Jan 28 2013
For Christmas, my in-laws bought me a winemaking kit from The Artful Winemaker. My wife and I had been looking at purchasing a make your own wine kit for a while as something fun to do, so when her parents asked for gift ideas for me, we offered up this one as the price and reviews on it seemed to be pretty good.
The starter kit, which costs $150, comes with everything you’ll need to make 12 bottles of wine, including the bottles, closures, labels, and everything to actually make the wine. While printed instructions are included, what I really liked about this product is that a DVD was also included that walked you through the entire process, which takes 28 days.
Everything you’ll need for the days 1, 14, and 28 is contained in their own pouch, with the ingredients inside labeled for easy identification. The DVD itself is broken out into the days you’ll need, making it easy to jump to where you are in the process and take the necessary steps.
My wife and I were making a Cabernet/Shiraz blend, which meant in addition to the juice we were using to make the wine, we also had to pouches with oak to add flavor to the wine. We followed the instructions for day 1, which takes about 20 minutes, and set the container where it wouldn’t get in the way for the duration of the process.
On day 14 we watched the next section of the DVD and followed the instructions, which mostly amounted to adding a clarifier and removing the oak, all of which took about 5 minutes from start to finish. Day 28 was bottling, and after sterilizing all the bottles (cleansers are included for every step), we proceeded to put our wine into the bottles, seal them, and place dated labels on them.
They recommend that after bottling you allow the wine to sit for another two weeks before consuming, and that you drink all of the wine withing 6 months of bottling. We did taste a small sample of the wine and while it’s certainly not revolutionary, featuring fruit forward flavors you would expect, if you assume $5 per bottle (refills cost $60 for 12 bottles), it’s not terrible as something to keep around for a random table wine – I’ve certainly paid more for wine that wasn’t any better.
If you’re in the market for a DIY wine kit I’d certainly look into the Artful Winemaker. They currently offer six different wines to make, including Cabernet/Shiraz, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Riesling. I for one plan to try the Pinot Noir next.
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