Fontana Select Crushed Grapes Wine Kits Review

Introducing Fontana Select Crushed Grapes Wine Kits

I am always excited to give a new wine kit a try. But to find a whole wine kit manufacturer that I never knew existed is reason to celebrate. That is how I felt when I came across Fontana wine kits. The first wine kit that I decided to make was a Barolo (Surprise, Surprise) from their line called “Fontana Select Crushed Grapes Wine Kits”.

Fontana wine kits are made by a Canadian company called ABC Cork. A family run business since 1972, ABC Cork began by important cork products from Portugal. After a short time, they expanded into other wine and beer making products and equipment. Even though the kit wine making business is very competitive, the company wanted to create an excellent line of premium wine kits. After years of research, they created the Fontana line of wine kits.

You Can Find Fontana Select Crushed Grapes Wine Kits Wine Kits HERE!

Fontana Select Crushed Grapes Wine Kits

Fontana Wine Kit

I am surprised that I didn’t hear about them until about a year ago. After all, I am very much into wine making with kits and do a lot of research. Upon reading the descriptions of the Fontana Wine Kits, they reminded me very much of the Winexpert Crushendo line. This line featured a Grape Skin pack that improved the overall quality of the wine. Crushendo was a very popular line of wine kits that Winexpert discontinued and replaced with an improved version, called Eclipse. Still, for the price, how could I not get one? So, I did what any home winemaker would do in the spirit of research and ordered one. This was getting good!

You could imagine my excitement when my Barolo wine kit box came in the mail. I quickly opened the outer shipping box and pulled out my wine kit and thought, “Oh No! They sent me the wrong kit!” The box for the Fontana Select Crushed Grapes Wine Kit said white wine on it, but I ordered a red Barolo. Then, I realized the other side of the box said Red Wine, and was stamped Barolo. Whew! Boy did I feel stupid! They use the same box for both their white and red wines and stamp the variety on the correct side.  The box for the Fontana Select Crushed Grapes Wine Kits is beautiful and is a delight to look at!

One of the other things that wasn’t initially clear is that the Fontana Select Crushed Grapes Wine Kits are marketed as a 17 liter kit. Most wine kits make 23 liters, or 6 gallons. This kit actually makes 23 liters of wine. There are 17 liters of grape juice concentrate in it. Then, I realized that they are trying to convey that the concentrate is a high quality as it is not ultra concentrated. You only need to add about 6 liters of water to re-constitute it and bring it up to six gallons. The smell of the juice was un-real! A perfume of the Gods…

Included in the kit is a mesh bag and a grape pack. The grape skin pack is transferred into the bag and placed in the primary fermenter. I stirred and punched down the grape pack twice a day after fermentation started. I could just tell this kit was going to be good. Very similar to the Crushendo kits I used to make.

One of the things that I did a little differently involves the addition of the oak chips. The directions that come with the Fontana Select Crushed Grapes Wine Kits have you put the oak in the primary. I decided to put it in the secondary, instead. The reason I did this is that the wine will be in the secondary fermenter for a longer period of time. That is how I always done it in the past and I didn’t see the reason to change my usual process.

I racked the wine from the secondary fermentation after about a month of sitting on the oak. I then did my standard de-gassing and clearing. As many of you know, I choose to use Sparkolloid in place of any Chitosan packs due to shellfish allergies. That is what I did with the Fontana Select Crushed Grapes Wine Kit.

After about letting it sit another two weeks, I racked again and filtered the wine. When I tasted the wine, I thought it wasn’t very good at all and a bit harsh. Now, most people would be disappointed at this point. But this kit was doing the exact same thing that the Crushendo kits did. If you get these Fontana Select Crushed Grapes Wine Kits, this is probably one of the most important things I can tell you: You need TIME! The wine needs to age a bit to mellow out. I decided to bulk age it.

As many of you know, that I am not a fanatic about topping up most of the time during the wine making process. I get asked questions about that all the time. I don’t believe it is important or desirable in the beginning stages of wine making. The key words here are BEGINNING STAGES. At this stage in making this wine kit, I was no longer at the beginning stage.

I chose to rack the wine into a 5 gallon carboy completely topped up. I took the rest and put it in a jug. It is important at this stage to top up or your run the risk of ruining the whole batch of wine. I used that jug to top up another Barolo that I was making and, uh, drink some in my research and testing. Work, work, work.

I let it sit a few months and racked again. It was starting to taste pretty nice. I let it bulk age another three months. The wine is completely different after 6 months of bulk aging. It is absolutely wonderful. While not as much an early drinker as the Eclipse kits, this kit comes into its glory after some bulk aging.

It is important to realize that as wine kits become closer to making wine with fresh grapes, they take longer to mature just like the wines made from fresh grapes. Having the added grape pack, like the one that comes with the Fontana Select Crushed Grapes Wine Kits makes it more like making wine from fresh grapes. The same thing would happen if you added raisins to a lower end wine kit. The raisins would raise the quality of the finished wine, but that wine would take much longer to age.

These Fontana Select Crushed Grapes Wine Kits also come with something called “Wine Smoother”. I never heard of that before, so I decided to call the company to find out what was in it. The customer support at ABC Cork was excellent. The gentleman that I spoke to explained that the wine smoother was glucose and nothing more. He told me it was optional to use. I decided not to use it.

The Fontana Select Crushed Grapes Wine Kits cost approximately $110 after shipping. That translates to approximately $3.70 US per bottle. I would say that the wine made from the Barolo Fontana Select Crushed Grapes Wine Kit exceeds commercial Barolo wines that I have purchased for more than $40 or even $50 a bottle. That makes it a super star wine kit in my book! Just plan on aging it and your wine will be outstanding.

You Can Find Fontana Select Crushed Grapes Wine Kits Wine Kits HERE!

I am looking forward to trying the whole line of Fontana Select Crushed Grapes Wine Kits. Look for my video reviews and instructions on this wonderful wine kit


9 thoughts on “Fontana Select Crushed Grapes Wine Kits Review

  1. Hello!
    Just wanted your honest opinion on the Barolo kits, as far as the the quality of the finished product, in particular the Eclipse kit vs. Fontana kit.
    Is one superior to another?

    • Hello Joe!

      Hey, thanks for stopping by and asking this question.

      In my personal opinion, the Eclipse kits are some of the best kits I have made. They are amazing, but pricey. Well worth it when you consider that it comes out to around 6.50 dollars a bottle of wine.

      The Fontana are considerably less expensive. The wine takes longer to age than the eclipse. But, I was drinking some Fontana Barolo last night with my wife and we kept saying to eachother, “This wine is lovely!” Granted, I bulk aged it for 6 months after it was made.

      Would I buy it again, absolutely! I am actually planning on it and perhaps trying the Amarone next time. I like to put similar styles together side by side and I was going to do a Winexpert Amarone soon anyway. So, the Fontana and Winexpert Amarone side by side would be a fun experiment.

      In a nutshell, the Fontana kits need extra ageing for them to taste good. If you drink them early, you will be disappointed. Given the time to age, they are truly spectacular. I think that is true for most kits that come with skins. What makes the Eclipse unique is they have a special process to remove the harsh tannins from the skins. That is why they drink well a little earlier.

      I hope that helps you out. I only recommend kits I believe in to my audience. If it stinks, I would let you know. If I run into problems, I would let you know. If I can take a wine that is ehhh, and modify the directions to make it spectacular, then I will share that too. For me, it is about turning people on to cool stuff that they would be proud of!

      Joe, I have seen you around. You participate by liking my posts and you have always been kind with your comments. I want you to know that I appreciate that and if you have any questions at all, please feel free to ask. I am happy if what I share helps others.

      • Hey, I just tried my Fontana 16L Amarone kit after 4 months. I think it tastes pretty good so far in comparison to my Mosti Mondiale 16L kit. Full bodied nice ripe raisin flavours and just a touch of sweetness.It’s a bit cloying and I can taste a bit of heat from the alcohol but that should age out nicely. I couldnt resist tasting it ahead of schedule. I also don’t get that weird wine kit taste that I got with the Mosti Mondiale kit. Id definitely recommend the kit especially when you consider the difference in the price points :).

        • Yeah, and that kit will get better in at least 6 months… The Mosti Mondiale kits.. I have made a few. The high end ones, like the Renaissance is quite nice. Can’t go wrong with those. But the Fontana kits seem really nice. I am doing a low end merlot now. Check my YouTube channel for progress on that.

          Thanks for stopping by, Ricky.

          • Hello, just wanted to stop by and tell you I bought the low end Merlot from Fontana. I made it into a 5 gallon batch like you have mentioned in your blog for some of those discontinued kits. I started the process in March 2015 and just test tasted it yesterday. It is above average for a Merlot (I am new to reds so my opinion doesn’t mean a whole lot). Actually it was better then the Merlot someone recommended in the mid range price I bought last week. I did decide though if it was good at 6 months bulk aged wonder what it will be like at 9 and 12 months. So I reracked to glass carboy and air locked it to try it again later. Thanks for the blog I am learning great things.

          • Awesome, Aaron. I also think the Fontana is better than the Vino Italiano… So far, I have made about 8 or 9 of them.

            They will actually age quicker in the bottles, so I would keep them in the bottles and let it go..

            Did you use the Oak in the secondary, like I did in the videos?

          • Yes, I did oak in the secondary. Will be bottling in the next couple of days. I also have a RJ Cellar Classic blend, Cabranet/Syrah/Zinfandel that is in secondary right now. Made to 6 gallons will see how the quality of this higher cost kit is compared to the low end Fontana.

  2. Hey! Thanks so much for doing this blog! I love the Fontana kits! I’ve made two batches of the merlot and have LOVED them. Totally Fantastic! I put dark american oak in the primary for both batches…I put it a little heavy so the shortened time of exposure didn’t change the quality of oaking on the wine. Friends have called my wine Tervlot Merlot (my name’s Travis)

    I recently saw the Barolo kit listed and was skeptical because of the vast difference in price between the Fontana kit and RJS’s Barolo wine. Seeing this, however, I really want to try it! Is it a really good wine? I bought a bottle of Barolo to taste test to see if my wife will like it as well.

    Questions though –
    How long, minimum would you suggest bottle aging before it would show significant improvement?

    What does the “wine smoother” do to the wine? I see that it is glucose but would that be used to sweeten it or lessen the harshness of the tannins earlier making it a more drinkable early?


    • Hi Travis,
      I would put the Fontana well above the RJS kit. It is wonderful. I would age it for at least 6 months.
      This is what I was drinking with dinner last night! I did a review on that kit on this blog. Check it out.


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