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blackberry wine, and wine in general

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blitzgp

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So I have been making homebrew for a few months now, and I am trying to get into wine making on the side. However, wine making info doesnt seem to be as good as beer making, possibly because it looks a lot easier, and clarity seems to be the hardest part of winemaking.

It is blackberry season, and I am anticipating maybe 60 pounds of blackberries this year. I want to make a full berry wine, and not a cheater wine that I see a lot of, involving tons of concentrates and sugar (if I need to add a little bit of sugar, thats fine with me).

Do I need to boil/pasteurize the juice before I pitch (I havent read any recipies that do this, so Im not sure if it has to do with using already pasteurized products, or because it will ferment so fast that the increased alcohol will kill all the nasties early on).

Do I need to add any nutrients? Ive heard that blackberries were pretty full of vitamins and minerals and other neutrients so I wasnt sure if yeast felt the same way ;p
 

SteveHoward

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I have 3 batches of blackberry wine making right now. This is my first year to do this, and because of this, I probably did some things that others might not recommend, but the fact that I did them and am getting the results I am should say something :).

I didn't boil any berries. I didn't even use a strainer bag. I just crushed them and added the water and sugar the recipe called for. I did boil the water before adding, but let it cool so no hot water ever hit the berries. I didn't even use campden tables to kill any natural yeast. I didn't freeze anything, so all the nasties had every opportunity if they could take advantage of them. I literally picked the berries, brought them home, washed them, sanitized my equipment by boiling, and started crushing berries. I didn't get K-Meta bi until my first batch was moving into secondary.

My batches never had rhino farts - they smelled wonderful from the time they first started fermenting - no nutrient added.

I just racked the third batch yesterday, and the whole room where I did the racking just smelled wonderful from the moment I opened the carboy. I tasted some, of course, and it really tastes good even now. It has some clarifying to do yet.

On clarifying, I think the berries used in my third batch were riper on average. I had a little bit of dark red on some berries on my first two batches. The third batch foamed more than the first two, and is taking longer to clarify - the first two clarified very quickly.

And that's where I am. It was the simplest procedure because it was the first time for me, but it has gone swimmingly without hitting the must with campden tablets first, and with no concentrates, no pasteurization or boiling of berries.

The only thing I would say is that the recipe I followed called for more sugar and extra water than I expected. Maybe that's because the flavor of the berries is stronger than I expected. Even so, the wine is very full bodied even after clarifying. I'll let someone with more experience speak to that part.
 

RobWalker

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You might consider adding raisins for some natural complexity. Your choice totally though.

I would collect, freeze, thaw and strain through muslin to collect juice. Boiling will pectinize it. We ferment on the pulp and then juice after 5 days but we're very old school and it probably oxidizes it. Ours ferments like mad without any help and there's a LOT of kreuzen so top up in stages if possible, or use a fermenter with head room. Add a little pectin enzyme, citric acid and tannin, and bring your OG up to what you feel is right with glucose so as to not impart any flavour, just abv. Ferment, age for a long time in dark bottles in a dark place and enjoy :)
 

Turnerdude1

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There is a farmer done the street where I live that has comercial blackberries. I split what I make with him. I use Jack Keller's receipe and I have made full body and medium body wine. It mixes very well with other red wines. I crush them, then put sulphite to them and then put hot water to them. Once cooled I add the yeast then stir every day and then about five days later add the sugar and place into secondary...Can drink it in six months put comes into its own after one year..Last year oaked some which I mixed with a merlot and it really has to age for one year as still has a bit to it...
 

2ndGenBrewer

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I know I maybe a bit biased (being a mead maker) but if you do NEED to add fermentables you may consider adding a little bit of honey. The sugars in honey are 100% fermentable and even in small amount the honey compliments the blackberries very well.
 

Yooper

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I have a good blackberry wine recipe posted. It came from Jack Keller, and makes a very nice medium bodied blackberry wine. I've oaked it in the past, and that was really good. I like it both ways- with and without oak.

I prefer mine dry, but it's very good slightly sweetened also.
 
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