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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Wine Making Forum > the quality of the grapes determines _% of the quality of the wine?

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Old 03-13-2012, 02:55 PM   #1
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Default the quality of the grapes determines _% of the quality of the wine?

Of course, the VARIETAL of grapes determines 100% of the VARIETAL of wine you end up with, but what about quality? I am new to winemaking; I see $50 kits and $150 kits for sale. Trying to figure out where the value point is. I know with beer brewing, the quality of the malts and grains from all suppliers is so universally high, that you really have to blame the brewer if he makes lousy beer. It seems like wine would be much more dependent on the quality of grapes, since there are fewer ingredients involved.

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Old 03-13-2012, 03:07 PM   #2
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In my experience with kits, which has only been about 3-4 years, is that the quality of the kit definitely relates to the quality of the final product.

The really expensive kits are usually limited editions, or rare and remote varietals though. I still believe the best wine I ever made was WinExpert's 2011 limited Pacific white -- And I'm more of a fan of big reds.

I will tell you that I've had great luck with the kits in the 80-90$ range, especially the blends. Cellar Craft's California white meritage is one of my favorite blend kits.

but you know man... it's all personal taste but I've found the best value at the 80-90$ range for the kits.

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Old 03-13-2012, 03:09 PM   #3
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I've never done kits but this is what I've gathered from similar questions asked on this site.
If you buy a kit for $150 it will be like a $25-30 bottle from the store. Basically a higher quality wine.
If you buy a kit for $50 it will be like a $10 bottle from the store. Not as complex with the flavors and just a simpler wine.

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Old 03-14-2012, 12:12 AM   #4
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ok, that's about what I expected to hear. My dad has made a bunch of wines from $50 kits, and they're good but there's "something" missing.

I assumed the vineyards have tiered pricing just like everyone else, where certain batches of grapes go to the best customers/winemakers, and cheaper on down the line.

What is the difference between kit wines and non-kit wines? Do you mean you are pressing your own grapes?

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Old 03-14-2012, 12:33 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by twd000 View Post
ok, that's about what I expected to hear. My dad has made a bunch of wines from $50 kits, and they're good but there's "something" missing.

I assumed the vineyards have tiered pricing just like everyone else, where certain batches of grapes go to the best customers/winemakers, and cheaper on down the line.

What is the difference between kit wines and non-kit wines? Do you mean you are pressing your own grapes?
The cheaper kits lack complexity, but can be very drinkable. Similar in quality to "Two Buck Chuck", or a $3-5 bottle of wine. I like them for dinner just for us, but for a nice wine, I like a $125-$175 kit which gives a nice wine similar to many nice commercial bottles in the $20-$25 range. I made a tannat/merlot blend about 6 years ago ($150 kit but on sale for $119!) that is a world class wine. But most are "good" to "very good" in that price range.

Non-kit wines mean buying grapes, or pressed grapes, and adjusting the acid and pH and fermenting them. You can get a pail of juice after harvest time, or buy a pail from a supplier that has them frozen. I bought some sauvignon blanc juice and some pinot noir grapes from Midwest that were frozen. They turned out great, although I'm no expert with acid adjustments. I also make "country" wines- out of cherries, blueberries, rhubarb, etc, which would be non-kit wines as well.
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Old 03-14-2012, 03:09 AM   #6
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The cheaper kits lack complexity, but can be very drinkable. Similar in quality to "Two Buck Chuck", or a $3-5 bottle of wine. I like them for dinner just for us, but for a nice wine, I like a $125-$175 kit which gives a nice wine similar to many nice commercial bottles in the $20-$25 range. I made a tannat/merlot blend about 6 years ago ($150 kit but on sale for $119!) that is a world class wine. But most are "good" to "very good" in that price range.

Non-kit wines mean buying grapes, or pressed grapes, and adjusting the acid and pH and fermenting them. You can get a pail of juice after harvest time, or buy a pail from a supplier that has them frozen. I bought some sauvignon blanc juice and some pinot noir grapes from Midwest that were frozen. They turned out great, although I'm no expert with acid adjustments. I also make "country" wines- out of cherries, blueberries, rhubarb, etc, which would be non-kit wines as well.

Interesting. Good to know there is a "sweet spot" in that upper middle range as others have noted,. I assume you mostly get what you pay for, since the internet-based vendors are so competitive these days.

What is a normal price premium for the kit vs. raw juice? It's probably worth it to have the pros stabilize and make adjustments for me as a beginner.
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