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[Review] Sadlers Reserve 30 bottle Pinot Grigio kit.

Started by marcuspd, April 18, 2014, 03:32:39 PM

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Hi all, I live in the UK so hope you don't mind me posting here. As you already had a couple for red kits, I thought I'd add one for the Pinot Grigio Sadlers Reserve kit.

I normally do a couple of 30 bottle Pinot Grigio kits at the same time every couple of months. Usually I buy Kenridge Classic or Beaverdale kits, but on the recommendation of a supplier, I bought a Sadlers Reserve kit to try. I'm still waiting for this supplier to send the kit after about 3 weeks now, so ordered 2 from another supplier. They took a couple of weeks to get stock too.

The 2 kits I ordered from the alternative supplier arrived a week or so ago, but the supplier rang me to say that there's a problem with the kits and more Bentosil needs sending out. A week later I got another couple of vials of Bentosil and 2 packets of yeast. I started the kits today and so far, it's very different to what I'm used to.

The instructions are OK, but should really have been proof read before going to print as there are several typo's which doesn't give a very professional image, unlike the WinExpert and Vineco kits. The method is certainly different from the usual kits I do, the Kenridge Classic and Beaverdale kits recommend racking off the dead yeast when the gravity goes under 1010, usually after 7 days. The Sadlers Reserve kit doesn't specify racking untilk secondary fermentation has finished around day 24. Where I'm used to just having juice, water, bentonite and yeast to get the kit going, these kits have separate Tartaric Acid, Bentosil and a nutrient also mixed in with the yeast.

Anyway, I started both kits. The juice is a lot thicker and more concentrated that what I'm used to. There was only around 6-7L of very dark syrupy juice concentrate, where the Kenridge Classic kits have 10L of less concentrated juice. I thought it looked too dark at first but it lightened a bit when I topped up with cheap Aldi mineral water to 24L. The vials of Bentosil sent to me seemed to have more in them than the ones supplied with the kits, so I used these. I seem to remember the supplier saying that the kits didn't contain enough yeast nutrient. The yeast and nutrient package marked "A" seemed to have a full portion of yeast and nutrient in it, so I wasn't too sure why I was also sent an extra sachet of just pure yeast for each kit, along with the replacement bentosil vials. Just in case, I added half a sachet to each kit on top of the "A" sachets of yeast and nutrient.

I got the kits to 20 degrees C before pitching the yeast and will store them between the 16 and 20 degrees this kit suggests. The other kits I've done prefer 20 to 25 degrees, where as the Saddlers Reserve kits recommend 16-20 degrees with 16 being preferential. The SG on both kits came to 1084.

First impressions? Well it's certainly different from what I'm used to - I'll have to wait to see what it produces.  :)


I made the Sadlers Reserve Sauvignon Blanc three days ago - no trouble with suppliers. Made to 23l, mine was 1090 OG. Only just starting to bubble away today (pitched at 20C, now 18C). But I'm in no rush  :)


Great first post! Welcome Marcus :)
If it's anything like the reds you'll have a great wine!


Thanks Eoin!

First impressions area bit strange. With the supply issues, incorrect ingredients amounts and spelling mistakes in the instructions, it's obvious this is a startup company.

Their ethos seems right though and early reviews seem positive. I'm going to run 1 kit as per the instructions and the other with racking at 1010 for secondary fermentation. Will keep you all posted on the results. :)


April 26, 2014, 01:05:53 PM #4 Last Edit: April 26, 2014, 01:22:53 PM by marcuspd
A quick update. By day 8 the SG was already down to 996, I struggled to keep the temperature down to 16 degrees, most of the time it was between 20 and 22 degrees.

I've racked off one of the kits into a new vessel and am going to leave the other one untouched as per the instructions. The reason for this is that normally, Vineco, Winexpert and Beaverdale premium kits tell you to rack the wine into a new vessel once under 1010SG to get them off any dying yeast. These Sadler's Reserve kits seem to be aimed at giving the wine as little time as possible exposed to the air, so the instructions say to leave them be until fermentation has fully finished between 18 and 24 days.

I'm going to try 2 identical kits back to back, using either method to see which works best.


4-6degrees above the recommended is quite high. Expect some unwanted flavors.
This kit sems to have different instructions to the sadler's I had. Mine had you rack once fermentation was complete, then use the stabilizer and wait a day, then the finings and wait 6 days befor racking again and bottling.


Quote from: LordEoin on April 26, 2014, 06:07:40 PM
4-6degrees above the recommended is quite high. Expect some unwanted flavors.
This kit sems to have different instructions to the sadler's I had. Mine had you rack once fermentation was complete, then use the stabilizer and wait a day, then the finings and wait 6 days befor racking again and bottling.

They recommend between 16 and 20 degrees, most of the time I managed to keep it around 20. Even with ambient temperature at around 18 degrees, it's going to be difficult to keep it at 16 anywhere in my house unless in the winter, with fermentation also raising temperature by 2 or 3 degrees. I don't have a cellar, so might have to see what temperature the garage stays at.

My instructions are similar, you only rack the wine once all fermentation is complete, into another vessel with the preservative in it. You then degas and add the finings, wait 4 days to a week then bottle.

I am following these instructions precisely with one of the kits (other than struggling to keep the temperature down as low as 16 degrees). The other kit is being produced as I normally would with racking to get it off the dead yeast at around 7 days (under 1010SG), racking again at around 3 weeks (996SG, fermentation complete) and degassing, then adding finings and racking again at 4 weeks before filtering to bottle.

I'm curious to see what difference you get from only racking once, with less exposure to the air. If it improves the wine, I might use a similar method for other kits.


OK, so fermentation on both kits dropped to 994 a few days ago and looks complete. I have racked off into new carboys with added Packet B (Potassium Sorbate/Sodium Metabisulphate). They have both been stirred and de-gassed and are now standing to clear.

The biggest issue I noticed was that the Chitosan for both kits has now got yellow mould on the surface was could not be used. They were supplied in little plastic vials, with screw on lids, which were just over half full. I ended up having to use some spare Chitosan from a Kenridge Classic kit to add as a clearing agent.

Both taste quite good so far and are very dry. The kit which had been prepared as per the instructions (this was it's first racking), was a little cloudier and took more de-gassing than the other kit, which was racked off initially once the SG had dropped below 1010.

I'll see how it clears by the weekend and filter and bottle if clear. Early signs look good, but the supplying of Chitosan with mould which has developed within the 3 weeks of supply, in a sealed container isn't great. Maybe supplying it in a sealed polythene pouch like usual might be a better idea.


My apologies to anybody that has had faulty chitosan in their Sadlers Reserve kit, an error was made when producing a batch of chitosan that is in our kits. We have recalled and replaced the stock of all affected retailers.

Unfortunately some kits had already been sold and were unable to be located. So please get in touch with customer services or your retailer and hopefully we can fix things for you.


June 03, 2014, 10:02:40 AM #9 Last Edit: June 03, 2014, 10:15:29 AM by themicrowinerycompany
I see there is some discussion here regarding our kits and the use of lower fermentation temperatures, our recommendations not to rack of at 1010, the concentration levels of our grape juice and the additional sachets we have that are not in other kits. I would like to take the opportunity to let people know why we have done these things and get your feedback.

Our grape juice has been concentrated to the industry standard of 65 brix, nearly all grape concentrates around the world are concentrated to either 65 or 68 brix. We therefore take this aseptically packaged grape juice and aseptically package it into a bag with a foil barrier to protect it from oxidisation. We don't do anything else and this is what we believe makes our kits special.

We could have taken the grape juice concentrate and added sulphites, invert sugars, nutrients, tartaric, malic and citric acids, water and then heated it all up and hot filled it into a clear bag to make 10L and 18L kits. However we wanted to be different and provide you with single and mixed varietal grape juice processed in an industry standard way with no additives or additional processing whatsoever.

As a result of this we have to provide the other ingredients to make your wine in the sachet sets rather than adding them to the juice. This has the advantage that a novice can take our kits and use the sachet sets to make a great wine, an expert can also use all, some, or none of the ingredients of our sachet sets to customise the experience as they so wish knowing that what they have in the foil bladder is just grape juice.

We have recommended that white wines are fermented at as low a temperature as your yeast will stand; this is because the slower the fermentation the more flavour from the grape will be imparted into the wine it's one of the tricks the Australian winemakers use to get the intense fruitiness associated with their wines.  Yeast specifically designed for Sauvignon Blanc should allow fermentations at temperatures as low as six degrees centigrade.

At the moment we provide a generic yeast for red and white wines and we are concerned that fermentation will stall if you drop below 16 degrees centigrade so we suggest you ferment as close to this as possible but not below, that is for white wines only, if you ferment at a higher temp, say twenty degrees centigrade, there is no real issue you just get less fruitiness. In future we will be providing kits with varietal specific yeasts but this is still in development.

It takes many months for dead yeast to start to break down and decompose but only a few minutes for a cut apple to start to show the signs of oxidisation. Dead yeast is unlikely to cause any damage to the flavour of the wine or its ability to clear whereas oxidisation will damage its flavour. It is for this reason we like to interfere with the fermentation process as little as possible. Our aim is that you prepare your must, pitch the yeast put the lid on it and forget it for 24 days; you then rack it off carefully onto the protection of the sulphites to stabilise and clear. In some cases if left longer there is no need to degas before fining further reducing the interference that can cause oxidisation. Again the Australians take this seriously enough to make their make wines under totally anaerobic conditions.

I hope I have explained the decisions we have about our wine kits and why we have made them, we are committed to continual improvement of our kits. It is early days yet and there are great opportunities to make and enjoy better and better wines made at home. Your feedback, suggestions and constructive criticism will always be appreciated.

The Micro Winery Company


Thanks for the reply and for listening to feedback.

I noticed that the kits have a very dark colour even straight away after mixing with water. I can only presume this is due to the juice being a lot more highly concentrated than in other kits I've tried. It is a bit off putting to some, who expect it to be corked due to it's colour.

I have tried my first of 3 kits. This kit was one I used my usual method on, so didn't adhere to your instruction of only racking the wine once all fermentation was complete. The early results are good, the wine is dry crisp and good quality. I might lower the citric acid/tannin mix a little next time, more for my taste than anything. Other than the dark colour, I'm very happy with the results.

The second kit has been made exactly as the instructions say, other than it has taken a bit longer to clear and took 3 attempts to degass. In future I'm going to rack the wine after fermentation then add the Potassium Metabisulphite to the full carboy and degass. Adding this seems to help release some gas, so adding it to a dry container and racking wine onto it seems less effective.

I'll be trying the second kit in a couple of weeks and will compare this method to the first kit. If I prefer the second kit, I'll follow the instructions to keep the exposure to air at a minimum.


Welcome MicroWineryCompany! and thanks for the detailed explanation
if the aim is to 'pitch the yeast put the lid on it and forget it for 24 days', why say 12 days in the instructions?
One of the criteria of these reviews is to provide other home brewers with clear and accurate information about each product with as little alteration or deviation from the instructions as possible, so I'm just wondering if the aim is to 'pitch the yeast put the lid on it and forget it for 24 days', why say 12 days in the instructions?
I brewed the melot/shiraz and it was great even with 12 days fermentation as instructed :)


Apologies for causing confusion, and great to hear how good the Merlot was.

Each of our kits have instructions appropriate for the style so my comments here were aimed at the white wine 30 bottle kits. I'm guessing from the detail you have provided that you had a 12 bottle merlot shiraz kit which did indeed recommend higher fermentation temperatures and shorter fermentation times.

The rule of thumb is that fermentation speeds for white wines should be slower, that is if you are attempting to develop the fruitier flavours. For reds the trend is to generally limit the fruitiness hence a fast fermentation at higher temperatures is undertaken.

However it is all a matter of taste and fermentation speed can be something fun to experiment with if you have the inclination.

We have now tried to consolidate the instructions for all our kits however reds whites and rose all need to be treated slightly differently to get great results and we do have to reflect the differences in our instructions, so please read them even if you have made one of our kits before.



Ok, so I've tried both batches now, the one following the instructions and the one I racked at 1010. Both are pretty good results, with the instructions adhered to batch slightly in front.

The only odd thing I've noticed, apart from the dark colour, is that when you get to the bottom of the glass, there are crystals of something floating around in the bottom. It doesn't appear to be sugar and I suspect it may be the tartaric acid vial which is added as this looks like crystallised sugar when it's added. Both kits fermented down to 992-994.

I'm going to try to reduce the amount of this for the next kit.