Another tip is too never top up with water, always use a bottle or three of the type of wine your making. I have a 6gal carboy and had to add three $6 bottles of Merlot to top it up. Once you have a few batches in bottles this isn't such a problem.
Yes - I've looked at the Estate series and I'm sure that they will lend themselves to a much better wine. I'm also sure that when I switch from the Vinters Reserve kits to the Estate kits, I'll never go back. That's why I was curious if monkeying with the Reserve kit would give a slightly better product, if I don't do try it now, I never will.
I think topping off with a couple of bottles of wine is a great idea. I think I'll try making a 5.5 gallon batch and use your top off trick. Makes me wonder why I never thought of that!
Thanks for the info.
"Too much is just enough."