first timer

Hello all.
I have been brewing beer for about four years and now I am trying to get into winemaking. Any suggestions for my first kit?

Red or White?


Some more questions:

Is price a concern? Best payout comes from highest end kits. Can get something reasonable for less, but I usually recommend highest quality possible.

Which brands do you have available? In Canada we have way more options available, but from what I have read there are quality kits available down south - Winex and Cellar Craft (Vineco). Stay away from kits found at Costco / Wallmart etc.

How long are you willing to put into aging?

What are your preferences?
How tannic?
How much oaking to you like?
Flavor profile? - Red Fruit, Black fruit, Blue fruit etc?
Fruit forward /Earthy?
(don’t have to have a straight answer for all of these)

Sipping wine?

Table Wine:
Spaghetti / Pizza wine?
Red Meat?
All purpose?

What commercial wines have you tended to buy and enjoy the most? Be as specific as you like.

Again, don’t have to answer all of these questions. More info=best suggestion for you.

My ultimate favorite kit wine is Cellar Craft’s Rosso Fortissimo (showcase series). Only issue with this one is it really needs time. Absolute 1 year minimum aging. 2 years to really get you money’s worth. Will go to the end of time if you let it.

The new Winex Eclipse series has been getting pretty great feedback, and is designed to show very well at a young age (though also should have great longevity.) Pay a higher price tag for these though.

For my taste Cellar Craft has been a little hit and miss as far as the varietals go. But I have found in general the kits I did like blew winexpert out of the water. Sounds like the Eclipse may have leveled the playing field a bit though. I find winex to be a bit more consistent throughout their entire collection as a whole.

We really enjoy Yellow Tail Reds…We really are not wine connoisseurs. I intend on purchasing from Northern Brewer and would like to stay at the $125 mark as far as cash at this point. As far as aging, I would like something I can drink in 8 months to a year and hopefully be able to age it successfully for even longer. I would say a good all purpose wine would be the best bet for us. It sounds like people lean toward the Cellar Craft for beginners??..

If you are drinking a lot of Yellow Tail I’m assuming it is likely Shiraz, Cabernet, or Cab/Shiraz?

At your price point I’m actually thinking Winexpert - Selection series Australian Shiraz or Australian Cabernet/Shiraz.

The Cab/Shiraz would probably have a little more body but would likely take a little longer to mature - full 6-8 months.

The Shiraz is one of the main wines from the series that I recomend for people who want to start drinking them a little earlier. Sometimes as early as 3-4 months (though you would still get more out of them if you go 6-8 months.)

Selection series is a good starting point for most people. They will have enough to them for a daily table wine. It would be considdered a premium kit, but there is still lots of room to move up later.

Selection Australian Grenache Shiraz Mouvedre would also be a nice option.

Thanks for your help. I appreciate it!

Where would be a good place to research for a first timer, say, if you wished to “free style” a homemade wine, from the fruits that you might have available?

Some basic “rules of thumb”, like starting points such as “start with X amount of sugar for X amount of fruit” or “finished product”.

I know there’s “Google” out there with tons of stuff, just looking for some “tried and true” advice and / or recipes…

NOT discounting the info available on this board, mind you! :cheers:

Jack Keller

Thank you, Sir!