The Joy of Home Winemaking

Vin de Moi


Many of you have emailed to ask for specific recipes for various berries. Of course, that's all covered in my book, but the following is a good all around recipe for most soft fruit North American berries, like blueberries, huckleberries, raspberries, salmon berries, saskatoons, mulberries, strawberries, blackberries. For more sour fruits, you'd need to use fewer berries, and about half the acid, and a little more sugar.

Remember, this isn't the optimal recipe for each fruit, but it will get you though. Once again, I am assuming you know something about what equipment to use, and basic sanitation. I am also assuming that you are doing your primary fermentation in food grade plastic containers, with the use of a lid and airlock, and doing the longer secondary fermentation in a sanitized glass carboy or glass jug of some kind, also with an airlock.

**(If you are suddenly gifted with a generous fruit event, you can always FREEZE the fruit for future use while you get your equipment together, read my book for detailed instructions, go on vacation, have a baby, or whatever it is that prevents you from dealing with the fruit right away.)

This recipe makes 1 gallon. For a five-gallon batch use five times as much of everything except the yeast. One packet is good for 1-5 gallons.

1 gallon water
2 1/4 lbs. sugar OR 2 1/2 lbs mild honey
3-4 pounds washed, stemmed Anyberries (yes, you can mix them)
2 tsp. acid blend
1 tsp. yeast nutrient
1 Campden tablet, crushed (very optional)
several drops pectic enzyme
1 packet Wine yeast, that's WINE yeast, not beer or bread yeast. You can use Champagne, Montrachet or whatever you like but make sure it's WINE yeast. See FAQ for logic behind this.

Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a large pot. Pick over the berries, getting rid of any moldy or rotten ones. If it's not good enough to eat it isn't good enough for wine. Put the berries in a sanitized nylon straining bag (or jelly bag) and tie the top with string.

Put the bag(s) of fruit in the bottom of your nicely sanitized primary fermenter and crush the berries within the bag. Use your very clean hands ( or your hands in very clean rubber gloves) or some kind of clean crusher like a potato masher, to crush the fruit as much as possible.

Pour the hot sugar water over the berries. Add more water, if needed to get the level a bit past the 1 gallon mark. Add the acid blend and the yeast nutrient. Wait till the temperature comes down to about 80 before adding the Campden tablet if you choose to use it (or add the pectic enzyme now). Cover and fit with an airlock. Twelve hours later add the pectic enzyme. Check the Potential Alcohol and write it down. After another 6-8 hours add the yeast. Just pour it in out of the packet. Let it float on top and make a little colony. Cover and fit with the airlock again, of course.

Stir daily with a sanitized spoon or stick. After about one week, remove the bag of fruit and let it drain into the wine, but don't squeeze it. After the sediment has settled down, check the PA again. If it is above 3-4% give it another week in the primary, then rack it into a glass secondary fermenter, bung and fit with an airlock. Put it in a dark place or cover it with a cloth to keep out the light.

Rack at least once during secondary fermentation. In four to six months check the PA and bottle if it has fermented out.

If you like it sweet, add stabilizer and 2-4 ounces of sugar dissolved in water. Bottle and keep for 6-12 months before guzzling. Happy wining.

Terry Garey

Past Vins: | Lemon Mead | Rosé | Dandelion |

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Copyright 1997 by Terry A. Garey.