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I purchased 2 FW sangiovese kits last May. Not sure where the grapes for the juice came from, whether they were from a fresh Southern hemisphere crop overseas or from CA and the juice had been stored since the previous harvest. These were the first 2 FW kits I purchased.
So hopefully they can get/use some imported grapes and have more sangiovese this spring.


From what I understand, they source almost all of their juice from the Lodi, CA area.
 

Sailor323

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Other will jump in with more recommendations, but I can tell you that a 6 gallon kit, with double skin packs will not fit in a 6 gallon primary. The CO2 coming off the ferment, and lifting the "cap" of grape skins will take up about 8 gallons... maybe a little more. . . .
Exactly. I use a 7.5 gallon primary and the foam in a 6 gallon kit sometimes touches the lid. I use a 6 gallon bottling bucket and 6 gallons of wine neary fills it to the brim
 

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Does anyone know what (if any) the difference is between the Tavola juice and Forte juice? Or is it just that the Forte comes standard with skins?
Same exact juice but the Forte kit gives you more of that juice, plus the double skin pack (which is an optional add on with the Tavola kit), plus the seeds pack, plus some extra oak (they might toss in the extra oak if you order a double skin pack with a Tavola kit - I think that they used to before they introduced the Forte - Tavola distinction).

As far as how much more of the juice they do not specify the volume but the target gravity a good bit higher.

EDIT - the Tavola kits say ABV should come in between 12-13%, Forte says 13.5-14%, so roughly 10% more juice in a Forte kit it seems.

In my experience these kits over deliver juice / abv wise, for instance the Forte kits suggest your original gravity reading will be between 1.090 and 1.110, and it always seem to be closer to the highest end of the range (like 1.105 or more) after a good stir. And back before they called them Tavola kits I had a couple of those with O.G.s around 1.098 -- 1.100, which will get you a little more than 13% abv.
 
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Thanks for the info Gilmango! I am starting a FWK Forte along with a Wine Grapes Direct frozen must pail of Cab Sauv in hopes of being able to understand how the two options compare in the final product. The frozen must is a premium price compared to the FWK Forte, but it has the advantage of being able to go through MLF. I am excited to record the differences as these two progress.
 
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In my experience these kits over deliver juice / abv wise
Agree. Some of the highest SGs I've experienced have been the Forte kits. I'm not complaining but it is part of the reason I have resisted doing a FWK Pinot Noir. That and, if I'm being honest, I've never really thought of Lodi as a "Pinot" area. Having said that, I have been thinking about it and have decided to take the plunge based on the quality of the FW Kits and the great reviews of the Pinot in particular on this site. It will be my next kit after I get the Petit Syrah going next week. My plan is to get a Forte kit and a Tavola kit with no skins and ferment them together as a 12 gal. batch.
 

Greatwine

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Just my opinion, but I suspect there is more at play than just color considerations. If you think about it, color may be just the result of other variables in the manufacturing / handling process. Ie: temperature, stabilizers and how is the concentrate reacting to a freeze / thaw process for example, how much O2 exposure it has prior to freezing. I am in the food manufacturing business and can tell you that food and stabilization really changes when product is gone through these steps. I have not seen an ingredient statement on a FWK product (if anyone has one please share) so I cannot determine what they may/may not be utilizing for stabilizing, and I have not seen a UPC code either for product lookup. Point being, it’s not as simple as concentrating juice and freezing it, so I believe we will need to have some patience and let their food scientists figure it out as they cannot put products in market (their legal team would cringe at the idea) if there are any QA concerns for any reason, even if it’s just coloration.
I didn't think they were frozen??
 

Gilmango

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Agree. Some of the highest SGs I've experienced have been the Forte kits. I'm not complaining but it is part of the reason I have resisted doing a FWK Pinot Noir. That and, if I'm being honest, I've never really thought of Lodi as a "Pinot" area. Having said that, I have been thinking about it and have decided to take the plunge based on the quality of the FW Kits and the great reviews of the Pinot in particular on this site. It will be my next kit after I get the Petit Syrah going next week. My plan is to get a Forte kit and a Tavola kit with no skins and ferment them together as a 12 gal. batch.
I think that is a great plan for the Pinot - using one Forte and one Tavola. Like you, Lodi doesn't scream Pinot Noir to me, but Pinot will probably be one of the next FW Kits I make as well, based on reviews here and not being much of a white wine drinker (so I lean on Pinots and Gamays for pairing with lighter fare like vegetarian, fish, or chicken). Sadly I don't have a big enough fermenter to do a 12 gallon batch.
 

heatherd

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Thanks for the info Gilmango! I am starting a FWK Forte along with a Wine Grapes Direct frozen must pail of Cab Sauv in hopes of being able to understand how the two options compare in the final product. The frozen must is a premium price compared to the FWK Forte, but it has the advantage of being able to go through MLF. I am excited to record the differences as these two progress.
The thing I like about the FWKs versus the frozen must is that you can make as good or better wine from FWK because it is not frozen but is fresh, unpasteurized, includes all your chemicals and oak, has yeast that's not EC-1118, doesn't require MLF, doesn't require adjustments to the must, and is to my door for $117.63. The videos and instructions are great also. These are well-engineered and a new process.

Here's a link to the videos: Forte Cabernet Sauvignon Finer Wine Kit
 
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The thing I like about the FWKs versus the frozen must is that you can make as good or better wine from FWK because it is not frozen but is fresh, unpasteurized, includes all your chemicals and oak, has yeast that's not EC-1118, doesn't require MLF, doesn't require adjustments to the must, and is to my door for $117.63. The videos and instructions are great also. These are well-engineered and a new process.

Here's a link to the videos: Forte Cabernet Sauvignon Finer Wine Kit

Yes, so far I am please with the FWK products as well, but still want to compare them side by side to a frozen must. To my door a FWK is $145 and a frozen must is $200-220 (but only 5 gallon too), so FWK is a better value.
 

sluff

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I live in northern Wisconsin. I have been hesitant about ordering a Finer Wine kit due to weather factors and my travel schedule. I was going to order one last summer (and get the lifetime discount) - but was worried about it sitting on my doorstep in 90 degrees. Now it is below zero and I am worried about it freezing if I am away when it arrives. Has anyone else had any issues with this? Also - how long do you have to get a Finer Wine kit started once it arrives? And, how should a Finer Wine kit be stored until it is started? Thanks!
 
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Now it is below zero and I am worried about it freezing if I am away when it arrives. Has anyone else had any issues with this? Also - how long do you have to get a Finer Wine kit started once it arrives? And, how should a Finer Wine kit be stored until it is started?
You can look through this thread for detailed answers, after all, there are only 61 pages. ;) However, I'll summarize from memory, and hopefully relay everything correctly.

Being frozen on your doorstep is not an issue. FWK are frozen or kept extremely cold at LabelPeelers, prior to shipment. My kits in November arrived partially frozen, with the overall must temperature in the lower 50's F. After reconstituting with ~65 F water, the temperature rose to the upper 50's, and was in the low to mid 60's by the following day.

The kit that arrived in August was perceptively cold to the touch, although I did not think to check temperature. After reconstitution with room temperature water (~72F), the must was 66.8 F.

The directions say to immediately refrigerate or freeze, or to start the wine. I think refrigeration is suggested as 1 week max, but IIRC, some folks have kept it longer. You can take the concentrate bag out of the box to better fit a refrigerator or freezer.

Your best choice is to start the kit immediately, as it eliminates all problems that could develop with storage.

Regarding delivery, LP will work with you on delivery dates. Keep in mind they are at the mercy of the delivery service, which in my case is FedEx. In each case FedEx said a 3 day delivery, but the kits arrived in 2 days. I WFH so it wasn't a problem, but for people who travel, I suggest scheduling for at least 2 days at home or have someone who can open the box and put the concentrate in your fridge.
 

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Does everyone use distilled water as recommended? My water comes from a 600-ft-deep well. Some other kit instructions say "Don't use distilled water." Any advice?

For the longest time, I was using spring water with my wines. Never had an issue. But, I recently switched to distilled water and probably won’t switch back.
 
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Does everyone use distilled water as recommended? My water comes from a 600-ft-deep well. Some other kit instructions say "Don't use distilled water." Any advice?

I did a somewhat controlled test once making the same kit (Not FWK) where I made the same kit, a white wine if my memory is any good, 3 gallons made with spring water from Wally World and 3 gallons made with city tap water. There was a difference in the taste, but rather minor and in blind taste tests nobody in our wine club (30-40 members) was able to accurately determine which was made with which. Results were nearly 50-50 when folks were asked which one was better. I would expect the same results if distilled water or RQ water were added to the mix. I continue to use spring water, since I preferred that one just a bit.
 

ratflinger

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I use tap water and have good results, but ** My whole house filter/softener has a carbon core to strip the chlorine and in my wine room I have a secondary filter that is supposed to remove everything. I have used bottled water and well water at another house, I could not tell the difference.
 
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