Enhancing Wine Expert Kits

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

Michael G

Junior
Joined
Dec 3, 2020
Messages
6
Reaction score
2
We're processing #16 and 17 musts. All 17 are Wine Expert kits. My process is pretty efficient. I have the instructions nailed. The wine appears to be just as good or better than the $15 a bottle store bought wines. We have our own custom label. We make a must a month and invite our friends over to help bottle, cork and label. We gift the wine to family and friends. Everyone is really complimentary on the wine. I like the Kits bc they're easy to follow and the results seem to be ok. Besides following the instructions and letting in age properly, any advise someone would like to share to enhance the wine and/or our experience?
 

BernardSmith

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2011
Messages
3,679
Reaction score
2,101
Location
Saratoga Springs
Hi Michael G. What yeast do you use - the yeast that comes with the kit or a yeast you selected because it is better suited to the flavor profile of the wine you are making? The yeasts supplied by the kit makers tend to be the yeasts that a first time wine maker will have the very least trouble with: yeasts that can handle just about any temperature your fermenting room is at. But other yeasts are more particular: they need more nitrogen or more nutrients or their optimal temperature range is far more narrow. Labs that culture yeast publish spec sheets for their yeast and you might want to match your wine with a yeast.
 

Old Corker

Phil
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jan 11, 2019
Messages
224
Reaction score
360
Location
Central Texas
Hi Michael G. I'm a little further down this path than you as I'll be mixing Must # 41 this weekend. I have done kits by Wine Expert, RJS, a couple of Master Vintner and most recently the new Finer Wine Kits. I suggest you look at the Kit Winemaking Forum on this site. There is a lot of discussion there on tweaks and enhancements for kit winemaking. My go-to tweaks, in addition to @BernardSmith alternate yeast suggestion, are extended maceration (EM), bulk aging in the carboy and leaving out the clearing agents that come with the kits, letting time do that job. At 17 batches in I suspect you are ready to start trying some new stuff.
Enjoy!
 

heatherd

Supporting Members
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jan 8, 2014
Messages
2,180
Reaction score
1,604
Location
Maryland
I recommend trying Finer Wine Kits as I find them to not need any enhancements, I think because they're not pasteurized like all other kits. They're carried by Label Peelers and are less expensive than many WE and other kits. You can also email them to get a ten percent discount of these kits. I've got three reds in progress with double skins. They come with RC212, oak, yeast starter, and are $99 with double skins and $14 for fedex shipping right now. These kits ship fresh and cold, so to me seems more like making from fresh juice and grapes and are all made with Lodi California grapes and juice.

Here's a link to buy:
Finer Wine Kits | Label Peelers, Inc.
They have a really nice and detailed instruction booklet as well:
Finer Wine Kit Instructions (adobe.com)
Here are some videos:
-Learning To Make Wine 1 of 4 - YouTube
-Learning To Make Wine 2 of 4 - YouTube
-Learning To Make Wine 3 of 4 - YouTube
-Learning To Make Wine 4 of 4 - YouTube
-Making A Yeast Starter - YouTube
-Filtering Wine with a Buon Vino Minijet - YouTube
 

Jovimaple

Kaptin Winemaker
WMT Supporter
Joined
Feb 11, 2021
Messages
168
Reaction score
300
Location
Minnesnowta
I recommend trying Finer Wine Kits as I find them to not need any enhancements, I think because they're not pasteurized like all other kits. They're carried by Label Peelers and are less expensive than many WE and other kits. You can also email them to get a ten percent discount ... They come with RC212, oak, yeast starter, and are $99 with double skins and $14 for fedex shipping right now.
This is the email I got from Label Peelers recently:

"FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T PURCHASED A FINER WINE KIT.

If you haven't purchased a Finer Wine Kit, yet, you still have time to get in the lifetime 10% discount group. We are offering the discount to anyone who purchases a kit before August 1st 2021, and emails their request to [email protected]. Be one of the first to make the best wine from a kit you can make, and secure a lifetime 10% discount!"

I emailed them after I purchased a kit, and asked to be added to the lifetime discount list. Later I received an email stating that my email had been added to the list and I will get the lifetime 10% discount for Finer Wine Kits as long as I order using that email address.
 

salcoco

Veteran Wine Maker
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
3,050
Reaction score
1,384
Location
Kansas
red wine kits are normally sort on tannin I have ahd good luck in adding 4 oz of dried elderberry at fermentation start. age at least three months before bottling age longer post bottling.
 

salcoco

Veteran Wine Maker
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
3,050
Reaction score
1,384
Location
Kansas
they add tannins to the wine similar to grape skins they are added to the juice before fermentation starts
 

Michael G

Junior
Joined
Dec 3, 2020
Messages
6
Reaction score
2
Hi Michael G. I'm a little further down this path than you as I'll be mixing Must # 41 this weekend. I have done kits by Wine Expert, RJS, a couple of Master Vintner and most recently the new Finer Wine Kits. I suggest you look at the Kit Winemaking Forum on this site. There is a lot of discussion there on tweaks and enhancements for kit winemaking. My go-to tweaks, in addition to @BernardSmith alternate yeast suggestion, are extended maceration (EM), bulk aging in the carboy and leaving out the clearing agents that come with the kits, letting time do that job. At 17 batches in I suspect you are ready to start trying some new stuff.
Enjoy!
Thanks Old Corker. I like the simplicity and results of the WE Kits but you're right, I'm wanting to add to my wine knowledge. What is extended maceration and what are the benefits? Thanks for replying to my post.
 

Michael G

Junior
Joined
Dec 3, 2020
Messages
6
Reaction score
2
Hi Michael G. What yeast do you use - the yeast that comes with the kit or a yeast you selected because it is better suited to the flavor profile of the wine you are making? The yeasts supplied by the kit makers tend to be the yeasts that a first time wine maker will have the very least trouble with: yeasts that can handle just about any temperature your fermenting room is at. But other yeasts are more particular: they need more nitrogen or more nutrients or their optimal temperature range is far more narrow. Labs that culture yeast publish spec sheets for their yeast and you might want to match your wine with a yeast.
It appears to me that the yeast is the same for all of the WE Kits. I'll research the different type yeasts for different type wines. I try to make non sweet/dry, red wines bc that's what the Mrs. desires.
 

Old Corker

Phil
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jan 11, 2019
Messages
224
Reaction score
360
Location
Central Texas
Thanks Old Corker. I like the simplicity and results of the WE Kits but you're right, I'm wanting to add to my wine knowledge. What is extended maceration and what are the benefits? Thanks for replying to my post.
As with many winemaking terms Extended Maceration (EM) has a slightly different meaning depending on if you are talking about kit wines or winemaking from grapes. Since I only do kits I'll give you my understanding of the process from that perspective. If you search for extended maceration you will find a number of threads here that discuss it and I suggest you do that rather than hold my view as gospel.

Higher end kits sometimes include skins pack that are intended to add flavor, color, tannins and other desirable qualities to the wine. EM is a process where the skins are left in the wine longer than what the kit instructions say. It can be only an extra couple of weeks or longer. I have read that some kit makers will go up to 9 weeks although I think my longest has been 42 days. The purpose is to extract more of those good qualities from the skins. The risk/reward thinking of the process is how much do you risk oxidation of your wine compared to the benefits you get.

When I do a kit with skins I put them in the provided muslin bag and add that to the must so it gets fermented along with the juice just as the instruction say. For the EM process you will need a vessel with a large opening in the top. I use a glass Big Mouth Bubbler. There are other vessels such as a Fermonster or Spiedel fermenter but the key is to have that big opening so you can transfer the bag before racking the juice on top of it. Then, during fermentation, when the SG gets down to 1.100 (EDIT: I should have said 1.010 or less) or less, I transfer the whole lot out of the fermentation bucket and into the BMB. Do this before the fermentation is complete so you still have plenty of CO2 to protect the wine but not so early it causes a volcano in the smaller vessel. Seal it up, add an air lock and leave it for however long your EM target duration is. As time passes the CO2 that protects your wine from oxidation disperses and you will need to transfer it again into a carboy and top it up. At this time you have gotten all you're going to get out of the skins and they can be discarded.

I hope this helps but it only scratches the surface of the EM topic so be sure and read up on it in other threads.
 
Last edited:

joeswine

joeswine
Joined
Nov 15, 2007
Messages
7,774
Reaction score
1,743
Remember my old saying : LESS IS MORE, that also holds true when doing a manufactured kit, the ALCHOLO extraction can only do so much and then that's it.
You can play with the timing a little bite but not much more is going to come from the initial fermentation ,a secondary addition of enhancements will add more taste to the structure overall. structure.
Remember not all of us have the proper facilities to carry out that process yet alone the skills and equipment . just my thoughts.
 

winemaker81

wine dabbler
WMT Supporter
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
2,479
Reaction score
4,822
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
@Michael G, skin packs will increase tannin, body, and complexity but will require additional aging. If making wine monthly, do some with and some without to maintain a steady supply while with-skin wines are aging.

Additional oak during aging. This will add oak flavor although it will also increase aging time.

Longer bulk aging. Ignore timeframes during fermentation -- the hydrometer says when fermentation is done, not the calendar. Post-fermentation, treat all time frames as minimum values, e.g., "2 weeks" means "at least 2 weeks". Bulk age reds at least 6 months.

Take notes. Taste the wines at each racking and write down your impressions. After bottling, open a bottle each month and do the same, without looking at your old notes. After 1 year, read your notes from first to last. I expect the results will surprise you.
 
Top