Wine Kits to Avoid Like the Boogie Man

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jgmann67

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At the suggestion of another WMT user, I'm going to kick off this thread. What kit would you not recommend to other users. Now, it's not enough to say you didn't like something, "it was bad," or "wasn't as good as you'd hoped."

For this exercise you should include the following:

* Make, model and varietal of the kit.
* The year you made it.
* What tweaks/deviations from the kit instructions you made.
* How long after starting fermentation you bottled your wine.
* How long after starting fermentation you started drinking your wine.
* Why you wouldn't recommend the kit to others... specifically, quantitatively, comparatively and descriptively.

I'd rather this not become a thread where members just bag on a particular kit. It should be more than that.

For example: If this were 2015, I would not recommend the Winexpert LE14 Super Tuscan. I made this kit in 2015 pretty much by the numbers, except I didn't use the sorbate. I bottled at around 6 months and started drinking it after about a year. It was a disappointment as far as LE's go. The grape pack was small, as was the oak cube packet. In the end, the wine was thin - lacking in both body and flavor. I suppose I could have added raisins to the grape pack in the primary, and added oak to improve the profile of the wine. But, it would probably still have paled in comparison to other Super Tuscan kits.

I know that's not a great example (given that it was an LE). But, you get the idea.
 
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Ron0126

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I haven't made enough kits to comment other than to say I'm looking forward to reading this thread as it grows!
Hopefully, there aren't too many bad kits out there ...
 

lilvixen

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Winexpert World Vineyard Trinity Red, started in May 2016.

This was my very first kit, and I didn't know how to read the date code on the label at the time, but I went back to my notes a few months ago and checked, and it was about a year old when the online store shipped it to me. This may or may not have affected my experience.

Being my first kit, I made the kit following the four-week instructions. The juice smelled odd, like salami, but since I had no experience with wine making, I continued on. After the instructions, it still smelled and tasted like salami, but I thought that would go away with age or something. I added Tannin Riche Extra because we like tannic red wines and bulk aged for 2 months. I bottled it in Aug 2016, and we opened the first bottle in Oct 2016.

The salami smell and taste never went away. I thought maybe it needed longer aging time, but this was a four-week kit, and even at the last bottle at the 13 month mark, the flavor and smell hadn't changed from last fall. Some bottles were worse than others. At first, I would just hand my glass to hubby to finish, but about halfway through the batch, I swore it off and left the rest for hubby.

It was a medium-bodied blend with what I think would have been a decent flavor, outside the salami. Early on, I tried pairing the wine with salami, hoping to mask it and make it tolerable, but no luck. I've read others that like this kit, so I'm assuming I got a bad or old kit, but I cannot bring myself to make it again to find out.
 

DoctorCAD

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Kinda subjective.

My worst wines have been 1. Peach that tasted like vomit and 2. Juice bucket that was mistakenly sorbated while in MLF, tasted like geraniums.

All of my kits have been drinkable, but again...subjective.
 

bkisel

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Worst kit I made was a MM All juice Pinot Noir. All the WE, RJS and CC kits I've done have been pretty to very good.
 

Johnd

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Worst kit I made was a MM All juice Pinot Noir. All the WE, RJS and CC kits I've done have been pretty to very good.
I've got a Mosti All Juice Masters Pinot Noir, one of my better kits.......
 

bkisel

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I've got a Mosti All Juice Masters Pinot Noir, one of my better kits.......
Could be that the Alljuice kit I got was past its prime. On the positive side I've been using the MM bucket and its gasket lid, for the past 4 years, as my corkidor.
 

Mismost

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Winexpert World Vineyard Trinity Red, started in May 2016.

This was my very first kit, and I didn't know how to read the date code on the label at the time, but I went back to my notes a few months ago and checked, and it was about a year old when the online store shipped it to me. This may or may not have affected my experience.

Being my first kit, I made the kit following the four-week instructions. The juice smelled odd, like salami, but since I had no experience with wine making, I continued on. After the instructions, it still smelled and tasted like salami, but I thought that would go away with age or something. I added Tannin Riche Extra because we like tannic red wines and bulk aged for 2 months. I bottled it in Aug 2016, and we opened the first bottle in Oct 2016.

The salami smell and taste never went away. I thought maybe it needed longer aging time, but this was a four-week kit, and even at the last bottle at the 13 month mark, the flavor and smell hadn't changed from last fall. Some bottles were worse than others. At first, I would just hand my glass to hubby to finish, but about halfway through the batch, I swore it off and left the rest for hubby.

It was a medium-bodied blend with what I think would have been a decent flavor, outside the salami. Early on, I tried pairing the wine with salami, hoping to mask it and make it tolerable, but no luck. I've read others that like this kit, so I'm assuming I got a bad or old kit, but I cannot bring myself to make it again to find out.
I do not doubt your experience at all Cat, but we had the exact opposite experience. Our WE Trinity Red was really nice. That said, I had read Joe's Tweaking Kits huge thread before I ever made a kit! Mine was tweaked...added tannins, oak in secondary, and bumped up ABV....so in fact, I doubt it was like the manufacture thought it was going to be!

BUT....it never smelled like salami, never ever. Think you may gotten a bad kilt!
 

lilvixen

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I do not doubt your experience at all Cat, but we had the exact opposite experience. Our WE Trinity Red was really nice. That said, I had read Joe's Tweaking Kits huge thread before I ever made a kit! Mine was tweaked...added tannins, oak in secondary, and bumped up ABV....so in fact, I doubt it was like the manufacture thought it was going to be!

BUT....it never smelled like salami, never ever. Think you may gotten a bad kilt!
I agree that it was likely a bad kit, but being my first, I didn't know any better. I was very suspect of the hobby though, because I couldn't understand why anyone would make their own wine if it smelled and tasted like that. Thankfully I started three other kits before bottling the Trinity, so I was assured that they don't all smell/taste like that, but it was the push to do only premium red kits just in case it was a concentration thing. I haven't opened a juice bag that smells like that since, so my post may be more appropriate under "Wine kits I'll avoid like the boogie man." :)
 

Johnd

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Could be that the Alljuice kit I got was past its prime. On the positive side I've been using the MM bucket and its gasket lid, for the past 4 years, as my corkidor.
Could be age, different vintages, different batches of the same vintage, even with "production controls", things vary. No way to know......
 

Brian55

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I've got a Mosti All Juice Masters Pinot Noir, one of my better kits.......
The All Juice Masters kit is not the same as the kit Bkisel is referring to which comes in a bucket. Pretty significant price difference between the two.
 

David219

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In my limited experience compared to many on this forum, most of any issues I've had with kits involved user error or just taste preference.

For example, I've made a couple WE IM Blackberry Cabernet kits, by the book. They just aren't to my taste. I gave them away, and got all positive feedback, but I don't think I will make another Mist kit.

Many of my early kits were not sufficiently de-gassed. Made by the book, including the "suggested" bottling timeline in the instructions. I now bulk age and have a neutral Vadai 23L barrel, so that really isn't an issue any more.

The biggest caution I have with kit quality or performance has to do with the dessert style wines I have made. WE chocolate raspberry, in particular. Achieving complete fermentation has been tricky. I've made like 4 or five of these type kits, and in only one did the fermentation proceed as I would have liked or expected. All the others stalled at some point...near completion...but stalled none the less.

Not sure if this type of feedback is what you are looking for, but just my $0.02.
 

jgmann67

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In my limited experience compared to many on this forum, most of any issues I've had with kits involved user error or just taste preference.

For example, I've made a couple WE IM Blackberry Cabernet kits, by the book. They just aren't to my taste. I gave them away, and got all positive feedback, but I don't think I will make another Mist kit.

Many of my early kits were not sufficiently de-gassed. Made by the book, including the "suggested" bottling timeline in the instructions. I now bulk age and have a neutral Vadai 23L barrel, so that really isn't an issue any more.

The biggest caution I have with kit quality or performance has to do with the dessert style wines I have made. WE chocolate raspberry, in particular. Achieving complete fermentation has been tricky. I've made like 4 or five of these type kits, and in only one did the fermentation proceed as I would have liked or expected. All the others stalled at some point...near completion...but stalled none the less.

Not sure if this type of feedback is what you are looking for, but just my $0.02.

The mist kits are quick drinking, lower end kits. I'm not typically a fan of sweet cheap wine. But, by using half of the fpac in the primary (the other half in the finish) and boosting the ABV by chapitalizing some corn sugar, it became a summertime favorite.

Even with the mist wines, they still need time to degas.

I haven't done a dessert wine yet. The coffee port is on my list, though. Why do you think they stalled?
 

David219

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I'm not sure. The WE kits start very high in sugar (og 1.122-1.128), then chaptilize with dextrose further into fermentation. This bumps the the sg up another 0.014-0.016.

My first attempt, I added the dextrose at the recommended sg, which I believe is @1.020, and even the EC-1118 couldn't chew it all up. I thought maybe the problem was temperature too low, or the yeast was just to spent by that point and was overly stressed by the chaptilization.

Second time, I used a brew belt to maintain a temp of 75 degrees and added the dextrose while the fermentation was still perking strongly (@1.060). This also stalled above the level WE said it should go.

Third time, I used brew belt, added Fermaid K, and added only enough dextrose to bump the SG 0.010 (@60% of the amount supplied) when the SG of the must had dropped to 1.030. I had planned to add the remainder of the dextrose once I had confirmed the first addition was consumed, but I decided not to, as this had gottten me closer to the target SG numbers in the instructions as far as final SG was concerned. (but obviously did not have the ABV)

The fourth time, used brew belt, rehydrated yeast in goferm, and added fermaid k. This time, I added all the dextrose at the recommended time (0.018). This worked the best. I will do another of these kits, and this is how I will do them going forward.

So I would not avoid these kits like the boogie man, but in my hands, they have been tricky to manage the fermentation. FWIW, they all seemed to taste great and are a hit to give as gifts at the holidays. So even with the issues, the end product was reasonable.
 

joeswine

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Don't use the dextrous povided us simple syrup, when making the desert kits adhere to the instructions when it comes to total volume ,use fpac as instructed, you can always tweak as you go.
 

sour_grapes

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I respectfully disagree with Joe regarding dextrose vs. simple syrup. When chaptalizing for high ABV, they choose to provide dextrose for a reason. Table sugar is made up of dextrose (i.e., glucose) and fructose. When you make simple syrup, you break the table sugar into these two components. Yeast can metabolize both, but they have an easier time metabolizing dextrose than fructose. Alcohol further inhibits their ability to metabolize. So, late in the fermentation when it the yeast are in an unfavorable environment, you want to make it as easy for them as possible. That is why they go to the trouble of providing dextrose, and I would recommend you use it!
 
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kevinlfifer

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I haven't posted for months and nobody has missed me.

I have to say my worst kits made came to be because of vintner error. I have made really good wine from tweaked Paklab kits, and bad wine from WE LE kits.

I shifted to making wine almost exclusively from juice, 60 gal at a time, adding grapes and toasting my own oak.
 
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