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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best wine-making starter kits

Last Updated July 2020

A glass of wine makes for satisfying company when you’re winding down after a long day, enjoying a nice dinner, or spending time with friends. There are seemingly endless varieties of wine that cater to time, place, and mood. The wine you drink can be even more satisfying when you’ve made it yourself.

A wine-making starter kit provides you with the essential elements to make wine at home. While the scientific processes may sound complex, following the step-by-step instructions these kits provide isn’t particularly complicated. You simply must adhere to directions, which includes properly measuring and timing your steps.

Some kits include the wine-ready grapes you need to make wine. Others don’t, so you’d need to find your own grapes in these instances. A lot of factors contribute to the taste of homemade wine. Our buying guide will teach you about the various types of kits you can find and what to expect on your DIY adventure.

If your kit doesn’t come with any wine-making recipes, that’s okay. You can find an abundance of recipes for homemade wine online.

Key considerations

Kit type

There are two types of wine-making kits available: ready-to-use box sets and elaborate pieces of equipment designed for repeated use and versatility. Some companies sell the former in simple, relatively inexpensive boxes. These boxes include grape concentrate, yeast, and other necessary components. All that is required is some simple mixing and wine bottles for storage. These box kits make fun gifts, and making wine can be an enjoyable activity for a group of people. Depending on the size of the kit, you might be able to make a dozen or more bottles of wine.

The second-mentioned kits give you all the proper tools, including fermenters and testing kits to make sure the wine is up to par. Jugs, jars, and tubes that you can use repeatedly are also included. With a setup like this, you must find your own wine grapes. Yeast may or may not be included.

Quantity

Wine-making starter kits come with various outputs. Most allow you to make one or two gallons of wine, but some are much larger think 6, 8, or even 10+ gallons of wine. Making a smaller batch is a bit of a fail-safe in case something goes wrong. Once your wine-making skills are perfected, making wine in bulk can really pay off. With a multitude of bottles on hand, some can sit and age as you work your way through your bounty.

Grape source and cost

If you don’t buy a kit that includes grape concentrate, you’ll need to shop around for wine grapes. The environment and climate in which grapes are grown affects wine taste, so it’s important to use high-quality grapes.  These are not particularly cheap. What’s more, the potential trial-and-error nature of making wine means you may be investing more than you think. Once adept at the process, though, you will likely find that your money spent per bottle is less than buying bottles at a store.

Versatility

Some wine-making kits aren’t just for wine. The equipment you’re buying may give you the ability to make gin, beer, kombucha, or mead. While the process is somewhat different for each, the tools are the same. These kits offer greater versatility, though they will likely cost a bit more. 

EXPERT TIP

If you don’t like how your wine has turned out, don’t worry. You may be able to turn it into refreshing sangria by adding fruit, soda, and even sparkling wine or liquor.


Staff  | BestReviews

Accessories

Wine rack: Sorbus Chateau Style Wine Rack
With all the wine you’re making, you’re going to need a place to store it. We like this gorgeous wine rack from Sorbus that can store up to 23 bottles.

Stemless wine glasses: Riedel Wine Tumblers
Make sure you have wine glasses on hand to enjoy your newly crafted beverage. We love these elegant stemless glasses from Riedel that are sturdy and great for all wines.

Glass wine decanter: Le Château Glass Decanter
If you’re making red wine, it’s worth investing in a decanter. Not only does it help aerate your wine, it also looks great on the table.

Wine tote: Wine Enthusiast Leather Wine Bag
A wine tote is useful when you’re visiting friends and family and would like to bring along a bottle or two. This option from Wine Enthusiast is durable and elegant.

DID YOU KNOW?

There are a bunch of ways to crush grapes, including the use of a press. That said, there is something particularly fun and unique about using your feet.

Wine-making starter kit prices

Inexpensive: Some simple wine-making kits sell for $40 or less. The grape concentrate will likely be included, which means you don’t have a choice of wine — but you also don’t have to buy grapes separately.

Mid-range: For between $40 and $100, you can find a kit that produces a large quantity of wine (at least 2 gallons). These kits may or may not come with grape concentrate.

Expensive: For over $100, you’ll find wine-making kits that come with equipment you can use over and over. These kits can be used to make large quantities of wine.

EXPERT TIP

Buying grape concentrate makes the process easy, safe, and familiar. Purchasing wine grapes brings an element of unpredictability to the process and taste, for better or worse.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Be patient. Making decent wine takes time, patience, and care. And when you’re done, you need to wait some more so the wine can age.

  • Clean your grapes thoroughly. Your tools may be of high quality, but the grapes are the most important element. Make sure they are washed and the stems are removed along with any questionable-looking grapes.

  • Have storage ready. You’re going to end up making quite a few bottles of wine. Make sure you have a dry, dark, cool place to store the bottles. 

  • Rinse and sterilize equipment. Contaminants are the enemy when making wine. Make sure every piece of equipment is properly cleaned before and after use.

Storing yeast in the fridge and grapes in the freezer will prolong these ingredients — helpful if you can’t get to making wine right away.

FAQ

Q. How long should I wait before drinking?
A. Red wine ages well over time, especially fuller-bodied reds. For people using their own grapes and making a bolder red, it’s best to wait at least a few months before drinking. After that, you probably won’t notice a huge difference until you let it sit for another year or so. Red wines like cabernet sauvignon are often enjoyed after aging for five to ten years. However, unless the quality of the grapes you’re using is high and you’ve proven yourself adept at wine making, the wait period won’t make the wine drastically better. 

White wine can sit for a shorter time. Kits including grape concentrate can be enjoyed once the process is complete, though they too are best left sitting for at least a few months.
 

Q. How many bottles do I need?
A. On average, you will need five bottles for every gallon of wine you make. It’s best to have a couple extra on hand as well. Old wine bottles are ideal; they can be easily washed and resealed. Make sure you have a way to seal your bottles and someplace to store them. Grab a bunch of corks, and clear out the proper space at home.
 

Q. How long does it take to make wine?
A. Regardless of the kit, you’ll likely spend at least a few weeks fermenting your wine and a few weeks aging it. If you’re buying equipment to make wine and using your own grapes, it may take a few months to complete the process before bottling. For kits that come with grape concentrate, it may only take a month to complete the entire process.

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The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
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    Digital Content Producer
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    Jacob
    Editorial Manager
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    Melinda
    Web Producer
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    Melissa
    Senior Editor
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    Steph
    Web Producer

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