5 Best Wine Making Kits (2020) - Essential Buyer's Guide

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You made the exciting decision that you would like to make your own wine at home — now comes the daunting decision of choosing your first wine kit

The hundreds of wine kits on the market can seem overwhelming; this is especially true for the person looking to get started on their wine-making journey by buying their first wine kit.

Don't lose hope, though. We are here to help.

For the person purchasing their first wine kit, the key to success is starting off with a simplistic one. Starting off with a simplistic wine kit will allow you to thoroughly understand the wine making process before upgrading to a more complex kit. 

In this previous post we compared the best wine making kits for beginners, but today we will compare only the very best.

Before diving more deeply into the topic, I’m gonna share a table with our final findings.

Top 5 Wine Making Kits Compared

The following table shows our top picks with the estimated price range and our final rating. There is also a link placed on each option so it will be easier for you to find the product (Amazon links).

The table is ranked from the most affordable product first to the most premium choice at the bottom.

NamePrice Range

Homebrew Rating

1. Master Vintner Fresh Harvest One Gallon Small Batch Fruit Wine Making Kit$4/5
2. Wild Grapes, Premium Wine Making Kits. Pinot Grigio$$4/5
3. Craft a Brew Home Chardonnay Making Kit$$4/5
4. Man Crates Winemaking Kit Cabernet Savignon
 
$$4/5
5. Master Vintner Wine Making Equipment Kit$$$4,5/5

My #1 Pick

Master Vintner Wine Making Equipment Kit

Best option if you don't have any equipment. Complete kit, quality material and ingredients.

Check it on Amazon


Now, we are going to go share some tips and tricks to finding the best wine making kit for your new adventure. 

You can also skip it and jump to the products review at the end of the post.

Cheers!

6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing Your Wine Kit

Before we buy anything, the most important step is to find out what do we really want/need. If you just go ahead and start looking with no prior research, you will be at the mercy of the brands.

The following questions will help you narrow your needs and hopefully save you some time, and money.

  1. What type of wine do you like to drink?
  2. Is there a grape variety do you have in mind?
  3. If you do not have a grape variety in mind, what characteristics or styles are you looking to implement into your first batch?
  4. What’s your budget?
  5. Do you need your wine to be finished by a particular time?
  6. What kind of juice are you interested in using?

Now that we now what we need, let's jump into the basics!

Types of Juices

There are three variations of juices you must choose between when purchasing a wine kit:

  • Fully concentrated grape juice
  • Partially concentrated grape juice
  • 100% Juice

The fully concentrated grape juice and partially concentrated grape juice kits will require adding water to make a standard 5- or 6-gallon (19- or 23-L) batch of wine.

The kits that contain 100% juice come few and far between, but they do not require any water addition.

The Major Differences Between the Three Options of Juices

The difference between these options is quite simple: concentrate is similar to grape juice but with less water, while juice is liquid that is directly pressed from grapes.

    Fully concentrated grape juice

    Fully concentrated juices are a viable option to choose when purchasing the best wine kit that will suit your needs.

    This option is great because the high sugar levels will preserve your wine, therefore giving it a longer shelf life. The high sugar content will allow your wine to last for weeks or even months without spoiling.

    The downside of this option is that some of the grapes’ flavors seem to get lost in the winemaking process due to the extra sugars.

    Think about it like this: orange juice concentrate simply does not have the same flavor as freshly squeezed orange juice.

    Partially concentrated grape juice

    Partially concentrated grape juice is another option; this option is great because it still allows the wine to last a bit longer without taking as much flavor away as maybe a fully concentrated juice would.

    100% Juice

    The final option would be the kits that include 100% juice.

    This option is much harder to find; it’s important to note that you will likely find kits that include mostly juice with a little bit of concentrate.

    The kits that include 100% juice will taste amazing as the flavour of the grapes will be very prominent, but the downside is the wine will not last as long.

    Read Also: How Long Does It Take to Make Wine at Home?

    What is Included in a Wine Making Kit?

    Standard wine kit options will come with all of the following ingredients: the chosen juice or concentrate, nutrients, acids, tannins, and yeast.

    It’s important to note that in some cases you will need to purchase the equipment to make the wine, bottles, and corks separately.

    The following list states all of the things that you will need to make your wine that might not be? included in the standard winemaking kit:

    Comparing Prices

    I’m sure you will find it rather unsurprising to learn that the size of wine kit that you choose has a very big impact on the cost; generally speaking, the larger the wine kit means the larger the cost.

    Larger wine kits usually include partially concentrated grape juice that has a higher percentage of juice than juice concentrate. Wine kits in the low side of the budget are typically smaller and include more concentrated juice than actual juice.

    REMEMBER: keep in mind that purchasing a smaller, less expensive does not mean that your wine will not taste excellent.

    In fact, many winemakers prefer the smaller kits due to lower costs, long-lasting shelf life, and the smaller kits typically age quicker.

    Many at-home winemakers have won winemaking awards using smaller kits.

    The choice is up to you.

    Types of Wine

    Decide carefully when choosing your kit because you need to choose a type of wine that you really ?enjoy — you will certainly be drinking a good amount of that particular wine!

    There are wine kits that produce wine from any of the major wine styles: whites, reds, ?rose?s, dessert styles, wine coolers, fruit wines, Port-styles, and dessert styles.?

    It’s important to know what type of characteristics and taste that you wish to implement in your wine so you can choose the correct type of wine for your desired outcome.

    As a rule of thumb, I would do some research ahead of time. Not all Merlots are the same much like not all apples are red or sweet. If you know what you like, read up on the description of the wine kit as it will give you a reasonable idea on how it will taste.

    TIP: choose three wines that you enjoy and look at the type of grapes that are used in each.

    If you are a Pinot Grigio lover, for example, you will probably know that not all pinot grigio taste the same. Choosing three types of pinot grigio brands that you enjoy and doing research on them before choosing your wine kit to produce your pinot grigio will allow you to start off your wine making journey with some wine that you truly love.

    The Aging Process

    It’s important to consider how long the aging process of a specific wine kit will take; this information is available to the consumer under the description area.

    Most wine making kits will have an aging process that takes around 4-8 weeks.

    If you need your wine to be finished by a particular time, you may want to go with a smaller kit because those tend to age quicker. The type of wine that you choose also has an effect on the length of the aging process; red wines typically take longer to age.

    Be mindful when choosing a wine kit because some wine kits are meant to benefit from the aging process.

    If that is the case, then the winemaker is looking at an aging process of around 6 months for white wines and 12-18 months for reds. It’s also important to remember the wine typically tastes better the more that it ages.

    Ultimately, the length of the aging process is up to the type of wine chosen (and) the patience of the winemaker.

    Helpful Resources for Wine Making

    The books below are helpful resources to help you embark on your new journey as a winemaker. They've helped me a lot when I started brewing!

    HomeWinemaking Step by Step by Jon Iverson will surely help you in your process as a new winemaker as it takes the reader through the wine making process step by step; it’s also extremely detailed and technical.

    The other two books are great and informational, too!

    List of 5 Best Wine Making Kits  

    After days of research,I could come up with a list of 5 wine making kits that in my opinion are the best. 

    NOTE: some of the kits in this list are ingredients only

    #1 COMPLETE KIT ON A BUDGET, PERFECT FOR BEGINNERS

    Price Range: $


    Homebrew Rating:
    4/5

    Main features:

    • Everything you need to make remarkable wine from scratch in under an hour from your own fresh fruit
    • Enough supplies to make 15 1-gallon batcheS
    • Clear instructions
    • Winemaker Recipe Handbook included 
    • 2 gallon plastic fermentor w/ lid 
    • 1 gallon jug, tubing 
    • Airlock 
    • Screw cap and straining bag 
    • Sanitizer and campden tablets 
    • Pectic enzyme, acid blend, grape tannin, yeast nutrient, stabilizer, and all-purpose dry yeast
    • Racking cane and tubing 
    • Hydrometer

    Not included: 

    • Fruit 
    • Corker 
    • Corks 
    • Bottles

    Overall, this is a solid kit, considering the price.

    Nice little kit, despite the lack of equipment that might be relevant -like bottles-, which you will have to get at some point. For this unit, I would suggest a second carboy to get rid of all yeast (bad flavor) and make it clearer.

    The kit has everything you need to make wine at home, however, that being said, the process can be challenging if unexperienced and the instructions a bit basic.

    TIP: although might take some time, read through the book before starting 

    I would recommend this for beginners and first timers on a budget.

    PROSCONS
    PriceBasic instructions
    Well equipped for the priceLack of bottles
    Recipe bookCan be challenging if unexperienced
    Comes with hydrometer

    Master Vintner Fresh Harvest One Gallon Small Batch Fruit Wine Making Kit

    Perfect complete kit for beginners on a budget

    Check it on Amazon

    #2 BEST FOR PINOT GRIGIO ENTHUSIASTS

    Price Range: $$


    Homebrew Rating:
     4/5

    Main features:

    • Premium ingredients included 
    • Easy to make 
    • Each kit allows you to make up to 6 US gallons (23 Liters) of wine or approximately 30 x 750 ml bottles.
    • Wine base
    • Yeast pack
    • Fining agents 
    • 30 labels.

    If you like this Italian variant of red wine, this kit will surprise you. It's one of my favourite wines, hence the inclusion in this list!

    With this kit you can make homemade pinot grigio - A dry white wine with floral notes and plenty of fruit on the palate. This Italian Pinot Grigio has some zip with the perfect amount of acidity, which I really appreciate.

    On top of the good taste, the process is pretty easy: simply pick your wine style to pair with the wine starter kit, follow the included instructions and you'll have delicious homemade wine in just 4 weeks.

    I'd consider this option if you want a bigger unit and you don't want to spend much money. 

    PROSCONS
    Easy to makeMight need extra yeast
    Clear instructionsMight be too sweet for some
    Size
    Great taste

    Wild Grapes, Premium Wine Making Kits. Pinot Grigio

    Great Italian Pinot Grigio. Easy to make and very good tasting

    Check it on Amazon

    #3 GREAT INGREDIENTS KIT FOR CHARDONNAY

    Price Range: $$


    Homebrew Rating:
    4/5

    Main features:

    • Complete wine kit 
    • Enough ingredients and supplies for 1 gallon (or 5 x 750mL bottles) 
    • Australian Chardonnay
    • High-quality yeast, additives, and fruit juice included
    • Transfer tubing
    • Funnel
    • Rubber Stopper
    • Airlock
    • Racking Cane
    • Tubing Clamp
    • One Gallon Fermenter
    • Zork Closures (5)
    • Guide to Making Wine
    • High quality materials
    • Assembled in USA

    *Wine bottles not included

    Although not a fan of white wines, this kit provides good fine tasting chardonnay. My girlfriend is a hardcore chardonnay fan, and she enjoyed so much.

    One of the things I liked the most was that the process is super easy, you don’t have to be a master vintner or expert to create a good tasting white wine, as everything you need is provided. 

    However, if you have never made wine before, the instructions that come with the kit are not very clear. 

    The taste of this Australian variant is supple and lingers on the palate with layers of toast and spice. It gives a soft mouthfeel and balanced acidity, with vanilla oak, spice notes, citrus, and tropical fruit flavors leading to a medium-long, balanced finish.

    If you like white wine in general, and chardonnay in particular, this one is a no-brainer.

    PROSCONS
    Complete kitInstructions unclear
    Tools includedYou need to buy bottles separatedly
    High quality materials
    Great taste

    Craft a Brew Home Chardonnay Making Kit

    Great Australian Chardonnay kit with all you need

    Check it on Amazon

    #4 GREAT KIT FOR CABERNET SAUVIGNON LOVERS 

    Price Range: $$


    Homebrew Rating:
    4/5

    Main features:

    • All equipment & tools necessary.
    • This glass carboy makes one gallon of wine at a time. That’s approximately five 750 mL bottles. 
    • The kit features Vineyard-Pressed Cabernet Sauvignon with yeast, oak, and select additives. 
    • Guide to Making Wine by Craft A Brew included. 
    • Premium packaging
    • 1 Gallon Glass Jug
    • 5 Zork Bottle Closures

    Another great kit from this brand, that again delivers super good quality in the materials - especially the ingredients.

    If I don't give this kit a higher score is simply because I am more inclined to other types of wine. However, this kit comes with everything you need to start right away, and for a reasonable price. The kit makes up to 5 bottles of wine -two weeks of dinners-.

    I haven't tried this one personally, so I can't tell about the taste, but I have heard comments from fellow brewers and in general all are positive.

    On top of that the customer service of this brand is really good. I tried their chardonnay kit and some parts were missing, and I got the parts missing and an extra kit for the inconvenience. 

    If you like Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a safe choice. 

    PROSCONS
    Customer serviceI'm not a fan of Cabernet 
    Great reviews
    Sturdy materials
    Quality ingredients

    Man Crates Winemaking Kit Cabernet Savignon

    All you need kit for cabernet savignon enthusiasts 

    Check it on Amazon

    #5 PREMIUM CHOICE - MY FAVOURITE

    Price Range: $$$


    Homebrew Rating:
    4,5/5

    Main features

    • Ultimate wine making kit: complete set of wine making supplies, from start to finish.
    • Compatible with any Wine Ingredient Recipe Kit.
    • Equipped with all the tools you need to make top-quality wine from a recipe kit or when you advance to using fresh juice.
    • 2 premium fermenters - no buckets here
    • Rigorously tested for quality
    • Features innovative Big Mouth Bubbler plastic wide mouth carboy fermentor for easy cleaning
    • Step by step instructions

    Generally I don't go for the premium choices, but this time I had to make an exception -it was my birthday also, so I had the perfect excuse.

    I didn't have a wine making kit, and honestly, I was looking for something more than a beginner option. Therefore, after some research I came across this kit that has everything you need. 

    It costs more than the rest, but if you want the most equipped wine kit, there's no doubt, this is the one. 

    The glass carboy is very nice and it includes an attachable handle which makes moving/tipping it much easier.

    The airlocks and bungs all fit well with each other and with the holes in the carboy/fermenter without any problems. The auto siphon is good quality and works very smoothly. 

    Overall, the quality is remarkable. On top of that, I can use it with other wine ingredient kits, so it's exactly what I was looking for.

    If you plan to get more serious, you don't mind the price and high quality is important for you, this is your kit

    PROSCONS
    High qualityPrice
    Compatibility with other wine ingredient kitsNo bottles included
    Most equipped kit in the listIngredients must be bought separately
    Made in USA

    Master Vintner Wine Making Equipment Kit

    Super complete kit, with high quality equipment, compatible with any ingredients kit

    Check it on Amazon

    Bottom Line

    We hope this information will help you navigate through the difficult process of choosing the best wine kit for you! 

    Only you will truly know what the best fit is for your specific wants and needs; we recommend making a list of what you would like your first batch of homemade wine to look like. 

    In my case I decided to go for the Master Vintner Wine Making Equipment Kit (Amazon link), but only because I plan to develop further my brewing skills in the future. If you only want to try the craft for fun, the rest of the options are super solid, too. 

    It all comes down to your personal needs.

    That will help you decide which direction to take when choosing a wine kit. If you are new to this process, it may be a good idea to buy a smaller, inexpensive wine kit so you can ease your way into your new hobby without investing too much. 

    Have fun with this process— you are making your own wine, after all. 

    Happy winemaking!

    About HomeBrewAdvice

    Hello, my name is Simon. Together with a group of writers I write about brewing beer and making wine. We all share a passion for the great things in life, such as making stuff from scratch.

    The business of HomeBrewAdvice is to bring you great information, stories and product reviews from brewing at home, and making wine