Making Fruit Wines Using The Sulphiting Method

To Make Wines Easily Likened to Commercial Products Wines made from garden and hedgerow fruits will always be the backbone of home wine-making. Despite the amount of building and road-making, there is still an abundance of wild fruits for the picking in most areas. But do take heed of the warning that fruits gathered from along main roads carrying heavy traffic are best avoided and try to gather them a few hundred metres away from such roads.

Making Fruit Wines Using The Sulphiting Method All the recipes here will make top-quality wines without any additional ingredients. However, as I have already said, over the years since concentrated grape juices have become available nearly everybody — including myself— has been experimenting with various types of of concentrated grape juice with various fruits, not only to find out whether there was any worthwhile improvement in the quality of the finished product, but also to find which concentrate goes best with which fruits. For example a Burgundy concentrate would not go well with loganberries, but makes for a better blackberry wine. This is easy to understand when you realize that blackberries used alone make for a Burgundy-type wine.

It will be seen that under each recipe I recommend a certain amount of a certain type of grape juice — rose, hock or as the case may be. I also add ‘reduce sugar by’ whatever amount is given. The idea here is to show you which concentrate to use in what amount. Because the concentrate contains a lot of sugar, you will have to reduce the amount given in the recipes to allow for it. In this way you may use the recipes as they are if you want to. The use of concentrated grape juice with them is purely optional, because the recipes as they stand will make excellent wines in their own right. The methods call for prepared fruits. All you have to do is to remove leaves, stalks or hulls and rinse the fruits under a fast running tap. Do not bother to remove stones except from peaches and apricots.

The method in this article is what is known as the sulphiting method. Instead of heating the fruits or juices in order to destroy wild yeasts and bacteria on them we use Campden tablets. These, when crushed to a powder and dissolved in a small amount of water, make a small amount of liquid known as sulphite solution. This is the same as the sterilizing solution used for bottles and jars, but is much weaker. Do not be tempted to use a few drops of the sterilizing solution instead because you will not be able to control the amount of sulphite you add. By using Campden fruit-preserving tablets as in the methods we control the amount we use. This, it will be seen, is added when there is much less than 5 ltr (1 gall) of mixture. The idea here is to sterilize the fruits. Then when we make up the mixture to 5 ltr (1 gall) we dilute the sulphite in the mixture to a point where it will not prevent the yeast we add from making the mixture into wine for us. So we start off with a mixture free of all the causes of spoilage.

It will be seen that all the recipes are for 5 I (1 gall). This is the amount most people like to use to get the feel of things before making larger amounts. If you want to make larger amounts you will have to increase each ingredient according to the amount you want. If you want 10 ltr (2 gall), double all ingredients. If you want 25 ltr (5 gall) increase all ingredients to five times the amounts given.

Reminders For many years now I have recommended using boiled water that has cooled. 5 ltr (1 gall) of boiled water takes a long time to cool, so it would be wise to boil this several hours before starting to make the wine. Similarly, sugar boiled in water to make syrup needs a couple of hours to cool, so you can make this up ready for use when required in the methods. Many people seem to get along fine without boiling their water, but I prefer to do this (my water supply is not suspect, incidentally), and certainly I get a better wine than when I use it straight from the tap.

If you use concentrated grape juice with the recipes here the can must be opened, stood in hot water and stirred to dissolve the grape sugar which settles to the bottom. The amount to use may then be poured into the mixture when advised in the method.

Note that the popular 1 kg can of concentrated grape juice contains about 7 dl (27 fl oz), so the 3.5 dl 13 fl oz given under each recipe is near enough half a 1 kg can. Do not confuse the 35 oz by weight of 1 kg with the liquid measure of 27 fl oz; the 13 oz of dry sugar is not the same as the 13 fl oz of grape juice.

BLACKBERRY WINES

DRY

Good imitation of Beaujolais.

1.3 kg (3 lb) blackberries; 225 g (½ lb) elderberries; 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) of Burgundy concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

MEDIUM

Burgundy style.

2 kg (4 ½ lb) blackberries; 1.225 kg (2 ¾ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

SWEET

Sweeter Burgundy style.

2.2 kg (5 lb) blackberries; 1.350 kg (3 lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) Burgundy concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

SPECIAL

Excellent port style. Include the concentrate, but do not reduce sugar.

1.6 kg (3 ½ lb) blackberries; 450 g (1 lb) elderberries; 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) port-style concentrate; good wine yeast and nutrient; 1.125 kg (2 ½ lb) sugar; water as in method

METHOD

Put the prepared fruits in the fermenting pail and crush well by hand and stir in about 2 ½ ltr (5 gall) of boiled water that has cooled. Crush one Campden fruit-preserving tablet to a powder, dissolve this in about an eggcupful of warm water and stir it into the mixture. Add the concentrated grape juice, if being used, and give a thorough stirring. Put the sugar in about 1.2 1 (2 pt) of water, bring to the boil slowly stirring constantly until dissolved, allow to cool and then stir into the rest. Having done this, add the yeast and nutrient.

The next step is to cover with sheet polythene with no holes in it, tie this down tightly with thin strong string and ferment in the warm for eight or nine days, stirring daily. After this, strain the mixture through three or four thicknesses of muslin, press the pulp as dry as you can and discard it. Clean the fermenting pail and return the strained wine to this. Cover as before and leave in the warm to continue fermenting for three or four more days. The next step is to pour carefully into a 5 ltr (1 gall) jar leaving as much of the muddy deposit in the pail as you can. If the jar is not filled to where the neck begins, fill to this level with boiled water, then fit a fermentation lock and leave until all fermentation has ceased.

ELDERBERRY WINES

Use elderberries growing in small round clusters, not those in large irregular-shaped clusters.

DRY

900 g (2 lb) elderberries; 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) Burgundy concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

MEDIUM

Often likened to Dubonnet. 1.3 kg (3 lb) elderberries; 1.225 kg (2 ¾ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

Either 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) Burgundy concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz) or 1.4 dl (5 fl oz) Tamilier concentrate; if you use the latter do not reduce the sugar.

SWEET

Port style. 1.8 kg (4 lb) elderberries; 1.350 kg (3 lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) port-type concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz) -

SPECIAL

Do not omit the concentrate. Do not reduce amounts of sugar stated. 450 g (1 lb) elderberries; 900 g (2 lb) blackberries; 2.8 dl (10 fl oz) Tamalier concentrate; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method; sugar: for dry use 1 kg (2 ¼ lb); for medium use 1.225 kg (2 ¾ lb); for sweet use 1.350 kg (3 lb)

METHOD

Proceed as for blackberry wine.

DAMSON WINES

DRY

Table wine.

1.8 kg (4 lb) damsons; 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) rose concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

MEDIUM

2.2 kg (5 lb) damsons; 1.225 kg (2 ¾ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) rose concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

SWEET

2.7-3.8 kg (6-8 lb) damsons; 1.350 kg (3 lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

Use two Campden tablets owing to larger amount of fruits.

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) Burgundy concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

SPECIAL

Do not omit the concentrate and do not reduce the sugar.

2.2 kg (5 lb) damsons; 2.8 dl (10 fl oz) Tamalier concentrate; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method; sugar: for dry use 1 kg (2 ¼ lb); for medium use 1.225 kg (2 ¾ lb); for sweet use 1.350 kg (3 lb)

METHOD

Proceed as for blackberry wine.

PLUM WINES

Any variety of fully ripe plums may be used, but do not mix varieties. Black or near black sorts are best.

DRY

Table wine. 1.8 kg (4 lb) plums; 900 g (2 lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) Burgundy concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

MEDIUM

2.2-2.7 kg (5-6 lb) plums; 1.225 kg (2 ¾ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) Burgundy concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

SWEET

Full-bodied heavier sort. 3.6 kg (8 lb) plums; 1.350 kg (3 lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method.

Use two Campden tablets owing to larger amount of fruit.

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) Burgundy concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

SPECIAL

Excellent port style. Do not omit the concentrate and do not reduce the sugar.

2.7 kg (6 lb) plums; 450 g (1 lb) elderberries; 3.5 dl (13 fl oz) port-style concen-

trate; 1.125 kg (2 ½ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method METHOD

Proceed as for blackberry wine.

GREEN GOOSEBERRY WINES

Slightly acid wines, excellent as an aperitif when made dry.

DRY

1.3 kg (3 lb) gooseberries; 1.125 kg (2 ½ ltrb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) hock or rose concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

MEDIUM

1.6 kg (3 ½ lb) gooseberries; 1.225 kg (2 ¾ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) hock or rose concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

SWEET

1.8 kg (4 lb) gooseberries; 1.350 kg (3 lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) hock concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

METHOD

Proceed as for blackberry wine.

BLACKCURRANT WINES

DRY

1.1 kg (2 ½ lb) blackcurrants; 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

1.4 dl (5 fl oz) of Tamalier concentrate; do not reduce sugar.

MEDIUM

1.3 kg (3 lb) blackcurrants; 1.225 kg (2 ¾ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

1.4 dl (5 fl oz) Tamalier concentrate; do not reduce sugar

SWEET

1.8 kg (4 lb) blackcurrants; 1.350 kg (3 lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

2.8 dl (10 fl oz) Tamalier concentrate; do not reduce sugar.

METHOD

Proceed as for blackberry wine.

REDCURRANT WINES

DRY

1.1 kg (2 ½ lb) redcurrants; 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) rose concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

MEDIUM

1.3 kg (3 lb) redcurrants; 1.225 kg (2 ¾ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) rose concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

SWEET

1.6 kg (3 ½ lb) redcurrants; 1.350 kg (3 lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) rose concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

METHOD

Proceed as for blackberry wine.

APRICOT WINES

Halve the apricots and remove stones before weighing fruit.

DRY

1.1 kg (2 ½ lb) stoned apricots; 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) rose or hock concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

MEDIUM

1.3 kg (3 lb) stoned apricots; 1.225 kg (2 ¾ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) hock concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

SWEET

1.6 kg (3 ½ lb) stoned apricots; 1.350 kg (3 lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) hock concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

METHOD

Proceed as for blackberry wine.

LOGANBERRY WINES

DRY

1.1 kg (2 ½ lb) loganberries; 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) rose concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

MEDIUM

1.3 kg (3 lb) loganberries; 1.225 kg (2 ¾ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) rose concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

SWEET

1.3 kg (3 lb) loganberries; 1.3 kg (3 lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

3.5 dl (13 fl oz) hock concentrate; reduce sugar by 350 g (13 oz)

METHOD

Proceed as for blackberry wine.

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