One of the biggest joys of summer is the annual crop of berries and all the delicious things that you can produce with them. From pies and cobblers to parfaits and smoothies, rarely does a summer berry go unused. But if you find yourself with a bucketful of berries to spare, impress your friends and family by turning it into homemade wine. Wine can be made from just about any fruit, vegetable or herb, but a bottle full of homemade blackberry wine is sure to draw some attention.
Yield: 1 gallon (3-4 bottles)
- 1½ gallons wild blackberries or organic large blackberries, unwashed
- 2 cups honey (or 3/4 pounds of sugar)
- 2 cups non-chlorinated water
- juice of one lemon
- 1 bag black tea
- 1-gallon crock or non-reactive container
- small strainer
- 1-gallon carboy
- small plastic hose for siphoning
- small funnel
- 4 wine bottles and four fresh corks or screw caps
- corker, if needed
Place blackberries in crock. (If freshly picked, let berries sit covered overnight to ripen further.) Crush berries by hand or with wooden spoon until fully juiced, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add honey (or sugar), lemon juice and water, and stir with wooden spoon for 1 to 2 minutes.
Cover crock with cloth and secure tightly, and let it sit in warm (60 to 75 degrees F) area—kitchen countertops work well. Stir frequently, at least three times daily, to keep mold spores submerged. Fermentation, visible as vigorous bubbling, should start within first five days, but could take up to a week.
Once bubbling, add tea bag and keep covered on countertop until fermentation slows down—it should be obvious when the process has finished. With a small strainer, aka a must, strain out blackberry skins and seeds, pouring the wine into a large bowl. Remove tea bag.
Transfer wine into the carboy with a small funnel. Place airlock on the carboy and place carboy in cool, dark place, as close to 55 degrees F as possible—preferably not the refrigerator, though. Let sit for at least one month, but as long as several years if you want. If the wine turns out too sweet or too alcoholic, aging it will dry it out and calm the alcohol.
When you’re ready to bottle, use the hose to siphon the wine into bottles, filling 1/4 inch into the bottle’s neck. There should be 1/4 to 1/2 inch between the cork and liquid. Add the cork or cap.
Store bottles on their sides in a dark, 55- to 65-degree location. Enjoy anytime thereafter!
Get more wine- and beer-making help from HobbyFarms.com: