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Jan 4, 2009
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Hello to all! New to the forum with lots of questions!

I just received a winemaking supplies kit for Christmas & want to do a lot of research before I jump into making a batch. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
My wife and I want to start with a concentrate kit for our first try. The ones we saw at the local brew store looked kind of dusty & we didn't see a date of any kind on the box.
Is there a "shelf life" we should be concerned about?

Thanks in advance!
Hi and welcome to the forum here! Starting with a "kit" wine is a real good way to start out.Knowing how old a kit is can be a little tricky if you dont know what your looking for on some kit makers boxes.What brand of kits were you 2 looking at in your local store? All of them do have dates or codes you can figure out the age on but all are done differently.
If you have access to Winexpert kits then here you go and these #'s are on the sticker where the type of kit is labeled on front of the box.
They break down like this: 00/195/07 0267
00 The first two digits are for internal use: ignore.
195 The next three digits indicate the day it was produced, in this case the 195th day of the year, which is July 14.
07 The next two digits are the last two digits of the year, in this case 2007.
0267 The last four digits show which particular kit of that batch this kit is: in this case, the 267th kit out of about 600.
If you have access to RJ Spagnols kits the # is pretty much in the same location and here is the breakdown -
There's no secret to RJS date codes. They are not as cryptic as WE date codes, as RJS just uses the proper date. For example if your kit was make on November 12, 2007, the code would be 11122007D. It goes MMDDYYYY followed by a D always. Winexpert codes count the number of days in the year starting from Jan 1 being number 1 and Dec 31st being 365 or 366 depending on the year.

The date code on RJS kits is usually on the copy of the label on the outside of the main box. Ususally in a circle of color on the black box for EPs.

Cellar Craft
Cellar Craft has recently returned to stamping the date on the side of the 16 & 18 liter kits. On the 7.5L kits the date code is on a sticker on the front of the kit.

For example a kit that has the following number of D27512SA. The first letter refers to the month, in this case D refers to April (A=Jan, B = Feb, C= March etc). The 27 is the date of the month. The next number is the year. So this kit was made on April 27, 2005. The numbers after the year are internal codes used by the manufacturer.

Mosti Mondiale goes like this,

First digit is the year, second two digits are the month and the last two digits are the day. For example a date of 80212 is February 12, 2008.
This is all I have to date.
Jim 'n' Jan:

Hello and Welcome to this forum and a GREAT (but addictive) hobby.

To help us to answer your questions, please update the location field in the Control Panel. Also, please try to give as much info as possible when asking a question. In this case, Racer has alrady asked about brand names. Unfortunately you may not have realized that there are many manufacturers and that they are all different. Not picking up something taht is dusty is probably a good idea.

A couple more questions: what kind of carboy did you get? Plastic or glass? Size? What size primary?

When making a decent kit, I suggest that you follow the questions religiously with two exceptions. Reduce or eliminate the oak if you don't like oaked wines. Lengthen the time frames after the wine is out of the peimary and safely in a carboy under air-lock.

Welcome! You're in great hands here. Just started the hobby/obsession a couple days ago with a Winexpert SI French Merlot. I dont think I would have started so quickly if it hadnt been for this forum; Wade and CPFan are great helps. Thanks to everyone on the forum.
Thanks all for the welcomes & replies!
1( Racer, We were looking at "Selection" & "Vintner's Reserve" concentrate kits for $145.00 & $70.00 respectively.
2) Wade E, Thanks for the breakdown of codes. I bet if I looked again I could figure out how old they were.
3) cpfan, I updated the location field as you suggested. I'm near Rockford in Northern Ill.
I have a 6 gallon (U.S.) glass carboy & a 7 gallon(U.S.) plastic primary.
4) hardcore, Thanks for the welcome!
If I figure out the age of above kits (or any kit for that matter) how "old" can I go & still be assured of quality? I'm into reds, so I'm thinking Cab or Merlot.
Thanks, Jim

As a rule, try to get a kit that is less than a year old. Reds are OK a bit older, but most white kits will be starting to oxidize soon after that.

Good that you got a 6 gallon carboy. The 7 gallon primary may be a little small, especially if you start doing kits with grape skins.

Selection and Vintners Rreserve are Winexpert kits. So memorize (or write down) the code translation, and head back to that store. Pick a cab or merlot or a cab/merlot, and get it going. In your shoes, I might be tempted to try the Vintners Reserve World Vineyard California Trinity Red (Cab Franc/Cab Sauv/Merlot). If you like a BIG red, try the VR Mezza Luna Red. For your first kit or two avoid the high end Selection kits (like International, or Estate).

It may help you to read the instructions at http://www.winexpert.com/Kit_Instructions/

and don't be afraid to come back and ask more questions. But remind us which kit you are doing, and let us know the specific gravities and temperatures as well (cause somebody will probably be asking).

cpfan. Thanks for some very valuable info! I'll click on the link you gave me right after this reply. I'll be posting more questions soon, but will put them in the beginners forum.
Hi j-n-j
Did you ask the shop owner about the age of the kits? I know that the place where we get our supplies the boxes are all dusty too. But then again they have their beer making supplies right next to their racks of wines kits, so when they are grinding their hops (i think that what they're grinding...:confused:) I'm sure some of the residual dust is floating about. I have seen kits that I know are less than 2weeks old to the store and they look like they have sat on the shelf for a couple years...
They are milling grains, if you spot an out of date wine kit I would grab it and ask them to discount it but grab fresh yeast packet and almost all kits come with Lalvin EC-1118, although some now use Red Star Premier Cuvee, basically the same thing though.
Winexpert kits, especially the high-end ones, come with quite a variety of yeasts. Vineco is now shipping a few of their high end kits with RC-212 or K1-V1116, and even Red Star Premier Cuvee. But most kits come with EC-1118.

Personally, I do not like doing old kits. If I'm going to expend the time & effort, then I would like a good result. Having said that, it really depends how old, and how big the discount. Don't take a 2 year old kit for a 10% discount.

If the kit is old, ask to open the box and check the date and variety of yeast. Fresh Vineco, Winexpert, and RJ Spagnols kits purchased between October 2008 and January 2009 have included yeast with expiry dates ranging from 08-2010 to 06-2011.

Thanks all for the tips. I was worried about the age of the concentrate, & didn't even think about the yeast! Hoping to go there today (Brew store) if my very frozen car will start! Think the gas line's frozen.

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