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Kit wine Quality versus store bought wine

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sbsantos

SkipG
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I am new to wine making and just started my first bactch of Wine Expert International Selection NZ Pinot Noir. Here is my question, assuming I follow all instuctions carefully.....how will this quality fair VERSUS the typical pint noir I usually drink from the store? As an example the Pinot noir I usually drink is Wild Horse, Bear Boat, Angeline, Frei Brothers, La Crema , Mostly $17-25/bottle (Flowers, Argyle & wine from Willamette valley when I splurge).

I want to have realistic expectations about kit wine, so if anyone can help me align my expectations that would really be helpful in my planning future wine making activities.

P.S. I got "hooked' on making wine 3 weeks ago when I tasted a friends wine that he made from fresh CA barbera grapes. It was fantastic! Almost a Pinot Noir like finish but with more body....
 

Racer

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I think that my kit made wines compare equally well to good commercial wines in the $15 range. Notice I said good commercial wine there. When it comes to kit wines I haven't had a bad one yet. But have had a few that were not a style that I prefer. With commercial wines quality can be all over the place in just about any price point you find.My best homemade wine to date is a mendicino malbec I made 3 yrs. ago.The only problem with it is that it just tastes too good and ends up disappearing out of the bottles to fast!

I hope to see alot of opinions on this subject too.
 

cbw

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Most people will tell you they are disappointed in "cheaper" wine kits. They will also rave about grape-skin kits ... some will tell you that they only do the expensive kits.

And that's true ... you get what you pay for.

But for a vin de table, I find the cheaper kits to be quite drinkable. Sure, they might not be the best tasting wine (particularly if you drink them early) ... but hey, you made it ... and there is nothing more rewarding that drinking your own wine.

You made it ... enjoy it.
 

Wade E

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Some kit wines will make very good wines that will exceed some commercial wines while others will lack. Im not a big fan of Winexpert kits and havent tried the one you speak of nor those commercial wines you have posted but can say that I have made many RJ Spagnols Winery Series kits that blow the doors off a lot of commercial wines. Its all a matter of taste though and how well your taste buds are developed and that will be ever growing through the years. Some kits will say California style or the liking and may not actually meet that style while others do. All wine will need the proper time to get to these points and for WineXpert it seems to take longer to get rid of whats called a kit taste (KT) which can taste like a Jolly Rancher candy sweeteness.
 

NSwiner

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Wade do you mostly drink ( make ) red wines ? I see you have some fruit wines listed that might be white but I'm not sure . I agree with you get what you pay for with kits . We love our Wine expert kit ( White wine ) we made already and can't wait to get the limited edition kit . I think all wine kits have a purpose The cheaper ones like mist wines are for drinking right away and the kits that take longer to age are different type of wine .I'm still new at this wine making myself and learning something new everyday so i really can't answer your question sbsantos . This coming year I plan on trying some different brands of kits to see what we like better . Who knows maybe we will like different brands even though they are different . i wish i could find a group around here that get together and sample each others than I would have a better idea of which ones I want to try first .
 

Wade E

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I think pretty much all the big companies make a decent or even very good white wine, I dont feel the same about most red wines though. I havent had every wine by every company out there(not even close) but I have had quite a few from both the high end Winexpert and RJS and find the RJS way better, I have a cellar full of everything including every 1 but 2 of the RJS Winery Series kits and everyone of them is awesome. Ive had 6 of the winexpert Crushendo Series and only liked 2 of those. I must say that I did love the WineXpert Stags Leap Merlot kit also. A far as what i make for wine, EVERYTHING!!!!!!!
 

St Allie

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I've been watching this post and have two comments to offer..

One.. is proper cellaring time for the kit.. the instructions often state it to be drinkable far earlier than is optimum.. reds shouldn't be drunk under 6 months in my opinion this will make a huge difference.... and longer if you are very patient ( new kitmakers are exempt.. we know you are dying to drink it!)

Two.. if you choose the lower end red kits.. they can very often be tweaked up a little bit to improve body and mouthfeel. It's creative and fun if you go this route.. and the finish is very worthwhile. I tweaked a valpolicella up and it's so buttery a year down the track i don't think it has even peaked yet.. will try it at 2 years.. I added frozen boysenberries to a pinot gris kit .. it's 8 months in the bottle and we cracked one open recently.. very happy with the result and the colour is gorgeous.

I'm happy to get a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket for suggesting tweaking.. ( heresy!)

luckily this forum welcomes " creative expression" when it comes to individual winemaking.

So give things a try and if you want input/opinions.. just ask.

It's what we're here for

Allie :bt
 

NSwiner

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I think pretty much all the big companies make a decent or even very good white wine, I dont feel the same about most red wines though. I havent had every wine by every company out there(not even close) but I have had quite a few from both the high end Winexpert and RJS and find the RJS way better, I have a cellar full of everything including every 1 but 2 of the RJS Winery Series kits and everyone of them is awesome. Ive had 6 of the winexpert Crushendo Series and only liked 2 of those. I must say that I did love the WineXpert Stags Leap Merlot kit also. A far as what i make for wine, EVERYTHING!!!!!!!
Great even more reason to pick your brain :D
 

Tom

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Dare I say " think out of the box".
The more wine you make the better your taste buds will bloom. That being said do not go for price (you get what you pay for). Start with a medium priced or higher kit. I did a tasting of a cheap and mid range kit. Hands down even the novice will pick up the difference. Some of the high end kits I feel will equal a $30 bottle easy.
Remember if you pay $120 for a kit that only comes out to $4 a bottle
Then once the bug gets you you will be doing fruit and wine juices.
 

gawine

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Good info guys. I'm doing my first kit now, the wine expert trinity red. It seems that my local brew shop carries that brand only and maybe one other. I didn't notice RJSpagnols there, but I'm all for making the best wine and may do that brand next. Wanted to get one I could drink w/out waiting one year hence the trinity red.
 

fuzzmeister

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Allie
I have a wine expert vintners reserve 10 litre valpolicella kit that I want to make soon, you stated that you tweaked a valpollicella kit, if you dont mind me asking what did you add to it to beef it up.

fuzzmeister
 

gawine

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I'm a first time wine maker, have a WE Trinity Red in the secondary and want to make sure it is not thin. How can I tweak it to give it more body as it sounds like it will be thin based off of people's comments here. Add grape skins or grapes for a few weeks? Thanks.
 

rawlus

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now that it is in secondary options are somewhat limited. ideally additives like bananas or zante currants are added to primary... to improve mouthfeel. to minimize thinness, when you top up after racking, use wine not water.
 

gawine

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OKay, cool. I did top off with wine, topping off w/water does seem to just make it thinner! So for the banana aspect, just cut up banana slices and toss into primary for a week? Or put a cup of currant jelly into the primary?
 

Tom

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get 3-4#'s of bananna and simmer them on the stove. strain and add. Make sure you remove about 1.5ltr for room.
Another option is to add glycerine.
 

boatbums2

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Home made wine vs store

I just started my 3rd kit, Italian Sangiovese. Ageing a French Merlot and Italian Amarone. Love the dry red style wines. The kit wines I have tasted have beat many commercial wineries. Plus, this has tremendously expanded my tastes in wine. Used to be dry red Merlot. It is now, "What haven't I tried yet?" Patience is tough. I have found a local connection for grape juices, Chilean grapes are on the way. I want to try the Malbec, supposed to be excellant. Any other recommendations for trying Grapes from Chile will be appreciated. Even a white.
 

Tom

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Malbec and Carmenere are both good wines. The Chilean Red Zin is also good.
 

boatbums2

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Home made wine vs store

I just started my 3rd kit, Italian Sangiovese. Ageing a French Merlot and Italian Amarone. Love the dry red style wines. The kit wines I have tasted have beat many commercial wineries. Plus, this has tremendously expanded my tastes in wine. Used to be dry red Merlot. It is now, "What haven't I tried yet?" Patience is tough. I have found a local connection for grape juices, Chilean grapes are on the way. I want to try the Malbec, supposed to be excellant. Any other recommendations for trying Grapes from Chile will be appreciated. Even a white.
 

St Allie

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Malbec and Carmenere are both good wines. The Chilean Red Zin is also good.
if you can still get hold of this kit.. The limited edition 2008 series Heron Bay Carmenere Cab Sav kit. Am sure they reissued it in 09 too.

.. had a bottle last night .. it's only six month bottled but was also bulk stored beforehand. Great promise.. am keeping the bottles for special friends..

Allie
 

St Allie

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Allie
I have a wine expert vintners reserve 10 litre valpolicella kit that I want to make soon, you stated that you tweaked a valpollicella kit, if you dont mind me asking what did you add to it to beef it up.

fuzzmeister
hey fuzzmeister.. sorry missed this post while I was away. My valpolicella was a 1 gallon test kit.

info here.. it's a long thread because everyone was throwing ideas into the mix, it gives you the tweaking though, however you'll have to scale it up to 5 gallons.

http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3310&highlight=valpolicella

I also tweaked a 1 gallon test kit pinot gris with boysenberries.. and that came out very nice.

Allie
 
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