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Yooper

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This recipe is from Jack Keller's excellent winemaking website. My notes are at the bottom.

The only word of caution for red tomato wine is to use only perfectly ripe fruit. They should also be freshly picked. It makes one gallon of wine, but multiply it out by however many 4-lb batches of tomatoes you have for the wine.

4 lbs fresh, ripe red tomatoes
2 lbs granulated sugar
3-1/2 qts water
2 tsp acid blend
1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
1/8 tsp grape tannin
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 crushed Campden tablet
1 pkg Champagne or Montrachet yeast

Boil water and dissolve sugar. Meanwhile, wash and cut fruit into chunks, discarding any bruised or insect-scarred parts. Pour fruit and any juice from cutting into nylon straining bag in primary. Tie bag and squash the fruit. Pour the boiling water with dissolved sugar over fruit. Cover and allow to cool one hour, then add acid blend, tannin, yeast nutrient, and crushed Campden tablet. Stir, recover and after 12 hours add pectic enzyme. Wait another 12 hours and add yeast. Stir twice a day for 7 days. Remove nylon bag and allow to drip drain, adding drained juice to primary; do not squeeze bag. Siphon liquid off sediments into secondary, top up, and fit airlock. Rack every 60 days until wine clears, then wait two weeks and rack again. Add stabilizer, wait 10 days, sweeten to taste with sugar water, then bottle. Wine will mature in one year and should be served chilled. [Adapted from Terry Garey's The Joy of Home Winemaking]

8/22/06-The s.g. was 1.070 after this recipe, so I added ½ pound more sugar dissolved in boiling water. S.g is 1.080, so I pitched yeast the next day. 8/25/06- s.g. is still 1.060. 8/27/06- s.g. is 1.000! So I racked to secondary. 9/10/06- tastes like absolute crap- pizza in a glass. Very gaggy. 9/21/06- racked into 1 gallon jug. Super clear- s.g. is .990. Tastes a bit better. I didn't sweeten. Racked every 60 days, and bottled in early winter.

9/07- this wine is good! A tomato nose is present, but the "gaggy" factor is gone and it's actually a tasty wine when it's served well chilled. It's a very light golden color. People served this wine were unable to determine what it was- but would say, "It reminds me of something............." When told it was tomato, they all said, "Of course!"
 

Henny

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I am definatly doing this in the summer. What a neat idea!
 

JoeMama

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LOL I was just talking to a guy about this earlier today. Unfortunately, I dont think he was really following a 'recipe' of sorts. He said it always remained cloudy and eventually turned to vinegar.

Mind you in the same breath he said that his batches of other wines were pretty much hooch wines.
-Me
 
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We just drank the last bottle of this batch about 2 weeks ago. It was a beautiful golden color, with a tomato nose. It had nice legs, and a crisp fruity flavor. It's one of those things that definitely tastes better than it sounds!
 

Henny

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What do you mean by "legs"? Sorry I am a newbi
 

musty

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Hi all, just wanted to add my experience here: I modified the recipe from the Home Winemakers Companion:

4 lbs organic tomatoes
.5 lbs raisins
~1 gal water
1.5 lbs sugar
1/4 ts grape tannin
1 ts acid blend
1 ts yeast nutrient
1 package Red Star Premier Cuvee yeast

EDIT: no boil was involved in this recipe, just a Campden tablet rest for 24hrs. When I said I tasted it at 2 months, I actually meant 4 months from starting must, 2 from bottling. And I did taste it at 1 month from starting must, which was a very ripe tomatoy-tart flavor (read: nasty).

Using this recipe, I had a starting must with a TA of .2% and a Brix of 15, which I adjusted--using acid blend and sugar--to .65% and 21 respectively. I just tasted it at a little over 4 months and the gaggy character that YooperBrew mentioned has aged to a nice barely distinguishable tomato character in my batch. My batch is also a nice golden color, which is at odds with the Home Winemakers claim of a light blush. The color, however, is darkening. Did you find this as well, Yooper?

The sweetness has come through a bit more at this point as well, and the structure is coming together with a medium-bodied mouth-feel. Home Winemakers Companion says drink young @ 3 months, so in 1 month I'm going to uncork the wonder!
 

musty

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Were you and Yoop leaving the skins in or just using the juice? Skins in for a few days might add color.

Been meaning to try this real soon though I might try my own version.
The recipe I used said to ferment on the skins until SG was 1.040 or under, which ended up being 3 days. At this point, fruit was pressed and removed.

I should note that the color early on was a nice light red, but as precipitate fell out and after the first (after pressing) and second racking (the final racking before bottling) a yellow color took hold. But as it's been aging, a solid gold color has been developing.

I didn't mention this earlier, but the TA of .65% makes the wine come off a bit tart at first. This has been smoothing out with age, however, and as the sweetness continues to come out--very unexpectedly--the sugar-acid balance seems to be remedying itself.
 

musty

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I also want to point out a major time difference in Yooper and my recipes: Yooper's aged for over a year, mine has aged about 4 months and--according to the Home Winemakers Companion--should be consumed at young at 5 months.
 

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Well, I divvied up the whole gallon amongst friends and a local sommelier. She--the som--noted it was better than she expected, but would definitely recommend boosting the sugar.

So, next batch I'll be shooting for at least 22 degrees Brix, probably more.

That is all :)
 

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I must say that I'm not sure I'm up for tomato wine. However, I have been enjoying tomato vinegar from ChefShop.com. Yoop, have you considered turning some of your tomato wine to vinegar? I'm in love with this stuff for vinaigrettes, adding brightness to tomato sauces and sausages, finishing sauces, et al. I even did a tomato/basil mayonnaise using the tomato vinegar as the liquid and/or acid component that turned out spectacularly well.
 
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I must say that I'm not sure I'm up for tomato wine. However, I have been enjoying tomato vinegar from ChefShop.com. Yoop, have you considered turning some of your tomato wine to vinegar? I'm in love with this stuff for vinaigrettes, adding brightness to tomato sauces and sausages, finishing sauces, et al. I even did a tomato/basil mayonnaise using the tomato vinegar as the liquid and/or acid component that turned out spectacularly well.
I've never made vinegar. It probably would be very good, though!

The wine was a very nice wine in the end, and is completely gone! It stayed a beautiful golden color. I was going to make it again this fall, but got vetoed on that use for Bob's tomatoes.
 

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I just made a 4x batch of this. I managed to buy 23 # of large tomatos from the amish man for 6$. I bought them from him last year, and they made good wine, so I thought I'd ramp it up a little bit this year and shoot for 4 gallons finished wine. I mixed in some of my own garden tomatoes and threw some of the amish tomatoes into some salsa I was making at the same time - did I mention these tomatoes taste great - just for fun, but in the end I think it was still about 23 # tomatoes that went into the wine.

I chopped all of these in a salsa maker and boiled them, then set them aside (because I was working on a single burner grill). I boiled and added 10 # sugar water to my 6 gallon plastic fermenter, filled to 4 2/5 gallons with tap water. I added 4x of all the chemicals. I did add the pectic enzyme, and was wondering if it works if added immediately - I may just add more. I then stretched a straining bag over the edge of the fermenting bucket and asked my wife to help me pour in the tomatoes. I tied off the bag and put the lid on the bucket.

This is a 6 gallon bucket and it is full. I think it might blow it's top when the yeasties get to it.
 

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After about 12 hours, I did add another dose of pectic enzyme, about 2 tsp. Then I added a packet of montrachet yeast after 24 hours. I covered the fermenter with a lid , but didn't add an airlock, just covered the hole with a paper towel, and set it in a deep sink, thinking it might blow. The next day, I was pleasantly surprised to find the bag of tomatoes had plugged the hole from below and all that was escaping was a lot of CO2 and fermenting tomato smell. My whole basement smells like fermenting tomatoes now, which isn't totally bad once you get used to it. So, now, 2 days later, I decided to add an airlock and the thing just goes berserk! I removed it again so it wouldn't just lose all the water and let the fruit flies in....
 

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Fermentation has slowed a good bit, so I decided it was racking day. I had prepared 3 4 litre jugs, a 3 -litre and a 1-litre, since that was the amount of liquid I originally had, but apparently, the tomatoes added another gallon of liquid to the mix. Luckily my 6-gallon carboy was clean and ready to use, so I racked into that. I've got almost a gallon of headspace, but it's still bubbling pretty steady, so I'm not too worried about o2 right now. The "wine" is cloudy and creamy colored. I tasted and there is still a good bit of sweetness to it, but you can taste the alchohol as well. There is a tomato tang to it.
 
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Fermentation has slowed a good bit, so I decided it was racking day. I had prepared 3 4 litre jugs, a 3 -litre and a 1-litre, since that was the amount of liquid I originally had, but apparently, the tomatoes added another gallon of liquid to the mix. Luckily my 6-gallon carboy was clean and ready to use, so I racked into that. I've got almost a gallon of headspace, but it's still bubbling pretty steady, so I'm not too worried about o2 right now. The "wine" is cloudy and creamy colored. I tasted and there is still a good bit of sweetness to it, but you can taste the alchohol as well. There is a tomato tang to it.
Thanks for the write-up! Make sure you let us know how it finishes.
 

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My garden had bushels of extra tomatoes this year and after packing the freezer and pantry full of sauce, frozen, diced, etc. I still had plenty for a big batch of tomato wine. This is my second wine ever, first was a tart cherry wine 8 years ago. Basically stuck to Yooper's recipe 5X. I know my water measurement is off but I was in a hurry (making 5 gallons of blueberry-pom apfelwein at the same time!)

20 lbs fresh ripe red tomatoes
3 lbs of seeded watermelon (had extra, figured what the hell!)
10 lbs granulated sugar
5 gallons water
3 1/4 tablespoon acid blend
2 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
5/8 tsp grape tannin
5 tsp yeast nutrient
5 crushed Campden tablet
1 pkg Champagne yeast

Half of my tomatoes were already blanched but the other half were freshly cut. Stuffed 10lbs of tomatoes into each of two separate grain socks and tied off. Dissolved 10lbs of sugar in water and poured over the tomato bags. Allowed to cool and then added acid blend, tannin, and yeast nutrient. I forgot the Campden tablets and so they went in 12 hours later. At the same time I made a starter for my champagne yeast and added it the next day. SG was 1.068 and it tasted pretty good, basically like super sweet tomato juice. Will be stirring twice a day for a week and then removing tomatoes and racking into secondary. I'll try and update as things progress...
 

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It finished really nice. I cleared it with sparkalloid on top of the campden and sorbistat K. I ended up bottling over 5 gallons. Most of it I bottled straight out of the carboy, but I also sweetened 1 1/2 gallons and also added about a tsp salt to the last half gallon. It is all good. It is mellow in the front of the mouth, but has a good kick at the end. It also has recognizable tomato tartness. I'm planning to age most of it until summer time.
 

lumpher

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We just drank the last bottle of this batch about 2 weeks ago. It was a beautiful golden color, with a tomato nose. It had nice legs, and a crisp fruity flavor. It's one of those things that definitely tastes better than it sounds!
it definitely has me scratching my head as to how it could be good, but is intriguing enough to make me want to brew up a batch. i live close enough to mexico so we get fresh tomatoes year-round, so i'll have to do a batch this weekend :D
 

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hmm were growing some black russian and other sorts of heirlooms this year. i wonder how those would turn out. i had a friend in minneapolis that would also put sage, and sometimes basil in his tomato wine. it was delicious. but some batches much too heavy on the basil, tasted like a spaghetti sauce of sorts haha
 

Damonic

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It finished really nice. I cleared it with sparkalloid on top of the campden and sorbistat K. I ended up bottling over 5 gallons. Most of it I bottled straight out of the carboy, but I also sweetened 1 1/2 gallons and also added about a tsp salt to the last half gallon. It is all good. It is mellow in the front of the mouth, but has a good kick at the end. It also has recognizable tomato tartness. I'm planning to age most of it until summer time.
Interesting. I've racked mine twice and it's crystal clear. I mean, beautiful... all sediment dropped out of suspension without me doing anything. How much sugar and salt did you use for your test portions?
 

floyd336

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I used 1/4 cup sugar per gallon, and less than 1 tbsp salt per gallon.

I have to say though, the unsweetened, unsalted wine is so delicious I still can't believe it. It has a subtle sweetness to it that is just right.
 

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Hey, Yooper -- I haven't the time to use up the bushels of tomatoes that I have on hand right now, I'm pretty sure that freezing them (for a month or two or three) won't hurt anything but I'd like to know from you or anyone else if using frozen tomatoes would be something I should avoid?

Thanks in advance, and if anyone is living nearby ---- well, if you're in need of tomatoes, holler. I can't give them away fast enough. Caspian Pink, Rutgers, Brandywine, Red Brandywine, Lemon Boy, Early Girl, Heintz, Sweet One Million, Mountain Pride, and Sunsugar. I used to be able to give all my surplus away, but a lot of folks acting on my enocuraging talks to start their own gardens and I'd give them my excess plants, seeds, etc.... I created my own competition to the point where one even offers ME their produce! I love it.

- Tim
 

KingBrianI

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I'm planting some Riesentraube tomatos this year for the sole purpose of making some tomato wine. Apparently, they are an old variety that were commonly used for this purpose. What varities have been successful for you guys?
 

KingBrianI

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Did I post drunk one night, piss everyone off, and forget about it? And now no one wants to talk to me? Going to check my post history...
 
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Did I post drunk one night, piss everyone off, and forget about it? And now no one wants to talk to me? Going to check my post history...
If you did, I forgot about it too. :D

I don't know what varieties I've used, as Bob is the gardener and he grows lots of early tomatoes for fresh eating. I didn't use any romas, but I would have it that's what he gave me! So, I just don't know the answer to your question- sorry!
 

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I've done many small batches of tomato wine. Done with skins on and off. Doesn't matter. The color still drops out. Very pleased with the wine. You would never know it was made with tomatoes. Similar to a chardonay my wife says. Doing a six gallon batch this year.
 

macshomebrew

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I do it with the skins on. No heating. All the color drops out. My recipe is a little different but similar. A great cheap wine. You wouldn't know it was made with tomato's. My wife says Cardonay like. I give mine at least 6 months before drinking.
 

Hansbrew

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My first post. I have been reading and using hbt for a while. I was wondering about tomato wine with chili or habenero peppers. Does it make sense? If so how much in a one gallon batch?


Sent from my iPhone using Home Brew
 

waarhorse777

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Hey all!

Has anyone tried using a juicer vs smashing them? Thought this may get more juice in the long run. Any thoughts?
 

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I've been freezing my tomatoes as they come out of the garden. I'm assuming its ok to use them frozen, as it helps break down the fruit better.

Has anyone tried adding basil to their tomato wine before? I love tomato wine (it tastes like an Italian meal), so i'm thinking that adding basil will make it more hearty.
 

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My first post. I have been reading and using hbt for a while. I was wondering about tomato wine with chili or habenero peppers. Does it make sense? If so how much in a one gallon batch?


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I would use the normal amount of tomatoes (5lbs) and add 2-5 peppers per gallon. It just depends on how spicy you want them.
 

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Giving this a try now! I was donated around 2.5 lbs of cherry tomatoes today, so i figured i would try bulking the remaining 4 lbs out with a gala melon. Other than that i have all other ingredients ready
 

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I have a one gallon of tomato wine I racked last week after a week in primary. It too is a golden colour already. I used the recipe from the joy of winemaking. Looking forward to the first taste mm mmm. Smells yeasty at the moment :)
 
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