Other Does it make sense to buy kits a certain time of year?

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Senior Member
Aug 7, 2015
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Hi All,

I just placed an order to buy the WE Brunello kit, but then it occurred to me that I'm probably buying a kit made from grapes harvested around a year ago. Is this a valid concern?

Example - grapes in Italy are harvested each fall, so if I buy a kit in July, August, or September, aren't I buying a wine kit made from grapes harvested the previous year, and thus not as fresh?

I don't know the exact schedule, but shouldn't one be looking to optimize their kit-buying schedule in order to get the freshest kits?
I've never been concerned with that, and I'm not sure that trying to time the system would yield you better results. Let's say you placed an order a month after what you think the harvest is, you might end up with the end of last years kits rather than the first of this years. With the vacuum packing done I don't think there's any harm to freshness. All Winexpert kits have a date code so you can see when they were processed, and as long as it's within the last six months I wouldn't worry. I think I read that even a year or so is fine. But if you really wanted the freshest ones you'd have to visit your LHBS or call your on-line retailer and ask for the date codes.
Makes no difference with most kits as you never know when the product was harvested just when packaged.

The limited editions may be a bit different but then they are only available at certain times so doesn't matter either

The grapes used in that kit could be from this year, last year or many years ago, they blend until they get the exact profile they require.

Doesn't matter unless you are buying the actual juice.
Since moving from to CT to PA I've been buying my kits online. I worry only about the box date and hadn't thought about when the grapes themselves might have been picked.

Here is what I got from RJ Spagnols CS concerning kit shelf/expiration life life...

Vino del Vida and Orchard Breezin’ brands a 24-month expiration from the box date.

Grand Cru products have an 18-month expiration.

ALL the rest of the wine kits have a 12 month shelf life starting from the box date.
My only concern would be ordering a kit that shipped over a hot weekend and spent a few days in a hot FedEx or UPS truck before being delivered. Also didn't like leaving kits on my front porch in the hot sun of summer. Luckily any kits I order from Labelpeelers come the next day if I order them Mon-Thur, and my FedEx ground delivery lady(ies) normally show up right around when I put my daughter on the bus, so I wait until the kit arrives, move it inside, then go to work.
All freight goes through that. The $300 bottle of French wine went through it and the 2 buck chuck went through it.

Heck, your produce was shipped from South America, how gentle do you think that trip was?
All freight goes through that. The $300 bottle of French wine went through it and the 2 buck chuck went through it.

Heck, your produce was shipped from South America, how gentle do you think that trip was?

I imagine my Chilean grapes in a cold dank hold in a boat that has all kinds of mold running rampant throughout the grapes. But somehow they always show up nice and firm and ripe and without mold. Modern day ships have all kinds of neat ways to get produce from down South of the equator to the States in great condition, so saying "All freight goes through that" is a generalization that I believe, if you properly researched it, you would find very untrue. UPS or FedEx Ground, yes, I believe that statement.
Those same grapes were off-loaded from that ships hold onto a truck...

Guess what conditions the trucks drove through.

Guess what the bulk break yards temperature is.

Guess how long that cargo sat on the dock awaiting the smaller delivery truck.

Guess how long that cargo sat on the delivery truck.

etc. etc. etc.

You have zero idea on how the cargo was handled, I still stick by my statements.
It makes sense for me to make kits at certain times of the year. It is not because of the harvest time, but more to do with the ambient temp in my house. I make my reds in cooler weather to slow fermentation and extend the time the wine sits on skins.
Very interesting point bring up by Globalnavigator.
I guess it's not very important with most of the kits whom are made of concentrated juices. With the pasteurisation process (and the high temperatures achieved), time of harvest should not be relevant. Must be different though with fresh juices and premium kits, at least I hope!!!
I do kits in the non-harvest times of the year. I also do kits for juices I can't obtain fresh, like that Oregon Pinot Noir limited edition a few years back.