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Old 02-09-2010, 10:27 PM   #11
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I hate saying things like this here... but in my honest experience, no. Homemade wine is not nearly as good as commercially produced good wines. While I agree it is a hobby and you can get better at it, in a product such as wine wherein the final product depends so heavily on the raw material, a kit will never live up to a finely crafted wine.

If you have access to high quality grapes, then the sky is literally the limit. I live in Wisconsin. How great do you think the grapes I have access to are?

That said, my family tends two separate vineyards growing 8 different northern hardy varieties. We are in our 6th year of tending and finished our third vintage this past season. I think we will be able to produce a high quality product out of those vines, but it will not be comparable to California or other classic wines. It will be its own thing. I think we will be closer to a Rhine wine with high acidity and a bright crisp, low alcohol wine. Also, one of the reds has a chance of developing into something good, but it is not like anything else I have had.

Overall, do it for fun not because you can be the next great thing. My brother loves wine but isn't all that into tasting it. On normal week nights or whatever, he just wants some wine to drink. Kits are perfect for him because he actually saves money and has wine to drink that was fun to make.

There are a million facets to the hobby. I just don't want people going in with unreal expectations.

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Old 02-09-2010, 10:45 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Steelers77 View Post
Go buy some juice from a local wine shop, I don't understand the Welch's grape thing, we buy 2.5 tons of grapes a year and our wine is awesome. But I also have a mentor who has been making wine for 30 yrs.
I recently took a bottle of my Syrah to my brew club meeting, and the one kid took a sip and said it was good then after he was really excited and was convinced I did not make it. He was a wine guy and really thought the wine fit the style perfectly. It's a great hobby.
In my case the Welch's thing was more an experiment than anything, if I happen to get some halfway decent wine out of it, then all the better. If not I'm sure mixing it 50/50 with some Sprite will cover up any imperfections

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Old 02-09-2010, 11:39 PM   #13
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For years I was active in amateur radio, and I am struck by the similarities between it and homebrewing/winemaking as hobbies. There are hams who will spare no expense to create a station that is the equal or better of any commercial broadcast operation. There are others who are content with very basic equipment and just enjoy participating in the hobby. Reading on HBT I see some outstanding craft brewers and winemakers who can produce a product that can stand next to anything available commercially, while others make very nice, drinkable, but very basic beverages. To me the whole point of a hobby is to enjoy oneself and the final result, whether that is an award-winning shiraz or just a basic extract beer or a gallon of Welch's wine. I think what's great about this hobby is you can accomplish either one if that's what you want to do.
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Old 02-09-2010, 11:46 PM   #14
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I make Welch's wine for cooking/marinating meat. 50 cents a bottle is hard to beat.

for drinking (while the welches is pretty decent) I make the kit wines where the juice is made for fermenting, and at $3 for a bottle of chianti or chardonnay it cannot be beat. easily comparable to a $10 bottle of commercial wine. 66% savings is worth it to me, not to mention the fun of doing it.
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Old 02-10-2010, 12:33 AM   #15
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I like using the welch's and the old orchard to learn what to expect, before I start using my homegrown organic fruits and berries and the good honey that is produced here in my area.. I am not a wine snob in any means, but good wines can be made with ingredients other than grapes. Plus, finding mead in this area is very hard to do and I have to drive quite a ways away to buy it, while making them tends to be just as fun as the wines and so far they are turning out better than what I have been buying and have sampled commercially, and with aging might actually be better.
I can no longer drink the good rich reds that I used to enjoy due to the fact that they are migraine triggers for me.
The whites that I buy are not by any means very expensive and tend to be in the $10 to $15 range. Just can't afford to go broke these days for wine.
But the first batch of Ed Wort's apfelwein turned out in taste and flavor to some of the whites I buy, which was very unexpected.
The hubby, on the other hand, is a cheap boone's farm/wine cooler type a guy and could care less about how it turns out cuz he's probably just gonna dump a bit of soda or juice in and top it with some cut up fruit and boy howdy! He's happy.
Every one has a different taste and likes different stuff- if we all liked the same wine, the wine aisle at the store would be pretty short and boring.
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:17 PM   #16
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There's some groups around this part that get together for grape buys from local wineyards, and vineyards in California. They truly can and do produce absolutely excellent wine.

They buy the grapes whole and crush them themselves. Since this is what most commercial wineries do, these people makes wines every bit as good as commercial. I have a post on here about this place I went to in TX that had like 60 better bottles all fermenting away; a full scale commercial winery operating at a 6 gallon scale. They buy all their grapes, smash them and make tons of small batches, and the wines were freakin' excellent.

I have a $70 Chilean Malbec kit going right now that I don't expect to be good. But it will probably be better than the $3-$5 stuff (or so I hope). If I like the process, etc, when the locals do their next wine press, I might go get some of their freshly pressed stuff and try it out.

Basically, with kits I think that you can reach up into the $20/bottle range, maybe higher if it's a good kit, and you're really good. To go above that, or to match the truly great $20 bottles, then I think that you're going to have to get freshly crushed grapes locally somehow. Or at least that's the story that I get from some of the local home winemakers.
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:22 PM   #17
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My meads, blueberry, banana, and kiwi wines have all turned out amazing. But that's kind of different that welches or using grapes lol
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:53 PM   #18
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I haven't tasted my own wine yet, but I just tried a glass (or a bottle) of my uncle-in-law's Wild Berry Shiraz from 2004 - it was FAR superior to any commercial Shiraz I have ever had (and that's my favorite wine!!) - his only problem was he had sediment at the bottom.

The problem with homemade wine, IMO, is no one ever lets it age long enough. I'm holding my bottles for AT LEAST 6 months and hopefully longer! Fortunately, my finace's aunts and uncles all make homemade wine - one set churns out their wine so quickly and the othe set lets theirs age. We decided to let his aunt and uncle's supply the family with homemade wine, while we will hold on to ours for a bit.
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Old 02-11-2010, 01:14 PM   #19
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I have some 2007 blackberry wine picked from local bushes. It's excellent. Very very excellent. No, I'm not sharing.
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:50 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by EvilTOJ View Post
I No, I'm not sharing.
Hey, would you mind....O'h never mind.


Gun control is being able to hit your target.
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