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kit vs. juice

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Omerta

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what is the difference between kit and juice? Also, my future father-in-law has been making wine for many years. He said he tried using vacuum bag concentrate and it was "terrible". Is there a major difference between old school wine making and the kit world? Can a kit be made to the level that will please the pallet of an experienced old school wine maker?
 

Omerta

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Call it pride or whatever but I'd like to make my first batch on my own... or actually with the help of other resources (the wonderful minds of this forum) before asking him for help. My fiancee asked if he (her father) ever took a specific gravity measurement... his reply "was whats that?"
 

Racer

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The difference between kits and juice are as follows:
Juice is pressed and clarified but may not be adjusted from the numbers as "harvested". You will test equipment to adjust acid, PH, and sugar levels (brix).
Kits are made from concentrate, or concentrate and juice.The big difference is they are adjusted for you, so you only have to follow the instructions (to the letter).Kits also come with everything you need to complete your 6 gallon batch except for the corks, bottles and labels.
As far as kits or concentrate being inferior.Well I've won a few medals from kit wines, and some big name commercial wines are made from concentrate too.

My first 5 or 6 batches were kits. After that I started experimenting with fruit and fresh grape wines.
 

Wade E

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Kits can produce wines that will rival a $20 bottle of commercial wine. They can also rival a better or worse wine. It mainly depends on the amount of money you are willing to spend on a kit. That being said there are cheaper kit that produce a very good wine and expensive kits that produce a wine a pretty good wine as this is mostly personal preference. I will speak from my experience that I like the grape skin kits primarily for red wines and most of the white wine kits come out very good whether expensive or cheap.
 

cpfan

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Omerta:

I hate this question, because the best answer is "it depends". It depends on which kit, which juice, and which old winemaker.

Apparently he likes terrible wine. Is that because you don't like what he makes or because it is badly oxidized (or some other fault)?

It is really hard for me to tell.

I can give you my personal opinion based on making MANY MANY kits, and ONE crappy pail of juice. Can you guess my opinion yet?

Personally, I think that a good quality kit, made well, will be better then your father-in-law's wine from juice. But it may not impress someone who's taste buds are used to their own "terrible" wine.

But if he is using a decent quality juice, and following reasonable practices, it is probably a reasonable wine. And maybe it's your tatse buds that are at fault.

If he makes red zinfandel and you love zinfandel blush, then never the twain shall meet, or at least not until yours grow up.

Steve
 

Conquistadude

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when you guys talk of juice, do you mean A bottle of juice you would buy at the store, or juicing from fresh fruit? or both? So far the wine I have made is from fresh fruit, and I have not used a kit.
 

cpfan

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I think Omerta is referring to a pail of fresh wine grape juice.

Steve
 

Luc

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Call it pride or whatever but I'd like to make my first batch on my own... or actually with the help of other resources (the wonderful minds of this forum) before asking him for help. My fiancee asked if he (her father) ever took a specific gravity measurement... his reply "was whats that?"
Most important question is of course:
Does he make a good wine in the opinion of you and others.

Luc
 

Omerta

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Thanks for the input guys. Much appreciated.

Its sounds to me that he tried a kit once. I cant say whether or not he followed the directions or thought he could go old world on its ass. He is quite a bright fella so I'm not sure if I should speculate on what he did or didn't do correctly.

Wade: Those are inspiring words "Kits can produce wines that will rival a $20 bottle of commercial wine".
I love the challenge of trying to figure it out on my own. I'm not a competitive person by any means but, I would like to be the guy that eventually can finish a kit to the point that "there is no way that's from a kit" is the consensus.
I will try juice at some point down the road.

cpfan/luc: He knows good wine. His own turns out very pleasant.

racer: Thanks for the info. I think I'll be up for the challenge of try juice after several kits.

conquistadude: I'm pretty sure he picks up the 5 gallon bucket of juice.
 

cpfan

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Its sounds to me that he tried a kit once. I cant say whether or not he followed the directions or thought he could go old world on its ass. He is quite a bright fella so I'm not sure if I should speculate on what he did or didn't do correctly.
Yes but there are kits and then there are KITS. Also, todays kits are much better than the kits of 20-30 years ago.

Steve
 

Omerta

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Steve: Very true. I didn't get a time frame of when he did the kit. I have the recent issue of Wine Maker. The cover is Top 10 Wine Kits. It doesn't show price. How pricey of a kit have you seen?
 

cpfan

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Prices vary considerably depending where you shop. I just paid $225 Cdn for two 16 litre Winexpert Selection Limited Edition kits (NZ Merlot and NZ Gewurztraminer).

I have the Vineco Wine World August 2008 price list here...red kits vary from $52 to $121. I have two of their reds on the go ($68 Merlot, $82 Valpolicella), both bought at 10% off. The Vineco kits equivalent to the Selections that I just bought would be about $100.

BTW most kits are packaged in Canada (juices/concentrates from around the world), and there is wider availability, and more competition in Canada.

[All prices in Canadian funds. Currently $100 US is about $118 Cdn. So if you live near the US Canada border.]

BTW, Omerta please update the Location field in the Control Panel.

Steve
 

cpfan

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Omerta:

I didn't fully answer your question. I have seen two packs (two kits in one box) in some Canadian Costcos for $65 (used to be $60), so thats $33 per 23 litre (30 bottle) kit. I have also seen kits retailing for $160+. I have seen mention on the forums of $200US kits.

Steve
 

Omerta

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I need a bunch of practice before I head toward the $200 mark :)
 

cpfan

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I need a bunch of practice before I head toward the $200 mark :)
You need a bunch of patience too. Those kits need a full year or much more to reach their prime.

Steve
 

Wade E

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The most expensive wine kits are the Mosti Mondiale Meglioli kits which are about $239 but they make the best wines out there of any kit IMO but even then I dont buy them as they are just too expensive. I make the RJ Spagnols Cellar Classic Winery Series w/skins and every 1 of them comes out awesome IMO. Omerta, go check out the price of a cheap commercial Amarone and buy 1 when you get some extra cash then make a Decent Amarone kit and then you can say that you have just made a wine = to a $45(minimum and usually OK) and your kit will most likely be better. A good Amarone usually go for at min $85 and can range up too $500 or more. Ive seen a $500 bottle but Im sure they can go way above that! My kit came out way better then the $65 bottle I bought!
 
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arcticsid

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I was kind of figuring, let em drink a couple bottles first, and then ask for their assesment.
 

Omerta

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Wade: That's the route I'll most likely take. Same wines different kits. Compare. Store bought wines. My wines. Compare...
Arcticsid: I'm hopin' the love my wine. Eventually I'll be good enough to brag a little :rolleyes:
 

Manimal

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I know I'm going to get pounded for my opinion on this one, but I can honestly say that I've never tasted a concentrate kit wine that rivaled a $20.00 bottle of commercial wine, or not the commercial wines I am used to buying, anyways. There always seems to be this odd "concentrate kit" taste that I just can't get past. To be right up front, I've only made a few concentrate kits myself and they were definitely middle of the road ones... not high end. But I've tasted countless kit wines made by friends and relatives and they always share this same peculiar taste that I can't put my finger on. I'm not saying that there aren't excellent kits out there, but I've often heard these claims of kit wines comparing favourably to commercial wines, and have not personally been able to come to the same conclusion based on my own experience. I have alot of faith in my own palate and as I have a fair degree of tasting experience and considerable formal education in wine as well as experience working in vineyards, commercial wineries, ferment-on-premise and wine retail, I believe my conclusions must count for something... I think kits are a good way for a beginner to get their feet wet and learn the basics of home winemaking, but once you feel you "get it" I encourage you to seek out some real juice and give it a go. It's more involved, but isn't that the fun of doing it yourself? A product that I truly do believe makes a wine comparable to commercial wines is Kamil Juices... look them up online. Excellent stuff and available year round.
 

Omerta

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Manimal: That's kinda the idea. I want to get the feel for the craft from a beginners level then progress from there. Fruit juice is definitely on the horizon. As far as taste differences go, I've never tasted a home kit before so this will be an experience.
Also, I've heard that a few commercial wines are "built" the same way as a home kits via concentrate. They may not be the $20 bottle wines but they me be the ones that are daily drinkers. I don't have exact information but, its been said.
 

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