Gooseberries may not be one of the cool kids in the world of berries. Often overlooked for strawberries, blackberries or blueberries in terms of eating but for winemaking the gooseberry is a king amongst berries. This gooseberry wine recipe will tame the tartness of these little green berries to make a fantastic wine.
A lot of people have a love/hate relationship with gooseberries. I think this is due to the fact they can be extremely tart. The most common culinary use for gooseberries is to add lots of sugar to act as a buffer against the tartness. In a wine though the tartness can be welcome, many wine yeasts like Lalvin 71B-1122 metabolise the acid content in fruit and naturally mellow out the acid bite that gooseberries provide.
Acid is a key component in wine, that is why we add it to a lot of the fruit wine recipes you can see here on Home Brew Answers. Acidity in wine is important to balance the flavours, sweetness and acidity balance each other if present in the right quantities.
Most fruits with the exception of a few like wine grapes don’t have the required acidity to fully balance the wine and can leave the finished wine tasting thin, insipid and flabby. Fortunately, gooseberries, as we know, have a high acid content. This means no additional acid additions are required.
Preparing Gooseberries For Wine Making
Only choose good fruit for your gooseberry wine, any fruit with bad spots or damage should be discarded. If you source your fruit from a pick your own farm or your own garden you will, of course, be sorting the gooseberries as you pick, you just need to wash the fruit.
Make sure all stems are removed, there are occasionally little brown tails on gooseberries which are fine to leave on.
Gooseberries are occasionally available in the supermarket but seem pretty rare to find, also there are some that grow wild and in hedgerows. These are usually cultivated varieties that have escaped into the wild which are fine to use as long as you are 100% certain you have correctly identified them.
There is also the question of colour, most varieties of gooseberry are green and will produce a white wine but there are pink and red varieties that will produce a slightly blush wine.
What You’ll Need To Make Gooseberry Wine – Makes 1 gallon / 4.5 litres
The equipment needed for this gooseberry 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
- Large Pan
- Fine Straining Bag
- Potato Masher
- Airlock & Bung
Gooseberry Wine Ingredients
- 1.3kg Gooseberries
- 1.15kg of Sugar
- 4.2 litres of Water
- 0.5 tsp of Pectolase / Pectic Enzyme
- 1 Campden tablet
- 1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
- 1 Sachet of Wine Yeast (Our recommendation is Lalvin EC-1118)
Gooseberry Wine Method
- In a pan heat 2 litres of water and add the sugar, bring to a boil for a few minutes then remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile take the washed and prepared gooseberries and place them in the straining bag, put the straining bag in a sanitised fermenting bucket and begin to crush all the berries to break them up.
- Pour the hot sugar solution over the gooseberries and mix thoroughly, add the remaining 2.2 litres of water which will bring the temperature down in the rest of the must, add the yeast nutrient and a 3-4 hours later when the must has cooled further add the campden tablet and mix thoroughly
- 12 hours after adding the campden tablet add the pectolase which will aid juice and flavour extraction. Mix and leave for a further 24 hours.
- After the 24 hours sprinkle the yeast on the surface of the must. Allow the wine to ferment for around a week and then lift out the bag with the remainder of the gooseberries. Allow fermentation to continue for a further week.
- After the two weeks rack the wine to a carboy, you can check the gravity at this point should you wish, fermetation should be pretty much complete at around 1.000 or lower. Once racked into a demijohn seal with a bung and airlock.
- You can wait for the gooseberry wine to completely clear before racking to a new vessel. Leave the wine for at least 4 months before bottling. If you wish to back-sweeten the wine stabilise and follow this advice here.