Red wine kit quality

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Been making wine from kits for a few years (in addition to beer brewing), a variety of kits and a variety of wines. I'm really happy with the whites but not so with the reds, I can't seem to get close to a commercial red wine despite doing quality 30-bottle kits, giving them plenty of time in the FV and ageing for a long time (6 months). Which is a disappointment, as I can make beer and white wine better than I can buy in the shops, but not red wine.

The best description I can give to all my reds in "smoothe": not offensive, just no bite and character, and maybe a little sweet. I've made Shiraz, Merlot, Barolo from kits by Calf Connoiseur, Beaverdale and the more expensive Kenridge kits. They all seem to taste pretty much the same to me.

Any thoughts? Are my expectations just too high?
 

pete71

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Your not alone I to have tried to make a decent red wine to no avail. I've also tried similar kits and even with ageing for a year I agree with you they always seem to lack something and end up with 30 bottles wine no one wants to drink.
 

Bodleigh Head

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Tried the Kenridge Showcase Shiraz just last week. Made in November, by my mother, drank in July, by me ... and it tasted pretty decent to me. And I live in France. Like for 25 years. In the Cotes du Rhone region. I wouldn't have been upset if I had bought it here in France and paid maybe 6 or 7 e$ for it. It's alright. If I wanted to be difficult ... well get back to me on that one.

A theory ... I reckon that cellaring is the major obstacle to making home-made wine, particularly if it is out of a tin. If you are storing your wine in your kitchen, with the variations in temperature, central heating perhaps, then it just doesn't stand a chance. Maybe think about investing in a proper wine-fridge ? And waiting ?

Just some thoughts ...
 

pete71

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I reckon you've hit the nail on the head Bodleigh. Whilst fermenting wine I keep the temperature constant in a fermenting fridge and when it's finished rack into demijohns and store in the shed to mature. Last week it was like an oven in there so obviously the temperature fluctuations are going to affect it more so red wine as it takes longer to mature. I'm such a div I reckon I must have ruined 20 gallons so far:doh: do you know what's the ideal storing temperature is?
 

Robin54

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Been making wine from kits for a few years (in addition to beer brewing), a variety of kits and a variety of wines. I'm really happy with the whites but not so with the reds, I can't seem to get close to a commercial red wine despite doing quality 30-bottle kits, giving them plenty of time in the FV and ageing for a long time (6 months). Which is a disappointment, as I can make beer and white wine better than I can buy in the shops, but not red wine.

The best description I can give to all my reds in "smoothe": not offensive, just no bite and character, and maybe a little sweet. I've made Shiraz, Merlot, Barolo from kits by Calf Connoiseur, Beaverdale and the more expensive Kenridge kits. They all seem to taste pretty much the same to me.

Any thoughts? Are my expectations just too high?
I think I know exactly where you are coming from.
As an alternative, ( sorry may not help), try picking some blackberries/elderberries (out soon) and and add these to a kit...which is what I did and the results were astounding, but more effort required.
 

Bodleigh Head

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cellar temperature ... a constant year long 10° to 12° C ... got any caves hanging around in your back garden ?
 
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Thanks for the replies. My latest Shiraz (didn't note which kit it was, but it was about 60 quid) was made up in Nov and I'm drinking it now. It's been stored under the stairs so a bit warm, I do have cooler storage available so I'll stick a few bottles in there and try them again at Xmas.
 

fixit9660

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I have to echo your feelings about the Beaverdale Shiraz. The words "indifferent" and "average" spring to mind when considering the quality of the end product. And it definitely didn't have any Shiraz-like qualities!
I can't fault their customer support mind you. My first brew tasted terrible and I contacted their customer support. They responded quickly and asked for details and a sample. I sent them a sample and their pronouncement was "mouse" and promptly supplied another kit in the post, which brewed fine!! Just a shame the product wasn't as good as I was expecting.
Am I expecting too much?
 

simon12

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I have made Beaverdale merlot and rojo tinto and both were really good, I aged them for 6 months+ in the cupboard under the stairs as itws likely the most constant temp I have anywhere. Also note wine ages quicker in smaller containers so half size bottles will age about twice as fast as standard bottles and in demijohns it will age very slowly.
 

Vinotinto

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I have to echo your feelings about the Beaverdale Shiraz. The words "indifferent" and "average" spring to mind when considering the quality of the end product. And it definitely didn't have any Shiraz-like qualities!
I can't fault their customer support mind you. My first brew tasted terrible and I contacted their customer support. They responded quickly and asked for details and a sample. I sent them a sample and their pronouncement was "mouse" and promptly supplied another kit in the post, which brewed fine!! Just a shame the product wasn't as good as I was expecting.
Am I expecting too much?

"mouse" ? Can you expand on that?
 

fixit9660

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"mouse". It smelt sour and musty, and tasted the same. I'd never heard of the term but that's what they said.
 
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I haven't actually started making wine as yet but as with a similar thread regarding the lifespan of homebrew I wonder if its more down to the wines being drunk too early.

If you look at comercial wines on the shelf, white wines will often have been bottled the previous year. So currently you will find white wines from 2016 (maybe even a 2017). Reds you are more likely to find from 2014 and 2015 as the flavours need longer to mature. With a white, you want that light freshness. With a red, you want the richer, mellow tones that with take time to produce. Maybe try keeping a bottle for 24 months and then see if its improved at all?
 

Vinotinto

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I haven't actually started making wine as yet but as with a similar thread regarding the lifespan of homebrew I wonder if its more down to the wines being drunk too early.

If you look at comercial wines on the shelf, white wines will often have been bottled the previous year. So currently you will find white wines from 2016 (maybe even a 2017). Reds you are more likely to find from 2014 and 2015 as the flavours need longer to mature. With a white, you want that light freshness. With a red, you want the richer, mellow tones that with take time to produce. Maybe try keeping a bottle for 24 months and then see if its improved at all?

Which then begs the question - do we pop some preservative into the kit wine that it does not normally ask for as it assumes consumption before this period of time? I seem to remember Kenridge kits asking for a touch of metabisulphate etc IF stored for longer periods. Something they also do not include in the box!
 
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I'm not sure on the need of preservatives, in theory there is no reason why the right wine couldnt last without...

Found this online which might be useful: http://winefolly.com/tutorial/deciding-how-long-age-wine/

Assuming thats allowed!

Also
how-long-to-cellar-wine.png


which might be interesting...
 

Vinotinto

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Nice link etc.
One unknown factor here for me though is - how does this comparison compare to commercial wine versus our homemade / kit wines? Differing initial processes / treatments and all that! ( not to mention the aforementioned preservative issues,.

Good reading though.
 

dublin12

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I have completely given up on wine kits - even the Kenridge Showcase New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 16 Litre Wine Kit was a terrible disappointment and I have loads of it sitting in the shed untouched.

If I had to produce wine I would do a WoW Rose - IMO much more drinkable and closer to wine than the kits.
 

Vinotinto

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I have completely given up on wine kits - even the Kenridge Showcase New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 16 Litre Wine Kit was a terrible disappointment and I have loads of it sitting in the shed untouched.

If I had to produce wine I would do a WoW Rose - IMO much more drinkable and closer to wine than the kits.

We;; I know we are all different but........ cannot speak for the whites as I do not do them but the reds are pretty damn good given patience etc
 
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