Cherry Wine Question.

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Active Member
Dec 4, 2007
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I made a 6 gallon batch of cherry wine and it has been fermenting longer than what the directions recommended. It was supposed to be bottled at about 2 months and it has been about 3. Is that ok? I know with beer it is alright to ferment longer. How about wine? Also, it tastes very strong. Is that normal? It says I can sweeten it after I stabalize but with what do I sweeten it with and how long after I add the stabilizer should I wait to add sweetener and then how long should I wait after sweetening to bottle?



Ale's What Cures You!
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Jun 4, 2006
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UP/Snowbird in Florida
Well, I've never seen a good recipe that tells you to bottle within three months. I like to rack my wines every 45- 60 days, or whenever they have lees. After that, I bulk age 6-9 months or so. I have a dandelion wine (from May 2007) that still isn't ready to be bottled, since it is just now clear. I will rack it this month sometime, and consider bottling it when I pick dandelions for the next batch, probably in mid-may.

Winemaking is a hobby only for the patient! I highly recommend this site: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=25036

That link is to the basics, but you can click on the steps to get full information about winemaking. He also has literally hundreds of recipes!

I'm making a cherry wine right now, with this recipe:
4 pounds sour cherries
2.5 pounds sugar
1 tsp acid blend
1 tsp pectic enzyme
7 pints water
pinch of tannin
1 tsp nutrient
1 crushed Campden tablet (dissolved in a little water)
wine yeast (I used 71B-1122)

Destem, mash, and crush cherries without crushing any stone. Dissolve sugar in boiling water and pour over cherries. Add all other ingredients, except for pectic enzyme and yeast. Twelve hours later, add pectic enzyme, and then 12 hours later, add yeast. Loosely cover with towel. Ferment approx 5 days, until sg is 1.020 or less. Strain into secondary and fit airlock. Rack every 30 days as needed. After wine clears, rack again as needed. Bottle when clear, and sediment no longer falls.

I started it on 1/2/08, and as of 2/10/08, it was already clear. However, it has a harsh astringent taste that I think will only mellow with time. I have it covered and airlocked, and won't even look at it for another 2 or 3 months. In a couple of years, I think this will be a very nice wine.

Many wines are "hot" at first, because they tend to be around 12% ABV, and they need time to mellow. After a year or so, though, they do mellow. My 2 year old blackberry wine is bottled, but way too hot to drink yet.

Now, about stabilizing and sweetening. To stabilize, I use one crushed campden tablet per gallon, and 1/2 tsp sorbate per gallon. (Double check your package directions- I rarely sweeten, so don't use sorbate all that often). You dissolve that in some hot wine (pull it out with a sanitized turkey baster into a glass measuring cup and stick in the microwave) and then put it into the receiving carboy. Rack your wine into it, being careful not to aerate at all. Wait about 3-7 days to ensure that it's finished, and then you can sweeten to taste. I like to pull out a sample, and sweeten it to taste. Then, measure the sg of that sample that you like, and sweeten the whole batch to that sg. Now, it seems to get sweeter after it's been bottled for a while, so if you like it at, say, 1.010, sweeten it to 1.008. Then wait a few days with the airlock on, just to make sure that fermentation did not restart. Then you can bottle.

Wade E

Beer Buster
Mar 25, 2008
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Middlebury, Ct.
For back sweetening I have taken juice from a store like Juicy juice whch is 100% juice and reduced it in a pot on the stove simmering so as that to reduce the amount of liquid but concentrate the sugar all in one process. this adds a little more flavor and sweetens the wine all at once. You can also do a simple sugar syrup also which consists of 1 part boiling water and 2 parts sugar and then let cool and add to your wine slowly tasting frequently so as not to over sweeten.

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