Other Tweeking Cheap Kits

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Bill Pet

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Because of the fontana kits I've made pinot cs merlot I felt the pinot had the best body, especially with some added raisins. I suspect that none of the cheap kits are particularly close to their named profile.
 

Khristyjeff

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Has anyone used a rhubarb fpac in one of your wines? I did a Zinfandel Blush with raspberry fpac that turned out great and wondered what it would be like with rhubarb fpac instead. @joeswine always says to look at a wine's profile for clues on what to add and haven't found a rhubarb/zinfandel link. I did find where some Pinot Noir will have notes of rhubarb. Maybe find a Pinot Noir Blush? Or different direction with a bit sweeter white to offset the tart rhubarb?
I'm admittedly searching here for direction so would appreciate any of your thoughts. Rhubarb will soon be with us in the midwest! Thanks.
 

joeswine

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Bill Pet no prunes for the wine, not a good enhancer.
Kristy Jeff, would be better as a blush mix ,give it a try
 

Khristyjeff

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Bill Pet no prunes for the wine, not a good enhancer.
Kristy Jeff, would be better as a blush mix ,give it a try
Good suggestion. I'm thinking about 3 options:
1st is an RJS Pinot Noir Rosé En Primeur kit. This actually lists rhubarb as part of it's flavor profile. But my experience with these is they're very good without tweaks (at least at my current level of experience). However, if I went this route I was planning to add the rhubarb f-pac to secondary for a background taste enhancement. Perhaps split in two batches--do one straight and one with rhubarb to compare. So . . .
2nd option is an RJS French International Rosé. It claims to be medium body, but my guess is this kit could use a little boost with body and flavor. So I'd add the rhubarb f-pac to primary and maybe even a little in secondary. Finally,
3rd option is tried and true Wine Lover's Zinfandel Blush where I boost the ABV to maybe 12-13%. I'd also add the rhubarb f-pac to primary and probably secondary.
Any suggestions on this current plan?
 

Ole

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I know this thread is about tweaking cheap kits.
I got my hands on two chardonnay winexpert kits.
- Winexpert Australian Chardonnay (Reserve) former known as Selection
- Winexpert California Chardonnay (Classic) former World Vineyard

I don't yet have experience with these two kits. Would you recommend increasing the tannin to 1 tablespoon and adding grapefruit zest to primary as you do for cheaper kits? Or will they give the best result by just following the instructions?

I will also add 1 oz/30 g medium oak to primary and 2 oz/60 g to secondary.
 

Khristyjeff

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I know this thread is about tweaking cheap kits.
I got my hands on two chardonnay winexpert kits.
- Winexpert Australian Chardonnay (Reserve) former known as Selection
- Winexpert California Chardonnay (Classic) former World Vineyard

I don't yet have experience with these two kits. Would you recommend increasing the tannin to 1 tablespoon and adding grapefruit zest to primary as you do for cheaper kits? Or will they give the best result by just following the instructions?

I will also add 1 oz/30 g medium oak to primary and 2 oz/60 g to secondary.
I'm not familiar with these kits, but maybe @joeswine could start a "Tweaking High-End Kits" thread. I also hate to take a chance messing up expensive kits without experienced guidance.
 

joeswine

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Take one kit add tanning 1teaspoon plus your oak and grapefruit zest also in the primary. In the secondary add add 1 teaspoon again of tannins.
The second kit go as instructed just add adding some oak to the secondary , nothing more.
That's to say you like your chardonnay oaked , got it?
Both will come out fine but distinctly different.
 

Ole

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Take one kit add tanning 1teaspoon plus your oak and grapefruit zest also in the primary. In the secondary add add 1 teaspoon again of tannins.
The second kit go as instructed just add adding some oak to the secondary , nothing more.
That's to say you like your chardonnay oaked , got it?
Both will come out fine but distinctly different.
Good idea with making them different. And yes I like them heavily oaked.

I will try "Reserve" with just 60g oak in secondary for 6 months. Should I rack it off the sediments after clearing before adding the oak?
Or just add the oak together with the clearing agent?
 
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joeswine

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Can anyone remind me we're we get the grape fpacs from ( vendor), I'm getting forgetful , bought a Sharza kit and wanted to add the skin pack.
 

Khristyjeff

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I just finished a cheap kit + tweaks with very good results.1618114577649.jpeg It's a Fontana, Medium-Bodied (11.5% PABV) Merlot. I paid $55 with a $5 discount. For this kit I used everything they included in the kit but for the following changes:

1) Only filled with water to the 5 gallon mark instead of 6. This got the starting SG to 1.100.

2) Added 16 ounces of store-bought "fresh" blackberries in f-pac form (@joeswine style) into primary.

3). Added 1 Cup of French Oak chips to primary.

That's all the changes. I pitched the yeast on 2-27-21, added a heat belt, racked to secondary on 3-13-21, added the kit's clearing agents on 3-13 and 3-14, and racked to another 5 gallon carboy today (4-10-21). ABV ended up at 14.4%.

My wife and I tasted it and here are our notes at the 6 week mark: "Tasted very good. Medium-full body. Still a little "kit taste", but it was pushed to the back by the other good flavors. Good mouth feel." I've been struggling with my first wine from grapes, so I needed a confidence-booster, and this has been a very good process.

We plan to bulk age this so will add K-Meta in a couple months and play it by ear for bottling. 1618116608743.jpeg
 

Khristyjeff

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What does "kit taste" mean? Never heard that one.
I'm not sure how many other people notice "kit taste" (my wife does not) but for me it is an off flavor that I get from almost every kit I've done, regardless of price range. This is a different taste from "young" that I associate with a harshness that needs time to mellow. I've had a high end Cab Sauv that, after 10 months, I can detect only a faint hint of the taste I'm referring to, but at first it was quite strong. The only kits so far that I haven't noticed this was an RJS En Primeur Trio White, and a Wine Lover's Zinfandel Blush that I added raspberries to which may have masked the flavor.
I'm hoping that I won't notice "kit taste" in the new Finer Wine Kits We'll see.
 

joeswine

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In all these years of wine making i still don't understand what is kit taste???
When wine is processed correctly .
 

Kantuckid

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Generally-DUH, I either like it or don't like it, some great, some's so so, never threw any out though. Some I've made was too dry for me and I'd toss little bit of stevia sweetener in the glass. One summer wine i made is lacking enough flavor so I pour in a tad of Riunite and it's spot on. Also makes a beautiful color! I do admit if covers up the strawberry taste found in the wine. Yes, I am a true wine connoisseur if that means that I know what I like.
 
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