How To Make Blackberry Wine

Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy – Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was right, and to make it easier for us mere mortals to be happy, God blessed us with a bounty of fruit that can be transformed, with a little knowledge and skill, into all sorts of glorious wine.

Grapes might be the oenophiles’ chosen vessel for fermentation, but if you were raised in the country like we were, you’ll know that wine doesn’t start, and it certainly doesn’t end with a vineyard. 

Our favorite and possibly one of the easiest, wines to make is Blackberry, as the fruit is bountiful, grows nearly everywhere and whenever we want to make another batch, all we have to down is venture a couple of miles down the road and pick all the berries that we need to from the wild bushes that seem to grow almost everywhere. 

Picking Your Berries

Choosing the fruit is the smoothest and most straightforward part of the wine-making process, as you can pick blackberries from as many different bushes as you want.

The variety in taste, which will run the gamut from sweet to tart, will just add to the complexity of flavor in your wine, and as blackberries have high natural sugar content and sweetness, they’re ideal for making deep, rich, and surprisingly intricate fruit wines.

But, the one thing that you do need to remember, is that you’re not the one who knows that the berries are free, and there’s a good chance that when you pick them, the fruits that you collect might not be ripe and might have already provided a feast for the local insect population before you collected them. 

The best way to ensure that you’re only going to use good berries in your wine is to put all the fruit that you’ve collected in a bowl full of cold water and leave it for a couple of hours.

The bad, and unripened berries will float to the surface, and the good berries will sink to the bottom. Siphon off the bad berries and leave the good berries to soak while you prepare everything else that you’re going to need to start brewing. 

The Home Winemakers Arsenal – What You’ll Need To Start Brewing

Now that your fruit is ready, you’ll need to start thinking about everything else that you’ll want to start brewing your first batch of blackberry wine. So, we’ve prepared a list of all the ingredients and equipment needed to brew a gallon of fruit wine. 

Equipment – A potato masher, a saucepan, two demijohns, a fermentation bucket with a lid, an airlock, a bung, a bag to strain your fruit through, and a siphon

Ingredients – Four pounds of blackberries, two pounds of sugar, a gallon of water, one sachet of wine yeast, one teaspoon of yeast nutrient, half a teaspoon of pectic enzyme, and one Campden tablet

Making Blackberry Wine 

Pour half of your water into the saucepan, put it on the stove on low heat, and gradually begin to bring it to a boil.

While the water is slowly starting to reach temperature, put the straining bag inside the fermentation bucket and put your blackberries in the bag (which is in the bucket).

Add the sugar to the water in the saucepan, and while keeping an eye on the pan to ensure that the mixture doesn’t burn as the sugar is dissolving, pulverize the blackberries inside the bag with the potato masher. 

As soon as the sugar has completely dissolved in the water, turn the heat off and leave it to cool for a few minutes.

When the two minutes are up, pour the contents of the pan onto the blackberries, add the other half of the water and stir in the yeast nutrient.

Once the nutrient and the blackberries, sugar, and water have been thoroughly mixed and stirred, leave it to cool for another couple of hours.

After it’s cooled down, crush the Campden tablet, add it to the contents of the fermentation bucket, stir it in, put the lid on the bucket and leave it alone for twelve hours.

Remove the lid, after the correct amount of time has passed, add the pectic enzyme to the mixture, stir it again, put the lid back on the bucket, and walk away from it for a day. 

Twenty-four hours later, uncover the bucket and sprinkle the contents of the yeast packet on the surface of the mixture and fasten the lid back in place with the airlock.

Now that you’ve added the yeast, the first (or primary) fermentation will start to happen, and all you need to do is gently shake the bucket every eight or so hours for the next four days to agitate the mixture and let nature do the rest.  

One week after you added the yeast and secured the lid in place with the airlock, open the fermentation bucket, carefully lift the bag and let the fermented juice strain out of the bag and into the bucket.

When you’re sure that all the juice has strained through the bag, put it to one side and refasten the lid on the bucket that’s now full of the juice that’s going to become your wine.

Forty-eight hours later, rack (which is a winemaking term that means pouring the contents of one container into another) the contents of the bucket into one of the demijohns and seal it with a bung and an airlock. 

Let it settle for three to four weeks, or until the juice has started to look clear, and then rack (pour) it into the other demijohn.

While it isn’t strictly necessary, it’s always advisable to take a hydrometer reading at this point, as it should show you that you’re on the right path to winemaking success. 

Now that your wine is ready, you’ll need to store the demijohn and its contents in a cool, dry place for about six months to allow the wine to fully ferment. 

And when the process is complete and the six months are up, your wine will be ready and you can siphon it into bottles and enjoy the fruit of your winemaking labor. 

Christina Day
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