Blueberry wine

Jam, jelly, pies, tarts, and so on.  The uses for blueberries seem endless.
Jam, jelly, pies, tarts, and so on. The uses for blueberries seem endless.

With the heat of summer coming in and making it harder for me to make cheeses I am going to switch over to make a couple of fruit/berry wines.  These will be at a lower alcohol level and then carbonated to make a sparkling drink.  They will all be around 8%-10% alchohol which is close to what my hard apple ciders usually come out at.  The first I am going to make is a batch of blueberry sparkling wine.  I havent made this one before so this will be an experiment for me on how much blueberries and sugar I will need.

things you need for winemaking:

  • Bucket with sealed lid and airlock.  Always use a bucket that is 30% bigger then the amount of total wine you are making. The wine as it ferments will leave a thick layer of bubbly foam on the surface.
  • yeast.  I am using an eight gallon bucket.
  • 1 T yeast nutrient
  • 1 T acid blend
  • 1 T pectic enzyme (breaks down the pectin in the berries. you get cloudy wine if you dont add it)
  • 10 lbs of juiced blueberries
  • 8 lbs sugar
  • 1 campdon tablet per gallon of mix (called a must)

Freeze the berries first to break down the cell walls.  This makes it easier for the yeast to extract the sugars out of them.  Then put the berries into mesh nylon bags and add them to the bucket.  Next heat up 3 gallons of water and dissolve the sugar into it. Add the heated mix to the bucket with the blueberries in it.  Add another 2 gallons of water to the bucket to bring your total up to 5 gallons. Finally add everything but the yeast to the mix.  If you add the yeast at this point the campdon tablets will kill your yeast.  They are used to kill any wild yeasts and molds that are on the berries.  Since it is non-selective it will kill your yeast also.  Wait 24 hrs and then add your yeast in.  it will take 24-48 hours normally before you see any change other than a occasional bubble in the air lock.

Take a reading with a hydrometer after the bubbling has mostly stopped.  If the remaining is under 1.000 then most of the sugar has been converted into alcohol and you can rack it into a carboy to let it continue to age.  When you start the syphon you will be glad the blueberries are in bags instead of loose in the bucket.  It always clogs my hose if I leave them loose.Age for 3-4 months and bottle.  this one will come out at around 10% when finished.  might do half sparkling and half sweet depending on how it tastes.

Jalapeno Wine

That is an odd wine to make you think as you see the title.  It is very much an odd wine that is not for the faint of heart to drink.  But there is a purpose other than making something strange to drink.  It sounded good to add to recipes that call for adding a little white wine to.  Marinating a steak or two came to mind when I first saw this recipe. You get the wine flavor plus a little bit of spice to it also (or a lot if you use Habanero peppers instead).  This batch was originally just an experiment to see how it would turn out.  But it is actually a great wine to drink.  Just burns a little going down.  I am going to use a quart of it the next time I make cheese to make a Spanish cheese called Formaggio Ubriaco.  This cheese is normally made using a dark red wine, but I thought it would be good for a spicy cheese also. Might need to do one with red and one with the spicy to compare.

If you have never made wine before then you may like to pick up a book or two on the process before you start.  Making wine is not a difficult thing to do, but there are some basic knowledge that you need before starting (I think I can see another topic to write-up)

Ingredients:

  • 16 large jalapeno (I only used 8 in this batch to keep it from being to spicy)
  • 1 lb golden raisins chopped or minced
  • 2 lbs finely granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp acid blend
  • 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
  • Water to one gallon
  • 1 crushed Campden tablet
  • 3/4 tsp yeast nutrient
  • Pasteur Champagne Yeast

Make sure you wear rubber and stem and cut your peppers into pieces.  Then add to a food processor with 2 cups of water and coarsely chop them.  Don’t chop them to small our you will have trouble straining them out later in the process. Separately from the peppers, chop up your raisins. Then add your raisins and peppers into a  nylon straining bag, Add the peppers while you have it over your primary fermenting container so you catch the water that was in when you chopped them. Tie the bag and leave in the primary. Next add the remaining ingredients except for pectic enzyme and yeast. Stir well to dissolve all the sugar. Cover the primary, and set aside 12 hours. Add pectic enzyme, and set aside another 12 hours. At the end of the 24 hours add your yeast. Stir the mix daily for 7 days. After 7 days, while wearing rubber gloves, squeeze the nylon bag to recover any liquid in it. Transfer the rough wine to secondary glass carboy and Put your airlock on. Ferment to absolute dryness (took me about 60 days). Rack into clean secondary and refit airlock and wait some more.  Rack two more times, 30 days apart. Wait final 30 days and rack into bottles. You can use for cooking or drink immediately. If you are bottling it for cooking I would recommend using smaller bottles than the standard wine bottle size.