Wine & Wine Kits

What should I look for when buying a wine kit?

A wine kit is a wine kit is a wine kit… a common sentiment in the world of home wine making, but not an accurate one. Just as you can buy a new car for $18 000.00 you can buy a new car for $150 000.00. In both cases you have a car, one just happens to be a lot nicer to drive. You can buy a $7.00 bottle of Chardonnay at the liquor store or a $20.00 bottle of Chardonnay. In both cases you get a bottle of Chardonnay, one just happens to have more body, aromatics and bouquet. The same logic applies to wine kits, a $60.00 wine kit will make a wine with more body, aromatics and bouquet than a $40.00 wine kit and a $100.00 wine kit will make a wine with more body, aromatics and bouquet than both the $40.00 and $60.00 wines.

When buying a wine kit in most cases, the larger the wine kit the more full-bodied the kit is. A kit that contains a volume of fresh juice typically has more body; aromatics and bouquet than a wine kit that is all concentrate. The larger the volume of juice: the better these characteristics.

Look for a wine kit with a production date code as opposed to a “best before date”. A production date code tells you exactly when the kit was made and allows you the consumer to know how old the kit is. A best before date does not tell you when the kit was made and even though a kit has not reach its so-called best before date it could be 2 or 3 years old. Wine kits do not last forever and the concentrates and juices will oxidise in the bag. This results in a wine brown in colour with a bitter aftertaste.

Not all grapes are created equal! Find out where the grapes are coming from that go into the wine kits that you buy. The grape juice and concentrate are the most important parts of a wine kit and play a large role in the price of a wine kit.

The nice thing about making your own wine is that it allows you to make a better wine than you would normally buy and save a significant amount of money over the commercial price of wine. Visit or call Wine Sense for more help when choosing a wine kit. Remember you cannot make a good wine from a bad wine kit.

What is a Mist wine?

Mist wines are a very popular alternative for the wine lover. By matching a varietal wine base with a splash of fruit flavour you get a wine beverage that is great for Winnipeg’s hot summer days or for casual drinking. Lighter in alcohol (6%) than a normal table wine Mist kits are great for those who enjoy a light, fruity alcohol drink. Mist kits are ready in about three weeks and can be enjoyed without any ageing. Wine Sense carries Niagara Mist and Island Mist with over 20 styles between them.

The instruction sheets refer to ‘if your kit has an F-Pack or Sweetener Pack’. I have never had a kit with an F-Pack. What is an F-Pack and which kits have them?

If you enjoy sweet styles of wine you will want to try a wine with an F-Pack. Added after stabilisation when fermentation is complete, an F-Pack will give the appropriate sweetness to specific styles of wine. As a result F-Packs are only found in styles where sweetness is appropriate such as ‘blush’ wines and German styles as well as sweeter dessert styles.

F-packs are formulated from a combination of varietal grape juice concentrate and selected special ingredients sourced from around the world which contribute to natural flavour and aroma. This method of sweetening is modelled on the German süss-reserve method. The benefit of making a wine with an F-Pack instead of sweetening with sugar or wine conditioner is that an F-Pack increases the aromatics, bouquet and flavour of your wine.

How do I read the production date code on my wine kit?

The production date code is found on top of your Winexpert or Vineco wine kits.

Winexpert codes read as the following example: 1319704

13 These two digits are an internal code used by Brew King- you can ignore them.

197 These three digits indicate the numbered day of the year in which the kit was produced. In this case it was July 10th (the 197th day since January 1st).

04 These two digits indicate the year in which the kit was made, in this case, 2004.

Vineco codes read as the following example: 4197 (the middle set of numbers)

4 This digit indicates the year of production. In this case, 2004.

197 These three digits indicate the numbered day of the year in which the kit was produced. In this case it was July 10th (the 197th day since January 1st).

These codes allow Wine Sense to make sure our stock is properly rotated so you the consumer can be confident that the wine you make is as fresh as possible.

I have a wine kit that I have had for sometime, should I make it?

Sometimes you buy or are given a wine kit that you just don’t get around to making, and are wondering if you should make it or if it is too old. Check the production date code. If it is less than a year since the kit was manufactured then you can make it without any concern. If the kit is over a year old than you may see some deterioration (oxidation) in the product. Anything past 16 months will likely not be worth making. Because oxidation is progressive even if you make the kit it will continue to deteriorate once you have made it. If your kit does not have a production date code (“best before” dates on wine kits can be deceptive) you will have to look for a browning in the concentrate. Browning is an indication of oxidation. If you are unsure of the condition of a wine kit bring it down to Wine Sense and we will be able to help you. Nobody wants to serve an oxidised wine to their friends.

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