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Old 06-24-2009, 03:50 PM   #1
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Default Thinkin' about wine

I was flipping through the NB catalog with the missus, and the wine kits caught her eye. Thinking about doing a Riesling, as it is one of her favorites.

Like I need encouragement.

Any recommendations re: juice kits?

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Old 06-24-2009, 04:50 PM   #2
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I just got their winemaking catalog for the first time, and was thinking of making a wine also. The Selection Speciale Riesling Icewine was a gold medal winner @ 2008 international amateur winemaking competition.

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Old 06-24-2009, 05:14 PM   #3
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The Ice Riesling caught my eye as well - I can see winemaking being an occasional venture, just for special occasions.

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Old 06-24-2009, 05:20 PM   #4
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I LOVE the wine kits! If she's willing to experiment with different ones, that's great.

There are many different price ranges, and in this case, you get what you pay for. I've seen the Winexpert kits as low as $52 or so on sale. I've made quite a few of them, and the wine is ok. Kind of like a $5-$7 bottle, if I had to compare. The thing is, these kits are 4 week kits, so they're quick. They taste as good as they are going to get in about 4 months, and last a year or two without losing quality.

The most expensive kits I've seen are in the $150 range. Those not only have way more juice in them, they include crushed grape skins for the ferment, and usually oak spirals instead of sawdust, for the oaking. These kits are best after at least a year or two, and make a really nice bottle of wine, probably comparable to a $30 bottle. I've made a terriffic tannat/merlot blend with a "crushendo" kit that is going to be great in another year.

There are kits in the middle, too, and those have all been ok as well. The kits all make 6 gallons of wine, which is around 30 bottles.

There are even "Island Mist" kits, which are low ABV wine cooler type kits.

Maybe you can borrow or rent a floor corker from a friend or a LHBS, until you know if this hobby will last. Hand corking is a huge PITA for more than a couple of bottles.

Wine kits are fun, and produce nice table wines.

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Old 06-24-2009, 06:38 PM   #5
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I've tried most of the Riesling kits and the Selection Estate Washington Columbia Valley Riesling is a GREAT kit though it's pricy.... Austin Homebrew has it for $131. I'm planning on doing this one, and when I do I'll use the Wyeast 4783 with a small starter. I'd say it is as good or better than the $25 bottles of reserve Riesling I've had from a few wineries in WA.

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Old 06-24-2009, 06:58 PM   #6
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One thing to remember about Riesling kits is that they tend to ferment to dry. Lots of people like Rieslings to be of the sweeter versions, so you may have to backsweeten, not a big deal, but its another step.

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Old 06-24-2009, 07:09 PM   #7
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One thing to remember about Riesling kits is that they tend to ferment to dry. Lots of people like Rieslings to be of the sweeter versions, so you may have to backsweeten, not a big deal, but its another step.
Can't you just add camden to stop fermentation at the desired gravity?
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:16 PM   #8
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Some of the kits are dry, some are backsweetened. I mentioned using the Riesling yeast with the WA kit because it is really dry with the kit yeast.

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Old 06-24-2009, 07:36 PM   #9
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Good tip about them finishing dry. My wife prefers some sweetness over dry crispness.

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Old 06-24-2009, 07:59 PM   #10
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Good tip about them finishing dry. My wife prefers some sweetness over dry crispness.
The kits come with campden and sorbate, so once it's dry, and you stabilize, you can sweeten it if you'd like.

Some kits that are sweeter have an "F pack" with them, which includes some sweetened juice (I think that's what's in them- I don't know for sure!) and the stabilizers so that it doesn't referment.
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