Home Made Fruit Wines

Fruit wines are surprisingly simple to make. We’ve made blackberry and elderberry so far, and hopefully will be trying some new ones soon.

The basic steps are similar for most fruit wines, so rather than just giving you one recipe, we thought we’d give you the basic general steps, and then provide a table with some ratios and timings for making 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 we’ve been keeping it very simple to see what results and variations we encounter without too many additions.

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

  • We use citric acid for other things so it’s not a specialised ingredient we’d have to get. You can also use lemon (one lemon = approx 1 teaspoon of citric acid).
  • 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 us 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 we would suggest familiarising yourself with a few of the items used, reading a few recipes, and browsing some more general info pages. Once you have a basic understanding, this page will provide a quick reference for some basic fruit wines. We hope you enjoy them! 🙂

Fruit Wine Supplies

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 if you have a little experience with siphoning)
  • 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)

Fruit Wine Ingredients

  • Fruit
  • Sugar
  • Brewing yeast
  • Water
  • Citric acid

Fruit Wine Directions

This is the reference table, below it you will find step by step directions.

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

Here are the directions, underlined words indicate finding the correct amount, type, or time, from the reference table above:

  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.

And that’s it for our wine making knowledge! If you have any other tips or recommendations, let us know in the comments; we are very much wine making beginners so any info from seasoned wine makers is welcome!

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