Wine Making Kits
Wine Making Kits are an excellent way to get started making homemade wine. They open a brand new and exciting world to the home winemaker that, before wine making kits were sold, simply didn’t exist before. The grape juice concentrate is sourced from wine making regions across the globe. The grapes are harvested at the opportune times and made into concentrate. Therefore, you can be in New York, like me, and make excellent wine from grape juice concentrates, where the grapes were grown in Italy, France, Chili or California. That is just one way wine making kits open up a whole new world of opportunities for the home winemaker.
Another advantage to making wine from these wine making kits, is that it can be done on your schedule. If you were to grow or buy grapes, you would have a narrow window of time to harvest, process the grapes and start fermentation. This is typically in the fall, when the grapes are at the peak of ripeness. October in the northern hemisphere and April in the southern hemisphere is typically when this happens. With wine making kits, you can make wine according to your schedule! It is January now, and I am making four different wines!
There are a number of manufacturers of wine making kits. Vino Italiano, is a sub-brand of PakLab. PakLab also makes wine making kits under other names, like Reserve Du Chateau, and others. Winexpert, Mosti Mondiale, RJ Spagnols and a few other companies are other manufacturers of wine making kits. Winexpert is the first and biggest manufacturer of wine making kits today.
Each wine kit manufacturer has its own lines of wine making kits. Usually, there is a low end, a medium end and a premium line of wine making kits to choose from. I have made wine from most lines of wine making kits offered by all of these manufacturers. In my experience, I have gotten excellent results from all but RJ Spagnols. I made only one RJ Spagnols Premium Level kit and it was awful. Perhaps something went wrong, but I never tried another one after that experience. I would like to try another one, but when I have the money in my hands to spend on a premium kit, I always gravitate to Winexpert or Mosti Mondiale. Both of those manufacturers of wine making kits never let me down.
Winexpert’s Technical Manager is a man named Tim Vandergrift. Tim is a very cool guy, even though I never met him. I feel like I know him, as I have seen just about all of his videos, read his blogs, and made a whole lot of his wine. What I love about this guy is his passion for wine and winemaking. I remember he had a blog post where he was trying to make positive change in the world by raising awareness for bullying among children. I feel good about buying Winexpert wine making kits, because they make excellent wine and because I like Tim.
For high end wine making kits, I like to get Winexpert brand or Mosti Mondiale. For the lower end kits, I love the Vino Italiano brand. They are so inexpensive, and I can doctor them up to transform them into a really excellent wine for less than $2 per bottle. I usually make both high and low end kits at the same time. At the time of me writing this, I am making the Vino Italiano Borolo Wine Kit and a Winexpert Eclipse Borolo Wine Kit side by side. I venture to guess that I will be drinking the Vino Italiano Borolo first, while waiting for the Winexpert Eclipse Borolo to age and really come into its own.
How I Started Making Wine with Wine Making Kits
Those of you who have watched my videos on YouTube, have read my comments in forums and have looked at my Italian Cooking Blog, you know I am a big advocate of wine making kits. I believe that wine kits offer an excellent way to get started and learn how to make homemade wine. When I first started making wine, this is where I started. The actual story goes like this:
For years, my grandparents on my father’s side made their own wine, and when I was a kid, it never interested me. They have past away some time ago, while I was still a child, and I didn’t really think much about winemaking. Years later, it kind of hit me, as I learned to appreciate wines, learn what I liked and didn’t like in many commercial wines and when I got into organic gardening, etc. I wondered what it would be like to make wine someday. The memory of my grandparents came back, and I thought it would be cool to follow in their footsteps.
I found a place that offered a group winemaking class. They said you and a bunch of friends could make a barrel of wine together over the course of a year and in the end, you can split up the bottles and it would be loads of fun… I thought wow, finally my chance to have fun learning how to make homemade wine with a bunch of friends. And so, I set forth into my group of friends asking if any would be interested in doing this with me, as it was quite expensive, but splitting the cost, we could each walk away with two cases of wine for a split cost of about $9 a bottle.
While some friends were interested, we couldn’t all agree on what kind of wine to make. Then, one of my friends said, hey Prince, why don’t you just make it yourself? A friend of his was making beer and he heard that Winemaking used some of the same equipment. I said that I didn’t know where to start, but hey, that never stopped me before.
So, I did research, and more research, and even more research. I finally decided to take the plunge.
One of the things I found out was a wine kit didn’t come with the equipment to make the wine. Wine making kits are kind of like cake mixs. A cake mix doesn’t come with bowls, spoons, pans and beaters.. Wine making kits don’t come with the equipment, either. So, one would need some equipment that could be used over and over again to make the wine.
I found that you could get a beginner equipment kit for around 80 dollars, and get wine making kits starting from $40 and up to over a hundred. So, I knew I liked Chianti, and wanted to give it a try, but I didn’t have much confidence that I would be able to make a wine that would be that great. I knew I liked Ruffino Chianti, and I used that commercial wine as my benchmark. If I could only make a wine close to that, I thought, I would be happy. But surely, that must take a lot of time, practice and expertise.
I decided to get one of the low end wine making kits, as I didn’t really have high hopes that it would be any good, and didn’t want to waste a lot of money if I failed to make a decent wine. Which wine making kit should I choose? I knew I liked Chianti and there are several Chianti wine making kits on the market, with varying prices. I decided on the Vino Italiano Chianti Kit, from Amazon. I read the reviews on the wine making kit and found that many people were making the kit to 5 gallons, instead of 6. You see, the wine making kits come with grape juice concentrate, that you add water to. Making it to 5 gallons means that you are using less water, and the flavor is more intense. So, after reading the reviews, I decided to go with 5 gallons.
I made the first wine making kit and when it was done, I didn’t really expect a good result. But, when I tasted it, I was amazed! 5 gallons makes 25 bottles! The wine making kit was only $40 shipped, so that was under $2 a bottle. I was blown away that I could make a low end wine making kit and for my first attempt (after a lot of research) that I could make something that was close to the Ruffino Chianti, not exactly the same, but in the same ball park. Then I was hooked.
I decided to then purchase a super deluxe equipment kit, got a few extra carboys on Craig’s List and I was off to making my next wine making kit, which was the Tuscany Rosso Magnifico, a popular kit on Amazon, also quite inexpensive, but I read that someone won a silver medal with it in a competition. So I made that kit, and it was excellent as well.
Next, I decided to invest in a few higher end wine making kits, so I eventually purchased kits from leading manufacturers, such as Winexpert, RJ Spagnolis, Mosti Mondiale, and others. I also decided to plant a few grape vines in my back yard and other fruit to make wine, as well. If only my grandparents could see that I was learning how to make homemade wine.
I also began talking to a lot of folks who also made wine. Going into forums, asking questions and before I knew it I was answering questions and people were getting good results with what I told them.. I was going to homebrew shops, talking to people there, trading ideas. Next thing you know, I was buying frozen pails of grape juice from Sicily. Wow! I was really getting into this hard core.
As the years went by, someone asked me how many wine kits have I made… Wow, never really thought about it. At that time I estimated about 60 kits. SIXTY WINE KITS! Holy Moley! I had 4 kits going at the same time, when I was asked. Over the years, I have dabbled quite a bit, modified directions and learned to tailor the wines to my liking. Many time, I deviate from the wine kit’s directions. I know what I like. That is the beauty of learning how to make homemade wine, you get to, as Frankie says, do it my way!!!
So, that is how my adventure in winemaking started, with Wine Making Kits. When I decided to make this website, I wanted to share what I have learned so that anyone could get started making wine at home. Wine Making Kits was my starting point, and I believe that it is a good place for anyone to start, because you are almost guaranteed a good result.
Now, some folks frown on Wine Making Kits. Yes it is true! They say that if you make wine from wine making kits, you are not really making wine. I say that is a lot of pucky! What matters to me is that what you are drinking in your glass, you love. If the wine came from a Wine Making Kit, Does It Matter? Honestly? I have tasted many a cake from a gourmet bakery and these cakes are not as delicious as a cake that I can make myself out of a cake mix box. Sure, you may doctor up the cake mix out of a box to make it special. But, to me, what matters is the end result.
I have to say that when my friends have my wine, yes the wines I made from Wine Making Kits, they can’t believe I made these wines! Wow! You Made This? You just got to smile…
I hope this post gets you to say, hey, if Sicilian Prince can make wine from Wine Making Kits, then so can I.