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Bazin

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Hi folks,

I'm really finding some of the discussions here helpful and I was hoping that I could get a bit of advice regarding the variety of kits out there.

I've made two of RJ Spagnols' Grand Cru International Series (South African Chenin Blanc and Californian Syrah, 12L kit) and I've been quite pleased with the results thus far.

I'm looking to start another batch or two in the near future. Likely a couple of whites. I'm contemplating a Riesling, Viognier, Gewurztraminer, and a Semillon blend.

When I do another red, I'll probably be looking at a Malbec, GSM, Meritage (if I can find a kit), and Pinot Noir

I have access to retailers of RJS, WineXpert, Vinco, Wine Kitz, and Cellar Craft.

My question(s) are:

Should I try other brands of kits, or stick with RJS? If so, which do you recommend (especially considering the types of wine I want to make)?

I'm on a fairly strict budget, so going over $100 CDN for a kit isn't feasible at the moment, so please consider pricing of the various lines when making recommendations. To give you an idea local pricing - the two RJS International Kits were around $75 a piece.
 

smurfe

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If you like the RJS by all means keep moving forward. Of those listed I have made a whole bunch of Wine Expert kits and a few Cellar Craft. The absolute best kits I have made to date were a Cellar Craft Rosso Fortissimo and Amarone. These were higher end grape pack kits though. I did get them dirt cheap though which was the only real reason I initially bought them. I have never made a RJS kit but do have them available locally now so may try one out.

Most all of the WE kits have been very good as well as long as given plenty of age as for me at least, I detect kit taste in all of their kits but once it is gone, it is a fine wine. I have never been pleased or any bit impressed at all with any Wine Expert Vintners Reserve kits. The whites like the Pinot Grigio are pretty darn good though.
 

Bazin

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I'm not sure why, but the WE and Cellar Craft product lineups seem to be weak, based on my review of them. Not sure why that is. the RJS and Vinco (probably because of Cheeky Monkey) lines seem to have more 'pop'.

Anyway, thanks for the input smurfe - It's helpful.
 

St Allie

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mostly doing cellarcraft and heron bay kits myself..

I like the heron bay range, especially the limited edition kits and am saving up for one of their microwinery kits.

Allie
 

Wade E

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I have not made Cellar Craft or many others but have made Winexpert and RJS and would choose a RJS over a Winexpert any day. I do like just about every white whine Ive made but when it comes to reds I dont care for Winexpert and only really like grape skin kits in the 16 liter or more category. I mainly buy the RJS Cellar Classic Winery Series as they have a great product for a great price around here but the En Primeur is slightly better.
 

Bazin

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Thanks for the additional comments.

Based on what I've heard here, I'm going to continue with the RJS kits for the time being.
 

cpfan

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Bazin:

Nothin wrong with any of the brands mentioned here. I am a Vineco fan, but have also made RJS, WE, and Cellar Craft.

I love the Ken Ridge Showcase German Gewurztraminer but it and the Cru Select equivalent are probably just out of your price range. The Cheeky Monkey GG is fine too. With all of these, decide up-front if you want dry or off-dry. I prefer dry, so do not put the sweetening pouch in after the sorbate.

If you do switch brands, remember that the instructions will be different (heck different RJS brands have different instructions).

Steve
 

Bazin

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Thanks Steve.

I'd like to give Vineco a try, but the nearest retailer is a bit out of the way, which is a bit of a deterrent.

Since you have some experience with the brand, what are the differences between the product lines? I'm interested specifically between the KenRidge Classic and Cheeky Monkey kits (since those seem to be the lines in my price range and are stocked by the store).
 

cpfan

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Thanks Steve.
Since you have some experience with the brand, what are the differences between the product lines? I'm interested specifically between the KenRidge Classic and Cheeky Monkey kits (since those seem to be the lines in my price range and are stocked by the store).
First I've made many more KRC than CM. Personally I suspect there is not much difference. Slight differences in varieties eg KRC DRY Gewurztraminer, versus CM German Gewurztraminer (comes with sweetening pouch).

CM has that jazzy style, label, and name.

KRC Merlot is our normal house red. We do tend to make KR Showcase over KR Classic and Cheeky Monkey. Looking at recent prices for reds where I shop...KRC $68, CM $72, KRS $96 (Cdn dollars). Obviously different pricing in your area.

Steve
 

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