Most of us have some fond childhood memories of blackberries. Be it making jam out of it, or trying to pick a few from the nearest bramble and staining your t-shirts in the process, many of us have had some amount of experience in dealing with these wild berries. But now that we’re all older, we can use blackberries for an entirely new purpose— making wine that’s sweet, yet contains a powerful kick of alcohol. In this article, we’ll discuss the easiest way you can make blackberry wine right at home. We’ll list all the essential ingredients, tools, and steps you need to know before you get started. Even if you’ve never made wine before, this guide can help you discover a new hobby on how to make blackberry wine because the process is simple. To find out more, read on.
Picking the Blackberries
To source blackberries, you have two options. You can either visit the local supermarket or set out to forage some on your own. Before making your blackberry choice, keep in mind that fresher berries take less time to ferment, but foraging can be a challenging task, especially if you have minimal experience.
If you decided to go with the former, make sure you buy frozen berries. Though you could settle for the fresh berries too, ensure that too much time hasn’t passed since they were picked.
For the latter option, the process of picking the berries themselves is not difficult. But the various flies, nettles, and other sharp objects poking out in the wild can be a real cause for concern. You will also need a lot of blackberries, so the entire process will take a while. As such, it is best to be prepared and wear thick clothes. Use gloves, and opt for full sleeves/trousers.
Coming to picking the berries, these fruits generally sprout at the end of summer, and stay until the last of December. You’ll sometimes come across blackberries growing on the side of the road, but these are far from healthy for consumption, much less fermentation. The best fruits can only be found in the countryside or a rural area nearby. Make sure that your picks aren’t the product of someone else’s hard work, but once you find the right spot, you can go ahead and start picking.
When attempting to do this, you’ll across several different variants of blackberries. These micro-species, of which more than 350 exist, can vary wildly in their size, as well as how much juice they contain. It’s best to pick some of all the varieties you can find and sort out the unfit ones through the steps that we’ll lay down in the next section. You might also come across some red berries; don’t ignore them. Instead, give these a few days to ripen before using for wine. Pick a minimum of 2 kgs, which will give you about a gallon of wine.
Making Blackberry Wine
- 1 kg of sugar
- One Campden tablet
- 1 tsp pectin enzyme
- 1 tsp yeast nutrient
- Red wine yeast
- A large plastic or glass vessel
- 2 glass demijohns
- Large straining bag with steel mesh
- A siphon tube
- Wine bottles and corks
- Thoroughly sanitize all equipment and wash the berries. Choose a plastic vessel if you intend it for a single-use since the berries will leave stains.
- Soak the blackberries in some cold water and take out the ones that float to the surface along with the remaining bugs that persisted through the washing.
- Crush the berries in your vessel and add about a liter of boiling water to the juice to further sterilize the solution. Once the mixture has cooled, crush the Campden tablet and dissolve it in some water. Also, add the peptin enzyme.
- The next day, boil another liter and half of water but add the sugar this time. You can increase the amount if you prefer sweeter wines. Once it dissolves, add this solution to the berries. After the mixture has cooled, add the yeast and yeast nutrient.
- Tightly seal the vessel and leave it in a dark room for about a week. The temperature here needs to be around 70* Fahrenheit. The sweet spot is 75º F. Stir the mixture every day and checks for consistency. Once the wine is liquid enough, and you hear hissing noises from the container, you know the berries are ready.
- Strain the juice using your straining bag, and repeat the process a few times to make sure you’ve filtered out all the unnecessary bits.
- Transfer the contents to a demijohn, either manually or with a siphon tube. Pack the container as tightly as you can, and cover it with a rubber seal. Leave it in a dark place for around 4-6 weeks.
- By now, the juice will have become lighter in color. You’ll also observe some sediment settled at the bottom. Remove this sediment by racking your wine. After 2-3 more weeks, simply bottle your wine and cork it.