The best wine-making starter kit
Produced and enjoyed all around the world, wine is a most popular drink, but making it yourself and reaping the rewards may be all the more satisfying. With a wine-making starter kit, you can craft your own wine at home, producing myriad bottles of a varietal of your choice. Kits feature the necessary tools and instructions, though they may vary in terms of complexity, included ingredients, and output.
While kits may seem on the surface as complex, our guide will help distill how they work and what's possible so you can venture forth with confidence on this do-it-yourself journey. We've also included some highly rated kits at the end of this article, such as our top pick from Master Vintner, which is simple to use and provides consistently delicious results.
Considerations when choosing wine-making starter kits
There are two different types of wine-making starter kits: simple ones for quick results and elaborate options that involve more work and detailed proceedings. Basic kits typically include grape concentrate and require some mixing and waiting. These make for great gifts and fun activities and offer a decent yield for a little investment.
More elaborate, scientific kits feature fermenters, jars, and tubes, which can be reused for multiple wine-making sessions. Instructions need to be followed closely and measurements taken carefully. While this option has a more varied output in terms of quality and takes more time, it has the potential to make better-tasting wine than the basic option.
The amount of wine that a kit will allow you to make varies. Simple kits will have a set output, but elaborate kits will dictate the potential volume by the size of the equipment. Most offer at least one or two gallons, and some may go as high as eight or 10. It's best to start off small though, in case the first few attempts don't turn out ideally.
Elaborate kits typically involve hydrometers, fermentation vats, plastic tubing, air locks, and corks, so you'll need to get familiar using these items. It may seem daunting, but the process is relatively simple, albeit time-consuming. Kits also may include yeast and additives.
While simple kits will include grape concentrate, others won't, which means you have to find and purchase wine grapes. Consider the source, cost, and quality of grapes. Wine grapes can be pricey, especially if you want to make a decent bottle of drinkable, enjoyable wine, so keep the cost in mind. Still, making wine yourself will likely end up cheaper over time.
Wine-making kits that involve scientific processes can be used for more than just wine. By tweaking some of the steps, you can use such kits to make gin, beer, and even kombucha.
While simple wine-making starter kits may cost under $50, most elaborate kits involving scientific tools run from $50 to over $100. These will vary in size, but are reusable and require few accessories.
Q. How long does it take to make wine with a starter kit?
A. With simple kits that include grape concentrate, the entire process may take about a month to finish. Elaborate kits with proper equipment involve a process that takes a few months. If you're making red wine with either kit, you may want to age it for a few weeks, months, or even years.
Q. How many bottles do I need for the wine?
A. You can expect to yield five bottles of wine for every gallon you make. Old wine bottles can be easily washed and resealed, and it's best to save them and have plenty on hand when you're making wine. Make sure you have corks available as well as the space to store the wine.
Wine-making starter kits we recommend
Best of the best: Master Vintner's Wine-Making Kit
Our take: Elaborate, easy-to-use kit that yields quality wine time and again.
What we like: Complete kit, including jars and hydrometer, that allows for up to six gallons of wine. Straightforward instructions, good customer service.
What we dislike: Doesn't include any recipes.
Best bang for your buck: Home Brew Ohio's Wine from Fruit Kit
Our take: Inexpensive kit that includes everything you need to make wine except the grapes.
What we like: Makes up to a total 15 gallons of wine with the included yeast and additives. Quality recipe book. Terrific price.
What we dislike: Only a small amount of wine is made per process.
Choice 3: Strange Brew's Deluxe Wine-Making Kit
Our take: Welcoming wine-making set for beginners that includes all necessary tools.
What we like: Quality kit for making up to six gallons of wine. Includes bottle brush, corks, and recipes. Easy to clean and reuse regularly.
What we dislike: Initial investment is high. Instructions aren't always clear.
Anthony Marcusa is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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