Cherry Winemaking At Home Is An Art
Cherry wine has a distinct flavor and a mellowing quality to it. There is no official written record or official recipe that shows how to make cherry wine from sweet and tart cherries, but the homemade brew caught on especially in areas of the United States and Europe, where sweet and sour cherries are grown. Michigan, Washington, Oregon and California are the main states where cherries are grown and where most people discovered how to make sour cherry wine at home.
Michigan holds the self-proclaimed title of being the Cherry Capital of the World. It’s one of the states where a National Cherry Festival is held every year. Michigan is also the state where people learned how to make cherry wine from juice, and they learned how to make sour cherry wine at home years ago.
The main reason people learned how to make cherry wine at home was because the liquor stores focused on selling red and white grape wines before cherry wines became popular drinks. The liquor stores in Michigan, and other cherry-producing states, now carry cherry wines, which are very popular. In Michigan, cherry wines make up 25% of all the wines sold in liquor stores. But they’re still hard to find in other states, and thats why there is so much interest in how to make cherry wine these days.
Step Five How To Rack Your Wine
There is only one way to transfer your wine from one demijohn to another, without also transferring over all that sediment and gunk at the bottom. Youre going to have to rack it.
Before you start racking your wine, you will need to ensure that your siphon tube and second demijohn are both fully sterilized, and dried.
Then take your wine-filled demijohn out of storage and place it on a flat countertop or table top, taking care that you dont accidentally disturb the sediment while you move it.
Place your empty demijohn on the ground below, then use your vinyl tubing to start moving the wine from one demijohn to the other. Lower the tube all the way to the bottom of the demijohn, without touching the sediment layer at the bottom.
Then suck hard on the other end and as soon as the wine starts flowing through the tube, start filling the second demijohn.
Get as much wine as you can into the second bottle, but avoid the sediment at all costs if you do accidentally transfer a bit of sediment over, you may need to repeat the racking process a few more times to clear the wine completely.
Once the liquid has been transferred, put the bung and airlock onto your new demijohn, and put it into storage for another two months.
Then repeat the racking process again.
Your wine should be clear within 4-6 months , but if it isnt, just keep on repeating this step until you have the clarity you want.
Fermentation Friday: How To Make Cherry Wine
I went cherry picking today with my friend Dekalb not at an orchard, but at a parking lot thats been home to these trees for the past few decades. The trees actually predate the parking lot, or so we have been told by the parking lot owners, who are happy to have us pick the cherries without remuneration since it means fewer of them dropping on the pavement and attracting bees.
When we started picking at this lot, there were three trees: two had yellow sweet cherries and one had red sweet cherries. The yellow ones were at least 30 feet high, which meant we couldnt actually pick most of the cherries unless the local fire department were inclined to lend us a ladder truck. Weve never succeeded on that front. We managed to make off with 7-10 gallons of yellow cherries each season despite the limitation.
A few years ago, one of the yellows was cut down due to illness. The other one muct be almost 40 feet by now, or maybe I am just really bad at estimating height. This past year, the parking lot owners pruned off some of the lower branches, and now even when with a tall ladder and a tall Dekalb, its hard to get many cherries. He got maybe a quart today, while I picked none there was no way I could reach any of them from either ladder we brought.
In celebration of the first cherry harvest of the year, I thought Id share a cherry wine recipe.
This recipe makes about a gallon of dry cherry wine. If you prefer something sweeter, use 3 or 4 pounds of sugar rather than 2.
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Step One Cherry Picking Your Ingredients
One of my earliest memories is standing on a wooden stool to grab a handful of cherries off the beautiful pink cherry tree in our garden.
I remember how the branches would bend and ache with the weight of the ripe, red fruit, and how easily the berries separated from the tree and into my hand.
Cherry trees still fill me full of joy whether they are all dressed up in delicate pink blossoms, or offering me their fruit all summer long.
Its no wonder that they have been lovingly painted by some of the worlds greatest artists, and decorative orchards can be found all across the globe.
The US is the second-largest cherry producer in the world, and cherry festivals are held in northern states and in the southern plains of Canada every April and May.
These cherry fairs are a great opportunity to stock up on ingredients and taste-test a few different cultivars so you can choose the perfect mix for your cherry wine.
There are dozens of different varieties of cherries, but they can largely be divided into two groups: sweet cherries and sour cherries.
You will know exactly which one you are tasting the second you bite down on it, although sour cherries also tend to give themselves away by sporting a darker, blacker color than their sweet cousins.
For this cherry wine, I like to use a 50/50 mix of sweet and sour cherries, as it adds a complexity to the wine which you wouldnt otherwise have.
Alternatively, bulk buy organic cherries from your local market, stem-on if possible.
Cherry Wine Recipe How To Make Cherry Wine
This cherry wine recipe uses a mixture of sweet and sour cherries to produce a delicious rich wine with a heady aroma. If your sweet cherries come before the sour, just freeze them until youre ready to use them.
All you need to do is to put them in an air-tight bag and pop them in the freezer. Theyll be fine for a couple of months. When defrosted they will be softened, which makes it easier to crush them.
You may find the page How to Grow Cherries on the Allotment Garden web site helpful.
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Making Wine Like A Pro
Additional Home Wine Making Information
- Before starting your first batch of homemade wine you may want to take a look at the following article listed on our web site: The Top Ten Reasons For Fermentation Failure. This will help you to avoid the mistakes that have been most commonly made by beginners. Being sanitary is one of the keys to great home wine making. Be sure to thoroughly clean all the home wine making equipment and home wine making supplies before getting started. Four crushed Campden Tablets to each quart of water makes a good sanitizer. Just follow the directions provided with the Campden Tablets.
- During the wine making process, it is very important to keep fermentation temperatures stable between 70-75 degrees F. Getting the fermentation too cool could result in the fermentation stopping before all the alcohol is made. Getting the fermentation too warm could result in off-flavors in the wine.
- The wine will be dry tasting when done fermenting. If you prefer your wines sweeter, simply add sugar, honey, etc. to taste. However, you must first add a wine making stabilizer such as Potassium Sorbate, or there will be a strong chance of re-fermentation occurring in the bottles.
- You may decide to purchase a Wine Making Hydrometer. It measures the concentration of sugar in your wine at any given time. With this information you can determine your wineâs alcoholic content or simply monitor the progress throughout the home wine making process.
Cherry Wine Recipe A Full Flavoured Red
Cherries make a wonderful fruit wine with a great depth of flavour. Out of all the fruit wines I make I think cherry wine has the best colour and it always comes out better than you expect, there are other health benefits too. If you can source some cherries for yourself the this cherry wine recipe is definitely one to try.
In temperate northern regions there is usually an abundance of cherries during the summer, either from a pick your own farm or lots of people grow the trees in their gardens. I live close to a pick your own farm which has rows of cherry trees which makes picking enough to make wine pretty easy. However, one great thing about this recipe is you can use frozen or canned cherries and the wine is just as good as using fresh cherries.
This means you should be able to make this cherry wine year round as most grocery stores will have cherries of some sort, either fresh, frozen or canned year round.
Preparing The Cherries For Wine Making
It is important to destone the cherries.
To get the cherries ready to make wine is simple but a little labour intensive. You will want to wash them thoroughly and remove any bad cherries. As well as this you will need to remove the stems and destone the cherries. As we are going to be mashing the flesh we do not want the stones in the wine as the insides of cherry pits are toxic if you consume enough.
Most of the time frozen cherries are pre-prepared so this makes them great for making cherry wine.
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Fresh & Frozen Cherries
Cherries are a bold flavour and this flavour really does well even after freezing the cherries. The real difference between frozen or fresh cherries is the texture and for us wine makers the texture is not really an issue for us. In fact freezing cherries is actually beneficial as it breaks down the structure of the fruit which when thawed will release more of the sugars and juices we want in the wine.
Canned Cherry Wine
In fact, even canned cherries will work on this recipe. Usually canned cherries are in a light syrup which can also be added to the wine as long as there are no preservatives in it. Using canned cherries in this cherry wine recipe is exactly the same, you just need to work out how many cherries are in the can, usually there is a net weight that you can use to work this out.
If you are using the syrup from the tinned cherries you will want to decrease the amount of sugar you add. The can will usually detail how much sugar is in the syrup on the nutritional information or you can use a hydrometer to work it out.
How Much Fruit Is Needed For Cherry Wine
I started by removing one quart of the juice, and I set it aside to make cherry jelly. That left me with 3 quarts of cherry juice.
Assuming youre not interested in making cherry jelly, starting with 6-8 pounds of fruit would work just fine. Many recipes start with 5 pounds of fruit, and Id say itll depend on the flavor of your cherries.
Black cherries have a more intense flavor, with a rich wine-y note. Tart cherries contain a lot more water and most sour cherry jam recipes involve nearly an hour of cooking to cook them down.
I suggest starting with 6-8lbs of tart cherries, or 5-6 pounds of sweet black cherries.
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Step Six Finishing Your Wine
When your wine has been racked and cleared, you can start thinking about bottling up!
The bottling process is pretty similar to racking, except this time youre transferring your wine into bottles instead of a demijohn.
Line up your bottles and use your vinyl tubing to get things moving. Within minutes you should have six full bottles glowing pink with cherry wine. Perfection!
Secure and seal the corks and attach your own home-made label which lists the ingredients, the bottling date and the ABV .
Store your bottles somewhere cool and dark, away from direct sunlight.
You can start drinking your wine within a couple of months, and this is actually one of those rare wines which tastes better when its young and still relatively sweet.
You can leave it to mature for a year or more, but try to drink it all within 18 months of bottling, as it really wont improve in flavor after that.
Not that it will be terribly difficult to polish off one batch within a few months this is an easy-drinking wine that works best as an after-dinner drink, or a fireside tipple in the depths of a cold winter.
Personally, I think theres no better combination than a glass of cherry wine served at room temperature, with a handful of really good dark chocolate, but this wine also pairs well with sweets featuring marzipan, orange, coffee and vanilla sponge.
Bottling Your Cherry Wine
Many winemakers believe that aging helps to bring out the subtle flavors in the fruit, resulting in a more delicious final product. But some people prefer the bright flavor of young cherry wine!
We recommend having a glass now, and saving a few bottles for later . You can compare the taste of younger and aged wine, and see which one you like better!
The most common complain we hear about cherry wine is that it sometimes comes out too dry. Don’t worry, it will get better with time. But, if yours seems to lack flavor, you’ll want to backsweeten it by making a simple syrup.
We hope you enjoyed this recipe for cherry wine! Ready to get started? Grab a Brewsy winemaking kit, which has all the tools you need to guarantee delicious and reliable cherry wine every time you make it! .
1 Gallon Cherry Juice
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Tart Cherry Juice Benefits
The natural deep red color of tart cherry juice is a sign that its rich in antioxidants. Specifically, tart cherries are rich in polyphenols and have evenmore antioxidants than red wine or dark chocolate .
Some small human studies show tart cherry juice may have the following health benefits: 1) improvement in sleep quality and quantity, and increased melatonin , 2) aiding in recovery after intense exercise , and 3) reducing blood pressure and LDL cholesterol . Its also rich in potassium!
How To Make A Gallon Of Chokecherry Wine
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If you love sweet fruit wine, you’ll love this luscious Chokecherry Wine recipe! It’s a full-bodied, slightly tart, semi-sweet wine, with a surprisingly pleasant bitter aftertaste. It can be sweetened further with simple syrup or Chokecherry Syrup or leave it dry if that’s what you prefer!
Making a gallon batch of Choke Cherry Wine, or any sweet fruit wine for that matter, couldn’t be simpler or more rewarding! Most wine-making kits have everything you need to make many bottles of wine, including Chokecherry Wine!
Since purchasing my winemaking kit, I’ve made the following: Elderberry wine, Chokecherry wine, Oregon grape wine, Black Haw wine, mixed berry wine, plum wine, huckleberry wine, and I currently have a few gallons of meads fermenting!
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Preparing Supplies And Ingredients
The Cherry Wine Story
In 1931, country music pioneer and railroad man Jimmie Rodgers sang the words, Im goin where the water drinks like cherry wine/ Cuz the Georgia water tastes like turpentine.
In the 80 years since Rodgers recorded that line from his classic song T for Texas, legends including Buddy Guy, Van Morrison, Tommy James & the Shondells, Prince, Steely Dan and the Foo Fighters, have all written cherry wine into song lyrics.
Artists use cherry wine in the most positive, poetic, romantic way, such as when Sheryl Crow sings, I feel like cherry wine, like Valentines, like the spring is coming/ And everything is alright on her track Over You.
In the time between Rodgers plaintive yodeling and Crows power hooks, cherry wine has evolved, too, from being a Prohibition- and Depression-era homebrew to being crafted and sold by 50-some wineries across the country.
These winemakers lend their training, experience, and expansive resources to perfecting and experimenting with the recipes pioneered in woodsheds, cellars, and kitchens during Rodgers day.
Cherry and other fruit wines are still hard to find compared to the sheer volume of reds and whites on the market. But in a majority of states you can now order cherry wine directly from the producer with your credit card, which is a step up from 1) going without or 2) knocking on doors to find someone with a bucket, tubing, and a knack for chemistry, like back in the 1930s.
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