Simple Homemade Blackberry Wine Recipe
Looking to craft your own delicious, robust blackberry wine at home? No matter if you're an experienced homebrewer or a novice, our easy-to-follow, blackberry wine recipe will guide you to your best batch yet.
Why Choose Blackberries for Wine
Blackberries are an excellent choice for homebrewed wine, with their natural sweetness and juicy flavours. With the right combination of ingredients, their taste transforms into a rich and delightful wine, sure to impress any wine enthusiast. Whether you're gathering blackberries from your local hedgerows or purchasing them from the store, our simple homemade blackberry wine recipe will guide you every step of the way.
- 1.8kg Fresh Blackberries
- 1kg Brewing sugar
- Campden tablet
- Wine Yeast
- Yeast Nutrient
- Pectic Enzyme
- 4.5 litres Water
- Cleaner & Steriliser
- 10L Fermentation Bucket
- 5-litre Glass Demijohn
- Rubber Bung
- Straining Bag
Gathering Your Blackberries
If you're foraging for your blackberries, try to gather them from a variety of bushes to capture a full spectrum of sweet, tart, and juicy flavours. If you're buying them, we recommend opting for frozen blackberries as they tend to be riper and have higher sugar content.
Preparing Your Blackberries
Foraged blackberries should be carefully sorted to remove any poor-quality or insect-damaged berries. A quick trick to speed up this process is to place them in a bowl of cold water; the bad berries will float while the good ones sink. Then, simply strain the good berries and pick through any remaining ones by hand.
What Kind of Yeast to Use in Blackberry Wine?
When making blackberry wine, it is important to choose the right yeast to bring out the rich flavours of the wine. Here are some yeast recommendations for blackberry wine:
- Lalvin 71B-1122: This yeast enhances the fruity flavours while also providing a smooth and well-rounded finish.
- K1-V1116: This yeast is also a good option for fruit wines, as it is less picky and can handle a wider range of temperatures.
- Gervin GV2: This is a robust yeast that gives a rapid start to fermentation and can be used for fruit, berry, and red wine.
- Gervin GV11: This yeast is a red fruit wine yeast that is recommended for fruity wines with a fine bouquet, especially reds in the Beaujolais style
Ultimately, the best yeast for blackberry wine depends on personal preference and the desired flavour profile, These strains are specifically designed for fruit wines, and they can handle a higher sugar content, making them ideal for blackberry wine. They contribute to a well-balanced, flavourful, and aromatic finished wine.
- Clean and Sterilize Equipment: Begin by thoroughly cleaning and sterilizing all of your equipment, including your fermentation bucket, straining bag, syphon, demijohn, and airlock, using a cleaner sterilizer such as VWP or Stericleen. Sanitation is a crucial first step in the homebrew process to prevent contamination and ensure a successful fermentation.
- Prepare the Blackberries: Place your washed and prepared blackberries into your straining bag and secure it within your sanitized fermentation bucket. Mash the blackberries gently using a masher or your hands to release their juice. Note: If you choose to use your hands, be prepared for a bit of staining - your hands may have a pinkish hue for a few days!
- Prepare the Sugar Solution: Bring the kettle to a boil and add your brewing sugar into a jug. Pour 500ml of boiling water into the jug and stir continuously to dissolve the sugar; this should only take a few minutes.
- Combine Ingredients: Pour the hot sugar solution over the mashed blackberries, then add 4.5 litres of cold water to cool the mixture down. Once the must (unfermented wine mixture) has cooled, add the yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme, and 1 crushed Campden tablet. Mix thoroughly to combine.
- Allow to Rest: Secure the lid on your fermentation bucket and fit an airlock if your bucket has a hole in the lid. Let the mixture rest for at least 12 hours, ideally 24 hours, to allow the Campden tablet to kill off bacteria and inhibit the growth of yeasts. This resting stage sets the stage for a clean and controlled fermentation.
- Add the Yeast and Begin Fermentation: Now it's time to add the yeast. Sprinkle your choice of yeast over the surface of the must. Secure the lid on your fermenter, half-fill your airlock with water, and attach it to your bucket. Allow the primary fermentation to begin, keeping the bucket in a warm location, preferably between 18-22°C. This temperature range will encourage optimal yeast activity and fermentation.
- Stir During Fermentation: During the first few days, it's essential to gently stir the mixture. Rotating the base of the bucket each day ensures that the blackberries are evenly distributed, preventing them from floating to the top. This ensures a consistent flavour and helps the fermentation process.
- Remove Blackberries: After about a week, take care to remove the bag of blackberries without squeezing, as excess pressure can affect the flavour. Discard the spent fruit, and be extremely cautious about contamination - even one fruit fly could have disastrous effects.
- Allow Wine to Settle: Seal the fermenter and let the wine settle for 24 hours. This resting period helps to clarify the wine by allowing any remaining solids to sink to the bottom.
- Transfer to Demijohn: The wine must then be transferred to a glass demijohn using a sterilized syphon. It should be filled just up to the shoulders of the demijohn, leaving some space to allow for any additional fermentation activity. Sealing with a bored bung and fitting an airlock ensures that no contaminants enter while allowing gases to escape.
- Clearing Stage:
- Traditional Method: If you prefer a natural clearing process, simply store the demijohn in a cool, dark place for several weeks to a month. Patience here will result in a clearer, more refined wine.
- Optional Quick Clearing: If you are eager to see your beverage in the bottle as soon as possible, then you will need to degas the wine. This process is simply to stir or swirl the wine vigorously enough so that the carbon dioxide fizzes out, you can achieve this by rotating the base of the demijohn. Once the wine is degassed you will then need to use wine finings, this will help clear your wine quickly and help compact the sediment this will take just a few days after the wine has cleared you may move onto bottling the wine straight away.
- Rack if Necessary: If you are following the traditional method and leaving the wine to clear naturally you may be left with compact sediment at the bottom of the demijohn, at this point you should transfer (rack) the wine again using your sterilized syphon into a clean demijohn, you may need to top up with some water back up to the shoulders.
- Age the Wine: Aging the wine in a cool, dark place for 4-6 months allows complex flavours to develop. Over this time, any remaining carbon dioxide will naturally dissipate, resulting in a smoother, more refined taste.
- Bottling: Transferring the wine to bottles requires a careful syphoning process to prevent oxidation. Choose green bottles for red wines like blackberry to protect the wine from light, and use wine corks for long-term storage. For a professional touch, consider adding shrink capsules and labels. If consuming within a few months, push-in corks provide an effective yet convenient option.
- Optional Sweetening: If the wine tastes too dry, wine sweetener can add some sweetness. Experiment carefully, starting with small amounts and tasting as you go. This adjustment can help to balance flavours but should be used with caution, as over-sweetening is irreversible.