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Omerta

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Hi all! It's been a while.

Okay it has been 11 months from the start of my WE Merlot and Viognier kits. They've been in bottles for 8 months.

The color and clarity is dynamite. They taste good... but that's it... just ok. Nothing spectacular.

Can I expect to get more out of these wines with more bottle aging?

There is slightly more SO2 added because of the beating I gave the wine during degas. Oops. Could this have affected the overall quality of the final product?

Also, I feel like there is a bit of "kit taste" sweetness. Will this settle with time?

Can anyone suggest a better quality kit for my next go? I've been itching to pull the trigger on another batch. Maybe a Cab-Sauv. Any suggestions?
 

xanxer82

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I keep reading about a "kit taste" and I have noticed it is kind of like jolly rancher.
I really enjoy using kits to learn on and be kinda quick about but I want to move to fresh fruit and grapes.
 

Omerta

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I'm with you... might be time to try juice. I think i can still get some at the LHB by me. a bit past the peak season but i think they carry a few varietals for most of the year. just need to freshen up on the process used for fresh juice. I do believe their buckets are balanced so it might just be a matter of using the proper yeast string, nutrients, oak, etc. The juice would be cheaper than most of the high end kit$.
 

Tom

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If this kit was a Vintners Reserve then I would say its as good as it gets. Thats your low end kit. Alot here are not crazy with the WE red kits because of thin and low body as well as "kit taste".
Chilean juices will be here in April.
Who is your LHBS ?
 

Omerta

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Hey Tom,

These were WE Selection Original kits. Can't say I'm completely disappointed as this was my first try at wine in general. The fact that it is drinkable is awesome.
By local I mean Corrado's about 30 miles away. I might take a ride this week and pick up 6 gallons of a red. Not sure which one I'll have to see what they have. Gunna do a little research and put together a list of supplies for juice...
a proper yeast (for a dry red)
nutrients
sorbate
bentonite
a clarifier
oak
Any help on building a list would be appreciated. I have all the hardware, cleaning supplies... anything that is needed for a kit. This will be my first go at juice.

I've been doing a bit more wine (store bought and home made) drinking then usual. I can definitely tell there is something different about kits (I've only tried two WE SO kits). The odd sweetness. Lack of body... thin. I'm marrying into a huge Italian family. Many of whom make their own wine. I would like to be known, at least to the family, as a decent vintner ;-)
 
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rawlus

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if the juice is not stabilized and pre-balanced, then you should read up on your chemistry, adjusting TA, SO2, PH, etc. you'll need some equipment and supplies to measure and test this stuff. narrow-range hydrometer is nice, or refractometer. SO2 testing kit, PH meter perhaps. it can add up quick.
i would also recommend getting some books before you try fresh juice, like From Vines to Wines by Cox or The Way to Make Wine by Warrick.
the yeasts and additives are the easy part, basically the same as with kits, it is the adjustment of the juice pre-fermentation and the monitoring during fermentation that makes it a bit more work and less foolproof than kits.

keep in mind too that there are good juices and bad juices in terms of quality... many higher end kits can have the potential to exceed the results obtained from mediocre juice.
 

Omerta

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I've checked once before. Corrado's says their juice is stabilized and balanced. As for quality, I've heard some good things about their juice. Its been used by the family before.
 

Tom

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I would go for the RC212 yeast
Corrado's should help you out when you pick it up. They know their stuff.
Let us know what you pick up.
I do alot from fresh juices from CA, Italy and Chile.
 

Omerta

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Thanks for the help guys!
I'll keep ya posted
 

Wade E

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That kit may get a little better but probably not much, I would give a grape skin kit a try, youll be amazed how much better 1 is.
 

Omerta

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Which company do you (anybody) feel produces the better kit? The high end kits seem to be a bit expensive. Is there always going to be a difference in wine made from a reconstituted juice (because of the concentration processes) and a fresh whole juice?
Since being laid off its been hard to maintain hobbies. For sanity sake I have to do something. I'm looking for the best bang for the buck. I'd rather give whole juice a try and make a decent wine with no kit taste at approx $70 than spend $130+ on a high end kit.
 

Tom

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You will enjoy doing wine juice. Average is $50 a 6 gal bucket. Much cheaper. some need tweeking thou.
 

Omerta

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Tom... by tweeking what do you mean? Even though the juice is said to be balanced and such, should I be picking up testing equipment and proper additives to change the outcome?
Or, should I ride the first bucket out with no changes and see what happens?
 

smurfe

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Let that kit sit about another year and you will notice a difference. The Kit Taste ought to have went away. WE Selection kits make good wine but it will have to age a whole lot longer than what the manufacturer claims.
 

Tom

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Tom... by tweeking what do you mean? Even though the juice is said to be balanced and such, should I be picking up testing equipment and proper additives to change the outcome?
Or, should I ride the first bucket out with no changes and see what happens?
I find that some reds may have a thin body. so I may do a banana soup or add glycerine.
For your 1st let it go and use that as a base to see IF you feel it may adjustment. I know you are a hour away from me but if you come to one of my wine club meetings you can "taste" the end result.
Let me know what Corrado's has left. I hope its frozen..
 

Omerta

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Thanks for the info. I'll let the WE SO Merlot and Viognier rest for a bit longer. I'll get started on the straight juice run next.

Okay... is there a common consensus on how long to let kits mature to get the best results? The directions pretty much say ready to drink after six months and to add more kmeta for longer storage.
 

rawlus

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even at $150/kit, that's only $5 a bottle. which IMHO is very affordable when compared against commercial wines...

for some total cost is a major factor, they want to make the per bottle price as low as they can get. for some, final quality is a major factor, they want to make the best tasting wine they can, even exceeding many commercial offerings.

in most cases, you will have to spend a little more if your motivation is quality, as much of the cost is driven by it.

all other things being equal, there are very few opportunities to save money on the ingredients and end up with a better final product IMHO. better juice costs, better kits cost, etc.

it also all comes down to personal taste and preference. i know plenty who make loads of island mist/orchard breezin kits and 10L kits and are perfectly happy - they enjoy the process, they enjoy the taste and they enjoy the economics of those kits. they're not out to win medals or try to out-vint the major labels. they're in it for the hobby and consumption aspect of it.
 

Omerta

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Thanks for the invite Tom. Depending on the Holiday I might get up to Corrado's the end of the week or weekend. I'll get a list of what they have in stock.
 

smurfe

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Thanks for the info. I'll let the WE SO Merlot and Viognier rest for a bit longer. I'll get started on the straight juice run next.

Okay... is there a common consensus on how long to let kits mature to get the best results? The directions pretty much say ready to drink after six months and to add more kmeta for longer storage.
Mine normally sit at least a year and a half before I even open the first bottle. Many will disagree and say that is too long but I find when they are around 2 years old there is no difference than the average bottle bought at the wine shop. I have never had a red kit wine meet my expectations at 6 months or really even at a year. Sure, you can drink them but as you said about kit taste, I detect that strongly in any WE kit but it is normally gone after 18 months or more of age.
 

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