Apples are one of the fruits that can be easily gathered around the beginning of autumn. There are countless trees not only in people’s gardens but also escapees that grow wild. The problem with a lot of these apple varieties that have grown free is the way the apples taste. Many wild apples can be bitter and sour. Whilst this means they aren’t all that good for eating the plus side is they are perfect for making wine.
This apple wine recipe is very easy to do and if you can find a couple of trees near you then the fruit will be completely free. If at all possible you will be best served if you can find a mix of apples. Blending different varieties together will even out your wine and create a more complex finish.
This wine recipe really is better with foraged apples which are usually more bitter, astringent and tart. If you have to use sweet eating apples then blend them in with other varieties such as crab apples or even cooking apples if possible.
No Need To Juice The Apples
This apple wine recipe does not involve pressing the apples as you would make juice for cider making. To make a wine from apples is far simpler as we will be fermenting the pulp. What this means is that we are relying on pectic enzymes and yeast to do the work for us. Just a wine from grapes is made by simply crushing the grapes and then fermenting on the grape skins, making apple wine follows this same process. We just need to chop or crush the apples and then ferment with the apple in contact with the yeast. This action breaks down the structure of the fruit and releases the sugars and juice that we want.
Pectolase or pectic enzyme is used prior to fermentation which is an enzyme that naturally breaks down the structure of any fruit. This aid in the extraction of juice without the need to juice the apples.
Preparing The Apples For Making Wine
Before we can make the wine you will want to sort through the apples. You will want roughly 3kg of apples to make a gallon (4.5 litres) of wine.
If you have foraged apples from trees in the wild or from your garden give them a good clean first of all. Remove and bad apples or cut out parts of any damaged apples. You can leave the peel on the apple but you are best removing the seeds if possible. Remember that you aren’t going to eating the apples so the cores still contain juice and flavour still.
If you are foraging apples then you can prepare them and freeze them in batches. By freezing the apples before making the wine the cell structures will breakdown. When defrosting the apples more of the juices will naturally be released. This means if you cannot gather all the apples in one go you can save them and make the apple wine later in the year.
What You’ll Need To Make Apple Wine – Makes 1 gallon / 4.5 litres
Apple Wine Ingredients
- 4kg Apples peeled and cut up into small chunks/cubes just prior to making wine to avoid the apples going brown
- 4.5 litres Water
- 900g Sugar
- 1/2 – 1 tsp Acid Blend (if you are using tart apples use less acid)
- 1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
- 1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme
- 1/4 tsp Wine Tannin
- 1 Campden Tablet
- 1 sachet of Yeast (we recommend Lalvin EC-1118)
Apple Wine Method
1. Begin by heating half the water with the sugar in a large pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes.
2.Take the prepared apples and place in the fine straining bag. Put this in the bottom of the fermenter and pour over the boiling water. Add the remaining half of the water and this will bring the temperature down so it is lukewarm. Add the tannin, yeast nutrient and acid and stir thoroughly.
3. A few hours later when the must has cooled even further add the crushed campden tablet and stir through the must. Cover and leave the wine for at least 12 hours.
4. 12 hours after adding the campden tablet add the pectic enzyme, stir thoroughly and leave for 24 hours.
5. After 24 hours add the yeast by sprinkling onto the surface of the must, no need to stir. The yeast will now ferment the wine. Stir the must daily with a sanitised spoon to ensure all the apples are broken down.
6. After a week lift out the straining bag with what remains of the apples. Let the bag drip dry but avoid the temptation to squeeze the straining bag. Leave the wine to settle for at least 24 hours.
7. After the wine has settled for around 24 hours you can syphon the wine into a demijohn. The wine now needs time to condition and to clear. Rack again after a couple of months to aid clearing. Condition for at least 4 months before bottling.
8. Should you wish, you can back sweeten the wine following this method. If you prefer a sweeter, richer wine then this is a good option.