle there is a good chance that alot of the improvement in taste is just the taste of money. However, I always think that in terms of brewing beer/wine you might as well spring for the higher quality starting ingredients - you are going to end up getting a great deal in terms of price anyway so why not spend a few extra dollars on the front end?

With the time and effort you are going to put into any homebrew project it is a shame if your final product isn't what you hoped just because you didn't start with quality ingredients.

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Old 02-27-2011, 02:25 AM   #6
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I'll keep all this in mind. As a general rule I don't like grabbing the cheapest ingredients for any recipe I use.

Thanks for the insight.

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Old 02-27-2011, 03:23 AM   #7
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I've said this before, but the expensive kits in this case generally ARE worth it, depending on what you want.

The cheaper $60ish Winexpert kits are ok. They make a wine that I would consider equal to about a $5-$7 bottle. One dimensional, easy drinking, and ready soon. They are good, and I make a couple every year, for an every day dinner wine at home.

The more expensive $80-$100 kits are better. They tend to have more juice, and not as much concentrate and don't tend to have as much as a "kit taste" to them. They may be a little more complex, but still ready soon and don't age well. They remind me of a $10-$15 bottle of wine. This is good enough for company, as long as they like Yellow Tail-type wines.

The best kits come with grape skins and more juice. They have oak spirals instead of oak dust. They have quality juice from quality grapes. They are usually $135-$200 and I'd compare them to a $20-$25 bottle of wine, or more, if treated well and aged appropriately. They have depth and complexity and are good enough for guests unless your guests are intractable wine snobs.

I make a combination of each of these price ranges each year. Usually one (or two at most) of the "best" kits, a couple of the el cheapo kits, and maybe one of the middle range. This gives me a good selection for my cellar. Bob drinks wine every day with meals, so we sometimes want a tasty bottle of cheap wine and those el cheapo kits are great for that. Better than Carlo Rossi swill, and cheaper besides. The best kits will age well for up to 5 years or more, so we only drink them for special occasions, company, or just because. The middle priced ones we enjoy because they aren't too expensive, but better than the cheap wines we could buy, so we have them whenever we're not drinking the el cheapo stuff.

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Old 02-27-2011, 03:43 AM   #8
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I like Gallo of Sonoma and they are not all that expensive. About $8 for a bottle. Price is about half of what it was 4 years ago for a bottle.

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Old 02-27-2011, 05:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Better than Carlo Rossi swill,

Blasphemy!! Mr. Rossi got me through college....
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:49 PM   #10
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thanks for that write up Yooper. I've only done the $70-range WineXpert kits and liked them plenty.

I agree they aren't 'special' but they taste a HELL of a lot better than 'two buck chuck' but end up costing the same price (about $3 a bottle).

I also prefer my wife cook with my cheap wine and drink whats left (or forget to drink it) than her buying $10 wine to make a sauce with.

My wine palate just isn't refined enough to appreciate great wine

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