Technique

How Wine Kits are Made

Unless you work in the industry, you’ll likely never have seen the inside of a wine kit manufacturer’s facility. For liability reasons, they don’t give tours to civilians. There’s something about running folks over with a forklift or dousing them in high-strength sanitizers or par-boiling them with live steam that makes lawyers twitchy. And as shiny as the kits are, there’s nothing to show how grapes go from the vine to your fermenter.   There is some merit in reviewing the history of kit making. Up until the 1970s, home winemaking meant grapes. When the first wine kits began to appear, they featured cans of Pasteurized grape concentrate and packages of acid, nutrient, tannin and oak, along with the yeast. While complete, and capable of fermenting into a wine-like beverage, they were very hands-on and . . . well, they really weren’t that great. Whether you made red or white, you actually wound up pretty much with a shade of beige, due to the very long boil the cans of concentrate went through to Pasteurize them. Still, people persisted and