Friday, May 24, 2013

My Response To Comments On Kit Wine Making

This blog post is in response to comments that folks have made regarding my Vino Italiano Wine Making from Kits posts across the web.  I apologize in advance for what may seem like a rant.   I will present my opinion here, but I will have to say that everyone’s opinion is valid… for them.   Saying that, I am not discrediting anyone for their opinion and I hope that those folks would allow me the same courtesy. 

UPDATE: Please check my new wine making website for more detail on wine making.   How To Make Homemade Wine

Vino Italiano Wine Kit

Many folks have made comments like:

•    Making wine from kits is not real wine. 
•    What you are drinking is not real wine.
•    Making wine from kits is like making a cake from a mix.
•    This has nothing to do with real Italian wine.
•    Bla bla bla

My opinion is that it all depends on what is important to you. 
Is it important that you grew the grapes yourself on Italian soil and crushed them yourself by stomping on them for you to consider it Real Wine that you made yourself?

For me, what is important is that I am enjoying what I am drinking in my glass, and that the one I love is enjoying what she is drinking.    The fact is, we prefer my wine to most commercial wines.   Most people I share my wine with love it.   

Love Your Wine

So, for me what is important is that you love the wine you are drinking.   Not, that I grew the grapes, or imported them from Italy and pressed them myself.

For the record:

1.    I have been drinking Italian wines for most of my adult life
2.    I make wine from wine kits
3.    I make wine from frozen pails of imported grape juice
4.    I grow grapes myself and make wine from my grapes
5.    I make wine from other things I grow, like Black Berries…

So, I do it all.   Each type of wine making has its place.   Wines from kits are ready sooner, and are much easier to make than wines from frozen pails, which are easier than growing your own grapes, etc…    You get the idea here?

As for the wine I make from the Tuscany Rosso Magnifico Vino Italiano Wine Kit that I demonstrated on YouTube, when someone makes a comment like “Buy real Italian wine for $45 instead…”, what are you saying?  Let’s compare apples to apples.

•    While the kit costs about $45 shipped, that translates to under $2 per bottle.

Now, I will put that wine next to standard Ruffino Chianti, which sells for about $10 per bottle, and the Tuscany Rosso Magnifico will beat the Ruffino Chianti, or at least be comparable.   If I did a blind taste test, with 10 people who liked Italian Reds, more of them will prefer the Tuscany Rosso Magnifico, made from the kit.     If I were to compare the Ruffino Chianti with the Gold Label, which goes for $40 per bottle, the Gold Label Ruffino will win.   But, you are comparing now to a $40 bottle of wine.

Most people, even wine snobs, don’t drink $40 bottles of wine daily, or even weekly.    So, with realistic expectations, you should be very happy with the Vino Italiano Wine Kit.

Even so, many folks think that there is something wrong with the process, making wine from a kit.   They say it is like making a cake from a mix…  
I say, what is wrong with cake from a mix?   Obviously, Duncan Hines stays in business for a reason.   Somebody is buying their cake mix… And as I look at the shelves, so many more cake mixes are available for a reason…. 10,000,000 Elvis fans can’t be wrong!

If you are truly honest with yourself…  You can go to a great bakery and get a cake made from scratch and the Duncan Hines cake from a mix will taste better most of the time.   It will be moister, tastier, etc.   I used to know someone who made wedding cakes on the side for extra cash.   She made the most delicious cakes!   You know what she did?  Bought cake mix in the store and doctored them up.   Everyone love her cakes!

Honestly, the cake boss…  The guy is awesome…   But, I will put a doctored up Duncan Hines chocolate cake next to his “Da Bomb” cake and I will prefer my cake to his, that he made from scratch.  But, that is just me.  Maybe I am un civilized, but I know what I like.

Same thing with Wine Kits.   I customize my wine made from kits by not following the directions exactly.   The same way one may doctor up a cake mix.    This is what I have in my head:

•    Commercial wines have too much sulfates for me
•    Most Commercial wines have too much Oak, in my opinion

By making wine from a kit myself, I have control over these things.  Sure, a kit may come with Oak, but I don’t have to add what they say.  Typically, I add half, or less, if they provide over 30 Grams.    Home wine makers make wines with about ¼ of the sulfates that commercial wines have, so I am good there, too.

The Vino Italiano Kits don’t come with oak, and are watery if you make them as directed.    I add a little oak, and make them to 5 Gallons instead of 6 gallons, for more body.   I leave the wine ferment more on the lees, by stirring it back into the wine when transferring from primary to secondary.   I also add yeast nutrient, although it is not necessary.   I usually do that if it is colder than ideal, based on my gut feeling.  So, I doctor up my wine kits, the same way one may doctor up a Cake Mix, by adding pudding to the mix and chopping up some quality chocolate and mixing it in…   What matters is do you like the cake!  Do you like the Wine!

So, that’s my rant.   I hope it gives something to think about.   I believe wine kits have their place and are a great way for people to get into Wine Making!


  1. Thanks. Because of you, I'm actually trying this. Thanks

  2. That is awesome! If you have any questions along the way, please ask!

  3. I agree wholeheartedly with your perspective. I have been making kit-based wines for about 20 years, and it tastes like wine to me! Your youtube videos are enjoyable and informative. It's fun to see how others approach this hobby. I actually was unaware of the Vino Italiano kits until I watched your reviews. I must give them a try. I've always done Winexpert, or kits of that nature. I am partial to Barolo. By the way, what happened to the Vino Italiano Barolo? I can't seem to find it anywhere. Anyway, thanks for sharing your experiences and opinions on winemaking.

    1. Thanks so much for you kind words. I can't find the Vino Italiano Barolo anymore either. I called the company and asked what happened, and they told me that Amazon controls what they sell, which I am not so sure that is true.

      The Barolo from them was excellent. I Only Have 5 bottles left...

      Currently, I am making another barolo kit from another manufacturer that is very reasonably priced. Look soon for first Video....

      Thanks for stopping by

    2. I racked my wine last weekend - it was A-1. I make about 5.2 gallons and add around 5 lbs of honey for more complexity and a mead character. Have won medals with other wine kit varieties. I too like to avoid sulfites