Simple & Easy Plum Wine Recipe

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Plums come in many different forms, sharp, sweet, yellow, red or purples. You have plums suited for cooking whilst others are best eaten straight from the tree. The great thing about them though is if you have a tree nearby you can usually get quite an impressive glut of them, depending on the year and they make a fantastic wine. This Plum wine recipe is simple and easy and it doesn’t matter what variety of plums, whether they are Victoria, Goldens or Damsons.

Plum Wine Recipe

As there are so many different types of plums is makes the finishing wine a little variable, as an example you get some plums that are nearly black in colour, these are going to make a much darker wine than victoria plums for instance which are a more blushed pink colour.

There are some basic rules of thumb for getting the best wine whatever kind of plums you use, firstly, you want to get the ripest fruit possible. The riper the fruit the higher the concentrations of sugar and juice and this always makes for a better finished wine. Plum wine can have a tendency to be a tad thin bodied and mild flavoured so harvesting your plums at the point where they are most fully flavoured is key to your wines success.

Plum trees are pretty common in the UK and more often than not, if you have a plum tree in your garden, you will have a glut around the end of August or September. Plum trees can be really productive and you only really need around 1.5 – 2kg per gallon of plum wine so you will have more than enough.

If you want to make this plum wine but don’t have any trees nearby then you can buy plums in. I would recommend you still wait until the fruit is in season rather than buying imported fruit. British fruit when in season tends to have a slightly fuller flavour and because they aren’t travelling as far the plums will be riper and have higher sugar content.

Preparing Plums For Wine Making

To prepare the fruit for wine making you will need to pick through the plums and discard any bad or damaged fruit, give them a wash and then remove the stem and the stones. You should leave the skin on the fruit as this will provide colour and a small amount of tannin which is desirable. Cut the fruit into quarters over a bowl to save all the juices that come out of them.

What You’ll Need To Make Plum Wine – Makes 1 gallon / 4.5 litres

The equipment needed for this plum wine recipe is fairly straightforward. You will need the following items, you can pick up any equipment you do need here.

  • Fermenting Bucket
  • Demijohn
  • Medium Pan
  • Funnel
  • Syphon
  • Potato Masher
  • Fine Straining Bag
  • Airlock & Bung

Plum Wine Ingredients

Method

  1. Place the wine straining bag in the sanitised fermentation bucket into this add the prepared plums. Mash the plums with a sanitised potato masher to break them up and free the juices.
  2. In a medium pan combine the water and sugar and bring to the boil, ensure all the sugar is fully dissolved. Once boiling turn off the heat, pour the hot sugar solution over the plums secured in the straining bag.
  3. Allow to cool to room temperature and then add the Campden tablet, tannin, acid blend and yeast nutrient and mix thoroughly. 12 hours after this add the pectic enzyme to the must and mix again.
  4. After 24 hours has passed you can sprinkle the sachet of yeast onto the surface of the must. Allow to ferment for around a week stirring daily.
  5. After a week lift out the straining bag and allow to thoroughly drain. Let it settle for a few days and then rack the wine into a clean and sanitised demijohn, attach a bung and airlock and leave the wine to condition and settle for around a month.
  6. As the wine clears and the sediment builds up rack to a clean demijohn again. I like to leave this wine in the demijohn for around 4-5 months and then bottle. This plum wine is fairly dry but it is also particularly good if you like sweeter wines, to learn how to back sweeten this wine then see this guide.
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What Is Wine Tannin & How To Use It

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Wine Tannin

Tannin also known as tannic acid is a compound found in wines, most notably red wines that give them a pleasing dryness. Wine tannin is also an additive for increasing the tannin present particularly in country wines that use fruit, vegetables or flowers. If you look at some of the wine recipes here you will see it is in most of the fruit wines even if it is only a tiny amount. What is wine tannin and why is it needed? That is what we are going to cover in this article.

What is Wine Tannin

Tannin is an astringent polyphenol that is naturally occurring in plants, wood, bark and leaves. You have probably heard people describe some red wines as having high tannin content. This is because of grape skins, seeds and stems contain tannins. Different varieties of grape contain more tannin than others and this is why certain varieties of wine are characterised by having an astringency.

Wood also contains tannin and it is notable that wine aged in barrels and wooden casks are more astringent than other wines. The word tannin refers to the use of wood used in tanning process of turning animal skins into leather.

Unripe fruit has a higher tannin content than ripe fruit and this trait stops animals from eating the fruit before the seeds are ready to be dispersed by these animals, tannin in the leaves also inhibits predation by herbivores.

In a similar fashion, grape growers can monitor the tannin content of grapes, when the tannin content drops low enough as the grapes ripen they can determine the best time to harvest the grapes produce a balanced wine. A wine that has the right amount of tannin and is not too astringent at the same time as having the correct dryness, balance and mouthfeel.

Tannin is produced by extraction using a solvent from organic matter such as grape skins. The liquid is called tannic acid and is then dried which produces a tannin powder.

Adding Tannin to Fruit Wines

Wine making grapes have a tannin content that makes wines that have a pleasing astringency. For the country wine maker however, there are not many fruits that have a similar level of tannin. This is a problem because the character that emerges in some fruit wines with low amounts of tannin is flat and dull. It can seem as if there is something missing.

Many older recipes call for tea to be added to a wine. Strong tea is astringent because it is full of tannins. Adding tea was a simple method to introduce tannin to a fruit wine that had low levels of tannin.

Elderberries contain a level of tannin close to wine making grapes, blueberries and blackberries have some but not quite at the level of grapes. In the case of most fruit red wines you make at home, the addition of wine tannin is beneficial to the quality of the wine. White wines will usually not require an addition of tannin or only very tiny amounts.

Wine tannin is a brown powdered additive which makes it extremely easy to adjust your wine. Just add tannin to the must and mix thoroughly.

What we really hope to achieve by adding tannin is to mimic the mouthfeel and dryness that we find pleasant in grape wines. Now, this is of course down to personal preference, some people find even the smallest amount of astringency unappealing, others like it. So how much tannin is needed?

Tannin

How Much Tannin To Add?

Most tannin comes in powdered form here in the UK and in most cases, the package recommends around 1/8 – 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of wine. This is a rough guide, I would, however, suggest following a recipe rather than adding one teaspoon into every wine you make.

White wines, for example, will often need less tannin than red wines. Some fruits like elderberries and blueberries already have a modest amount of tannin in their skins so will require less. If a recipe states how much tannin to add then follow that advice.

The good thing about adding tannin is you can add it at any point before, during or after fermentation.

I will always add a small amount of tannin before fermentation, allow the wine to ferment and condition and when it comes time to rack the wine to a new vessel, test a sample. At this point, I can see if more tannin is required to balance the texture of the wine and dry it out further.

It is always best to add a little, then add more if necessary. It is more difficult to cover up excess tannin so err on the side of caution

If you are unsure of how much tannin to add then add a small amount, you can always add more if required after testing a sample. The next time you come to make the wine you will have a better idea of exactly how much tannin will be needed.

What Is Pectic Enzyme & What Does It Do?

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Pectic enzyme is included in many of the wine recipes here on Home Brew Answers, it is an integral additive in the winemaker’s arsenal. Did you know it even has uses in beer making depending on what kind of beer you are brewing? When you see it included in a home brew recipe you may wonder why it is needed, that is what we are going to cover in this article.

Pectic Enzyme

What is Pectin?

Pectic enzyme or pectolase is a fairly common ingredient in the vast majority of fruit wines and fruit beers because many fruits contain pectin.

Pectin is a type of carbohydrate called a polysaccharide which helps maintain the structure of a plant or fruit. The effects of pectin as a gelling agent are most evident in things like jam making where pectin is the key ingredient to set a jam after being heated with sugar. If you don’t have enough pectin in your fruit when making a jam it won’t set and stays runny.

There are some fruits that have higher amounts of pectin, fruits such as pears, apples, plums gooseberries and citrus fruit have high amounts whilst softer fruits like strawberries, grapes and apricots have lower levels of pectin.

Pectin is important when you are cooking and want something to set or gel together but for the winemaker or brewer introducing fruit with high levels of pectin can be problematic for several reasons.

Pectins Effect On Wine or Beer

If you are making a fruit/vegetable wine or a beer with a lot of fruit in then you are introducing pectin to a liquid. If you don’t take preventative measures it’s highly likely there will be a permanent haze in the finished wine or beer. This can be fine in some styles of beer where haze is a natural occurrence but it is definitely not good for wine, I can’t think of any instances where a haze in a wine is acceptable.

The other problem caused by having pectin in your wine is that if you intend to filter the wine prior to bottling then it is very easy for the filter to get blocked and stop running at all.

Fortunately, it is easy to reduce the amount of pectin in your wine or beer using a pectic enzyme which is also referred to as pectolase.

Using pectic enzyme has the following effects:

  1. It breaks down the fruit you are trying to extract juice and flavour from. After you pulp or mash a fruit pectin still acts as a structural member, using pectic enzyme breaks this structure getting more juice and flavour into the wine.
  2. Prevents pectin forming a haze in the finished wine or beer.
  3. Aids filtering should this be part of the process prior to packaging.

Using Pectic Enzyme / Pectolase

Pectic enzyme is a protein that works specifically to break down pectin. It is recommended you use this in almost all fruit wines you make, even commercial wine producers will add pectic enzyme as it aids juice extraction.

This is the reason why it is desirable to add pectolase before fermentation as you will produce a wine better colour, clarity and you will importantly extract more juice and flavour from the fruit you are using.

How Much To Add and When to Add Pectolase

The typical dosage for pectolase is 1tsp per gallon added directly to the wine “must” and stirred thoroughly before fermentation. If you forget to add it before fermentation you can add pectic enzyme later but you will have less juice extracted from the fruit. It will not inhibit yeast growth or activity if added later.

Elderflower Wine Recipe – Light To Medium Bodied

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Elderflower Wine Recipe

Elderflower wine has one of those flavours that is so distinct you cannot really compare it to anything else. That elusive floral bouquet seems to be amplified in a wine and the number of elderflower bushes in the UK makes it one of the most popular ingredients for wine making. Most people opt to make an elderflower champagne but in all honesty, I prefer an elderflower wine, the elderflowers really do fill the palate even without the bubbles.

Elderflowers have a unique flavour all of their own in most cases you either like it or you don’t. If you like something like an elderflower cordial or presse then this wine recipe really does showcase that distinct flavour and aroma.

Picking Elderflowers

As Elderflower bushes are so abundant around the UK finding and picking Elderflowers is your best option for making a wine.

One of the great benefits of elderflowers in the use of winemaking is the ease of harvesting. The flower heads grow in umbels so it is just a case of snipping the whole flower head at the base of the umbel. When harvesting the flowers I would recommend taking a few from each bush you encounter rather than taking all the flowers from each bush.

It should be noted that if you are picking your own Elderflowers that you are 100% certain you have correctly identified the plant as an elder bush. Once you spot a few bushes they are quite easy to identify using a field guide for confirmation.

When to Pick Elderflowers

Elderflowers will start appearing in early June so keep an eye out for them at this point. If they stay on the bush too long the flowers will start to go brown. You should be able to harvest some throughout June into July in most places in the UK.

When you go picking take a curved handled walking stick and you’ll be able to hook down branches to get some of the florets that are higher up on the bush.

To make a gallon of this wine you will need roughly 24 elderflower heads which should take you no time at all to pick. Any more than this and the wine can become a little too pungent.

Using Dried Elderflowers

You can make this wine with dried elderflowers should you not be able to pick your own. As they are dried you will need to use a lot less, check the details of the recipe down below for exact quantities.

Preparing The Elderflowers

When you pick the Elderflowers, give them a gentle shake to dislodge any debris or bugs before putting them in an open container, if you seal the container or bag the flowers will sweat and turn brown.

You can wash the flower heads whilst they are intact and this is recommended, especially, if you picked the flowers next to a bust road.

Elderflower Wine Picking

You will also need to strip the flowers from the stalks, they best way to accomplish this is once the flowers are picked and are dry grab a fork and comb the flowers from the stalks into a bowl. It’s a fairly simple process and will result in a much better wine.

What You’ll Need To Make Elderflower Wine – Makes 1 gallon / 4.5 litres

The equipment needed for this Elderflower wine recipe is fairly straightforward. You will need the following items, you can pick up any equipment you may need in our shop here.

  • Fermenting Bucket
  • Demijohn
  • Large Pan
  • Funnel
  • Syphon
  • Fine Straining Bag / Sieve
  • Airlock & Bung

Elderflower Wine Ingredients

  • 24 Elderflower heads, flowers removed from stalks or 20g Dried Elderflowers
  • 1.4kg of Sugar
  • 4 litres of Water
  • 1 Campden tablet
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
  • 1/4 tsp Wine Tannin
  • 1 Sachet of Wine Yeast (Our recommendation is Lalvin 71B 1122)

Elderflower Wine Method

  1. Remove the zest from the lemon taking care not to grate the white pith, add this to the sanitised fermenting bucket along with the Elderflowers.
  2. Bring 4 litres of water to a boil and add the sugar to dissolve, pour over the flowers and the lemon zest. Allow to cool and add the Campden tablet, yeast nutrient, tannin and the juice of the lemon, mix and leave for 24 hours.
  3. After 24 hours pitch the yeast into the fermenter, allow the wine to ferment for at least 6 days until activity starts to slow down.
  4. After the initial burst of fermentation activity pass the wine through a sieve or straining bag into a sanitised demijohn. It is probably easiest to accomplish by placing a funnel in the demijohn with a sieve or straining bag in it.
  5. Let the Elderflower wine complete fermentation and condition in the demijohn for at least a 2 – 3 months, racking off the sediment as and when needed. Check this guide for more information.
  6. Once cleared you may wish to stabilise the wine before bottling, this Elderflower wine is best sampled after around 6 months but will last well for a year or two.

Rhubarb Wine Recipe – How to Make A Delicious Rhubarb Wine

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Rhubarb Wine Recipe

Rhubarb Wine is actually a vegetable wine, although, rhubarb is the vegetable that is almost always used like you would a fruit. The sharp tartness is a great quality that really shines through in a country wine so this rhubarb wine recipe is a definite winner.

Most people will be familiar with rhubarb in the form of rhubarb Crumble. Plenty of sugar helps to restrain the acidity and tartness of the rhubarb. If you like the taste of rhubarb then you’ll be pleased to know the flavour comes through in the finished wine.

The reason why rhubarb is so tart is because the stems contain an excess amount of oxalic acid. This is also the reason why some people have an aversion to rhubarb. Too much oxalic acid is bad for wine yeast and may result in poor fermentation so we will take this into account when preparing the recipe.

Reducing the amount of acid is a fairly simple process of making a small addition of chalk which causes a reaction and reduces the acidity in the wine. Apart from this one small step the process is the same as almost any country wine recipe.

It should be noted that rhubarb leaves should not be used in wine or eaten. The levels of oxalic acid are far too high and can in fact be poisonous (you would have to eat a lot for it to be problematic). The stems are perfectly edible and can be used in wine. Rhubarb is always sold without leaves so it’s only really an issue if you are picking your own rhubarb..

Pectic Enzyme

Using Rhubarb In A Wine

Rhubarb has two crops in a year, the first crop is forced rhubarb and is grown earlier in the year, around January to February. The stems and leaves are grown under pots and the result is a pale pink stem that is more delicately flavoured and tender.

The second crop of rubarb is grown outside and arrives late March until June, the resulting crop is slightly hardier darker in colour and contains more oxalic acid than the forced rhubarb. This stronger flavour may be less desirable to cook with but is still great to make wine with.

Later in the season some rhubarb stems can become a bit tough and stringy which makes these stems less desirable to eat but still fantastic to make wine with. If you grow rhubarb yourself then consider using the larger and tougher stems to make a wine.

What You’ll Need To Make Rhubarb Wine – Makes 1 gallon / 4.5 litres

The equipment you’ll need to make this rhubarb wine is fairly straightforward if you’ve made wine before you may have everything you need, if not check out our shop where you can pick up the stuff you might not have:

  • Fermenting Bucket
  • Demijohns
  • Large Pan
  • Syphon
  • Fine Straining Bag
  • Airlock & Bung

Rhubarb Wine Recipe Ingredients

Rhubarb Wine Method

  1. In a clean and sanitised fermentation bucket add the rhubarb stalks cut up into inch pieces and chopped raisins to a straining bag. Break up the rhubarb slightly with the end of a rolling pin, just enough to split the stalks, you don’t need to completely mash them.
  2. In a pan combine the sugar with 1.9 litres of water and bring to the boil. Once boiling turn off the heat and pour over the ingredients in the straining bag. When the mixture is cool add the campden tablet, stir thoroughly and let stand for 48 hours.
  3. After 48 hours lift out the straining bag and squeeze out the juice. Into the remaining liquid add 1/4 tsp of Calcium Carbonate (Precipitated Chalk) every 30 minutes stirring thoroughly. The mixture will fizz as the chalk reacts with the oxalic acid.
  4. After this step add the pectic enzyme, stir and leave for 24 hours.
  5. After 24 hours add the tannin along with the yeast nutrient, mix thoroughly and then sprinkle the yeast on the surface of the must.
  6. Allow to ferment for two weeks before racking to a demijohn to allow the wine to condition and clear. Leave in the demijohn for a few months until completely clear racking to a new demijohn when necessary. Check these steps for more information on racking and maturing wine.
  7. Rhubarb wine is best left for the best part of a year before enjoying, maybe open a bottle once every few months to see what I mean.

Blueberry Wine Recipe – Full-Bodied and Beginner Friendly

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This Blueberry wine recipe is the perfect choice for the beginning winemaker, it also produces a fantastic wine that is full of the flavour of Blueberries, what could be better than that.

When you look at the blueberry it does almost look like a small grape, that is not to say it blueberries have the same qualities as grapes do for making wine they need a little help from you the winemaker. What blueberries do have though is lots of flavour and colour. This wine recipe makes a rich dark wine similar in colour to a Bordeaux or Syrah.

Blueberry Wine Recipe

This deep dark colour comes from the skins of the blueberries just as would come from the skins in a grape wine. If you cut a blueberry in half you will notice the inside of the berry has a green hue. The result of this blueberry wine recipe, however, is a deep, dark violet. The colour is extracted from the skins as they sit in the fermenter macerating. Yeast and a slowly increasing alcohol content both help this process along as well as drawing the flavour and sugar from the fruit.

A Basic But Delicious Blueberry Wine

The reason this wine recipe is such a good wine to make for the beginner is the ease of the process and the resulting wine is delicious. Many fruit wine recipes require lots of small tweaks and refining to produce a decent result whereas the blueberry wine produces a good wine even if you don’t get everything just right.

There are a few additives that you’ll want in this blueberry wine, these are just the usual suspects of any fruit wine. Acid blend and tannin are required for the vast majority of fruit wines and this blueberry wine is no exception. You should have these kinds of additives, along with pectic enzyme and yeast nutrients to hand for any fruit wine you intend to make.

The blueberries you use, whether they are frozen or fresh, is up to you. As long as the fruit is good quality and ripe you should be in for a decent blueberry wine. Frozen fruit tends to be picked when it’s riper than fresh fruit from the supermarket in this case picking the frozen fruit will result in a better wine. Freezing the fruit will also break down the cells of the fruit releasing the juices and flavour better than just mashing the fruit.

I have used frozen blueberries for this recipe. You can get them year round and they are much cheaper than fresh berries.

If you can get hold of wild blueberries you can, of course, use these, picked at their ripest and being able to choose the highest quality blueberries will make a superior wine. There aren’t many places in the UK that blueberries grow in the wild, they like heathland with acidic soil and are often called bilberries or blaeberries. If you do intend to pick berries yourself make sure you have properly identified them as blueberries as they can be easily confused with other varieties of plant. You can grow blueberries in pots in the garden so this might be worth considering if you intend to make a batch of blueberry wine every year, it’s a good recipe so definitely worth considering.

To make this blueberry wine recipe you’ll need the following piece of equipment, pick up all the equipment you need here:

  • Fermenting Bucket
  • Nylon Straining Bag
  • 1 Gallon Demijohn
  • Bung & Airlock
  • Potato Masher
  • Hydrometer
  • Syphon
  • Bottles, Corks and Corker

The Blueberry Wine Recipe Ingredients – Makes 4.5 litres / 1 gallon around 12% ABV

1.4kg Blueberries fresh or frozen (clean and prepared)
1kg Sugar
4.2 litres Water
2 tsp Citric Acid
1/8 tsp Tannin
1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme
1 Campden Tablet
1 sachet Wine Yeast (My recommendations – Vintners Reserve R56 / Lalvin 71B / Lalvin EC1118)

Blueberry Wine Recipe Method

Blueberry Wine

  1. Dissolve the sugar and half the water together in a pan by bringing to the boil. Ensure all of the sugar is fully dissolved and then turn off the heat.
  2. Whilst heating the sugar and water put the blueberries in a straining bag in the bottom of the fermenting bucket. Use the potato masher to squash the blueberries and break them up. They don’t need to be pureed but make sure all the blueberries are squashed and the juices released.
  3. Pour the boiled sugar and water solution over the blueberries and mix well with the fruit. Add the second half of the water which will help to cool down the must.
  4. Add the citric acid, the wine nutrient and the tannin and mix thoroughly, leave for a few hours to cool further and then add a crushed Campden tablet and for at least 12 hours.
  5. After 12 hours add the pectic enzyme and leave the must for 24 hours. After this, you can test with a hydrometer if you wish for the starting gravity.
  6. After the 24 hours add the yeast to begin fermentation. Allow fermentation to go on for a week and stir once every one or two days, this helps extract as much flavour from the fruit as possible which will have the tendency to float.
  7. After a week lift out the straining bag with the pulp and allow to drain as much as possible, avoid squeezing the bag.
    Take a hydrometer reading, if the wine is below 1.010 specific gravity rack the wine into a sanitised demijohn. If not leave for a further few days and check the gravity again. Once racked attach a bung and airlock and leave.
  8. Wait for at least 2 months or more and the wine can then be racked off the sediment. You can wait for the blueberry wine to completely clear before racking to a new vessel. After this either let it age further for a few months or bottle. If you wish to back-sweeten the wine stabilise and follow this advice here.

This blueberry wine recipe will make a wine of around 12% ABV. It is best squirrelled away for a while to condition and mature. It keeps well for a couple of years, try and keep some around to sample and you will begin to understand how the wine changes with time.

How To Stabilise And Back Sweeten A Wine

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Back Sweetening Wine

One of the issues many new winemakers face is making a wine that is simply too dry, back sweetening a wine is a simple remedy that can transform the finished wine.

Back sweetening ranges from turning a really dry wine into a semi-dry wine that isn’t necessarily sweet, but suits your taste better. Or you can go all the way to creating a dessert wine that tastes sweet as dessert wines are intended to.

It is most often the case with fruit wines that rely on sugar as the primary fermentable. Plain sugar is 100% fermentable so when the yeast ferment the wine all of the sugars gets converted to alcohol leaving no residual sweetness. A wine that is too dry is fairly easy to remedy by back sweetening but you’ll need to make sure of a few things before just adding sugar to the wine.

Back Sweetening a wine involves adding a type of sugar or sweetener back into the already fermented wine. Before you can do this we need to make sure that the sugar we add isn’t going to start a second fermentation. To do this the wine needs to be stabilised which needs to be done once fermentation is completely finished and the wine has cleared.

When To Stabilise A Wine?

To stabilise a wine we need to use additives such as potassium sorbate, it should be noted though that these kinds of additives won’t stop an active fermentation. The idea is to use the minimum amount of additives necessary to stabilise a wine. We don’t want to add lots of potassium sorbate in case it alters the flavour or colour of the wine.

The point where you want to stabilise a wine is once the fermentation is completely finished, we can check this using a hydrometer, in most cases, a fruit wine will finish at a specific gravity around or below 0.998 – 1.000. Secondly, we want the wine to have cleared, with the yeast sedimented to the bottom. If the wine is still hazy the yeast may be in suspension still so trying to stabilise the wine at this point would not work effectively. To stabilise a wine you’ll need an additive called potassium sorbate as well as sodium metabisulphite (Campden Tablets).

What Is Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Metabisulphite?

Potassium sorbate is an additive used extensively in the food industry as a preservative also called E202. It is used to prevent the growth of mould and yeast which is ideal for the winemaker.

The way it works is not to kill the yeast but to stop the yeast from reproducing. This means any live yeast will continue to ferment any sugars available but won’t be able to reproduce new yeast cells. This is why we need to completely finish fermentation before stabilising the wine.

Sodium Metabisulphite is more commonly known as Campden tablets to home winemakers, it works as a disinfectant, preservative and antioxidant in food. This inhibits the yeast but also prevents oxidisation in the wine which stabilises the flavour and colour of the wine

How To Stabilise A Wine?

Once the wine is at a point where you are ready to stabilise, of course, you will have sampled the wine and tested with a hydrometer, you’ll need to rack the cleared wine off any sediment into a new vessel. As we will be adding potassium sorbate and mixing any sediment will be stirred back into the wine which is not what we want.

Now with the wine in a new vessel, we can add the potassium sorbate and Campden tablet. You should pay attention to the recommended dosage instructed on the packages you have just in case they are differing strengths. The common dosage is 3/4 tsp of potassium sorbate and one Campden tablet.

Dissolve the additives in a small amount of boiled and cooled water until clear, the solution can then be added to the wine and mixed gently. Leave the wine for at least 12 hours before doing anything else.

Back Sweeten Your Wine

Wine Sugar Solution

There are a few options as to what to sweeten your wine with. Plain sugar is the simplest, dissolve the sugar in water at a ratio of 1:1 and it can be dosed into the wine. Another option is to use a fruit juice. Grape juice, for instance, is going to add both flavour and sweetness that may be more desirable than just adding sugar. Glycerine is another option, it’s a liquid polyol that is colourless, flavourless and odourless that tastes really sweet plus it’s unfermentable as well. It’s also sold in home brew shops as wine sweetener as well as some pharmacies.

To keep things simple let’s say we want to back sweeten with sugar. You will want to dissolve a small amount of sugar, say 100 grams in 100 ml of water by boiling to create a sugar solution.

A small amount of this sugar solution can then be added to the wine. Add very small amounts, mix and test, it is very easy to over sweeten a wine.

To work out roughly how much you’ll need to use it’s you can take a small sample of wine to back sweeten. Take a small sample (100ml) of wine and add a few drops of the sugar solution at a time (a drop is 0.05 ml), keep sampling the wine to see when you reach the correct level of sweetness. Once you hit your sweetness extrapolate out the amount of sugar to the whole batch.

This same method is applicable if you are using fruit juice or other sweeteners.

It’s not an exact science but this method will give you a rough amount to aim for but always be prudent, you can’t really dry out an over sweetened wine. If you wanted to make a dessert wine, for example, with this strawberry wine simply add enough sugar so the balance is on the sweet side. Always sweeten the wine in bulk to get consistent results, it’s not a good idea to try and back sweeten by the bottle.

Strawberry Wine Recipe: The Only Recipe You’ll Ever Need

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Strawberries, one of my favourite fruits, how can you capture that taste in a strawberry wine recipe? With any fruit wine recipe, the main flavour you want to really shine is the fruit you are using and sometimes it is tough to find that balance.This Strawberry wine recipe finds that balance with the delicate flavour of fresh strawberries tuned in with a crisp and slightly dry wine. There isn’t lots of body to this strawberry wine but it is most definitely refreshing, crisp and the strawberries shine through right until the last drop.

Delicious Strawberry Wine

Strawberries have to be one of the most popular choices for a fruit wine. I don’t know of many people who don’t like eating strawberries and I think this turns into a desire to translate this into a wine recipe. In the UK in the summer the shops are full of strawberries, supermarkets buy them by the pallet load and you can generally pick and choose what varieties you may want to use in your strawberry wine recipe.

When it comes to selecting your strawberries for a wine it is a case of the riper the better. It’s most often the case that when you buy strawberries in a supermarket they are around 75 – 85% ripe this is because the shelf life of fully ripe strawberries is a lot shorter. Once you pick a strawberry they do not ripen any further, they will colour more but won’t ripen and get sweeter. Using strawberries for your wine that are only 80% ripe can be fine but there are other options to get sweeter strawberries.

Pick your own farms will give you the option to select fruit that is completely ripened, you have the choice of picking exactly the strawberries you want. This means that you can quality control each and every strawberry that will go in your strawberry wine and you can go from picking to processing the strawberries in a matter of hours. Another option is to use frozen strawberries, the great thing about frozen strawberries is they are most often picked when they are riper as they are frozen quickly after picking they won’t degrade on the shelf at the shop. The other thing with frozen strawberries is they are usually already prepared with the green part removed and often they’re cheaper than the fresh.

Strawberry Wine

This strawberry wine recipe I have used frozen strawberries although it’s completely fine if not better to use fresh, ripe fruit. I’m making this in winter so fresh strawberries are not in season. One thing I will mention about freezing is that when the fruit is frozen it breaks down the cells when you defrost the strawberries the juice pretty much runs out of the fruit which is great for making wine. The first thing we will be doing in this recipe is mash the berries to break them up.

Mashed Strawberries

To make this strawberry wine you’ll need the following piece of equipment which you can pick up here if you don’t have already:

  • Fermenting Bucket
  • Nylon Straining Bag
  • 1 Gallon Demijohn 
  • Bung & Airlock
  • Potato Masher
  • Hydrometer
  • Syphon
  • Bottles, Corks and Corker

Strawberry Wine Recipe Ingredients – Makes 4.5 litres / 1 gallon

 

Strawberry Wine Recipe Method

  1. Begin by boiling the water and sugar together, ensure the sugar is fully dissolved. Once at a boil turn off the heat.
  2. If you are using fresh strawberries prepare them by removing the stems and washing, pick through and remove any bad fruit.
  3. Place the nylon straining bag into the fermenting bin, add the prepared strawberries and begin mashing with a clean, sanitised potato masher. The idea is to break up the strawberries as much as possible, releasing the juice and colour.
  4. Pour the boiled sugar and water solution over the strawberries and mix everything together. Allow to cool and then add the acid blend, yeast nutrient, tannin and Campden tablet. Put the lid on the fermenter with an airlock and leave for 12 hours.
  5. After 12 hours add the pectic enzyme, mix and leave for 24 hours.
  6. After the 24 hours add the yeast to begin fermentation. Allow fermentation to go on for a week and stir once every one or two days, this helps extract as much flavour from the fruit as possible which will have the tendency to float.
  7. After a week lift out the straining bag with the pulp and allow to drain as much as possible, avoid squeezing the bag.
  8. Take a hydrometer reading, if the wine is below 1.010 specific gravity rack the wine into a sanitised demijohn. If not leave for a further few days and check the gravity again. Once racked attach a bung and airlock and leave.
  9. Wait for at least 2 months or more and the wine can then be racked off the sediment. You can wait for the strawberry wine to completely clear before racking to a new vessel. After this either let it age further for a few months or bottle. If you wish to back-sweeten the wine stabilise and follow this advice here.
  10. This strawberry wine is best kept for a few months and up to a year.

Fiery Medium Ginger Wine Recipe

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This Ginger wine recipe was one of the very first country wine recipes I ever made. The great thing about ginger of course is it’s available year round in the supermarket and a little goes a long way in comparison to using fruit in wines. This is the perfect wine recipe to make over winter where other fruits aren’t in season or available, If you do make this wine in the winter it will be ready to start enjoying when the weather warms up but can be made at any time of the year as root ginger is available year-round in most shops.

Ginger Wine Recipe

When making any country wine recipe you are reliant on all the flavour coming from whatever fruit or vegetable you are using. This ginger wine recipe relies on root ginger to bring the flavour which probably has the most punch of any ingredient you are going to add to a wine. When making any country wine you rely on sugar to contribute the fermentables which are turned by the yeast into alcohol, the problem with sugar is that it’s pretty much flavourless once fermented. Adding other ingredients, like in this recipe with ginger is where you are getting almost all of the flavour from so it’s important that any ingredient you do use in a country wine is full of flavour and you use enough.

This ginger wine recipe makes a slightly sweeter wine that has a fiery and warming kick. It tends to work better as a sweeter wine because the fiery, heat that is brought by the ginger can seem a bit too harsh in a completely dry wine. The colour is golden and is great served at any time of the year, in the summer this ginger wine can be served ice cold on a warm day just like you would with a ginger beer for example. In the winter serve chilled and the heat from the ginger will give you a warm glow. It probably should be mentioned that this wine recipe isn’t really a bottle you should open to enjoy with dinner, however, it is great as an after dinner drink.

To make this ginger wine you’ll need the following piece of equipment:

  • Fermenting Bucket
  • Nylon Straining Bag
  • 1 Gallon Demijohn
  • Bung & Airlock
  • Funnel
  • Hydrometer
  • Syphon
  • Bottles, Corks and Corker

Ginger Wine Recipe Ingredients – Makes 4.5 Litres / 1 Gallon

75g Fresh Ginger Root
500g Bananas
300g Chopped Sultanas
1.3kg Sugar
1tsp Mixed Acid
1tsp Yeast Nutrient
1tsp Pectic Enzyme
1 Package White Wine Yeast

Ginger Wine Recipe Process

Clean the ginger of any dirt but do not worry about peeling, break into pieces and break up a little with a rolling pin, put into the bottom of a fermenting bin along with the chopped sultanas.

 

In a pan heat up 3 litres of water and and stir in the sugar to completely dissolve bring to the boil. Once boiling pour this over the ginger and sultanas in the fermenting bin.

 

Peel and chop the bananas into inch sized pieces and boil these in half a litre of water for 20 minutes, strain the liquid into the fermenter.

 

Allow the must in the fermenting bin to cool to 20°C. Once cooled add the acid, nutrient and pectic enzyme.

 

Pitch the yeast after rehydrating if you choose to do so. Allow to ferment for 4 days stirring with a sanitised spoon a couple of times a day.

 

After 4 days strain the wine into a demijohn using a straining bag in a funnel. Fit a bung and airlock on the demijohn and allow to ferment completely, this can take up to 4 weeks.

 

After 4 weeks ensuring fermentation has completely finished rack to a new demijohn to allow clearing, after racking add a crushed campden tablet.

 

Allow the wine to clear in the demijohn and after around 2 – 3 months rack to bottles and cork.

This recipe is intended to produce a slightly sweet wine and depending on the yeast you use and the fermentation it may finish drier than you really want. In this case, we will want to back sweeten the wine. It is a simple process that happens just before you bottle the wine.

Once the wine has been racked and cleared and fermentation has completely finished adding Potassium Sorbate at a rate of 1/2 a teaspoon per gallon will stop the yeast from fermenting any extra sugar added. It is then a case of adding a simple sugar solution by boiling sugar and water in equal amounts, this solution can be added in very small amounts to sweeten the wine. Remember you can add sugar but you cannot take it out so try adding a few drops to a sample and then multiplying this out to the whole batch.

Simple & Delicious Pear Wine Recipe

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Country wines tend to be really simple to make and this Pear wine recipe is no different. With all country wines, of course, the most important part of creating a delicious wine is pushing the flavour of the fruit to the forefront. The good thing about pears is they’re full of juice, sugars and a distinct yet delicate flavour that really works well in wines.

Pear Wine Recipe

Pears are harvested and available in the autumn. Making this wine during the season the shops will be full of them, you should have no problem finding enough pears for the recipe. It’s a good wine to make and put aside to mature, the ideal time to open the first bottle will be in the summer. This pear wine recipe makes a perfect summer wine, both refreshing and crisp.

This wine recipe calls for fresh, ripe pears. Most shops sell unripened pears if you’re buying unripe pears put them in a paper bag and leave for a few days to a week until they’re ripe enough. This is important both in terms of consistency because we are going to mash the pears and to ensure we have as much sugar available in the pears as possible, which will create a better wine. It is the sugar in the fruit along with the sugar we add that creates the alcohol in the wine, the more sugar in the pears the better the resulting wine.

This Pear wine calls for some additives to get the best results, they are all fairly simple and should be part of any country wine makers arsenal. You’ll need Campden tablets, acid blend, yeast nutrient, tannin and pectic enzyme. All these items will be available from any home brew shop.

I have gone into a bit more depth as to what these additives do in this guide on country wine making so please check that out. In basic terms the Campden tablets sanitise the pears and prevent browning, the pectic enzyme stops the wine from hazing, the tannin provides body to the wine which would feel thin and dry otherwise and the acid blend balances the wine. Pears do not have enough acids on their own and the acid blend will help create a better balanced finished wine.

As I mentioned previously you want ripe pears to make the most of this wine recipe, what they look like though doesn’t really matter, as long as they taste good.

What You’ll Need To Make Pear Wine – Makes 1 gallon / 4.5 litres

The equipment you’ll need to make this pear wine is fairly straightforward if you’ve made wine before you may have everything you need, if not you can pick up the extra items in our shop here:

  • Fermenting Bucket
  • Demijohns
  • Large Pan
  • Potato Masher
  • Syphon
  • Fine Straining Bag
  • Airlock & Bung

As for the ingredients in this recipe, you’ll need the following:

 

Pear Wine Recipe Method

Sanitise your fermenting bucket and potato masher before starting.

 

Begin by combining half the water and all of the sugar together and bring to the boil

 

To get the pears ready for the wine wash them thoroughly, remove the stalks and remove the cores, there is no need to peel them.

Cut the pears into chunks and drop into the straining bag in the bottom of the fermenting bucket, add one crushed Campden tablet and begin mashing the pears with the sanitised potato masher.

 

Once the pears are mashed pour the hot sugar water solution over the pears in the fermenting bucket. Add the remaining cold water which will bring the temperature down. Tie the top of the straining bag to keep the pears inside.

 

Add the wine tannin and the yeast nutrient and leave to cool for an hour or two. After this add the second Campden tablet and leave for at least 24 hours.

 

After at least 24 hours add the pectic enzyme and stir in with a sanitised spoon after this add the yeast as directed on the sachet. Cover the fermenter and attach an airlock to the lid.

 

Agitate the straining bag and stir with a sanitised spoon every day to extract as much flavour from the pears as possible.

 

After 5 days lift out the straining bag full of pulp and squeeze gently. Syphon the wine off the sediment into a demijohn. Attach a bung and airlock and leave for 2 – 3 weeks.

 

After 2 – 3 weeks the fermentation should have finished. Check the gravity with a hydrometer it should be around 1.000sg.

 

Once fermentation is finished rack the wine to a clean sanitised demijohn to clear. Leave the pear wine for 2 months to clear, rack again if necessary, check the racking and clearing guide for further information on this subject.

 

Once cleared syphon into clean sanitised bottles and cork. This pear wine is best aged in bottles for a few months. After this, the pear wine can be served chilled.

Clearing and Racking

As with most fruit wines, this pear wine recipe is best stored away for a few months before enjoying. I like to put one or two bottles aside for as long as possible to see how the flavours develop. Pears make a nice mild flavoured wine to enjoy on a warm spring or summer day, try and wait until then to start drinking. Although I will always tend to sneak a bottle early.