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Old 08-31-2012, 03:48 PM   #1
Bensiff
 
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Figure I would give a wine kit a go, but can't find the information I'm looking for. Since beer recipe kits come with a bunch of worthless generic information I figure the same is true of a wine kit. So, please outline the pitfalls of wine kits. Feel free to get technical and suggest what I need as far as process and equipment (above and beyond fermentors, corkers, transfer lines and the like).

 
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:01 PM   #2
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My only experience has been with WineExpert kits, and the directions are fairly straightforward. It sounds like you have the basic equipment you need, and the kit will come with all the juice and chemicals, so go for it!

 
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photony View Post
My only experience has been with WineExpert kits, and the directions are fairly straightforward. It sounds like you have the basic equipment you need, and the kit will come with all the juice and chemicals, so go for it!
I know I can likely follow the directions and make wine that is alright; however, I want to know what will really make the difference between good and great. I'm more interested in greater details like if the kits need acid or ph adjustment which may require testing equipment or if they are already balanced. What equipment is otherwise helpful in the process or what techniques will yield a better product.

 
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:16 PM   #4
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The kit instructions from Wine Expert are very much the same across their line of wine kits, here's one set of instructions for example. In the brief time, and few kits I've made, the only thing I'm doing different from the instructions is bulk aging after fermentation~stabilization is complete. Jack Keller's site also has a lot of information on improving upon the basic instructions.

HTH,

Fred

 
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:20 PM   #5
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In contrast to beer kits, the wine kits come with perfect instructions, and even a guarantee! If you make the kit exactly as directed, you are guaranteed a good result.

The only thing I'd change is not using the finings (I want a vegetarian friendly wine), leaving it in the carboy longer after degassing, and adding a tiny bit of sulfite at bottling for preservatives. The instructions say you can add some campden/sulfite at bottling, but don't provide it.

Otherwise, make the kit just as instructed, including using a 6 gallon carboy for secondary and when to top off, and you'll be golden!
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bensiff View Post
I know I can likely follow the directions and make wine that is alright; however, I want to know what will really make the difference between good and great. I'm more interested in greater details like if the kits need acid or ph adjustment which may require testing equipment or if they are already balanced. What equipment is otherwise helpful in the process or what techniques will yield a better product.
It's my understanding that the higher priced the kit, the better the wine. I think the rough estimate is a value priced wine kit makes wine that would sell for 5~7 dollars per bottle, a medium priced (premium) wine kit makes wine that would sell for 7~10 a bottle, and a high priced (ultra-premium) kit makes 10~15+ dollar a bottle wine. I have an ultra-premium pinot noir and zinfandel kit wines aging, that from my wine-thief (aka turkey baster) tastings are going to be GOOD! No acid/ph adjustments are required.

 
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Old 08-31-2012, 05:06 PM   #7
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So, this is the kind of stuff that really makes me wonder...the instruction say fill water until it hits between 1.080-1.100. That is a huge difference not only in the ABV of the finished product, but seems enough to impact the wines acidity, pH, and mouthfeel as well. Or do the specific wine kits give you a much tighter gravity tolerance that makes this a moot point?

 
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Old 08-31-2012, 06:37 PM   #8
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I've done several wine kits. They make decent wine out of the box and the instructions are not bad.

I've modified a couple that worked out well. For example, adding a little less water on the red wine kits to make it "thicker".

I've also purchased pails of fresh juice. This is my preferred method of the two. You do need to check the total acid to ensure it comes out right. Also you could oak, back sweeten, ect.

Equipment is the same either way. Pail, carboy, siphon tubes, hydrometer. If you have beer supplies, you are good to go.

 
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Old 08-31-2012, 06:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bensiff View Post
So, this is the kind of stuff that really makes me wonder...the instruction say fill water until it hits between 1.080-1.100. That is a huge difference not only in the ABV of the finished product, but seems enough to impact the wines acidity, pH, and mouthfeel as well. Or do the specific wine kits give you a much tighter gravity tolerance that makes this a moot point?
The directions are generic to different styles, hence the range in OG.

Similar to extract brewing, if you hit the right volume, you'll hit the right OG for the kit.

 
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Old 08-31-2012, 08:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bensiff View Post
So, this is the kind of stuff that really makes me wonder...the instruction say fill water until it hits between 1.080-1.100. That is a huge difference not only in the ABV of the finished product, but seems enough to impact the wines acidity, pH, and mouthfeel as well. Or do the specific wine kits give you a much tighter gravity tolerance that makes this a moot point?
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZ_IPA View Post
The directions are generic to different styles, hence the range in OG.

Similar to extract brewing, if you hit the right volume, you'll hit the right OG for the kit.
Right- the instructions are "generic" but the wine kit is not. All of the merlot, say, will hit 1.095. All of the zinfandel might hit 1.100. Just top up to exactly 6 gallons when you make the kit, and the OG will be correct, and in that range- but correct for the style. I hope that helps!
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