Easy To Make Fruit Wines
Fruit Wines

Easy To Make Fruit Wines

With more and more people living in flats or other limited accommodation, there is an increasing need for recipes and methods that produce wines that can be ready in a short time, be used up quickly owing to shortage of storage space, and yet still be wines of reasonable quality. Let us copy the French and call them vin ordinaire.

In the ordinary way, with warmth during fermentation, these wines should be ready for bottling in about eight weeks from starting out and they should be quite drinkable a month or two later. So anybody starting off a 10 ltr (2 gall) batch at monthly intervals could easily have in a few short weeks a constant supply of sixteen bottles a month. If that is not enough, you will have to start off 15 ltr (3 gall) batches each month. If you want a much varied collection of wines it would be best.to work with three or four 5 ltr (1 gall) batches of different sorts.

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Easy To Make Fruit WinesNaturally dry wines finish fermenting much sooner than the sweet sorts especially if only 900 g (2 lb) of sugar per 5 ltr (1 gall) are used. This will give you an alcohol content of 10.5% (17° proof). This is enough for dry wine. Such a wine might well ferment out in three weeks depending on the vigorousness of the yeast, the nutrient used and the temperature during fermentation. Indeed I have heard of wine-makers starting a batch of dry wine and winning first prize with it — believe it or not — six weeks later. All things are possible in wine-making. This wine would of course have been the lighter aperitif kind and to win a first prize it must have been of high standard in all respects. When making wines with the recipes on this website it would serve you well to use the hydrometer so that any sugar contained in the fruit (or, in the case of canned fruits in syrup, the amount of sugar in the syrup) can be accounted for before you add any; you may then calculate precisely how much to add to give you a total of 900 g (2 lb) per 5 ltr (1 gall). A total of 900 g (2 lb) of sugar will give you an hydrometer reading of 1080.

If you do not like dry wines you will have to make them sweet. Or if you like rather lower-alcohol than average sweet wines you can make the dry wines and then sweeten them with ordinary sugar. But do bear in mind that this is almost certain to bring about renewed fermentation if the wines are kept for more than a week, especially if they are, for lack of cool storage space, kept in a warm temperature. A friend of mind in precisely this position who likes the lower-alcohol sweet wines (though not too sweet) makes all his wines dry, keeps them as dry wines because they will not ferment as such, and then sweetens three or four bottles at a time and keeps them in the fridge until he needs them. Personally, I don’t like low-alcohol sweet wines. If I make sweet wines, which I sometimes do, I take good care to make all the alcohol that I can. But all this is a matter of taste. And therein lies, as I have written so many times before, the secret of successful wine-making: making what you like.

I can almost hear experienced wine-makers asking what is wrong with treating wines to prevent refermentation. Nothing, I suppose, but it is not something I would do if using the fridge suffices: But if you want to be sure of preventing refermentation without using the fridge, you can use one Campden tablet, or you may use one gramme of potassium sorbate, known commercially as Sorbistat K, per 5ltr (1 gall). This amount should not be exceeded. You may be able to obtain this from your local wine supply shop. Potassium sorbate has the effect of preventing the yeast from budding. Therefore any stray yeast spore that might be left in a dry wine would not be able to bud or reproduce and would therefore be unable to ferment the sweetening sugar.

Sweetening dry wines There may be an easier method of sweetening finished dry wines, but I have not yet discovered it. When sweetening wines do be sure that they are brilliantly clear beforehand. How much sugar to add depends entirely on personal tastes. But it would be wise to use not more than two teaspoonsful of sugar per bottle, at least as a first treatment. Pour about one-third of the bottle of wine into a glass (Pyrex), china or polythene jug and add the sugar. Stand the jug in a saucepan of hot water over gentle heat and stir constantly to dissolve the sugar without letting the wine become too warm. When all the sugar is dissolved, pour the sample back into the bottle, using a funnel. If you propose to sweeten 5ltr (1 gall), use one standard British Wine bottle of wine; add one or two teaspoonsful per bottle (six bottles per 5ltr (1 gall)) and treat the sample as already described. Then pour the treated sample into a clean 5ltr (1 gall) jar and add the rest of the wine to mix the sweetened sample thoroughly. Having treated either one bottle or the 5ltr (1 gall), sample for sweetness. If more sugar is needed repeat the treatment, but use less sugar this time to ensure against over-sweetening.

If potassium sorbate (Sorbistat K) will prevent fermentation it would seem a better idea to make a wine that will turn out sweet and then sample daily after say two weeks’ fermentation. As the yeast uses up the sugar the degree of sweetness can be defined either by taste (which, with the many flavours in a wine so young, might not be satisfactory) or by using the hydrometer to determine how much sugar is left unfermented. The Sorbistat K would then be added. However I am loth to use chemical additives at this stage of wine-making, even though this is an officially permissible additive. Using Campden tablets as a sterilizing agent at the beginning of winemaking is a different matter because the whole is lost during the process of wine-making, long before the wine is a finished product.

As most people living in fiats live in towns or some distance from wild fruit, and as they of cause have no garden fruits, I have confined the recipes in this article to the use of ingredients readily available at supermarkets or corner shops.

PINEAPPLE WINES

DRY

Fresh, fruity and very slightly acid.

Two 450 g (15 oz) cans of pineapple rings or chunks; 225 g (½ lb) sultanas; 675 g (1 ½ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly-made strong tea; few drops Pektolase; water as in method

SWEET

Nicely fruity with a slightly acid background.

Two and a half 450 g (15 oz) cans (or the equivalent) pineapple rings or chunks; 225 g (½ lb) sultanas; 11125 kg (2 ½ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly-made strong tea; few drops Pektolase; water as in method

METHOD

Chop the pineapple pieces or mince them in a baby-food mincer and put them with the juice in the fermenting pail. Chop or mince the sultanas and mix them •with the pulp. Put the sugar in about 1.2 1 (2 pt) of water, bring to the boil stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar and then pour the boiling syrup over the mixture. Make up to about 6 1 (10 pt) with boiling water, cover closely and allow to cool to lukewarm.

The next step is to add the yeast, nutrient and tea. Cover the vessel with sheet polythene, tie this down tightly with thin strong string and put the mixture in the warm to ferment for ten days, stirring daily.

Having done this, strain the mixture through three or four thicknesses of muslin, pressing the pulp as dry as you can. Return the strained wine to the cleaned fermenting vessel and stir in the few drops of Pektolase. Cover as before and leave for a further three or four days in the warm.

Then pour carefully into a 5 ltr (1 gall) jar, leaving as much 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.

GRAPEFRUIT WINES

DRY

Very fresh aperitif with slightly acid background.

Three 450 g (1 lb) cans of grapefruit segments (or the equivalent); 225 g (½ lb) sultanas; 675 g (1 ½ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly-made strong tea; good wine yeast and nutrient; few drops Pektolase; water as in method

SWEET

450 g (1 lb) cans grapefruit segments (or the equivalent); 225 g (½ lb) sultanas; 1.225 kg (2 ¾ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly-made strong tea; good wine yeast and nutrient; few drops Pektolase; water as in method

METHOD

Pour the contents of the cans into the fermenting pail, chop or mince the sultanas and mix them with the pulp. Then proceed in exactly the same way as given in the method for pineapple wine.

BLACKBERRY WINES

Delicious deep-red wines with fresh fruity flavours DRY

two 450 g (15 oz) cans of blackberries (or the equivalent); 225 g (½ lb) sultanas; 550 g (1 ¼ lb) sugar; strained juice of 1 lemon; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

SWEET

three 450 g (15 oz) cans blackberries (or the equivalent); 225 g (½ lb) sultanas; 1.125 kg (2 ½ lb) sugar; strained juice of 2 lemons; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

METHOD

Pour the contents of the cans into the fermenting vessel along with the chopped sultanas and strained lemon juice. Then proceed in exactly the same way as given in the method for pineapple wine.

LOGANBERRY WINES

Delightfully fruity

DRY

two 450 g (15 oz) cans loganberries (or equivalent); 225 g (½ lb) sultanas; 775 g (1 ¾ lb) sugar; strained juice of 1 lemon; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

SWEET

three 450 g (15 oz) cans loganberries (or equivalent); 225 g (½ lb) sultanas; strained juice of 2 lemons; 1.125 kg (2 ½ lb) sugar; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

METHOD

Pour the contents of the cans into the fermenting pail along with the chopped sultanas and strained lemon juice. Then proceed in exactly the same way as given in the method for pineapple wine.

LOGANBERRY AND BLACKBERRY WINES

A delicious blend of two very suitable fruits

DRY

one 450 g (15 oz) can of loganberries; one 450 g (15 oz) can blackberries; 225 g (½ lb) sultanas; 775 g (1 ¾ lb) sugar; strained juice of 1 lemon; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

SWEET

Make up about 600 g (22 oz) each of blackberries and loganberries (there is no need to be exact); 225 g (½ lb) sultanas; strained juice of 2 lemons; 2 ½ lb • sugar; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method METHOD

Pour the contents of the cans into the fermenting pail along with the chopped sultanas and strained lemon juice. Then proceed in exactly the same way as given in the method for pineapple wine.

PLUM WINES

Excellent wines with good flavour and colour

DRY

two 450 g (15 oz) cans of plums (or equivalent); 225 g (½ lb) sultanas; 775 g (1 ¾ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; few drops Pektolase; water as in method

SWEET

three 450 g (15 oz) cans plums (or equivalent); 225 g (½ lb) sultanas; 1.125 kg (2 ½ lb) sugar; good wine yeast and nutrient; few drops Pektolase; water as in method

METHOD

Pour the contents of the cans into the fermenting pail along with the chopped sultanas. Then proceed in exactly the same way as given in the method for pineapple wine.

PRUNE WINES

Wines of character and excellent colour

DRY

two 450 g (15 oz) cans prunes (or equivalent); 225 g (½ lb) dried currants; strained juice of 1 lemon; 775 g (1 ¾ lb) sugar; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

SWEET

three 450 g (15 oz) cans prunes (or equivalent); 225 g (½ lb) dried currants; strained juice of 2 lemons; 1.125 kg (2 ½ lb) sugar; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

METHOD

Pour the contents of the cans into the fermenting pail along with the chopped currants and strained lemon juice. Then proceed in exactly the same way as given in the method for pineapple wine.

RASPBERRY WINES

Not one for making sweet, but as a really dry aperitif it is excellent DRY

two 450 g (15 oz) cans of raspberries (or equivalent); 225 g (½ lb) sultanas; 675 g (1 ½ lb) sugar; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

METHOD

Pour the contents of the cans into the fermenting pail along with the chopped sultanas. Then proceed in exactly the same way as given in the method for pineapple wine.

ORANGE WINES

An excellent dry wine quite unlike any commercial product and therefore unique. Do not make sweet

DRY

One can of Beech’s prepared oranges (from wine supply shops); 225 g (½ lb) sultanas; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly-made strong tea; 675 g (1 ½ lb) sugar; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

METHOD

Pour the contents of the tin into the fermenting pail and add the •chopped sultanas and tea. Then proceed in exact.ly the same way as given in the method for pineapple wine.

See also the recipe for orange wine using fresh fruit.

Making wines with concentrated grape juice Having made some, or perhaps all, the wines in this section most of you will think of varying the recipes and consider using concentrated grape juice.instead of sultanas. Or perhaps you may want to use both. So the first thing to tell you is that the sugar in the sultanas has been accounted for. In other words the added sugar has been reduced to allow for the 100 g (¼ lb) sugar contained in 225 g (½ lb) sultanas. Therefore, if you decide to use 500 g (13 fl oz) of grape juice as well as the dried fruit, the amount of sugar given in the recipes would have to be reduced to allow for the sugar in the concentrate.

Example 1

Using 500 g (13 fl oz) grape juice as well as 225 g (½ lb) dried fruit. Reduce the amount of sugar by 350 g (13 oz) to allow for the sugar contained in the grape juice.

Example 2

Using 500 g (13 fl oz) without dried fruit. Reduce sugar given in recipe by 250 g (9 oz) to allow for the grape juice. Do bear in mind that 13 oz dry weight of sugar is not the same as the liquid measure, 13 fl oz of grape concentrate.

  • Type of concentrate to use with the recipes
  • pineapple wines — hock grapefruit wines — hock blackberry wine (dry) — rose blackberry wine (sweet) — Burgundy
  • loganberry wines — rose
  • loganberry and blackberry wines — rose or Burgundy plum wine (dry) — hock or rose
  • plum wine (sweet) — Burgundy or port style
  • prune wines — grape juice not especially recommended raspberry wine — rose orange wine — hock

Making wines with jam

Many people make quite good wines with jam — and even with marmalade though this is not something I have done myself. Anyway, it would be simple enough. Anybody with a stock of home-made jams would know how much fruit and how much sugar they used to produce the batch and work accordingly. Usually this is in the region of 450 g (1 lb) of sugar to 450 g (1 lb) of fruit. So a 450 g (1 lb) jar ofj am would contain approximately 225 g (½ lb) of fruit and 225 g (½ lb) of sugar. And it would seem from this that 2.7 kg (6 lb) of jam would make 5 ltr (1 gall) of fairly full-flavoured wine from the fruit content point of view if nothing more by way of flavouring were added. However, this amount of jam would contain approximately 1.3 kg (3 lb) sugar and this, of course, is too much for a dry wine. So if you settle for say 1.8 kg (4 lb) of jam (roughly 900 kg (2 lb) of fruit) you would have approximately 900 g (2 lb) of sugar which is just right for a dry wine. But the 900 g (2 lb) of fruit is not enough for 5 ltr (1 gall) of well-flavoured wine. So if a little fresh fruit (or tinned fruit) of the same sort were added to make up the flavour it should come out quite well.

But with purchased jam the fruit and sugar content might not be the usual for the home-made varieties and it would therefore be necessary to use the hydrometer. In both cases the simple procedure would follow the same course. Firstly you would have to decide on the sort ofj am — blackcurrant, blackberry or as your fancy takes you — and then decide how much you propose to use to make 5 ltr (1 gall), taking the fruit and sugar content into account, as I have just written. The jam would be put into the fermenting pail and the mixture brought up to 5 ltr (1 gall) with boiling water. Thorough stirring to break up the jam and disperse it throughout the water would be necessary. When this has been done it would be wise, when the mixture has cooled to about 15°C (60°F) to take the specific gravity to find the sugar content. But the sample for using the hydrometer would first have to be strained free of solids. Having taken the reading (specific gravity) you can consult the hydrometer table and decide whether to add more sugar or not. If you want to add some, bearing in mind that 65 g (2 ¼ oz) will raise the hydrometer reading by five, you may then go ahead. To dissolve the sugar, put about 6 dl (1 pt) of the diluted jam into a saucepan, put the sugar in this, heat gently, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved, and then stir this into the bulk.

The only addition would be one level 5 ml spoonful of citric acid stirred in together with a teaspoonful of Pektolase. This would be needed because jam contains a lot of pectin (if it did not, it would not set). Yeast and nutrient would then be added, the vessel covered as for other wines and fermentation allowed to proceed in the pail for ten days. After this the solids would have to be strained out, the strained wine returned to the cleaned fermenting pail and fermentation allowed to go on for a further three or four days, during which time most of the solids would settle out. The wine should then be poured carefully into a 5 ltr (1 gall) jar so that all the muddy deposit is left in the pail. A fermentation lock would then be fitted and the wine left to ferment to completion.

Making wines with jams and grape concentrate Working on the principle that 1.3 kg (3 lb) ofjam contain approximately 675 g (1 ½ lb) of fruit and 675 g (1 ½ lb) of sugar we are able to work out that the addition of 3.7 dl (13 fl oz) of a suitable grape concentrate will add a further 355 g (13 oz) of dry sugar (in suspension in the grape juice, of course). We are able to see that 1.3 kg (3 lb) of, say, blackberry jam and 3.7 dl (13 fl oz) of, say, Burgundy concentrate would give a decently flavoured wine. The mixture of grape juice and jam in this case would have a sugar content when mixed of approximately 1.025 kg (2 lb 5 oz), or perhaps a little less if the jam’s sugar content is not as high as expected. The best way to work with such a combination would be to pour about 3.5 ltr (6 pt) of boiling water onto the jam in the fermenting pail, thoroughly mix it, allow it to cool (so as not to spoil the flavour of the grape juice to be added) and when cool add the grape juice. Having done that, make the mixture up to 5 ltr (1 gall) with boiled water that has cooled, take the reading (specific gravity) and proceed as already described. But less acid would be needed when concentrated grape juice is used because this contains a fair amount (about half of the amount needed in an ordinary wine), so one level 5 ml spoonful of citric acid would be enough. The same principle could be employed with any variety of jam that you might like to make into wine, but do remember to use Pektolase because all jams contain a lot of pectin.

Marmalade could be used in the same manner as jam, with, if you like, a concentrated grape juice, but in this case you would be limited to a hock type. Any red concentrate would be quite out of place with the flavour of marmalade oranges. Acid would not be needed because the marmalade and grape juice would give plenty into any wine. But when using marmalade some tannin would be needed, either in the form of 3 dl (½ pt) tea or a level teaspoonful of grape tannin dissolved before it is added to the must.

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