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Old 11-25-2009, 03:53 PM   #1
Teromous
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Hey guys. I'm working on a list of things to brew when I get back to the U.S. and I might do a wine. My wife likes wine so I thought I'd make some for her. I make cider but I was thinking of doing a traditional red wine with just grapes. Here are some things I've been thinking about:

- I'm thinking of buying the juice in one of those kits (like the Cru Select or RJ Spangols) but I've noticed some huge price differences in some of their selections. I looked into it and saw that some were imports and some were award winners. For a first wine would you suggest going for a cheaper juice, or one of these premium ones? I don't want to spend a ton on money, but if the difference is noticable then I will.

-I don't want to make a large batch first. I can't see how much juice is availible in the kits on the websites I've checked. Are most of the kits geared for a 5 gallon batch?

 
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Old 11-25-2009, 04:09 PM   #2
1234
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I believe that most of the kits are intended to make 6 gallons, but I guess you could have a stronger wine by adding less water. I am not a wine drinker either and I purchased the cheapest kit I could find, RJ Spagnols' Orcharad Breezin. I did the peach Chardonay, and it was really good. I am no wine guy so it was good enough for me. My LHBS, http://www.reblelbrewer.com , has only a few wine kits but is happy to special order stuff for almost anybody and his prices are the best around.

 
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Old 11-25-2009, 04:09 PM   #3
OHIOSTEVE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teromous View Post
Hey guys. I'm working on a list of things to brew when I get back to the U.S. and I might do a wine. My wife likes wine so I thought I'd make some for her. I make cider but I was thinking of doing a traditional red wine with just grapes. Here are some things I've been thinking about:

- I'm thinking of buying the juice in one of those kits (like the Cru Select or RJ Spangols) but I've noticed some huge price differences in some of their selections. I looked into it and saw that some were imports and some were award winners. For a first wine would you suggest going for a cheaper juice, or one of these premium ones? I don't want to spend a ton on money, but if the difference is noticable then I will.

-I don't want to make a large batch first. I can't see how much juice is availible in the kits on the websites I've checked. Are most of the kits geared for a 5 gallon batch?
I have no clue about the kits, but I will suggest that you make the 5 gallon batches. I have a couple of one gallon batches that I think are very tasty...problem is I have ONE GALLON BATCHES lol....sure wish I had 5 gallons of it.
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Old 11-25-2009, 04:09 PM   #4
Buffman
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I'm wanting to start making wine as well. The members of winemakingtalk.com have been a great resource for info on all the wine kit brands, techniques, and equipment. It's a small forum, but the people are very knowledgeable about home winemaking. Based on their recommendations, I picked up a Cellar Craft Old Vine Zinfandel kit that I'm hoping to make over the holiday weekend.

What I've learned so far is that wine kits make 6g of wine; for that reason it's best to have a primary of at least 8g. Also, I understand that oxidation is a bigger concern for wine than beer, so a secondary (i.e., a 6g carboy) with minimal headspace is desirable.

 
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Old 11-25-2009, 04:11 PM   #5
Buffman
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Northern Brewer seems to have a good selection of kits.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking

 
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Old 11-25-2009, 05:32 PM   #6

I've made about 20 kit wines over the past few years and I think they make very good wine. I'd suggest finding a style you like - red, white, blush, dry, tannic, semi-sweet - and finding a kit to replicate it.

I personally like big dry red wines so I tend to make that style. Although I buy the top end kits now, I've made wine from inexpensive 8L kits up through 9L, 10L, 12L, 16L to the all juice 23L kits. I've also made the Old Vines Zinfandel kits mentioned above and found them very tasty as well.

Like Yooper, I've also had great success with the inexpensive fruity "mist-style" kits. They're similar to wine coolers and very popular with many women and non-drinkers.

I think that, for all around purposes such as starting out or building a cellar, the Cellar Craft 12L grape pack kits are the best value for the money.


 
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Old 11-25-2009, 05:50 PM   #7
samc
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I've been trying to decide on a kit as well. If you only want 5 gallons you might look at http://www.williamsbrewing.com/CALIF..._P1293C165.cfm or one of the other kits they offer. Being an experienced beer brewer makes me want to start with a high end kit and skip all the newbie stuff.

 
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Old 11-25-2009, 08:01 PM   #8
kanielb1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samc View Post
I've been trying to decide on a kit as well. If you only want 5 gallons you might look at http://www.williamsbrewing.com/CALIF..._P1293C165.cfm or one of the other kits they offer. Being an experienced beer brewer makes me want to start with a high end kit and skip all the newbie stuff.
I bought there Merlot kit. It is aging now. I have several people that have bought these kits were very pleased with them. The price is right.
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Old 11-25-2009, 08:30 PM   #9

I don't really mean to disparage the Williams California wine kits referenced above but the advertisement states the kit contains "192 ounces of pure California varietal grape concentrate". This is only a little over 5.5 litres for $59.90 and is smaller (in terms of grape juice concentrate for a similar total volume of finished wine) by nearly half than the smallest kits offered by the major kit manufactures. I've been making kits quite a while and I've never heard of Williams California kits and I've certainly never seen their name mentioned in the 100s of winners in the largest home wine competition in the country - WineMaker Magazine's home winemaker competition.

If you'd like to get an idea of some of the biggest winners, check out last year's winning entries - over 4,500 entries in 50 different categories. Now, obviously, the numbers of medals awarded in a particular competition doesn't tell the entire story, but this is a very good place to begin. You can find the type of wine you like and see which kit manufacturer racked up the most awards.

Now to get back to the Williams kit @ $60 for 5.5L, compare that with a proven award winning manufacturer and kit like a Cellar Craft Syrah 12L with a crushed grape pack for under $85. Over twice the concentrate and an added grape pack to boost the body and flavor. Shop wisely, do your homework, and compare and you won't be disappointed.

 
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Old 11-25-2009, 09:04 PM   #10
JVD_X
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teromous View Post
Hey guys. I'm working on a list of things to brew when I get back to the U.S. and I might do a wine. My wife likes wine so I thought I'd make some for her. I make cider but I was thinking of doing a traditional red wine with just grapes. Here are some things I've been thinking about:

- I'm thinking of buying the juice in one of those kits (like the Cru Select or RJ Spangols) but I've noticed some huge price differences in some of their selections. I looked into it and saw that some were imports and some were award winners. For a first wine would you suggest going for a cheaper juice, or one of these premium ones? I don't want to spend a ton on money, but if the difference is noticable then I will.

-I don't want to make a large batch first. I can't see how much juice is availible in the kits on the websites I've checked. Are most of the kits geared for a 5 gallon batch?
I would not waste my time on cheap wine kits - with the exception of the island mist style kits.

FYI - it's very important that you get EVERY drop of juice out of the bag. I strongly recommend you use distilled water for your top-up.
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