Now it comes to the fun part where we take our ingredients and try to capture as much flavour and aroma from them as we can. I’m sure people have tried hundreds of ways to extract as much flavour and colour from fruit as possible but generally the methods fall into 2 or 3 categories, I like to use the simplest as much as possible (why make things harder for yourself).
Hot Water Infusion
This method is simple and that’s probably why it’s so commonly used in 90% of the wine recipes you see. All there is to it is to put your prepared fruit into your primary fermenting vessel (usually a bucket) and pour over an appropriate amount of boiling water. Sugar can be added at this stage too and the boiling water will help to dissolve it. This mixture can be left to infuse for a few days then the solids separated by straining before adding the yeast to begin fermentation
With this method you again chop, mash or crush your fruit and add a desired amount of water, at this stage you may add a campden tablet to “sanitise” the fruit which may have bacteria or wild yeasts on and allow to sit for 24 hours. After this point sugar, nutrients and any other additions can go in as well as the yeast. After a few hours the yeast will begin working and extracting as much sugar from the fruit as they can along with colour and flavour compounds. After the initial burst of fermentation the solids can be separated by straining and further fermentation and clearing happens in the demijohn.
Direct Heat Extraction
With direct heat you are essentially stewing the fruit. The prepared fruit is put in a pan with a small amount of water and heated to break it down. This method of extraction should only be used in certain circumstances. The flavour and aroma of fruit is altered by cooking and that flavour isn’t greatly suited for wine.
Pressing is by far the most labour intensive method of extraction and will require further equipment, for this reason it’s usually not the best method for the average home wine maker. Pressing is what is used to make grape wines which involves crushing the fruit in a mechanical press.
Flavour Is The Key
Just remember that what you want to achieve with these methods, you want to retain the very essence of the fruit you are using to make the wine. If you are making a wine with delicate berries I myself would prefer to steer away from dousing them in boiling water which may remove some of those delicate flavour compounds.