A Guide to Wine Making Kits

For any wine enthusiast, wine making kits are a must-try. Making your own wine from a kit is less costly and less labor-intensive than making it using the traditional method involving crushed grapes, presses, and destemming machines. Using a wine making kit also allows you to make and sample a wider variety of wines that may not always be available at the closest vineyard. A quality wine making kit comes with simple-to-follow recipes and pre-measured ingredients. There are four main types of wine making kits on the market: fully concentrated grape juice, partially concentrated grape juice, pure juice, and combination juice and concentrate.

Fully Concentrated Kits

These kits come with pure grape juice that has had a certain percentage of its water extracted through a vacuum process. The degree of concentration can range from 30% to 70% of the water, though close to 70% is not always recommended because this can make getting a good wine flavor more difficult. Depending on your wine recipe, adding additional sugar is also sometimes required. This information on concentration levels is included with the kit instructions, along with guidelines as to how much water should be added to the grape concentrate during the wine making process.

Partially Concentrated Kits

These wine making kits follow the same basic structure as fully concentrated; they simply have a lower percentage (less than 20%) of the water extracted. There is less need to add water back in, and some wine makers report that partially concentrated kits yield a wine with a purer flavor.

Both fully and partially concentrated wine kits come with canned or packaged concentrate that can be stored for up to one year. However, it is recommended to use these wine kits as soon as possible for the best possible freshness. Wines made from these kits also have a shorter time frame when your wine is good to drink, but the result can be very true to flavor when made soon after purchase and according to all directions.

Pure Juice Kits

These wine making kits have grape juice with no water extracted. It comes in a vacuum-sealed package known as a bladder-pack and can be stored for as long as 3 years. When selecting one of these kits, it is important to look at the juice color because this is a good indicator of quality. Red juice should be deep blue-red, never brown. White juice should be pale gold. Wines made from pure juice kits have a time window for drinking that is later and longer than those from concentrates, and these kits are slightly more expensive.

Combination Juice and Concentrate

Wine making kits that come with both pure grape juice and grape juice concentrate are usually the ones that give the at-home wine maker the most money's worth. There is a wider variety of flavors and types; the same kit can come with different variations of whites and reds, each with a distinct flavor. Each of these also has a different time frame from distilling to drinking, which allows for better planning in terms of which wine you want to drink right away and which you want to store for a later date.