I posted before on my winemaking experience: 3-berry blend wine makin’ and this will probably be the last post on the subject, so don’t despair red pill or marriage readers.
This is a quick Sunday afternoon post. Since that post, I bottled a second batch of 3-berry (raspberry, blueberry, blackberry – a Costco blend) and just did a batch of sweet cherry wine (frozen berries, again from Costco.. feel like a shill, but their prices and quality for frozen berries of 3-5# bags are pretty good) yesterday. Both turned out well. We’ve been drinking the first runs of 3-berry and strawberry-rhubarb (which turned out great), so much that when it actually hits it’s peak it will all be gone! See, fruit wines (and presumably grape ones too) come out a little bitey when first born, but mellow over time. You start the process, go through a couple of “rackings” (moving the wine from one vessel to another to remove the spent yeast and settlement that falls out), and 4-6 months (typical) later it has cleared enough to bottle. You can wait longer, but that’s a general rule of thumb if you’ve only got limited equipment like us.
So I bottled yesterday, and just kicked off a batch of raspberry wine. Used 21# of organic raspberries from YouGuessedIt, 11.25# of sugar and about 3.5 gallons of water. It smells awesome right now. Will pitch yeast in about 24 hours and get this baby cookin’.
If you’re a wine drinker, and aren’t afraid to venture into fruit wines (since wine grapes are sometimes hard to get ahold of and can be expensive), it’s an easy way to have a skill that provides something of substance. Plus, the wines are usually cheap, the process easy, and it’s satisfying to make your own drink. Our friends have been somewhat impressed with my first few batches, despite that I consider them a little harsh yet, but they taste good.
After I get the raspberry out of the primary fermenter and into the carboy, I want to get going on the following:
- Peach – should be able to get a 5 gallon batch going for about $35, or about a $1.40 a bottle. My FIL has made a number of peach batches, and we call them the velvet hammer since they go down smooth, but can really fuck you up 🙂
- Really want to get a batch of pie cherry (tart cherries) wine in the mix. Won’t be ready with good cherries until the late summer harvest
- Really liked the stawberry-rhubarb as a summer wine and may make that again.
- A coworker is supposed to give me some plums, and that sounds interesting too.
If you haven’t tried fruit wines, you might be surprised. They have the boquet of the fruit but taste similar to traditional grape wines. What is grape but a fruit that has enough sugar to support the yeast. Most fruit you need to add sugar, but the concept is the same.
If you do have a little room for a mini-wine cellar and some home-brew equipment, I urge you to check out Terry Garey’s The Joy of Home Wine Making. You may expect a 70’s disco ball to pop up in one of the pictures (a little dated perhaps) but the recipes are top notch if you want to make fruit wine. It takes a few dedicated hours from start to finish (probably 1.5 to get the batch going with proper sterilization/cleaning, another 30 minutes each for two to three rackings, and another 1.5 to 2 hours for bottling/labeling).