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On July 27, 2011, we posted a blog called "The Four Levels of Wine Kits".

However, recent interactions with customers brought to our attention that we missed the Fifth Level. These customers came into the store with a bottle of wine in hand wanting help to figure out what had wrong with the wine. 

These customers followed all the instructions that came with their kits, and wanted us to taste the final product to see what had gone wrong. Upon tasting, we could see that there was definitely something wrong, it had a very bitter taste and was nothing like any other wine brand of that flavour (young or old) that we had ever experienced.

We went through the process with these customers, and could find no fault. When asked what was used, and the problem presented itself in the answer: these customers had purchased cheap kits from the grocery store. There was nothing to do, the kit was made properly and turned out as well as it could. This was a product of the Fifth Level of wine kits.

The Fifth Level looks like any other kit on the package. However, the difference is in the contents. The previous Four Levels of kits all carry first press juices. That means that the juice comes from grapes in their finest form and quality. However, the Fifth Level wine kits often either mix in or contain only second press juices.

A second press juice is when you take the remains of the first press (skins, seeds, etc), add water, balance the acid level and spike with sugar. To look like juices, it even needs food colouring. The result is a product with the same alcohol level, but with crippled taste, aroma and aging potential.

None of the independent wine kit retailers in Winnipeg carry this level of wine kit to our knowledge, they are solely the province of large retail/grocery stores. When you are considering a product like this, be aware that the price is low for a reason. Buyer beware!