Wine Concentrate vs Fresh Grapes

Napa Valley SignI have been making wine from top end ($200+) wine concentrate kits and really getting into it. I was wondering if I should continue with wine kits or jump into creating wine from fresh grapes. I guess my questions is: What will produce a better red wine, a high end wine kit or quality fresh grapes?

Best Regards,
Dominick S.
Hello Dominick,

This is really a great question, and one that I’m sure is on the minds of many individuals who use these wine concentrate kits, so I’ll cut right to the chase.

As surprising as it may seem, your better wines are much more likely to come from our high-end, wine kits. There are two very compelling reasons for this:

1. You cannot make a wine that is better than the grapes used to produce it.

This is an adage that is well known and respected throughout the wine making industry. While adhering to sound wine making practices is extremely important, the quality of your wine is limited by the quality of your grape. Being a good wine maker does not trump having good grapes.

And that is exactly what you are paying for when you purchase our high-end concentrate kits. You are paying for select grapes. These are grapes from prized wine making regions around the world. So unless you are writing to me from Napa or Sonoma County, or some other stellar wine region, the quality of the grapes you can find will have to be taken into consideration. Most home wine makers do not have access to the caliber of grapes these kits provide, but if you do, then go for it.Shop Wine Kits

2. The juices in these kits have been bench-tested several times.

What I mean by this is the producers of these concentrate kits have already made the wine from them and have made the optimal adjustments before they are brought to the home wine maker market. All the controllable variables such as acidity, brix level, and others have all been taken care of for you so that you can have consistently good results.

All of the above does not mean that you shouldn’t make wine from fresh grapes. There’s always something charming about making something from scratch, and the case of making your own wine, is no different. It’s fun… It’s gratifying… It’s rewarding… It gives you a sense of accomplishment, just like any good hobby should do.

Making wine from fresh grapes is also a great learning experience. You get to acquaint yourself, first-hand, to what a winery has to accomplish to turn the grapes into a wine. So if you are in the hobby to learn more about wine, then by all means go ahead. Make some wine from fresh grapes. But, if you’re in it to make the best wine possible and do not have access to world renowned grapes, the smart money is on wine concentrate kits.shop_wine_making_kits

Best Wishes,
Ed Kraus
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

16 thoughts on “Wine Concentrate vs Fresh Grapes

  1. how can I fix a homemade red wine that is too tart. How do I resolve this problem next time? The last 3 times I made red wine it was too tart to enjoy. TIA Bill Manaher

    • William,
      Try adding some sugar to your taste.
      Sometimes the problem is the acid is too high and that gives the wine a ‘sharp’ taste. This is why wines made from grapes like Riesling and Vidal Blanc are often sweeter than “bone dry” when you buy a commercial wine. The vintner has used sugar to “balance” the wine.

      A wine doesn’t have to be “really sweet” to over come the acid in some cases.
      I suggest you take a bottle, decant it and begin with one teaspoon of sugar. Dissolve it and try the wine. If still too acidic for you continue one teaspoon at time until you find your “sweet spot” (OK, pun intended).

  2. Several folks keep telling me to use real grapes and my wine will be better. Well, I have trued their wines and they are OK. Frankly, I do not think they are better than mine. Plus, I don’t want a wine press, a de-stemmer, or a lot more extra equipment other than what I have to have store, clean, and only use once a year.

    If someone gives me a bunch of grapes, I’ll try it…but, I am not going just jump in head first! Trying to keep this deal fun for me!

  3. sorry ed strongly disagree. best red wine made will always come from crushed grapes. a novice may do better with a kit, but once you get some practice and equipment you will have a better product with grapes.

  4. Thankyou,Ed, for this info.However,I agree withdogdoc because I buy grapes from AWARD winning VINEYARDS.So I know the WINE I make will be VERY good.I have WON several AWARDS for my wines and I am SATISFIED wioth that.

  5. Though I have never made wine from fresh grapes, only kits, I have never been dissatisfied with the end-product of the kits. Along as you follow the directions, and have a cool (temperature related) place to ferment and bottle the wine it should turn out well.

  6. when I started making wines as a teenager, I did not find any commercial wines I liked. I don’t like the flavor or taste of wine grapes. I prefer country wines from wild grapes and other fruits. I have used concentrated wine kits, but they taste like the wines at the shops. I use fresh apples, wild grapes, peaches, figs, blueberries, blackberries, elderberries, plumbs, or just about any wild or fresh fruits I find locally. I use recipes from books, the internet, and friends and family. I make wonderful country that I have never had a complaint on. I also con adjust the acid , alcohol, and sweetness or dryness to soot my taste. Also this is a great hobby for a man in has mid 70’s.

    • That’s awesome! I agree. Make wine with what you have; and it sounds like you do! Congratulations! Luckily, us newbies/small time grape grower have E.C. Kraus and you to walk us through it. This is America!

      • Tracy what a real way to make homemade wine. My grandfather was a wine and beer maker and the biggest part of his work was wine. Not much on beer but has made some. Not long ago I found out that his receipt was around not knowing his wine was still being made. My Aunt had gotten it from him a few weeks before he passed away not knowing she had it. She gave it to her son and he started making it. a very simple procedure. It has been a while since I have seen him. One day Last year I went to visit him and we were in his man cave and he wanted to show me something. He reached in a cabinet and pulled out this plastic container and opened it and the aroma hit me like a ton of bricks. I told him that was Popits wine, Our Grandfather’s nickname, I smelled it before he brought it to me I grew up a lot with my grandfather and smelled this receipt as a young child and never forgot it. the only difference was what it was made from. So thank you for your encouragement. I have been enjoying making wine since last year. I just finished my first 2 batches around November and for Christmas, and 4 bottles went and they loved it. The wine was Red and Clear and had a good Bouquet to it . Also a slow dropping Leg to it. fixing to start another batch with grapes. Regards.

  7. Using Welch’s Concentrated frozen grape juice can also make a pretty tasty wine and champagne.
    Has anyone else tried this?

  8. I have made wines from SunCal juices. I don’t have a lot of storage space. Can I make half a batch and then freeze the remainder? Will that ruin the juice?

    • John, Yes, you can freeze the unused portion of the concentrate for later use. We do have an exact time frame to use the leftover juice but it would probably be similar to anything that you freeze.

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