Other Tweeking Cheap Kits

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RocketBee

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I just ordered a Wine Lovers Merlot kit. I wanted to get the 5.2 liter kit, but they were sold out. So I opted for the next level up which they call the "12.5% ABV" Merlot kit and I also sprung for the optional wine raisins too.
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The first kit I made was a Wild Grapes Merlot, and after six months of aging in the bottle, it was OK, but I and my lovely bride thought it was a bit "thin"...lacking a little in body/mouthfeel and flavor. I'm assuming that this Wine Lovers kit is comparable to the Wild Grapes kit and I want to make it a bigger red and in the zip code of 14% ABV.

Here are some options I'm looking into to add body:
1) reduce the volume of the kit,
2) add tannins in the primary,
3) add the raisins in the primary,
4) add tannins in the secondary,
5) oak in the primary (not sure if it comes with the kit)

To add more fruit flavor and body:
6) add 1 lb. blackberry Fpack in the primary

To increase ABV:
7) chapitalization with simple syrup (only if necessary to achieve the 14% ABV level)

Finally, I've also been toying with the idea of using a different yeast than the included EC-1118. But, leaning away from that as all the other tweaks plus a yeast substitution might be too much for a neophyte like me.
 

joeswine

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That's a big plan👍, it's a correct plan just don't expect a lot of bottles 20 to 24 .
Also try this use the ec1118 inconjuction with a red star or champagne yeast ,yes that's correct 2two types of yeast to create a robust and very tasty wine.
Got it? It's fun thinking outside the box
 

oppyland

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I just ordered a Wine Lovers Merlot kit. I wanted to get the 5.2 liter kit, but they were sold out. So I opted for the next level up which they call the "12.5% ABV" Merlot kit and I also sprung for the optional wine raisins too.
I'm in pretty much the same boat, except I ordered the syrah kit and added the french oak chips and wine raisins.

My plan is to add tannins (?), wine raisins and oak chips in primary. Also most likely going with Joe's suggestions to add frozen blackberries and two different yeasts.

Not super outside the box ;), but I'm hoping it'll improve the final product!
 

joeswine

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Remember when introducing fresh fruit it's better to sautee the fruit with 2cups of the base wine ,this starts the extraction process from the fruit.
How to making an fpac . it's simple 🍇🍇 easy and flavorful.
 

joeswine

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a trick of my trade..?? when you need a hand.🤔
 

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joeswine

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For you people out there asking what will be my yield ,here's the yield just bottled from the cab I did for a customer. notice my extra hand??
WILD GRAPES MFG.
The yield is the same more or less it all depends on your boil off. what really counts is the taste of the end product ,and yes the cheap kits play their roll in the game. Any more I don't see much difference in the over all volume, in either case ,its the finished product that's the difference.
 

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RocketBee

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Also try this use the ec1118 inconjuction with a red star or champagne yeast ,yes that's correct 2two types of yeast to create a robust and very tasty wine.
@joeswine would you use 2.5 grams of each wine yeast? And would I want to give one of the yeast varieties a head start over the other?
 

joeswine

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Not that complicated open both packages and sprinkel them in.
In theory each yeast should empart its own DNA into the mix. It does work.
 
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a trick of my trade..?? when you need a hand.🤔
a trick of my trade..?? when you need a hand.🤔
Do you make your own labels? I’m not opposed to as I like the option of personalizing them for gifts etc. if you do make your own, how can you do it without going thru a ton of printer ink? On the other hand, if you purchase the labels, can you get them one at a time for personalization? And finally, for wine corking using a hand wine corker what type cork do you recommend? I’ll be using wax over the cork as I love the look. Thanks
 

joeswine

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NO, I don't make my own, only when I make a generic wine sometimes I use AVERY LABELS ,how ever for a cheap label check out NOON TIME LABELS, generic by style and affordable . Labels no matter what the cost make a wine look like a finished product one I would hesitate to give away with pride in my work. I use to do personalized labels when FWTS was around then I found NOON TIME and the process changed .
 

oppyland

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Do you make your own labels? I’m not opposed to as I like the option of personalizing them for gifts etc. if you do make your own, how can you do it without going thru a ton of printer ink?
I made my own for a batch of rhubarb I just bottled. I have a color laser printer, so the cost was pretty minimal. 00100lrPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200314174432194_COVER.jpg
 

joeswine

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Looks like a pro- product.nice job how's the product taste?
 

Rocky

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@Oppland, what is the significance of the rooster? I notice you have one in your signature image too.

Bottles look great. One suggestion would be to add about 1/2" of wine to the bottle next time. I always try to fill the bottle past the shoulder into the neck where the diameter of exposed wine is least.
 
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Nice looking bottles.

I have a question:
Have any of you tried to use lemongrass in a kit wine to make some lemon notes? I ask because I have made some cheap kits with riesling grapes and I miss some citrus taste in it, but do not want it to be too acidic. Some commercial riesling I have tasted had a touch of lemon and green appples, and I would love to "copy" that. If using lemongrass, put it in secondary? Treat it with heated water first and then add pectolase, or is pectin haze no problem with lemongrass?

I have used grapefruit zest and it made a difference, but need something more..
 

joeswine

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Hi, never used lemon grass I know what it is in the cooking format ,I would stick with lemon or grapefruit zest myself just because the cause and effect I can control.
and what is something more refer to ?
 

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Thanks for answer. I just feel for a little taste of lemon without gettin the acid too high. I reduce the water addition to the must a bit to get more body, so using lemon will get the acidity too high I think. The grapefruit zest gave it a plus on the nose, but not noticed in the taste. I like the addition and will do also in the future.
 

oppyland

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Looks like a pro- product.nice job how's the product taste?
Thank you! It's very refreshing - quite tart, I backsweetened just a little because I wanted to keep the tart rhubarb flavor. I think it'll be really good this summer on a hot evening. Going to try adding strawberries or raspberries this year.
@Oppland, what is the significance of the rooster? I notice you have one in your signature image too.
We have lots of chickens here due to my wife's hobby (even in the house ;) ). The label is a photo I took with some Photoshop. The chicken in the avatar photo is almost coincidental - it's an old photo I saw online and I just find it funny (I'm sure being constantly surrounded by chickens helps too).
Bottles look great. One suggestion would be to add about 1/2" of wine to the bottle next time. I always try to fill the bottle past the shoulder into the neck where the diameter of exposed wine is least.
I fill them as full as I can with the bottling wand. Guess I never thought of it as a problem.
Nice looking bottles.
Thanks! I have never tried lemongrass, but I think it would add a nice citrusy flavor.
 
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