Home-made fruit wines

Over the past few years, there have been almost as many health studies on alcohol as there are grapes in a vineyard, and each one has a new theory, but many suggest that a moderate amount of wine is good for the mind and body. Fruit wines are surprisingly simple to make.

I’m going to give you the basic steps and then some ratios and timings for a few different wines. These are very basic instructions with as little ingredients as possible, many people add yeast nutrients (to speed the process up), pectic enzyme (to avoid cloudy wine), etc. but generally I keep it as simple as possible.

One thing I do use is citric acid for the following reasons:

  • Generally speaking, some acid is desired (even if it’s not technically required to reproduce and convert sugar into alcohol and CO2) by the yeast.
  • Acids contribute to taste; not only the crispness most wines possess to varying degrees, but also to complex flavors developed during aging.
  • Acids affect the appearance of wine; aiding colour intensity and clarity.
  • Perhaps most important to me is their ability to stop, or at least hinder, the growth of many potentially harmful microorganisms that would spoil the wine itself.

If you are a complete beginner I would suggest familiarising yourself with a few of the items used, reading a few recipes, and browsing some info pages. Once you have a basic understanding, this page will provide a quick reference for some basic fruit wines. I hope you enjoy them! 🙂

Fruit Wine


fruit wine
You will need:

  • A brewing bucket (or any sterile plastic bucket)
  • A demijohn (or some other gallon jug that your airlock fits into if you’re using one – if you’re using a balloon just ensure it will stretch over the bottle neck)
  • An airlock (or balloon with pin prick holes in it)
  • A siphon tube (or any sterile tube)
  • Bottles and corks (or flip-top bottles)

Optional but recommended as it will help you understand a lot about what’s going on in your ferment:

  • A hydrometer (to calculate the alcohol percent etc)

Ingredients

  • Fruit
  • Sugar
  • Brewing yeast
  • Water
  • Citric acid (1 tsp = 1 lemon)

Directions

The steps are below, words in ‘parenthesis’ indicate finding the correct amount, type, or time, from this table:

Fruit & Amount

Sugar

Water

Yeast

Citric acid

Ferment

Rack

Bottle

Apples 2.5 kg + Raisins ½ kg (cut)

1.5 kg

4.5 l

white wine

2 ½ tsps

5 days

3 weeks, re-rack, 3 weeks

1 month

Blackberries 2 kg

1.3 kg

2.5 l

red wine

1 tsp

4-5 days

2-8 weeks

3 weeks

Cherries 2.5 kg

1 kg

4.5 l

red wine

1 tsp

7 days

1 month, re-rack, 2 months

2 months

Elderberries 1.5 kg

1.5 kg

4.5 l

red wine

2 ½ tsp

5-7 days

6 weeks, re-rack, 6 months, re-rack, 6 months

1 year

Plums 2.5 kg (stoned)

1.25 kg

4.5 l

white wine

2 ½ tsp

5 days

2 weeks, re-rack, 3 weeks

No aging needed

Raspberries 1.5 kg

1 kg

4.5 l

white wine

½ tsp

5-7 days

2 months (repeat if required)

1 year

Rhubarb 1.5 kg + Ginger root 1 inch (finely grated)

1.25 kg

4.5 l

white wine

2½ tsp

7 days

1 month

Stop fermentation with potassium sorbate, no aging needed

Strawberries 2.25 kg

2 kg

4.5 l

white wine or champagne

2 ½ tsp citric acid

till it stops bubbling

till it stops fizzing, re-rack, 3 weeks

6 months to 1 year

  1. Prepare your ‘fruit’ and place in a pot.
  2. Pour in the ‘water’ and bring to a boil to kill off any stray bacteria and bugs. (some harder fruit will want to be mashed and left to stew for 1-3 days before bringing to boil)
  3. Add the ‘sugar’, stir to dissolve, then allow the whole mix (called a must) to cool.
  4. Pour into a brewing bucket, mix in the ‘citric acid’ if desired.
  5. Now add the yeast. Note: While you can just sprinkle the amount of ‘yeast’ indicated on the pack (different brands will be different amounts) over the top of the must, rehydrating dried yeast in water for about 15 minutes before pitching will re-establish the yeast’s cellular membrane which is destroyed during the drying process. This will make it more tolerable to the harsh wine environment which can help avoid your wine getting ‘stuck’ (i.e. halting the conversion of available sugar into alcohol).
  6. Cover your bucket with something breathable (and secure it with string) to stop any dust or insects getting in, leave for a day.
  7. Stir daily for the next four days.
  8. Strain into a demijohn, add an airlock, then leave to ‘ferment’.
  9. Siphon into another demijohn – called ‘racking’ – to remove sediment (transfer the liquid part and leave the sediment).
  10. Siphon into bottles, and leave to ‘age’.


(source, source)

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