Other Tweeking Cheap Kits

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VinesnBines

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Frankly, I'm so cheap, I wondered which was the best deal. :rolleyes: I think for the Tempranillo I'll stick with what worked.
 

joeswine

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Your thinking is spot on, you know what I’ve always have said to myself when confronted with these thoughts.
{I have never made a wine I didn’t put thought into}
Base profile, structure and abv my building blocks , learning these basics gave me control over the process and finished product. If all went well I know what I had before the process was completed.
 

VinesnBines

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I usually bump the ABV with simple syrup, adding Zante currants and French oak chips. I'm considering swapping out the currants with dry elderberries. That will have to be with a smaller batch. Making me think a little more.
 
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Frankly, I'm so cheap, I wondered which was the best deal.
I'm viewed as cheap by some family members, but my goal is frugality. I try to pay the least for the quality I want, which is not necessarily lowest price. The following is food for thought for everyone.

I'll use my niece as an example -- I arrived at her house with the first batch of wine I made for her, 2 cases of wine. Her husband, a non-drinker, was nonplussed by this. He was aware of it, but actually seeing 2 cases of wine, it seemed like a lot. I explained to him that the wine cost $85 USD, including the kit (which was on sale), corks, capsules, & labels. She paid for the consumables, and I supplied that equipment and labor at no cost (I'm amateur and sticking strictly to that).

That's $42.50/case, which is $3.54/bottle. The wines she typically drinks range from $10 to $20/bottle, which is $120 to $240/case. That opened his eyes on the topic.

I did a bit of numerical analysis, using kits starting at $50 and increasing by $25, and assuming $12 per batch for corks, capsules,
labels, and miscellaneous. These are all round number for illustration.

Kit
Corks
Total
Per Case
Per Bottle
Delta
50.00 12.00 62.00 31.00 2.58
75.00 12.00 87.00 43.50 3.63 1.05
100.00 12.00 112.00 56.00 4.67 1.04
125.00 12.00 137.00 68.50 5.71 1.04
150.00 12.00 162.00 81.00 6.75 1.04
175.00 12.00 187.00 93.50 7.79 1.04

Each jump in kit quality increases the price/bottle by ~$1 USD.

The question: is 2 cases of wine that's ok , at $2.58/bottle a good value, or does it make sense to spend a dollar or 5 more to get 2 cases of a wine you really like, especially compared to the cost of commercial wines of similar quality?

I'm not asking for public answers to this question -- it's something we all need to think about and make our own decisions.
 
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I usually bump the ABV with simple syrup, adding Zante currants and French oak chips. I'm considering swapping out the currants with dry elderberries. That will have to be with a smaller batch. Making me think a little more.
I have an idea I'm planning for upcoming fruit wines -- buy a low end kit from WE or RJS, and use the concentrate to bump up the ABV and volume of fruit concentrates. Doing this is significantly cheaper than buying concentrate by the liter, plus if I need more, I'll have it. I'm planning 2 batches at the same time, and will freeze the remaining concentrate in 1 liter batches for later use.

This is still food for thought -- I'm wondering if I'm better off buying a mid-range kit, and making wine from whatever concentrate is left over. This can be used for topup when I need it, or just miscellaneous drinking. In this case, FWK is also on the list.
 

VinesnBines

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I've been planning to do just that for fruit wines that need grape juice for body; especially now that the frozen juice concentrates are disappearing from grocery stores. I'm trying to decide about a neutral white. I used Chardonnay to top up a jalapeno (significant top up) and it turned out wonderful. I'm also considering Pinot Grigio as well.
 

joeswine

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why not just bump up the ABV with simple syrup and make the kit or kits as is?
just remember in all your charting winemaking and tasting are all subjective to taste and, in some cases, the cost is the overriding factor to some. Especially for those, I make wine for who supply their kits. That's when being creative comes in very handy.
 
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why not just bump up the ABV with simple syrup and make the kit or kits as is?
@VinesnBines mentioned body, and using concentrate will bump up the body whereas syrup won't.

When making a fun wine kit, I have used sugar as I want the ABV up to 10% to increase shelf life. But I don't want to make the wine heavier than the ABV increase will make it. It's an interesting trade-off.
 

VinesnBines

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Joe, a lot of fruit wine/country wine recipes require a grape juice base. Something for body. Ginger and rhubarb in particular. I also have a great personal recipe for a white grapefruit juice/white grape combo and I need the concentrate for that recipe.
 

joeswine

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not to argue the point the reason for this thread was to make an inexpensive wine for those who can't afford the high or higher price kits yet still get to enjoy a creative experience and a decent final product.

These and many more were for people on fixed incomes who enjoy a bottle of wine and are supplying their own by the way most of the kits I make are for the wives of winemakers who are no longer with us like TOM, the kits I make for myself are all over the place price wise and add ME to the mix, that's what winemaking is all about.
If anyone on this site has ever entered a judged wine contest, then you know it's all subjective to taste and interpretation.
 

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joeswine

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we now have 467k views.... we grow about 1000 views a month thanks to all.
 

Steve Wargo

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Good ideas and reads in the tweaking threads. I began adding adjuncts(other stuff) to some of my beer brews, years ago. I did the same making wine. .. Some experiments turned out well, some ok, and a small amount not so good. I always learn something. I've learned that if I add flavoring like regular coffee or tea to my fermentations, it makes falling or staying asleep difficult. Maybe I was heavy-handed? So decaf next time.
 

LindaLouLou

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Joe I have always made my fruit wines from scratch and inherited 6 gallons of Trinity Red wine from a kit when my friend’s husband died. It was delish! I would like to try a Chardonnay BUT any thoughts on how to make it “buttery” in taste?
 

joeswine

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Never had much luck with Chards even in kit format, any other whites no problems if you choose a kit make it a good one.
By reintroducing the lees in to the mix is supposed to create that buttery texture to the chard.
simple enough to do isn’t it , never had any luck with it though.
Can anyone add to the process?
 

Steve Wargo

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Joe I have always made my fruit wines from scratch and inherited 6 gallons of Trinity Red wine from a kit when my friend’s husband died. It was delish! I would like to try a Chardonnay BUT any thoughts on how to make it “buttery” in taste?
Diacetyl is a buttery-tasting compound that is a by-product of malolactic fermentation in wine. Though I'm not too sure how well it works with kit wine. It's part of the Malic acid conversion process. The lesser wine lees also play a role. Hopefully it points you in the right direction for research
 
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Kits supposedly don't need MLF as the acid is supposed to be balanced, and presumably the malic acid content is low enough to not make a difference.

An experiment occurred to me: make a batch of Chardonnay. After clearing move half into a 3 gallon carboy and let it age without addition. The other half add some quantity of of malic acid, give it a few weeks to integrate, then inoculate with MLB.

The risk is the treated half would be overly acidic, even if the MLF takes place. To reduce risk, treat only a gallon with malic acid/MLB.
 

Bill Pet

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After making kits for 7 years I finally tried making a sweet wine. I chose a Southern Peach - Wine Lovers Fruit Winemaking Kit and followed the instructions except I added some golden raisins and sugar to raise the abv to around 12 or 13. Everything went well up to when I added the flavor packs. Before adding the packs (ingredients: invert syrup + flavor + sorbate) I tasted the dry wine. It tasted like a flavorless chardonnay. After adding the packs it tasted like some sort of spiked, artificially flavored kool aid. In a word, terrible. Too sweet with overwhelming artificial peach flavor, almost like medicine. I should have looked on the packs beforehand. Indeed, they were artificially flavored. I was going to put the 30 bottles down the drain but decided to wait a bit to see if they would improve. After 2 months here is a tiny bit of improvement, especially when I taste it cold. I'm trying to figure out whether to wait more or just dump it and reuse the bottles.
 

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