How to Make Strawberry Wine

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Turn sweet, ripe strawberries into wine, using a few additives and proper aging in just a few weeks. Make strawberry wines ultra sweet or relatively dry -- either way, they offer complexity and a variety of flavor nuances. Winemaker Ed Kraus notes that strawberry is well-suited for wine due to its aroma.

The Perfect Berries

  • For 1 gallon of wine, which will yield about four 750-milliliter bottles, you will need approximately 3 pounds of berries. Though any type of strawberry can be used to make wine, wild strawberries -- found growing in meadows and woods throughout North America -- are preferable. They are smaller, usually sweeter and have a deeper flavor than commercially grown berries found in supermarkets.

    Clean, hull and quarter the berries to use for wine.

    Freezing the fruit first will make it easier to extract the juices. Freeze the berries for at least three days before using them in a wine recipe.

The Additives

  • In addition to the fruit, you'll need a few ingredients to turn the berries into wine. Adding yeast and sugar to the fruit will create the fermentation process. Wine Maker recommends using champagne yeast for light, fruit wines.

    • Campden tablets are made of sodium metabisulfite -- also called sulfites -- which help to prevent wild yeast and bacteria growth in wine.

    • Pectin enzyme will help keep the fruit from gelling so that you’ll end up with a clear wine instead of strawberry jam.

    • Tannins are found in strawberry seeds, though it’s advisable to add additional red wine tannins to round out the flavors of the berries, ultimately creating a more complex final product.

    • Acid blend or a tablespoon of lemon juice added to the mixture will bring out an acidic element, brightening the berry flavor and enhancing its aroma.

The Equipment

  • Start with clean, well-sanitized equipment. You will need a large stockpot or bucket to make the strawberry liquid in. Sanitize by using a commercial-grade sanitizing agent. Or, crush a Campden tablet into water and use this as your cleaning solution. Dry the bucket well before using it.

    You will also need a clean, 5-gallon jug -- also called a carboy -- with an airtight cap known as an airlock in which to ferment the wine.

    A fine mesh strainer can be used to separate the fruit pulp from the liquid and a siphon will enable you to take the liquid from the carboy to your bottles. To store your wine, use old wine bottles that have been cleaned and sanitized.

The Process

  • Dissolve 1 ½ pounds of sugar -- about 3 cups -- into 8 cups of water for a drier wine. For a sweeter, dessert wine, add in an additional 1/2 cup to 1 cup of sugar.

    Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the strawberries. Using a potato masher, slightly mash the berries.

    • Cover the mixture with a clean cloth and allow it to sit overnight.

    • Strain the liquid into a clean carboy or glass jug.

    • Add in the lemon juice or acid blend, 1 crushed Campden tablet, 1 teaspoon of pectin enzyme and 1/4 teaspoon of tannins.

    Cover the container with a clean cloth and allow it to sit for 24 hours before adding the yeast. After the mix has rested for 24 hours, mix the yeast with 2 tablespoons of warm water and allow it to sit for 5 minutes.

    Mix in the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon of yeast nutrient to give a boost to the fermentation. Blend the mixture well so that the yeast is well incorporated. Cap the carboy and allow the jug to sit in a cool, dark place to ferment. Imbibe notes that the fermentation process is done: “When you no longer see tiny bubbles rising to the top.” This process usually takes about three weeks.

    • Siphon the wine into bottles and cap them tightly. Place the bottles in the refrigerator and drink it within two weeks.

References

  • Photo Credit tunçsel ülkü/iStock/Getty Images
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