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Aug 12, 2009
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I'm brand new at this ... and I've read non-stop about all the excited first time brewers ... and followed them through primary and secondary and maybe through bulk aging or bottling.

But what I find woefully missing are six month and one year updates from almost everyone who posts here.

What happens to you? Are you disillusioned or disappointed in the end results? Tired of posting?

So, I guess what I'm asking is for everyone who's made a Wine Expert kit to answer the following questions ....

1. At six months, the kit of which I'm most proud is:

2. At one year, the kit I'm most proud of is:

3. I'm sorry I ever brewed the following kit:

I know, I know ... many variables ... and techniques.

But I'm just trying to get a feel for which kits I want to do, just starting out.

There are lots of excited first time brewers who post here ... but almost no one posts a six month or one year follow up.

many of them have probably drunk it all by 6 to 12 months. When I ran an FoP, there were regular customers who's batch didn't last 28 days.

There are many kit manufactures. Any reason to single out Wine Expert? Depending on where you live you may also consider other kits. Would you be buying inline?
What kind of wine do you like? That's where you should start. Let us know what you like and what budget you have. Reason is "you get what you pay for" especially in kits. If you have a good pallet you may consider some of the upper end ones.
I just started making wine about 6 months ago and I'm having a hard time getting far enough ahead to be able to age it. My wife and I drink it as fast as I can make it and get it aged 3 months. It's so much less expensive than commercial wine. Between the two of us we drink a bottle almost every night. For our health, of course. :b

Surless, make more wine at one time lolol I know this is sorta a no brainer statement but:MAKE MORE at one time
Thanks for the replies guys.

Currently I have a WE VR Cabernet Savignon and a WE World Vineyard Italian Pino Grigio both in 6 gallon Secondary carboys ... an Apfelvine bubbing away in its own 5 gallon carboy ... an RJS Cellar Classic Winery Series Old Vine ZIN kit on order ... and a WE VR Mezza Luna Red kit sitting, unmade, in the basement (actually have another 6 gallon carboy on order)(one can't have too many carboys, can they?) .


Good grief!

I know I have an addiction (although it can't be alcohol, because, like I said, I haven't bottled one single bottle) ...

But I'm a little nervous, because in weeks of reading all the posts ... it seems like folks start out all excited, and make many posts about all the wine they have in primary and secondary and bottle .... yet rarely, if ever, does anyone follow up their posts six months later with a "wow ... I'm going to make another one of these ASAP."
If it makes you feel any better... after making the WE Chocolate Raspberry Port last year, we immediately thought we had to make one again. I have 2 on order this year. In fact, I just got the shipping notification today from the vendor I pre-ordered with. :D

I made a mead last year, and have another one bubbling away currently. I'm not sure what I think of mead yet... so we'll see as more aging occurs.

I have made my wife a white cooking wine. It was one of the cheapest WE white kits. We tasted it... not great, but not bad. She's happy with it as a cooking wine, though, so I'm sure I'll be making more as she goes through this batch. I need to order and make her an el-cheapo red kit for cooking.

I have made a high-end Viognier kit as an XMas present for our mom's. It's their favorite varietal. Those bottles are in the cellar and have been since I bottled it in March. We still haven't tried drinking one of the few we are keeping for us. I intend to do so sometime in October or November as the kit recommends a minimum 6 months of aging and we have plenty of commercial wine to drink in the meantime.

I have a couple of red kits that I have ordered and haven't had a chance to make yet. Need to get those going soon so they can get the 1-year minimum aging I intend to give them before trying.

I make plenty of apple cider and recently a cherry-apple cider (about 6% abv) and those are great... after about 3-6 months of aging. I'm not making a big holiday cider that probably won't be good until next winter (aiming for about 12% abv), so we'll see how that is next year.
But I'm a little nervous, because in weeks of reading all the posts ... it seems like folks start out all excited, and make many posts about all the wine they have in primary and secondary and bottle .... yet rarely, if ever, does anyone follow up their posts six months later with a "wow ... I'm going to make another one of these ASAP."

we make a new batch every time a carboy is open! we have about 5 5-gal, 2 3-gal and make around 50~70 gal a year. it took about 30 gal a year to get age in bottles :D although, there are 3 of us drinking it regularly and we give almost 1/3 of it away now.

we try to rotate in new stuff all the time. i have some crazy ideas coming to fruition, but we (me and my dad) are trying to go commercial and need to keep some stuff "top secret." lol

if and when we are open, i can share more. maybe not exact details, though. lots of red tape to get through and we are short on funds to do it thus far.
I normally don't touch a red kit for 2 years after I bottle. 1 year for whites. Don't have too high expectations for the VR Cab. It will be a thin wine. I have made a couple and ended up using them for top off wines.

Most of the kits I have done were Wine Expert. I have been pleased with all of the Crushendo's, Estate Series, and annual Limited Edition kits I have done. Most every Selection Series have been fine as well. Only ones I have been disappointed with were the Vintner's Reserve Red kits. The whites such as the Pinot Grigio were pretty good though.

I will say that the WE reds I can all detect kit taste until they are around 2 years of age hence why I never touch them until that time frame.

I now mostly make Mosti Mondiale All Juice kits and love them. I am going to try some RJ Spagnol's to. I hear good things about them here. The 2 absolute best kits I have made though were Cellar Craft grape-pack kits (Amarone and the Rosso Fortissimo) that were both Gold Medal winning wines in major competitions. All were aged appropriately though. The WE Super Tuscan is just about as good. The WE Stags Leap Merlot is great as well as the Woodbridge Ranch Cab (I think it is called Lodi Ranch Cab now).
Ive had great luck with the RJS En Primeurs, Cellar Classic Winery Series and Cru Selects with grapeskins, Have never liked any red kits so far from any brand that did not have these skins as I thought they were all this with no legs. I have NOT tried all brands in the no skin category but quite not willing to try anymore as I usually give them away due to not liking them. White wines on the other hand seem to be pretty good in just about any kit by any manufacturer Ive tried so far.
Good information guys!

This is what I was looking for!

I'm not expecting much from the WE VR Cab Sav ... it came with my wine making kit ... and was my "first."

I'll always remember my first time ... even if it was a disappointment ... wait, are we still talking about wine?

Anyway, the cab sav is clearing nicely ... but based on a lot of reading, I'm probably going to move to grape skin kits.

As I said before, I have a CC Old Vin zin on order ... and it will be my "first" grape skin kit.

And, I'm sure I'll always remember my first time (using grape skins) ... and my first time (brewing a wine kit) ... and my first time ... well, you know.

Keep those "favorites" coming.

Who has made a particular brand/kit three or more times? That would say a lot of the quality and the results ...
I've made the Ken Ridge Classic Merlot at least three times, and will make it again, possibly this year. Also I have made the Ken Ridge Showcase German Gewurztraminer three times, and is another that I will make again. I will soon be starting my third Niagara Mist Sangria Zinfandel Blush since October 2008 (sweet - not really my style - but family and friends devour it).

That is a big statement, because I make a lot of Limited Edition kits, and like to make a variety of kits. Since October 2008, I have started 12 kits, 6 of them Limited Editions. I have two kits ready to be started, both limited editions.

I'm finishing up my first kit... the WE Argentine Malbec from the Selection International Series. I had read that it lacks body, but I've been topping up with a Malbec when necessary and it has plenty of body. The taste is developing nicely and should be ready for drinking around Christmas.


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