Back in the 70s, one of my now departed grandmothers living in Wyoming, used to pick chokecherries from bushes in her backyard, and then make jelly and such from the juice. One year back then, she sent a quart of juice back with us to Texas while we were on vacation, or up there for a funeral or something. I can't remember exactly.
After all of these years, I still had that quart of juice in the fridge. Of course it wasn't in the same fridge all this time. lol I took it out for a look a couple of weeks ago. The Kerr canning lid was still holding fast to the top of the jar. No sign of bulging or contamination.
Why did I still have the juice after all this time, you ask? Well, I have been known to be a total packrat at times. Plus, it did have sort of a sentimental value attached to it, so I never could bring myself to throw it out.
Anyway, to make a long story short, if I could, I decided to preserve the juice for another few decades by making wine out of my grandmother's efforts.
I pried the lid off, and to my surprise, it didn't smell like vinegar. I stuck my finger into it for a taste. Not bad for 30 year old juice. I had forgotten what chokecherries tasted like.
Since I didn't keel over from tasting it, I decided to proceed with my plan. I only had a quart of the precious liquid, and knowing that some would be lost in the winemaking process, I decided to cut it by about a third with grape juice. It ended up about half and half, but the chokecherry flavor is still prominent.
To be on the safe side, I boiled the chokecherry juice a minute or so before mixing it with the other ingredients.
I checked the OG with a hydrometer, but I can't remember the exact reading. I do remember the potential alcohol was about 20 percent. The juice blend was sweet. Too sweet. I thought I had added too much sugar, but later found out I didn't. When racking into the secondary, I took another taste. It was perfectly fine, and wow, what a kick. Good alcohol content.
For those who are curious, here is the list of ingredients:
1 quart chokecherry juice (slightly less due to sediment)
1 cup Brew King Red Grape Concentrate
2 cups water
1 cup water added second day to primary (gallon jug)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp peptic enzyme
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 Campden tablet
1/2 tsp acid blend
1 package Red Star Premier Cuvee yeast
1/4 tsp Sparkolloid (used in secondary for clarity)
It's still in the secondary (half gallon jug) and looking good. I may rack it one more time before putting it into 187 ml bottles. A couple of the bottles will go to my sister for Christmas.