Making or Buying Wine Kits For the First Time?


Starting out with wine kits is the best way to go in wine making.

In a short amount of time you wind up with 30 bottles of a very fresh tasting and savory wine. 

This is wine that is easily comparable to what you buy retail.

It's cheap to make and comes in around $2-$6 a bottle depending on which kit you decide on. The oodles of grape varietals you have to choose from is unbelievable.


Infographic showing a message that wine kits make cheap wine.Make cheap but scrumptious wine with kits!


You can buy wine kits that are on special now, and store it for awhile until you're ready to make it. The shelf life for a kit is around 12-18 months from packaging day, but it really depends on how you store it.

They'll store the longest at around 46°-53°F (8°-12°C).

All you need to make a kit is:

  • About 4 hours of your time spread out over a few weeks.
  • A minimum amount of equipment.
  • A cellphone to record the process and brag on social media. :)
  • Friends or family to enjoy it with.

Where's the Best Place to Buy Wine Kits?

Infographic showing an icon of a wine supplier truck.


When buying wine kits, I always browse the three companies below and look for who has the best deals on right now. I also check out the reviews there as well.

Here are the top three retailers selling devilishly good ones:


These guys are the most trusted wine kit sellers online. In fact the greatest majority of home winemakers and brewers have used the above retailers for many years.

Also available through them, are all the wine supplies you will ever need. 

You can expect:

  • Knowledgeable staff.
  • Fast and free shipping.
  • Excellent customer service if on a very rare occasion something doesn't go quite right with the order.
  • Reviews of wine kits, so you know which ones that other people have tried and really like!



Which Kits Will Make You the Most Vibrant and Lively Wines?

The top three world-class producers of wine kits are:

  • Winexpert
  • RJS Craft Winemaking
  • Vineco

These companies rule the roost when it comes to wine juice kits.


Image of three top wine kit producers.

Best Wine Kits 2018

Who made the best wine kits in 2018?

There's a couple of ways that I use, to up my chances of buying the best of the best...

These three producers consistently craft kits that kick-butt at all the major wine making competition events. These events use experienced judges and complete blind tastings.

The wines are then rated:

  • gold
  • silver
  • bronze and lower

When all of the scoring is done for each category, the company who produced each winning wine is revealed. By checking out who won medals, you can get a pretty good idea on which wine kits rock!

Here are the results for the biggest event in the U.S. -- 2005-2018 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition

With 2500+ entries, it's a pretty intimidating list to work your way through.

What I like to do as well, is to simply check out the reviews from the actual retailers mentioned above. Happy people equals tasty wine! 

You can use that to your advantage when buying wine kits if you're looking for a particular varietal. And at any time throughout the year, you can order a kit from grapes that were grown halfway around the world. Lovely.

Tip: I've also had plenty of kit wines that hadn't been reviewed yet... and they were awesome. Not everyone has the time to leave a review. Have I had some so-so ones? Yup... but they were never awful.


No One Knows Who Makes the Best Wine Kits in 2018!

Yet, that is.

What?

For instance, the best red wine kits in 2018 weren't bought in 2018.

Remember that wine needs to age, in order to improve right? So it's usually one or two years before people can really leave a meaningful review, or win a wine competition with that specific kit.

So here's the winner of Best of Show Kit/Concentrate 2018 from the above Winemaker Competition:

  • 100% RJS Craft Winemaking En Primeur Winery Series Italian Amarone 2016.

So as you can see... this wine was actually aged for two years. Now we know it's a beauty! Keep in mind that the premium wines like the above one, are a more expensive wine kit. There's still plenty of cheaper, but super-delicious wines to be had in many of the other styles of kits that are available.

By the way, you can still find that Best of Show kit here at Northernbrewer.com. For those who just can't resist. :)


What Are the Different Types of  Kits?

Ever have a hankering for a fruit-flavored wine? In the middle of the summer when it's as hot as blazes outside, these light and fruity wines hit the perfect spot.

Besides that, here's a few different types of wine kits that you can buy:

  • 6-gallon grape concentrate kits
  • fruit-flavored kits 
  • self-blended kits 
  • 1-gallon grape concentrate kits 

6-gallon Grape Concentrate Kits

Image of EnPrimeur wine kit.

These are the standard kits and where it all started. They're made with perfectly ripened grapes from vineyards far and wide. Looking to make a nice Sangiovese from Tuscany or Chilean Malbec? You can make them at any time of the year.

There are premium kits as well as early drinkers, and even kits made from specific renowned wine making areas of the world. And just like regular bottled wines, you can find concentrate kits in dessert wines and icewine too!

Fruit Wine Kits

The popular Orchard Breezin wine kit blends grape wine with real fruit flavors for a crisp refreshing drink.

These fruit wine kits are delightful...

And they're lighter in alcohol too, coming in around 6.5%-7.5% alc. Sometimes a bit less.

If you've ever had an Orchard Breezin' or Island Mist wine kit, then you know how distinctly refreshing these are.

To accomplish that, these delicious sippers mix grape wine with real natural fruit flavors! Perfectly balanced between dry and sweet... they bridge the gap between wine and coolers.

Fruits like these are added into both the Orchard Breezin', and Island Mist Wine kits:

  • Blackberry Rosé
  • Blackberry, currant Merlot
  • Green apple Riesling
  • Açaí, raspberry Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Strawberry Riesling
  • Wild watermelon white Merlot
  • Peach, apricot Chardonnay
  • and tons more...

Another bonus with fruit-flavored wine kits, is that they're cheaper to buy too. I like to enjoy a glass or three on some of the hottest summer days of the year. Since they're lower in alcohol, and cheap... pour away I say!

The best selection of cheap Island Mist Wine kits with free shipping are found here. Yum!

The best selection of cheap Orchard Breezin' wine kits with free shipping are found here. Enjoy.


Tip: You can always add in some sugar syrup to bring up the alcohol a little, after you get some experience at wine making. Just don't overdue it, because it will upset the balance of the wine and establish more of a medicinal taste. Some of these wines are quite delicate.


Self-blended Wine Kits

Image showing a wine kit called Mivino that allows you to blend 2 or more wines.

This is a new idea for creative wine makers. Kits like Mivino from RJS Craft Winemaking allow you to actually blend wines together for the optimum flavor profile. They have about a dozen recommended blends to get you started and a three step process to follow.

1-gallon Grape Concentrate Kit

Image showing a one gallon wine concentrate kit.

This wine kit will make you 5 bottles of wine instead of the standard 30 bottles in the 6-gallon kit. It's a good option for getting your feet wet in wine making because they're cheap. But if you know what you want and for a few more bucks, the standard kits are a way better deal.




Be aware that some wine juice kits come with a smaller amount of grape concentrate. That's because the producer has taken more water out of the grape juice which makes it more concentrated. They still make 30 bottles though. This makes them smaller to package up and cheaper to ship.

In general the kits that don't have as much water removed will make you wine with a little more depth and intensity. That depends on the kit though, and your palate as well. And there's also aging to consider too.

If you're drinking most of your wines young before they fully develop, then you might not even notice any slight loss of flavor.


Here's What You Need For Equipment


I have a detailed wine making kit page here, that explains everything you need to know about the equipment you need, to really enjoy making savory wine for the first time. For one thing, each retailer has different items included in their kit...

Which items do you really need, and why?

I answer all of that and have also included reviews of the top retailers that sell equipment kits that I've personally used. I built the page to help beginners like you understand what you're getting into, and to make sure that it's a smooth and fun process for you.

Some wine making kits include all of the equipment plus the concentrate kit. These are great for beginners but more difficult to find.

Usually you buy the equipment separately. Once you have that, then you simply buy the wine kit itself with the concentrate and ingredients.

For convenience, here's a quick rundown of some of the items you'll need to make each of these two styles of kits. But make sure to check out the wine making kit page above, for all the details and explanations to help when starting out.
 


Fruit wine making kit

  • 2-gallon primary fermentation bucket with lid
  • 1-gallon glass jug
  • funnel
  • long-handled stirring spoon
  • measuring cup/spoons (you can rob your kitchen)
  • airlock and bung
  • sample taker (wine thief or turkey baster)
  • nylon straining bag
  • hydrometer/test jar
  • mini auto-siphon/3' of hose
  • cleaner (PBW)
  • sanitizer (potassium metabisulfite)

*you buy the 5 bottles you'll need separately

Morewine.com includes a recipe book with 100+ fruit wine recipes if you order this kit!


Grape wine making kit

  • 7.9-gallon primary fermentation bucket with hole in lid
  • 6-gallon PET plastic or glass carboy
  • airlock/bung
  • auto-siphon/3' of hose
  • hydrometer/test jar
  • wine thief
  • stirring spoon
  • measuring cup/spoons
  • funnel
  • thermometer (floating)
  • bottle filler with hose
  • bottle brush
  • corking machine
  • 30 corks
  • cleaner (PBW)
  • sanitizer (potassium metabisufite)

*the 30 bottles you'll need are sold separately


Where Can You Find Step by Step Instructions For Each Kit?


The instructions included in kits are different for each style of wine. Although each kit does share many similar tasks. They come packaged inside the box with the concentrate and ingredients and they're super-easy to follow.

Infographic showing some equipment needed to make a wine kit.Just follow the step by step instructions to make delish wine!

But... if you get a wine kit:

  • second-hand
  • lost your instructions
  • or want to see what's involved with adding grape skins etc,


Winexpert and Vineco have conveniently placed each set of instructions for all of their wine kits online. RJSpagnols has a series of videos and a how-to-make-wine page to ease you through the process as well.


The main steps are:

  1. cleaning and sanitizing
  2. primary fermentation
  3. secondary fermentation
  4. clearing and stabilizing
  5. bottling

These steps are usually completed within 4-8 weeks depending on the kit.

There will be a period of around 3+ weeks where your freshly bottled wine will have "bottle shock". After that you can enjoy a tasty bottle but I would recommend aging from 6 months to 2 years or so depending on the kit. Your wine will definitely express more depth and flavor as it ages.


You'll Need a Bigger Cellar!


It's true! Each wine kit makes 30 bottles and it adds up quick. Unless you're giving it away and sharing to the nth degree you'll be bursting at the seams before you know it.

Wine kits are the cat's  @$&ss! They really have changed the wine making landscape for the better.

They're cheap to make and you gain a well-earned sense of pride when you pluck out a yummy wine to pour into your guest's glass.

Explore and discover.

You'll love it...



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