What's a Wine Kit?
In a nutshell, a wine kit is all the ingredients you need to make wine. Here’s exactly what is included in a wine kit:
• Wine juice – large bag consisting of varietal grape juice & concentrate (specific to the wine style you choose)
• May contain (depending on wine style): Oak chips, elderberries, Sweet Reserve (for sweet wines)
• Bentonite – helps yeast activity and removes proteins
• Potassium Metabisulphite – prevents oxidation and improves shelf life
• Potassium Sorbate – an anti-microbial agent to prevent re-fermentation
• Fining Agents – Kieselsol and Chitosan to remove proteins to clear and stabilize the wine
• Instructions (in case you want to make it yourself at home)
These are all of the same ingredients used at commercial wineries to make wine you would purchase at a liquor store. The only difference is the quantity of ingredients! Wine bottles, corks and bottle labels need to be purchased separately and are available from your local winemaking retailer.
Where does the wine juice come from?
Wine kit manufacturers such as Winexpert source their juice from vineyards around the world including France, Italy, California, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Germany and Chile to name a few. Expert winemakers then stabilize the juice and blend it to create a wine base for customers to ferment into a finished wine. The juices used in wine kits are the same as those used to make commercial wine you would purchase at a liquor store. The only difference is the price! On average a wine made from a wine kit costs about $5/bottle comparable to a commercial wine at a liquor store that costs between $10 to $15/bottle or $35 and up for premium wines.
How do I make wine from a wine kit?
Depending where you live you can have your wine made by a winemaking retailer or you can make it yourself at home. Most Canadian provinces have winemaking retailers who will make wine for you. This makes it really easy. See our How To section for more information or contact your local winemaking retailer.
Making Wine at Home
If you want to become a winemaker yourself and make wine at home, it’s actually pretty easy - and saves you even more money! It will take about a total of 2 hours spread over 4 to 6 weeks (depending on the wine kit you choose). In addition to the wine kit which includes detailed instructions, you will need some equipment which can be purchased from your local winemaking retailer.
Here's what you will need:
• Primary Fermentor: Minimum 30 litres/7.9 U.S. gallon capacity, with lid
• Carboy: Glass or plastic to hold 23 L / 6 US gal.
• Racking Tube & Tubing: Approximately 6 ft. long flexible, food grade tubing with a rigid plastic siphon rod.
• Fermentation Lock & Stopper
• Solid bung and airlock: Fits into carboy
• Hydrometer: Used to check specific gravity of your wine at different stages of the fermentation process.
• Test Jar
• Long stirring spoon (plastic or stainless steel)
• Measuring cup
• Wine Bottles: 30 x 750 mL / 26 oz (purchase new or reuse and sterilize ones you have on hand)
• Corks (ask your retailer for recommendations)
• Bottle labels (available pre made or design them yourself)
• Shrinks (the foil that covers the cork and top of the wine bottle)
Follow the detailed instructions to ensure you make great quality wine. Your winemaking retailer can also answer any questions you have along the way.
Don’t forget to let your wine age at least a couple of weeks in the bottle before you sample it. Ideally, let your bottled wine age a couple of months, sometimes longer for certain varietals. Again – your winemaking retailer can suggest optimal aging guidelines.