WineXpert WineExpert Riesling kit suggestion

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pittspur

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I am a virgin, getting wine making equipment for Xmas. I was poking around stock at a local store (as well as reading a lot on this site) and would like any suggestions on what kit to start with. I have decided to start with a Riesling. Here is a list of the store's stock. I believe these are all WineXpert kits.

Selection Johannisberg Riesling - $99
VR Riesling - $59
Selection Speciale Riesling Icewine Style - $89
World Vineyard Washington Riesling - $75

Does anyone have any history with these kits and is willing to comment on them? Thanks.
 

cpfan

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I haven't made any of these kits, but three of them would make a good choice for a first timer. Personally I would probably go with the World Vineyard Washington Riesling.

Please note that the one I do not recommend is the Icewine. Unless you know what icewine is, and definitely want an icewine, then do not get this one. (In which case, why did you list the other three?) FYI, the icewine makes 3 US gallons and the rest make 6 US gallons. This makes a difference in which carboy you need to buy.

Steve
 

pittspur

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cpfan,
Thanks for the response. I was thinking the icewine would be my last choice. I didn't realize it was only a 3 gal kit.
Thanks,
Dave
 

MN-winer

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I've done the VR Riesling and beware that it is a bit thin and not as interesting or flavorful. Its a good starter table wine but If you really like a good riesling I would go with the other two. Not the icewine.
I added sweetner to mine and it tasted better but I've heard really good reviews from the other rieslings - I agree with cpfan - Washington looks like a good value.
 

mmadmikes1

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If you use the Winexpect Washington Riesling dont add whole F pak all at once,after about a month taste it and decide if you want to add the rest. It is pretty sweet if you add it all
 

Bailey

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I made a few VR kits. Even though they're on the lower price side I've been very happy w/ the two Libfraumilch kits I've made. My VR Reisling is still in the primary - started 12/6.
 

Runningwolf

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I am a virgin, getting wine making equipment for Xmas. I was poking around stock at a local store (as well as reading a lot on this site) and would like any suggestions on what kit to start with. I have decided to start with a Riesling. Here is a list of the store's stock. I believe these are all WineXpert kits.

Pittspur welcome aboard. I was just wondering if I admitted to being a "born again virgin" if my wife would let me make a list of things I wanted. :):):)

Where do you shop in Pittsburgh? I've been to Country Wines on Babcock Blvd. and also Porter House Brew Shop in Portersville. Both pretty good shops but about a 100 miles from my house. I am going to go back to the Porter House though since they are the only one around that sells R J Spagnol's products and everyone talks about there quality. :try
 

pittspur

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I am a virgin, getting wine making equipment for Xmas. I was poking around stock at a local store (as well as reading a lot on this site) and would like any suggestions on what kit to start with. I have decided to start with a Riesling. Here is a list of the store's stock. I believe these are all WineXpert kits.

Pittspur welcome aboard. I was just wondering if I admitted to being a "born again virgin" if my wife would let me make a list of things I wanted. :):):)

Where do you shop in Pittsburgh? I've been to Country Wines on Babcock Blvd. and also Porter House Brew Shop in Portersville. Both pretty good shops but about a 100 miles from my house. I am going to go back to the Porter House though since they are the only one around that sells R J Spagnol's products and everyone talks about there quality. :try
Hi Dan,

Good luck with the "born again virgin" approach with the wife. Let me know if it works, then I'd have to give it a go. I plan on shopping at County Wines on Babcock (about 20mins from home). Didn't know about the Porter House Brew Shop. Just checked them out on line. I'll have to make a trek up there sometime (not to rub it in, but they are only about 30mins from me).
 

cpfan

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(not to rub it in, but they are only about 30mins from me).
I can't count the number of LHBS stores within 30 minutes of me. I can think of over a dozen but I'm sure there's some more. Unfortunately, most are Ferment on Premises, and some of those have no interest in the home wine maker and carry little in the way of supplies. The closest one to home refused to order a specific kit for me. I haven't been back to that store.

Any of you Pittsburgh area types been to South Hills Brewing (2222 Noblestown Rd)? I think they are related somehow to Country Wines on Babcock. I spent a little money there back in September. Seemed more beer oriented than wine. As I recall carried Heron Bay and Cellar Craft.

Steve
 
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Wade E

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cpfan is right, the icewine is a very very sweet wine and it is only a 3 gallon batch so if you really like sweet wine this is the way to go otherwise stray from this kit, it would require a 3 gallon carboy cause you cant keep 3 gallons of finished fermented wine in a 6 gallon carboy as it would oxidise. Im willing to bet any of those 3 kits would make a good Riesling, but there maybe differences in them as far as sweetness or dry. 1 or 2 of them might have a f-pac in it which you add after fermentation is done to make the wine sweeter while 1 or 2 of those kits may not. there are both dry and sweet styles of Riesling. Either way you could sweeten the wine if you like by either buying separetely a wine condotioner or just make up a simple syrup out of 1 part boiling water and 2 parts sugar dissolved in that boiling water and then added to your wine to your sweetness. these kits will all produce a decent white wine even though some have much more water needed to add to the kit, a red wine kit on the other hand gets very this when adding all that water to a kit so smaller kits in red wines dont produce great results IMO>
 

pittspur

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I purchased the World Vineyard Washington Riesling last night. Thanks to everyone for the great responses, I appreciate them.

I was talking to the guy at the shop and he told me that it should produce a wine that you would buy that retails for $10-$12 a bottle. I was a bit surprised at that. Maybe I am expecting too much, but to me, that is in the "cheap wine" category. Or course, that is all subjective, but I was thinking this would produce something better than "cheap wine". Thoughts?
 

MN-winer

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I don't think $10-12 is cheap for a riesling. Thats all my wife drinks and 90% of the labels are in that range. Its hard to find something more expensive and most of them in that range are very good.

I think you made a good choice. Let us know how it goes. I was eyeing up that one as well. Does it have an F pak?
 

pittspur

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I didn't open the box yet, when I do, I'll let you know about the F-pac.

As for the $10-$12, I took it as a more general statement (not specifically about Riesling). I'm certainly not a wine connoisseur, but I was hoping that I would be able to produce wine that I could drink (and give away) that people will say that's "pretty good" and not just "it's ok".
 

MN-winer

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I think you will be happy with the results. I don't know too many people who drink rieslings that are wine snobs. They may exist, I just don't know any. I have given out my WE VR riesling which is thin but the people I have given it too have been impressed (more than me, anyway).

Good luck - pitch the yeast and keep us posted
 

TheTooth

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I'm certainly not a wine connoisseur, but I was hoping that I would be able to produce wine that I could drink (and give away) that people will say that's "pretty good" and not just "it's ok".
I hope this doesn't sound mean, but I don't think you're going to be able to impress wine connoisseurs with your very first wine kit when you aren't a connoisseur yourself. You need to know more about drinking wine to know what you need to improve in the wines you make. Also, you need experience with different kits/grapes/ingredients/chemicals/processes to know what you need to do to create better wine.

It's sort of like saying you want to wow your chef friends by knocking out a great gourmet dinner... but it's the first time you've set foot in a kitchen and you're not a food connoisseur.

I don't say any of this to dissuade or dishearten you. This hobby is awesome. I'm just saying to be a little easier on yourself through your first handful of batches as you make some mistakes and learn how to improve your wines.

Take some time or even a class to help you become more of a connoisseur so you can use that knowledge to improve your wines to where you feel confident handing them out knowing that they are great. Either that, or just relax and make what you enjoy and don't worry what others think of it.
 

pittspur

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Tooth,
Thanks for the response and I don't consider it mean at all. I understand what you are saying. Let me just try to clarify. I've heard from several people how easy it is to make wine, "it wants to become wine, just let it", etc. I don't have any delusions of grandeur that I will make the greatest wine ever. I have been highly encouraged by the things I have read and I probably should have just dismissed what the guy at the store said about it making a $10 bottle of wine. Maybe I am just underestimating a $10 bottle of wine? I guess what I was trying to ask was whether I will be able to make a wine that I will enjoy and look forward to drinking? Anyway, I am just looking forward to Xmas to get started. I'm an engineer, so this "hobby" seems to be right up my alley.
Best regards,
Dave
 

TheTooth

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Cool! You'll definitely be able to make a wine that you will enjoy and look forward to drinking. Riesling is the favorite wine of both my mom and mother-in-law. I made a batch of it from a kit for them and from what I tried of it, it's every bit as good as the store-bought bottles we've opened with them at dinners. Good rieslings can be had in the $10 - $15 range most of the time. I'd consider that a good sign.

As an engineer, you'll totally love this hobby. There are always problems and ways to improve processes. You may want to try brewing beer at some point as well. There are even more processes and equipment you can design and build if you really get into it.

It's hard to judge wine on price tag. In general, especially for reds, a $10 bottle of wine isn't usually very good. There have been a few I've tried that were great, though. We've bought cases of these when we've found them.

But to go on price alone... so far, I'm finding the higher-end white kits I've made to make wine on par with the $15 - $30 / bottle range, which are usually what we end up buying from wineries and shops. From what I've read, the higher-end red kits require about 12 months of aging minimum before you can really judge them, so I'm still waiting for those bottles to age enough to give a fair evaluation. We make cheap white and red kits for my wife's cooking wine stash, and those stand up pretty well to $5 - $15 bottles of wine.

I've been brewing beer for a few years now, but I'm still pretty new to winemaking... so my experience is still limited to a half-dozen kits, a few meads, and a few different ciders. So far, I've been really happy with the results.
 

Runningwolf

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Dave, I think you will be pleasantly surprised with that wine. If your not I will personally come down and pick up the remainder of it. LOL
 
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