Many wine kits that you find online will come with fruit juice concentrate but don’t include grape skins. Wine kits with grape skins are far superior to kits that don’t include grape skins. If you take a red wine grape and bust it open you will see that the flesh of the grape is a yellowish color and not red at all. That means that all of the colors you find in your wine comes from the skins. Some of the red wine kits will soak the juice with skins in to dissipate as much of the color and flavor as they can, however, there is no better way to do this than to have the skins in your must during your primary fermentation.
The inside of the grape is actually kind of bland. Some varieties will be sweeter than others such as Concord but for the most part the flavors come from the grape skins. The skin is also where all of the tannins and aromas come from. Some flavor does come from seeds but the majority is stored in the grape skins themselves. If you were to immediately crush a red wine grape, remove the skins, then ferment the mix you would end up with a pale yellow wine. If you don’t soak the skins then you miss out on all of that color, flavor, aroma, and tannin.
Wine kit makers take measure to try to ensure that as much of the flavor as possible is extracted from the red grapes prior to making the concentrate. However, it’s just not possible to ensure you are getting the maximum benefit without actually soaking the wine with the skins in. That’s because the alcohol during the fermentation process actually acts to break down the skins and release all of those fine components that we want in our wine.
This is where wine making kits with grape skins come into play. The wine kit makers take the grape skins and dry them. They lose minimal amounts of flavoring and coloring during this process. You can rehydrate the skins when you add them to your must. By doing this you get the best flavoring, tannins, and coloring that you can find in a wine kit. Some kits even come with crushed red grapes that are still in a liquid form. This is as close to freshly crushed grapes as you will get with a kit. Both types of kits are designed for maximum favorability and will release their components within the 5 or 6 days it takes to complete primary fermentation.
Most wines take about 100lbs of grapes to create just 5 gallons of finished wine. If you want the best quality out of your wine kit then you want as many skins as possible. You want the alcohol to release the tannins, color, flavors, and even the antioxidants of the grape skins. Most crushed skins come in at about 10-15% of the total volume of the wine kit. This is an ideal amount to give you high-quality wine.
No matter which kit you choose the results from a wine kit with skins will far outweigh a normal kit that doesn’t contain skins. Your wine will have a bigger, bolder flavor that will age to perfection. Smooth tannins, robust color, and rich aromas are what you will experience. We’ve put together a list of some of the best wine kits with grape skins below.