Vino Italiano Wine Kits
Why I modify the directions and what I do!
EDIT: Check out my latest post on Vinoit Wine Kits
The Vinoit line has replace the Discontinued Vino Italiano Line.
When making homemade wine from wine ingredient kits, you can get expected results by following the directions exactly, and that may be what you decide to do. For the Vino Italiano Kits, made by Paklab, I choose to modify the directions for a better end result. The reason I do this is the grape concentrate is super concentrated, so that it costs less to ship. I believe they also give you a little less of that concentrate then they probably should. In my opinion, making the Vino Italiano wine kits exactly to the instructions will give you a mediocre wine that is a little watered down. By adding less water when re-constituting the grape juice, this is what happens:
- The wine is full bodied and flavorful
- The sugar content it higher before fermentation
- You get 25 bottles instead of the advertized 30 bottles
I believe that giving up the 5 bottles is well worth it. What about the extra sugar? Sugar is converted into alcohol by the yeast. Having higher sugar before fermentation will give you a wine with higher alcohol. For example, with the Vino Italiano Tuscany Rosso Magnifico wine kit, this means that making it to 5 gallons will yield you a wine that is 14.5 % ABV. If you were to make it to 6, you would end up with about 11 %.
Another modification I make in the Vino Italiano wine kits, is to add oak to them. Now, for those of you who watch my videos and read my articles, you know that I don’t like a lot oak in my wine. It is my opinion that many commercial wines, especially those marketed to Americans have entirely too much oak. You are drinking wine, not a tree! I like to taste the fruit, before the oak. Not the oak first, then the fruit.
Many high end wine kits include oak with their kits in the form of sawdust, cubes or wood chips. The reason for this is most traditional wine is aged in oak barrels. The oak barrels impart a flavor on the wine and people are used to that flavor. Although we are making wine in a glass carboy, we still want to simulate that flavor. The Vino Italiano Wine Kits have no oak at all included in the kits. This is why I add a small amount of oak, probably around 30 grams of oak, to the Vino Italiano Wine Kits.
When buying oak for wine making, you will see a variety of choice. Light toasted, Medium toasted, Hungarian, French, American oak. I like the medium toasted for most of what I do. It comes in sawdust, cubes and wood chips. If using the sawdust, I would add it to the wine during primary fermentation, at the beginning of the process. When using oak wood chips or cubes, add them to the secondary fermentation, at the time you transfer the wine from the primary to the carboy.
Another popular modification to the Vino Italiano Wine Kits is to add things like a few bananas, apples, pears or raisins. You would put these things in your primary fermentor at the beginning of wine making, just before pitching the yeast. If you do any of these things, you wine will take longer to age, but that’s ok! We are making wine after all. I would also recommend that if you do any of these additions I am mentioning, get organic. Use organic raisins that have not been treated with anything. Also make sure you stir the wine with a clean and sanitized spoon every day if adding any additional fruit.
If you use the raisins, sanitize a mesh bag, rinse it well and put the raisins in the bag. Tie a knot in it an place it into your Primary Fermentor. When transferring to the secondary fermentation, you will want to squeeze all the juice out of the raisins, so wash your hands very well before doing so. Another trick for using raisins in a mesh bag it to clean and sanitize some glass marbles. Put them in the bag, along with the raisins. Tie a cleaned and sanitized string to the bag and put the bag into the wine. The marbles will keep the bag at the bottom,so it will not float to the top. This is a pretty slick trick, when using raisins, but not necessary!
Modifying the directions when making wine kits is not recommended by the manufacturers. Modifying the directions will void your warranty,but hey, it is your wine! I hope you find this article helpful in your quest for making excellent wine. You can actually see me doing many of these modification on my YouTube channel. Please watch and subscribe for more information.
Thanks for reading my article on Vino Italiano Wine Kits and the modification I make to them!