So, you are interested in making wine at home. What are the first steps? Plant a vineyard, wait several years, harvest grapes, and then make wine? Or, wait until a grape grower in your area has loads of wine grapes to harvest - probably sometime this fall?
You can certainly make wine at home this way, but for those of us who do not have the patience to wait months or even years to taste our first bottle of homemade wine, there is another way to make wine easily at any time of the year: making wine with a kit.
What are winemaking kits?
There are generally two categories of winemaking kits available for purchase from online winemaking supplies retailers. First, there are kits that include all the winemaking equipment and ingredients needed for a beginner to make their first batch of wine (usually six gallons). These are often called "winemaking starter kits." Second, there are wine recipe kits which only include the ingredients to make wine, but none of the other supplies and equipment you will need to make wine.
What are some of the advantages of making wine using a winemaking kit?
There are several advantages. For the beginner, winemaking starter kits can provide all the tools and instructions needed to successfully produce a first batch of wine. For the more experience winemaker, recipe kits can allow one to make wine at almost any time of the year. For both beginners and experience winemakers, kits are often the cheapest way to make quality wine at home.
What are some of the disadvantages of making wine using a winemaking kit?
One of the major disadvantages is that when using recipe kits your will be limited only to the types of wine that are available with the winemaking kits. Another disadvantage is that beginners using the starter kits will quickly outgrow their starter equipment and will want to replace many of the items with more sophisticated winemaking supplies. A final disadvantage is that by relying too heavily on these kits you will miss out learning a lot about the winemaking process since they so simple to use.
All in all, however, winemaking kits provide excellent winemaking opportunities to both beginning and advanced winemakers. As long as the winemaker keeps in mind that winemaking kits are just one part of a broader winemaking experience, they should find kit winemaking to be a rewarding experience.