Making The Kit Better?
Posted 15 April 2004 - 04:50 PM
just joined this evening . . . I've been making wines from kits . . have yet to get the room to move on up to crushing my own grapes . .
My question is -- the best way to get real great wine is to make it from the grapes themselves . . but if you're like me and the kits are more reasonable at this time, what, if anything, can I do to improve on the concentrate? I'd like to make a wine that's just real nice, full bodied and tasty . . what I've made so far has been good, but not exemplary.
Posted 15 April 2004 - 07:10 PM
Visit winemakermag.com and look for an archived article summer 2001 "Make your kit wine shine" by Tim Vandergrift. Tim is a frequent poster to this site and may also help you in your desire. Usually though the advice seems to be to use wine juice that is not from concentrate to start with as this is as close to grapes as you are going to get. Another alternative is to use a concentrate with a higher percentage of juice in it. Both of these things though cost more money than standard kits.
Posted 15 April 2004 - 08:13 PM
Welcome aboard the forum. I am sure you will find answers to many of your questions by wandering through the forum itself.
I would ask you to provide as much information as you can when posing a situation that you need clarified. The momre you can provide when asking, the quicker a meaningful response can be gotten to youl
For example, you have been making kit wines for some time now. What types of kits and what manufacturers have you been using? The time frame of the kit itself 4 week, 6 week, 8 week? How closely did you follow the instructions? What might you have done differently?
Personally, I ahve been maiking kit wines for about 4 years now. I have about 100 of them under the shelf (so to speak).
I have had them compared to $50 bottles of wine.
The majority of my kits have been from Brew King, now Winexpert. I normally do the "Selection" kits and the process takes me about 3 months instead of the 6 weeks minimum.
If you are interested in a pictorial of one of these kits now underway, check out the thread Step by Step.
Posted 15 April 2004 - 10:18 PM
To tell the truth, I don't remember the some of the kits I've made -- I've used vino di vida and cellar classic . . . I have recently been opting for the off-dated kits a local supplier has . . they're the Heritage Estates brand (I believe they're a 4 week kit). When I do make the kits, I do follow the directions almost to the letter -- except for the oak, that I add in secondary fermentation to get a bit more oak flavor into the wine.
The latest 12 gallons I've got in carboys has been going since January . . and it actually tastes pretty good, although aging will make it smoother . .
I'm having fun playing here . . . just looking for advice on making things better . . I've read Mr Vandergrift's article and found it very helpful . . I devour any advice I can get my hands on . .
Can't wait to try from grapes, however . . . someday . . .
Posted 15 April 2004 - 11:23 PM
Wine kits really respond well to good, solid winemaking techniques: cleanliness, temperature control, timely racking, and good management of sulfite levels and oxygen exposure. Throw in some extra ageing, and you've put in a huge improvement over the average bear.
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Posted 16 April 2004 - 07:10 AM
Glad you found the site and to have you on board. Its great having an expert like Tim .......a big advantage. If you want more more oak flavor try using smoky oak powder instead of the chips. I find it stronger and absorbs in the wine more for something like a Cab or Barolo better....I am sure if you ask the group they will have tried it...........
Posted 16 April 2004 - 08:53 AM
What are your thoughts about adding the oak during fermentation versus adding the oak while ageing? Personally, when I've added the oak during fermentation, I haven't really tasted any oak flavor in the finished wine . . but the last batch I made, I soaked the oak chips during ageing and came up with a better oak flavor.
As to improving my techniques, my family and I are moving this year, and part of my search includes enough space to have a dedicated beer/wine area either in a basement, garage or space for me to build a dedicated room. Also I'd love to have enough backyard space to plant at least 10 - 20 grapevines . . . I can dream . . .
Thanks for all the boosting . . . I look forward to reading more of Tim's articles too . . .
Tim, what kits do you recommend from your company? Do you have a website so I can find a supplier near me?
Posted 16 April 2004 - 09:29 AM
Oak powder works faster because of the increased surface area of the powder. This gives more contact between the oak and the wine.
Also, if you add the powder in the primary, it can be transferred to secondary with the rest of the wine. This results in longer contact time. Higher extraction of the oak flavours do take place when the alcohol content is higher.
You can check out the Winexpert site for information about local suppliers.
What you would like for wine is a personnal choice. Give us some ideas of what you have enjoyed, and I am sure yoou will get some suggestions.
Hope this helps;
Posted 16 April 2004 - 09:40 AM
As to what I like to drink, I like reds mostly . . . cabernet, merlot, barbera, vino nobile (my excess once in a while), I like a good shiraz once in a while as well, but I think my all time very drinkable option is a montepulciano d'abruzzo.
I've made from kits . . . valpolicella, chianti (have funny stories about THIS one), barbera, merlot, and cabernet
Thanks for the info once again
Posted 16 April 2004 - 09:48 AM
do they have an alternate url?
Posted 16 April 2004 - 12:23 PM
You'll find lots of information there, and a good dealer-locater.
Oak is a very personal taste. We add it to the primary because the yeast acts on the flavour compounds and alters them slightly, giving a more mature oak flavour early on.
Post-fermentation additions give a more aggressive oak profile, which a lot of people prefer.
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Posted 16 April 2004 - 12:31 PM
I checked out the site . .and found a local retailer who I've used in the past . . I wasn't aware that the vintner's reserve was from Brew King -- my first by-myself kit was a vintner's reserve kit . . a chianti that I was too eager for and bottled waaaay too early . . .also I neglected to aggressively stir the wine to get out all the carbonation, so not only was the wine very green, still had a big yeast bite and smelled real bad . . but it was real 'sparkly' too . . .
It took a good year in the bottle before it was even remotely drinkable . . . suffice it to say, I've learned to be very patient with my wine since then . . . After looking at your site, I'll be very interested in trying the Barolo . . but I have to bottle my burgundy first . . .
Posted 16 April 2004 - 03:38 PM
You might consider trying Winexperts BIG RED as well. They sell it by the name of Luna Rossa.
The selection kits will give you a much more satisfying wine if you have the time to age it for a year or more.
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