Since we like wine almost as much as we like beer, we thought it worth trying a wine kit. A bit of research showed that I have pretty much all the equipment I need already from the brewing. The only things missing are a wine filter and a corker, but they can wait until we’ve decided it will become a regular occurrence.
After looking at some comments on the home brewing forums, I settled on a kit from California Connoisseur. They’re regarded as “premium” kits – it seemed worth trying a decent kit, as if we didn’t like a cheap one then that might just be because it’s a cheap kit.
We bought the Pinot Noir from BrewUK, as we like the grape.
The kit was simple to make, and seemed forgiving that my schedule didn’t allow me to do some of the steps exactly when the instructions said. I even bottled 10 days late, but I figured that since it was in a demijohn with airlock that it would only have CO2 above it so should last ok. I also forgot to take a gravity reading at the start, so don’t know how strong it ended up.
The 6-bottle kit ended up as 5 full bottles and 1 large glass of wine: we started with 6 bottles worth (4.5 litres) of must, which after syphoning and losses to the yeast, was a bit over 4 litres at bottling time.
Since there was a glass left over, I forced myself to drink it… Rather fruity, very easy to drink, and quite tasty. Not the finest bottle I’ve ever had, but I hardly expected so, but certainly not the least pleasant I’ve had even in the last year. Comments on the forums lead me to believe that it should improve with a bit of aging as well, so it will be interesting to see how it tastes in a few months (if they last that long, of course).
It wasn’t completely clear, but it’s not filtered. This didn’t make any noticable difference to the taste or mouth-feel, so I think we can live without a filter for now. It will show more with rose and white wines, of course, but I believe it’s mainly a cosmetic thing, though I’m sure it does also remove some of the remaining yeast and so may lessen the risk of bottle bombs!
We plan to try a White Zin and some form of white wine as well. It certainly seems worth persevering, and I think the 6 bottle kits are the way to go until we settle on some as firm favourites, when a 30 bottle kit might be worth a bash.