WineXpert WE kit Pinot Noir... no laughing!

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St Allie

Tech Administrator
Mar 6, 2009
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I am now the proud owner of aforementioned kit..

an early birthday present..

will settle down to reading the instructions after dinner..

Great wine! Was it the Selections, Estates or...


( looks blank and twiddles hair.... )

it says 'Chai Maison"
on the pack and it's a product of canada. It wasn't expensive, makes 23 litres and cost NZ 90.00

works out to be $3 a bottle


Chai Maison is the bottom end 4-week kit from Winexpert. I don't think it's even listed on their web-site.

I have never made a Chai Maison kit, but have made other kits of very similar quality. I made a batch to use for Sangria and most of it was consumed by my neighbour (and us) as straight red wine. It was very decent.

I would expect it to be thin, so bananas and/or raisins added to the fermenter would be an excellent tweak.

Have you popped the box yet? Does it come with oak? Pinot Noir is one of those reds that sometimes comes with oak, and sometimes doesn't. If you want to oak it, I would suggest about 30g of oak powder. That's how much is included in some other Pinot Noir kits. When I ran the Ferment on Premises, I sold a nice Pinot Noir that didn't come with oak. Most of the customers liked it with the 30g added. [I got a good chuckle out of one customer. He wanted oak in the Pinot Noir that didn't include oak, but didn't want the oak that came with his favourite Chardonnay.]

Read the instructions carefully, and ask questions if you need to. This is the kind of kit that many of North Americans are used to.

90NZD = $63 Canadian = $52 USD. Maybe a bit expensive for that kit, but considering the shipping from Canada probably not too bad.


I'm going to drive you silly with questions probably.. it can't be that difficult to make a kit surely?

A basic bottled wine from the wine shop here starts at $ 10 and goes to a reasonable drinking red at $15..

I like the wine range at about $18 to $28, so have high hopes of tweaking this kit. prefer a nice mellow drinking red.

( we won't mention champagne.. as bollinger and veuve clique are favourites...)

I did buy a toasted oak chips packet anyway, 50 grams basically to put some in the $20 kit..

The Heron ones were $124 and microbrewery$165. Island mist or breezin ( I forgot!) were $110.. I don't like winecoolers at all, noted you can up the alcohol content.. I doubt the flavour would improve..

Granted Chai Maison was a cheap kit ... I think it's worth tweaking and will add at least 6 bananas for a 6 gallon batch, very ripe and prefrozen.. Quite tempted to throw in the $20 kit of valpolicella!..( ok just kidding.. I'd have to add more water right?)..

I've never heard of it. Least not here in NJ.
Have popped the box Steve and there wasn't an oak pack. Will the 50gram pack of toasted oak I bought be enough for a 23 litre kit?

As I said above, I think 30g of oak powder would be enough. I haven't made this kit, and don't really know how oaky you like your wines. To me, Pinot Noir can't take as much oak as many other reds.

If those oak chips are the courser/larger chips, that amount out to be fine as they do not extract as fast as the oak powder will. This is assuming you are adding the oak in primary fermentation and not secondary. As he said, Pinot Noir is lightly oaked if even oaked at all. Too much oak will destroy the softness in the mouthfeel this varietal presents.

Do as mentioned in adding some banana or raisins to. The WE red low end kits are pretty light in my opinion and need some help. I normally use raisins. I take a pound of the ones that aren't soaked in sugar and coarsely chop them up and throw them in the primary. I have never made one of the kits you are so can't offer much else. I have made a few of the Vintner's Reserve kits and only one of the reds, the Bourgeron Rouge, a kit I guess they no longer produce and has no oak BTW was the only decent one with no tweaks. Of course, many like them as they are
Yes they are the oak chips.. so I threw the whole packet in there this morning.

I put six very ripe defrosted bananas in a masons jar with half a teaspoon of pectolase overnight, (as the kit has bentonite in it), and tipped those in after checking SG. So will have upped the sugars a bit.

SG is 1.078 which is within the range given.. plus the bananas.

so now we just leave it to do its stuff..

Day 7 and I think fermentation is over..SG is .990.. have racked into clean secondary anyway and will recheck SG tomorrow.

If nothing changes I'll go straight into the stabilising and clearing.. Strange.. I had expected it to ferment for at least 2 weeks.

Thats not too far off. 7-12 days is normal for a kit in my experiance.
Day 7 and I think fermentation is over..SG is .990.. have racked into clean secondary anyway and will recheck SG tomorrow.

If nothing changes I'll go straight into the stabilising and clearing.. Strange.. I had expected it to ferment for at least 2 weeks.

Patience little one. I know that the sg says that the ferment is finished, but let it sit the extra few days.

Transfer to secondary BUY, WAIT 7-10 days minimum. Like cpfn said Patience. You can't rush winemaking. We all been where you are now trying to bottle and taste what you created! :b
noob question: what purpose does adding raisins or bananas do? obviously there's sugar there, but is it more about adding mouthfeel/body?

raisins i could see, but bananas would add banana aroma/flavor right?
Its not that they contain sugar. Some is added though. They give mouthfeel and body. No you do not get a bananna taste in the wine.
Thanks for that,

I am going to bulk age it anyway guys, so no rush to bottle. Thing is there is quite a gap at the top of the secondary, if leaving it for a couple of days, will it be ok?..Have managed to pick up a 23litre carboy on the local ebay, but can't get it til tomorrow afternoon. I'm tempted to fill a couple of mason jars with water , seal them and sanitise.. add those to the secondary to keep the air contact to a minimum while waiting for the carboy. I usually make wine in 1 gallon lots and don't have this problem.

Do not add water. Get yourself a bottle of the same as what you are making and add. Waiting a day will be OK. Make sure you clean and sanitize the carboy before you transfer.
oops Tom..

you are misreading me.. I mean that I will add the entire sanitised jar of water to displace the wine level in the carboy.. I will retrieve the jar of water afterwards.

I'm not diluting it :)