A few months ago, before the world was hit by a pandemic, we received big news about Winexpert, and thought that was going to be the biggest bombshell of the Spring. Compared to the virus, it seems pretty trivial, but big changes have been going on quietly at Winexpert, and they have finally reached our store.
A Word from Winexpert
Winexpert has completely overhauled each of their wine kit brands with a rebrand. Here is a quote from the brochure we just received, *“As the leaders in craft winemaking, we wanted to elevate the experience, starting from the ground up. We’ve invested in our facilities, innovated our process and reformulated our winemaking kits.Our new kits require less heat treatment which means better color, aroma and flavor. It means better wine. We’ve also redesigned our portfolio with a fresh new look and easy-to-shop assortment that offers wine for everyone and every occasion. Meet the new Winexpert.”
One of the most significant things, is that they have reduced the size of each kit brand by at least two liters, which results in a more concentrated juice and less packaging. In February, they held a live-stream for retailers to watch, and I remember that they were mindful of the carbon footprint they are leaving behind, and wanted to lower the consumption of raw materials, such as plastic and cardboard, as well as fuel for shipping. With smaller kits, they use less packaging, and can ship more out at a time, so there will be fewer shipments, thus fewer fuel emissions.
With the rebrand, comes a new wine kit classification for each brand. As a refresher, Winexpert used to have five brands under the Winexpert name, Eclipse, Selection, World Vineyard, Vintner’s Reserve, and Island Mist. Now, they will have four brands. Island Mist will be the same, though some flavors will not be making the transition. Eclipse kits will now be under Private Reserve, Selection will be Reserve, and the biggest change, World Vineyard and Vintner’s Reserve will both be under Classic.
These kits will keep in the same theme as Eclipse in red and black packaging, they are ultra premium, and still the largest kit in terms of juice quantity out of the four brands. Eclipse kits had eighteen litres of juice, the Private Reserve will be fourteen liters. The juice is region specific and the wine is done in six to eight weeks. Most of the red wines under Private Reserve will have grape skins. *“Including grape skins during fermentation enhances the tannins, body, color, mouthfeel, and aroma, resulting in more pronounced varietal character and wines that are closer to those produced from fresh grapes.”
The Reserve kits will be ten liter kits, which is the size of the World Vineyard and Vintner’s Reserve kits; Selection kits were sixteen liters.They will be in a blue and black box, rather than the pale grey of Selection. These kits offer premium juice from specific countries, and are ready in six weeks. Reserve kits will not include grape skins, like a few Selection styles did; it seems grape skins are exclusive to the Private Reserve brand.
This is the brand that is going to affect the store the most. As stated above, Classic is replacing both World Vineyard and Vintner’s Reserve. These kits will be eight liters, World Vineyard and Vintner’s were ten liters. Classic kits are easy drinking, and the juice is country specific, like World Vineyard. They are still twenty-eight day kits. It seems that most of the styles will be making the transition, and a few will be making a comeback. We will no longer have purple and green boxes to choose from, just one version of each style, and in a purple box. The pricing also seems like it will be similar across all styles under the Classic brand, and may be a few cents cheaper than the World Vineyard kits.
Island Mist kits are pretty much the same, they will be packaged in a fun, bright yellow and black box, and are six liters instead of seven and a half. Unfortunately there are fewer of these kit flavors making the transition, but there is still a nice selection of red, white, and blush flavors to choose.
We have already received a few of the new Classic and Island Mist kits, but it will take some time to transition completely to the new kits. We will update our online store to reflect which World Vineyard, Vintner’s Reserve, and Island Mist kits have been updated, or replaced by new styles. We hope this transition will be smooth, and we can all continue to make delicious wine.
*All information and quotes were taken from the new Winexpert brochures received last week, which are available to the public in our store.