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When living on the East Coast dry wines were plentiful… especially German… and rather inexpensive. However, here in Idaho sweet wines are the norm and to get a decent dry wine it requires a 150-mile round-trip to Sun Valley… and they’re pretty pricey. The other alternative is 20-miles away with every store carrying about the same selection. The price is less of an issue than the quality of the wine because one didn’t support the other. We have been experimenting with homemade wines by the gallon for awhile but many have long waiting periods or are seasonal because they require potatoes, squash or lilacs. Also, we can no longer purchase white grape concentrate locally so this kit seemed like it was worth a try. Since taste is relative suffice it to say that we like dry wines with a little bite and this met our needs. We do make our own beers… because the local bottle micro items are not worth 20 bucks a 12-pack… so we tried the Mr. Beer route and have not been too disappointed after 18 2-gallon brews so far. Anyway, back to this wine and what’s required is pretty simple and not expensive. We use a 6-gallon bucket but only make a little over 5-gallons so you can actually move the bucket and then rack it to a 5-gallon refillable water carboy from the local food store. When it’s time to bottle we use 1-gallon jugs and/or the leftover 1.75 liter bottles from prior wines. We bulk age for a few months in the carboy and then fill a few bottles at a time. if there’s any downside to this process it’s temperature and if you don’t stay within the ones recommended you’ll not get good fermentation and/or your wine making process will take much longer than stated. The only thing will really needed was a larger siphon to pump out of a large container without disturbing the sediment. You will need a Hydrometer and the instructions with the kit make reading it much easier. All-in-all… very pleased with what I ended up with and at about 35 bucks with Subscribe & Save that comes out to about 25 750ml bottles a buck fifty per bottle… and I’d say it’s in the 10-15 dollar price range based on what’s available 75 miles away… and that trip costs about 25 bucks in gas. Nothing else you need to add to this kit either and I can’t find a reason to rate it at anything less than 5-stars. Since it’s designed for a 6-gallon batch and I only make 5-gallons I qualify the review with that in mind but I would think diluting what I have with another gallon of water you make it less desirable… just my opinion.
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on July 18, 2013
The kit is good. My wife and I drink a lot of Pinot Grigio at meals, etc and this one came out pretty well. I say pretty well because I think I discovered something with a subsequent kit....the chitosan and kielesol used to clarify the wine leave a chemical taste. I used it in the first batch of this wine and we can taste it, but the wine itself is very good.

I say first batch because I am buying another kit and using something else for finings...possibly will experiment with gelatin or something. The reason? Right after doing this kit I did another kit and decided to try leaving out the chitosan and kielesol and the wine came out really REALLY good....2 1/2 cases evaporated once my friends tried it. So I think I will either leave it out in the future or try gelatin, bentonite, or something else.

Back to this kit....

I ran the initial fermentation for 3 weeks, then secondary for 2 weeks. I then fined it and let it sit for about 3 more weeks. I then ran it through my Vin Brite filter into bottles, and went out of town. My wife called me to say, "Not bad!", and liked it enough to drink it relatively soon after bottling.

So it passes muster for the grapes and kit in general, but I think I want to either use something else for fining or try letting it settle for a month and then filtering it into the bottles. This after, of course, initial and secondary fermentation with transfer to a carboy once or twice to help clarify it some.
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on October 4, 2014
I've been making this brand of wine kits for a year. I've probably made about 6 total. So I can't speak about how it compares to the more expensive kits or to "real" wine making but for the everyday person that wants to make their own wine affordably - this is the way to go. I live in Alaska so the free prime shipping seals the deal for me. But even then, I get compliments on my wine all the time. It's soo easy to make - and I'm a homebrewer too - wayyyy easier than beer.

I've made Cab Sav, Merlot, Cab Merlot, Pinot Noir, and a german white wine. I also took another cab sav and made port out of it (basically added less water and dumped in a gallon of brandy - google it for more info). Cab Sav has been my favorite - it came out really smooth. I only regret not making a ton of batches at once as opposed to making them when I need them. Because these do get better with age.
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on February 13, 2013
I gave this wine a chance for the first time a few months ago, and I was definitely impressed. It's semi-dry and very smooth. I believe it of a higher quality than the vino italiano brands on amazon. It's worth the extra 10 bucks or so for sure.
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I have purchased two of these kits in different varietals. The inclusiveness of the kits is fantastic. Normally you have to pay a lot more to get a kit that has the corks, labels and shrink caps included. The instructions are laid out in a very logical manner, which is refreshing compared to some competitors. One of my kits arrived in the box with the top of the bucket dislodged, however the thick plastic bladder was intact, so there were no problems. In both kits, the fermentation started quickly. The resulting wine is excellent. It fermented fully, cleared nicely and has excellent nose and body. I like that the labels are different for the different varietals. That gives each batch a little more individual personality. (Some competitor kits have the same label back ground design with only the different varietal name on it.) By making a few of these kits, one can have an impressively stocked wine cellar at a fraction of what it would normally cost.
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on July 17, 2014
This kit has everything you need except a grommet, air lock, secondary fermenter, racking tube, tubing, bottles and a corker.

The 55lb kit is shipped in a 9 gallon food grade plastic bucket with all the ingredients, labels, corks, and shrink capsules.

I drilled a 1/2 hole in the lid of the bucket installed a grommet and air lock and started the primary fermentation in the bucket it shipped in.

Fermentation was aggressive and fast using the included yeast. I was out of town on the date it should have been racked over to secondary and the SG was already down to the range for clearing and degassing so i did.

My secondary only could hold 6 gallons so I tested the rest. A little young with some co2 still in suspension so I pulled a vacuum on the bottles and within 24 hours the co2 was gone and the wine was soft and smooth. Frankly ready to drink after only 14 days.

I did not care for how soft this wine was it was more like a merlot than a cab and I can not see how aging will make this kit a better wine.

I bottle in beer bottles using bottle caps so did not use the labels or corks since the wife only has 2 glasses at a time this works out nicely and allows be to use the same bottles and caps from my beer making.

Want a quick turnaround wine that is not really tannic and dry? then this wine is for you. Want something with body and complexity? buy something else.
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on February 17, 2013
For the first time wine maker this is simple. I tasted it as juice and I have tasted it each step along the way. (yum!) Who da thunk it could be this easy. I have racked it twice and will filter it and bottle it next. Great instructions and very easy to do. Thanks!

UPDATE 7/2013:
So the wine was racked 3 times. Since I do not plan on filtering the wine I should have racked it at least one more time. I have sampled it each step of the way. I am now seven months into the process. I bottled a few weeks ago. I was a bottle short of estimated numbers even though I topped it off (with good Chardonnay) along the way. Probably overfilled bottles and definitely slopped some around in the process of bottling... messy process.

The color is bright. It has nice aromas. The wine even has pretty good features in terms of soft on the tongue, full in the mouth and gentle finish. It does not bite but does hang nicely in the back of the mouth. I will try to remember to update when I crack the first bottle in January 2014.
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on November 21, 2014
My wife and I usually buy the more expensive kits, but wanted to try out several of the kits from this brand due to the much lower price. I can say from this kit that it was just ok, it had a faint yeasty smell and tasted ok, but didn't have that crisp taste like other pinot grigios we have tried (we probably just have been spoiled by drinking really good wines that we have both made and bought). Will likely not buy again. On a side not we have also purchased the California Cab and Merlot from this same brand/company with good results, but have added French Oak Cubes to the lot to improve overall taste. Also when I make these kits, I bottle a case for longer storage and put the rest on tap in the keggerator on a beer gas mix of 75/25 nitrogen/CO2. Good luck.
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on June 28, 2014
I really like these kits that require no additional water, but 4 of the last 5 kits shipped to me have had damage to the buckets. One never made it too me, and one was re-packaged by FEDEX, and was leaking.
The other issue is that the last two Amarone kits I've ordered have labels that say "RED TABLE WINE", not "AMARONE" like the first kits I purchased. Also ,the foils are yellow instead of green. I'm pretty sure the exterior label on the bucket is not correct, and the kits are not actually Amarone as indicated. The previous Amarone kit turned out good, so I'll have to compare when these are done. The last shipment actually came in a larger diameter bucket, which seemed a little thicker, but the bottom still got cracked and was about ready to let go, the bag was still in tact, so contents were OK.
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on October 4, 2013
This kit was about my 20th wine kit I've finished in the past 3 years. I have purchased from local home brewing stores, Amazon, and other online retailers. I have done a good deal of experimenting with wine kits to improve the flavor, increase alcohol content, get a more oaky aged flavor, etc.

For the money, this has been the best red kit I have tried to date. I have purchased a $200++ Nero D'Avola kit with grapes included (it was not concentrated like most of these kits) and that was the only kit I can think of that was better than this one. But then compare the $56 to the $200, and it really is a no-brainer. Normally, I have noticed the reds need to sit for at least 2 months before they have a good body and are drinkable by the faux-wine snob (like me!). Like most home brewers, I cannot wait that long. I tried this the week after I bottled, and WOW. Very smooth, excellent finish, low acidity considering it had not sat for very long. The best part is this will most likely IMPROVE EVEN MORE with age!!

I did not do anything fancy with this kit. I just didn't have time to play with it so followed the instructions to a "tee". As always I used distilled water, and let it merrily brew away in a relatively cool, dry spot in our house.

We have friends that consider themselves semi-wine connoisseurs. The wife tried a glass (about 2 weeks after it was bottled) and loved it so much, she took the rest of the bottle home!! I cannot say enough good things about this kit, if you are a red wine fan, chances are you will love this!!
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