Wine Kits

August 16, 2010

Yup, even wine comes in kits to make. Basically, they contain usually high quality grape juice and packages of chemicals and yeast.  If you follow the directions, you can have a homemade drinkable wine in about three months or so.

There are several reasons for using a kit: accessibility to materials, economics, and pride.

I have grapes in my back yard, but I can guarantee they aren’t for making wine. People who live in the city might not even have a yard. Wine kits offer a range of grape juice for making wine without having to grow, crush, and press the grapes, and you don’t need to drive somewhere and try to negotiate with a vineyard to give you the grapes to crush and press. This means that one month you could make a cabernet and the next month a Riesling all from the comfort of your home.

According to “Wine Kits: Save Money, Make Wine” written by Tim Vandergrift and published in the October-Novermber 2009 issue of Wine Maker Magazine (article not available online), making wine from kits is much more economical than buying wine. After spending $100 on wine making equipment that can be reused, the cost of the wine kit can break down into about $2-$7 a bottle. However, the savings is in that that same wine would retail for about $6-20 a bottle. Vandergrift shows how that can really add up, saying:

the  example I use is about three bottles per week, yielding 156 bottles per year, with a built in factor of about 20% for wine-related emergencies bringing it up to around 180 bottles per year, or six 6-gallon batches, covering red, white, rosé, and dessert wines… your total cost is roughly $100 (equipment) and $600 for kits, for a total of $700 for 180 bottles which works out to $3.88/bottle.

He gives another example for weddings:

Caterers will tell you to budget ½ to 2/3 of a bottle of wine per person, depending on the nature of the invitees… and the time of day of the reception. If you’re inviting 200 people you’re going to need between 100 and 135 bottles of wine. If you were planning on spending $15-$20 per bottle, the tab would be between $1,500 and $2,700! And you wouldn’t get customized labels and capsules color-coordinated with your bridesmaid dresses (lavender taffeta is just so dreamy!)

Running the numbers makes producing your own wine for an event like this very attractive. Five kits at $120 each, with capsules, custom labels (or DIY for the personal touch) and you’re going to spend under $750 all-in – less than what you would have otherwise.

One other thing to note on the economic front is that you are buying grape juice, and is therefore not subject to any alcohol tax because it is not yet alcohol. That is also savings.

Of course, the last reason for using a kit is pride. It is a good feeling to think, “I made this.”

Admittedly, I have not made grape wine from a kit yet, but after listening to Vandergrift give a presentation at the Wine Maker Conference I attended, I am very tempted to.

Some Wine Kit Manufacturers:

Also, RJ Spangnols has a label called Vinoka, which makes cider kits, and about any homebrew supply store will have a mead making kit.


3 Responses to “Wine Kits”

  1. Couldn’t agree more. Wine kits are the way to go. To my knowledge, it’s the only reasonable way to build a truly international wine cellar without breaking the bank.

  2. […] it is a little too late for Thanksgiving this year, one could get hold of some wine kits with cranberry juice and make your own cranberry flavored […]

  3. […] more generious, you can buy the ingredients to make beer or wine. For wine, you can buy juice in wine kits, which can cost $100-200 depending on the grapes and where they are from.  For beer, they package […]

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