Split Batch Wine Kit Experiments

When we tackle a big project it isn’t the immediate effort that pays off, but all of our work combined into one glorious enterprise. It’s the same with winemaking: A single effort to make better wine isn’t likely to pay big dividends, but persisting on a path of careful repeated efforts will yield big gains. That’s why this column is on the logistics of doing small batch trials, and suggestions for modifications you can make to learn more about how you can improve kits to suit your taste. Previous “Wine Kits” columns have been about modification trials (yeast, tannin, oak, etc.) but they tended to focus on a single change, and were mostly about the outcomes rather than the actual equipment and mechanics of the trials. The top kit request in WineMaker’s recent reader survey was for an article on how to do split batch trials, specifically on doing 1-gallon (3.8-L) batches side-by-side. We’ll break the trials down into three sections — Equipment, Experiments, and Evaluation — covering the gear you’ll need, the things you can try, and how to