1996 Vieux Chateau du Roi

December 2007 – I stopped into American Brewmaster to get something (probably yeast to jump start the muscadine) and decided to give this kit a try. This is the first kit I tried – previously I had used concentrates, but this was the first “everything except the bottles & corks is included” kit.

I had fun with this label. I enjoyed the expression on their faces when friends read the label for the first time. But I’m easy to amuse.


Kit WineArt Vieux Chateau du Roi kit
Sugar 4 cups
Yeast Lalvin KV-1116


Started kit. The initial gravity was quite low, so I bumped it up a bit. 09/23/1996
SG 1.080
Racked, oak chips added. 09/29/1996
SG 1.014
Racked, added kieselsol, stabilizer 10/13/1996
SG 1.001
Bottled. 03/08/1997
SG 1.001


Yield 24 bottles
Alcohol 10.7%
Afterthoughts This is the first “kit” I did. At the time I don’t recall being impressed, but in terms of ease and consistency, it came out great! Prior to this kits weren’t all that good, and they’ve certainly improved in quality since.
October 2018 In hindsight, the quality was low. The package was much smaller than today’s packages from Winexpert and R J Spagnols, so it was almost certainly 100% concentrate. My notes (from 2007) indicate I had the same thoughts at that time.

Reading the timeline on this – it’s also obvious that I used my fresh grapes and fruit background instead of the instructions – instead of bottling in 6 to 8 weeks, I did it in 6 months.