Best Wine Making Kit — Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

reviews and buyers guide

The best wine making kits 2019

If you are serious about making wine at home, you’ll find that wine making kits are available in a range of varieties. Some kits will have all the equipment and ingredients you need while other kits may require you to purchase extra equipment or ingredients. Depending on the type of wine you want to make, there is definitely a kit out there that is perfect for you. Here are a few tips on what to look for in the best winemaking kit and a few reviews to help you start shopping.
best wine aerator and decanter
Jane Lock
Sommelier Professional | date January 25, 2019
BEST OVERALL
5/5
  • Great starter kit with a great taste
  • Good instructions to get started
  • Comes with everything you need
PREMIUM CHOICE
5/5
  • Good tasting wine that will improve with some aging
  • Amazing taste with a good alcohol content
  • Comes with good directions
GREAT VALUE
5/5
  • Good kit that lets you make one batch of wine
  • Easy to use with informative DVD
  • Good price for a great product

Investing In a Wine Making Kit

When considering making wine for the first time, it can be confusing to know what the right equipment you will need. Finding quality grapes is a no-brainer, but you also need a stirrer, demijohn, and a bucket as well as a few other things you may not know about. 

For those that have already tried making wine at home, you probably discovered there was a lot more equipment needed for the process than you first thought. 

 Plus, if you didn’t use a winemaking kit, you discovered how much of a pain it was to find all the right accessories and containers.   You also need more than just the right equipment. You also need pectic enzyme, wine yeast, and a few other ingredients besides the grapes for the wine. 

Investing in a winemaking kit can give you all the materials you need besides the grapes. This is a convenient way to start the journey into winemaking in your home.

The five best wine making kits

 Master Vintner Home Wine Making
Master Vintner+review
Deluxe Wine Making Kit

1 Gallon Wine from Fruit Kit
North Mountain Supply
Cabernet Sauvignon Kit
CLICK FOR PRICE CLICK FOR PRICE CLICK FOR PRICE CLICK FOR PRICE CLICK FOR PRICE
Carboy volume6 gallons6 gallons1 gallon1 gallon1 gallon
How many bottles of wine does this kit make?
3030555
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Carboy material
Glass
Glass
Glass
Glass
Glass
What else do I have to buy to make wine that's not in this kit?Juice/grapes/concentrateJuice/grapes/concentrateHydrometer
wine energizer
juice/grapes/concentrate
Fruits
All in all this kit is everything you need
InstructionsThe instructions are not clearComes with an informative DVDThe instructions are not clearThe instructions are not clearThe instructions are very easy to follow
Can this kit be used to make mead
YesYesYesYesYes

Types of Wine Making Kits

When choosing a winemaking kit, you first need to decide if you want a kit that makes wine from grapes or fruit.
If you choose grapes, then you want a winemaking kit that only consists of necessary equipment and ingredients like nutrients, pectic enzyme, and yeast. You can actually make wine just from grapes by letting nature do its thing, but using a winemaking kit will speed up the process and give you a smoother wine since you are helping out with the fermentation process.

If you choose fruit, you need to choose a winemaking kit that works with fruit concentrate or juice. These kits will give you all the ingredients you need as well as a recipe booklet and instructions. Keep in mind that with this type of kit, you may get an aroma or flavor that is not as good quality as homemade wine using real grapes.

 Which kit you choose is purely dependent on your preferences. True wine lovers will prefer wine using grapes. This process is not that complicated and your wine’s characteristics will be far better than wine made from juice or concentrates.  

 

Master Vintner Home Wine Making Equipment – Best red and white wine Overall Starter Kit for beginners

wine making supplies

With everything you need to make great wine, the Master Vintner Home Wine Making Equipment Kit can be used with any recipe kit. You get all the tools you need from start to finish along with excellent directions from Tim Vandergrift, a winemaking industry leader. This is also the first starter kit that allows you to make wine faster.

Featuring a carboy fermentor with an innovative design called the Big Mount Bubbler, this kit also has the versatility to make fresh juice as well. To make sure you have a kit that is more than just good, this kit has been tested and retested to give you the best winemaking experience.

With foolproof instructions, you can be assured that your first try at making wine will be a success. The Master Vintner Kit is a fun process developed by brewmasters that love what they do. This is the perfect gift for anyone that shares a passion of winemaking or wants a new hobby that is fun and not boring.

Pros
  • Great starter kit with a great taste
  • Good instructions to get started
  • Comes with everything you need
Cons
  • Need a larger primary fermenter
  • The lid will slowly work its way open

What To Look For In A Winemaking Kit

Equipment

When thinking about equipment, you may not consider the ingredients as being one of the most important pieces of equipment. Raw material like fruit, grapes, and concentrates are typical ingredients that a beginning home winemaker will use.  Grapes are most commonly used, but there are also many fruits that will make a bottle of great wine.  If you do use fruit, you will need to have a crusher and press, but they can be pretty expensive to own so you may want to rent or borrow one until you decide if winemaking will be your thing.

If you don’t have access to a crusher and press, you can start with juice or concentrate which can also be helpful when fresh grapes and juice are not in season. You don’t have to worry that a concentrate will give you a wine that doesn’t taste good. They have been known to make some exquisite wine that has won awards 

Carboys

The preferred container to ferment wine at home is water jugs or carboys that hold at least five-gallons. Glass water jugs won’t deteriorate when they are stored or chemically interact with the wine, plus you can keep them clean easily. You can also be able to watch the wine ferment.  Other sizes including three, six, and seven-gallon jugs are good alternatives while one-gallon jugs need the most care due to the possibility of oxidation. Another good container to consider are beer kegs, but plastic containers should be used for short term storage only due to their permeability to air. 
A more expensive option, wine barrels can give you wine great oak flavors and characteristics. Smaller sized wine barrels have a tendency to leak with evaporation losses around ten percent a year. You should probably avoid wine barrels unless you have the time to take care of them, are willing to make the investment, and have the room for them.

Master Vintner Small Batch Wine Starter Kit – Best Cabernet Sauvignon Winemaking Kit

wine equipment

If you want to be a great winemaker, the Master Vintner kits use the top grapes from around the world to help you create fine wine at home. Creating six gallons of incredibly tasting wine, the Master Vintner Cabernet Sauvignon Kit allows you to make a medium-bodied wine using moderate tannins. In this kit, you will taste the savory notes of vanilla, ripe plum, and dried fruit.

As it ages, your wine will gain complexity and depth creating a peppery-spiced aroma that evolves into tobacco, coffee, and smoked cedar flavors. Easy to use, Master Vintner Cabernet Sauvignon Kit allows you to make wines you’ll love and that you want to share with your friends and family.
Pros
  • Good tasting wine that will improve with some aging
  • Amazing taste with a good alcohol content
  • Comes with good directions
Cons
  • Too expensive for the quality wine you end up with
  • Tastes watered down with a light flavor

What To Look For In A Winemaking Kit

Airlocks

Used to let gas escape from fermenters during winemaking,  airlocks also protect your wine from atmospheric oxygen that can harmful.  Look for airlocks that are used with a rubber bung that fits the container’s opening. Rubber caps and tapered corks can also be used as well as screwcap lids found on gallon jugs that are also effective.

Chemicals

You only need a few chemicals when making grape wines at home. Sulfur dioxide, in either Campden or potassium metabisulfite tablets, and tartaric acid need to be used with some types of low acid grapes from California. If you have high acidity, either potassium bicarbonate or calcium carbonate will help.  Remember that potassium sorbate will inhibit fermentation in sweet wines and needs to be used with enough SO2 to avoid the possibility of getting an off ‘geranium’ odor.  Fruit wines will need yeast nutrients and pectic enzymes. Fining agents or tannin can also be used if you have problems with wine not clearing without it.

Yeast

A wine yeast strain that packaged has more advantages than the wild yeast found on fruit.  They can ferment at cooler temperatures and has better alcohol efficiency.  These inexpensive yeast strains come in wide range of strains, and you may need help initially finding the right strain for whatever fruit or grape you choose for your wine.    

Deluxe Wine Making Kit – Best Deluxe homemade Wine Making Kit

wine starter kit

Including all the equipment you need, the Deluxe Wine Making Kit allows you to make 6 gallons of wine. Everything in the kit was hand selected for durability and quality. You will immediately notice that this kit gives you more equipment than other kits on the market that claim to be deluxe kits.

With an easy to use bottle filler, this kit features a 1/2 inch auto siphon pump that you won’t see in other kits, plus all the equipment you get will won’t need to be replaced for a year. Besides premium equipment, you also get recipes and instructions on how to make excellent wine. Other features include a double lever corker, and Econolock airlock, and a wine degassing rod.
Pros
  • Good kit that lets you make one batch of wine
  • Easy to use with informative DVD
  • Good price for a great product
Cons
  • Doesn’t come with everything you need
  • The instruction booklet wasn’t very good

What To Look For In A Winemaking Kit

Sterilizing and Cleaning

Efficient in sterilizing and cleaning wine making supplies and equipment, Sal Sodam, also known as washing soda, is not found in grocery stores. Commercial wineries tend to use proprietary alkaline cleaners that are based on tri-sodium phosphate and sal soda.    You can use regular detergent but it can cause a lot of suds.  
You will also need a jug or carboy brush to get into difficult to reach corners in fermentation containers.  You can sterilize inert materials with laundry bleach, but you will want to use potassium metabisulfite in water before bottling.  

Tools

Basic instruments include  an acid test kit and a hydrometer.   You will find that any other instruments aren’t critical to the wine’s production but do give you some interesting data.

Wine Transfer

You will need to transfer your wine during the winemaking process between containers in a process called racking.   Wine should be siphoned and not poured in the process to stop unnecessary aeration and agitation.    With about 5 or 6 feet of food grade plastic tubing, you can expertly rack your wine into a different fermenter, and you may even need to buy an extra container or carboy to complete this process.  

1 Gallon Wine from Fruit Kit – Best Fruit Wine Kit

wine making equipment

Creating a gallon of wine, the Fruit Kit is a great way to get involved with small batch winemaking. Everything you need is in the kit except for the fresh fruit which you provide. This is an awesome way to make some fruity wine from either your own fresh fruit, fruit from the grocery store, or even canned purees.

With a recipe book and easy instructions, the Fruit Kit is the perfect way to brew a fruity wine at home. Besides the equipment, you also get enough additives and yeast to make fifteen gallons of wine. Other pieces of equipment a two-gallon plastic fermenter with a lid, a straining bag, airlock, and tubing.
Pros
  • Makes a small batch of wine
  • Comes with everything you need
Cons
  • Instructions with the kit aren’t very good
  • Will need to supplement with other materials

What To Look For In A Winemaking Kit

Clarifying

It is important to take out suspended solids and impurities from your wine to give it an appealing and clear look. By buying an economical clarifying agent, along with some patience and time, you can let your wine naturally settle and only have to rack it 2 or 3 times. Using clarifying agents like sparkolloid or bentonite help to clean your wine a lot quicker and more thoroughly than if you just let it settle.  Filters are also convenient and help to create clear wine in a short amount of time, but they are a big investment and not really necessary for those making wine at home.  

Storage and Bottling

When bottling your wine, a siphon is always convenient, but you can also use a regular piece of tubing either with or without a valve. If your friends and family drink a lot of wine, gallon jugs will work but most find the  typical 750ml bottle the most practical.  You can save money by reusing empty bottles. Make sure not to use bottles that have flared necks that are too difficult to seat a cork. And also use a cork if you will be aging the bottle more than a year, otherwise plastic top cork or screw caps will work. If you do use regular corks, you will need a corker to insert them.

Room Conditions

T he perfect conditions to store wine are somewhere that has an even cool temperature, free of bad odors, and protects the bottles from direct sunlight.  It is hard to find the right area but you will appreciate the end result if you can come close. If all else fails, insulate a corner of your cellar and make sure to steer clear of any area where it will be hotter than 80 degrees.

North Mountain Supply 1 Gallon Wine from Fruit Complete 30pc Kit – Most Complete Wine Making Kit

wine making books

This thirty piece kit includes all you need to make a fruity wine at home. You only need to supply the fruit and the bottles. With a recipe book for 100 fruit wines and step-by-step instructions, you can get started making wine right away. You can use wild picked fruit, grocery store fruit, or canned fruit purees.

Besides the equipment, you also get enough additives to make around fifteen gallons of wine. This is the largest and most complete kit on the market that includes a two-gallon fermenter, two airlocks, a one-gallon glass jug, an auto-siphon, and a straining bag.
Pros
  • You get everything you need in the kit
  • Great kit for someone starting out
Cons
  • Need clearer instructions
homemade wine kit

Tips To Make Wine From Grapes

Simple and straightforward, the winemaking process using grapes does have a few important steps you should not skip.
• Make sure your equipment is sterilized since you will be required to use various tools and containers like stirrers, demijohns, and bins. If you want to guarantee that your winemaking process will be successful, you need to have perfectly sterilized equipment before you put any grapes into them. Also, when cleaning your tools, do no use perfumed detergents.
• You also need the right place to do the winemaking process which could be in a cool room or cellar. Anywhere there are high temperatures can compromise the wine’s quality. The area you work in should be well ventilated since carbon dioxide is released during the fermentation that can be harmful when you inhale it in large amounts.
• To increase your wine output, use freshly harvested grapes that tend to be juicier. Use the traditional method to crush the grapes with either your hands or feet and remove the rasps which can increase the level of tannins and the wine’s acidity.

Tips to Make Wine from Fresh Fruit

With varying processes, making wine with fresh fruit has a few general guidelines.
• You may notice that some fresh fruit wines do not have enough body. To combat this issue and increase both flavor and quality, use one or more of the following ingredients:
• Use 5 to 10 ounces of red or white grape concentrate per gallon to add a better bouquet and body to the wine.
• Use 8 ounces of raisins per gallon to provide sweetness and body and sweetness. Golden raisins should be used for white or rose-colored fruit wines while dark raisins work well for red fruit wines.
• Three pounds of fresh bananas will also add body to fruit wines.
• You need to remove pits or seeds from fruit as they contain resins that are bitter that will leave a bitter taste in your wine. After you process your pulp to extract the juice, freeze the fruit to break down its cell membrane walls giving you better juice extraction. Once the fruit has thawed, you can place the fruit in a nylon bag to extract the juice. You can either cover the fruit bag with sugar to help with juice extraction or press it by hand with a fruit press before putting the nylon bag and juice in the primary fermentor.
• Make sure to siphon your primary fermentor into a cleaned and sanitized glass wine bottle and carboy attaching airlocks to both containers. This can set for two to three weeks after which you will need to siphon it again into another clean and sanitized carboy before attaching an airlock. At this point, place any additional wine into spare bottles so you can reduce air in the carboy. Make sure to keep at least two inches or less of space to stop oxidation and let stand for one month.
• Sweeten your wine at bottling time. You can create a boiled water and sugar solution that can be added to the wine until you are satisfied with your wine’s flavor. Add the sweetener gradually to prevent it from becoming too sweet.
• Traditionally, wine is placed in wine bottles which really are the best for bottling. Also, use a #9 cork as well as a corker to cork the bottle. If you use a cork lower than a #9, it can cause the wine to spoil or leak. Also, make sure your bottles are clean and that they are sanitized.

Other General Wine Making Tips

Pectic enzyme – Use between 5 and 10 drops of pectic enzyme instead of the listed teaspoon measure found in most recipes. The teaspoon measurement found in recipes is actually for a powdered pectic enzyme.
• Campden tablets – Use five Campden tablets instead of 1/4 teaspoon of metabisulphite.
• Do not boil corks – Your corks should be soaked in a mixture a crushed Campden tablet and hot water for around fifteen minutes.
• Aging – Age your fruit wine between 6 months to 1 year although some wines get better if aged longer depending on their tanning and acid levels.
• Stabilizer – Potassium sorbate is a common wine stabilizer, but make sure not to overuse it. You should only be using 1/2 teaspoon per gallon.
Making wine at home is a very involved and time consuming process. It is important you get the right kit to help you on this journey so you aren’t doomed from the start with poor ingredients and directions. Once you determine the right type of kit for the wine you will be creating, enjoy the whole fermenting experience, especially all that delicious wine at the end.

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