Wine Kit Question for My Fellow Beer Guys

I have been contemplating making a wine kit as the idea of making wine seems pretty fun. My only reservation is that I can’t tell you how many people that I have heard talk negatively about homemade wine. So my question is, are all these people just having poor encounters or do wine kits really leave you unimpressed? Would love to make a cabernet if I were to make a wine. I’m pretty impressed with the price as the kits say that they make 30 bottles of wine.

Are these people talking about wine from scratch (grape, berry…) or these kits.

I made one kit to transition the Ex into brewing. I thought I tasted as good as the wine we were buying in the store.

I had a couple of “scratch” wines the other night. Very tasty also.

IMO, like beer, you can take a good recipe and make a bad product. Any of the boxed kits should turn out a great product.

Yeah, I don’t know the nature of the wine that these people had made. I think one of them had been making them from scratch. From what I have read, if you make a red wine it seems like you should let it age for 18 months at a minimum. I’m wondering if they had let their wines age long enough. At some point this year i’ll probably pull the trigger and buy some of the wine specific equipment and make a kit. With the aging time that seems to be necessary, i better brew it up now so i can have it in about two years. …I like reds and they seem to need a longer aging from what i have read.

You can produce quality wines from kits as long as you purchase a quality kit and treat it right. FWIW I prefer kits with skins. I would also avoid the Island Mist kits.
Many people have a bad impression of homemade fresh fruit wines due to many brewers not properly balancing acidity, sweetness, or tannins. It is also important to use only quality fruit. I would put any of my wines against a similar commercial example any day.

I was thinking of one of winexpert kits from our host. What kit brands do you recommend?

In the late summer of last year or sometime around there Northern Brewer had a buy one get one free sale of kit wines. We decided this was too good of an opportunity to pass by for making our first kits of wine so we picked up a red and a white in the $110 piece range. We waited about six months or so and bottled the red which is decent enough as of right now. Haven’t actually tried it since we bottled it a few months ago. Also haven’t gotten around to bottling the white but that one was not terrific as of a few months . Not bad, but not great either. We’ll see how they turn out.

We also picked a couple pounds of blackberries and tried making 2.5-3 gallons of wine out of that and some sugar. That one is just straight up bad. Not a lot of flavor. Super dry. Had a slightly harsh alcoholic burn to it. Again, haven’t tried it in a few months and have heard that fresh fruit wines take a while longer to mellow out so I’ll wait a year and see on that one. Maybe we’ll back sweeten or oak a bit but right now don’t have super high expectations.

I say try it out. It’s a decent enough price and it’s super easy. It won’t be bad, just might not be fantastic. Or maybe it will, you’ll see.

I’ve done a few wine kits. My opinion is the whites have come out pretty good but the reds just seem to be lacking. Not enough body or depth of flavor like any commercial red I’ve had. You definitely get what you pay for so don’t cheap out on a kit if you go that way.

Making homemade muscadine and strawberry wine has been a family tradition for years in my family . We have several grape vineyards and strawberry fields that provide fresh fruit for wine making. I’ve never made wine from a kit, but I can say that wine made from fresh fruit is outstanding if done correctly. Now I’m not saying as good as a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout good… But close :cheers:

So much of made-from-scratch homemade wine is made so that the yeast eats sugar until it dies, leaving residual sugar. This makes a really high alcohol wine (15%+) that is unpleasant to drink. Much better to make a normal ABV of 12% and backsweeten.

Kits are a good way to make wine. I agree with the comment that whites are tasty young. For reds I only make the high end kits and plan to age them at least a year. They get pretty darned good by two to three years.

I have made a couple of dozen wine kits, and I have to say that I enjoy the product just as much as anything that you can buy in the store (we’re talking $10-$20 bottles of wine). The white kits actually take very little aging once bottled to taste good, and the reds start tasting the best at around 6 months - 1 year. The really high end kits ($150+) can take 2-3 years to reach their peaks, so I would make some of the kits in the $100 range to have for the short term, and then make a nicer kit for long-term aging. Just make sure to do all the proper sanitation and use good racking practices. Oxidation will ruin anything, whether it’s beer or wine. FWIW, homemade wine from kits can be just as good if not better than what you get in the store.