Blueberry Wine Recipe ****

Here is my basic recipe for blueberry wine:

  • 18 lbs of blueberries (3 lbs per gallon)
  • 1 tsp grape tannins
  • 1 T yeast nutrient
  • 1 T acid blend
  • 1 T pectic enzyme
  • Sugar (about 10 lbs)
  • Champagne yeast
  1. The berries should be frozen before use. It breaks the cell walls down allowing the juice to come out. Thaw the berries. I use a ziplock freezer bag to store them, so I can simply crush them in the bag. I store 3 lbs in a ziplock, so each bag is good for 1 gallon.
  2. Put the crushed berries in a nylon bag in your fermenter. Add water to make it about 3 gallons, add the pectic enzyme, and about 50 ml of 2.5% solution of potasium sulfite. Let the juice sit for a couple of days stirring several times each day.
  3. Boil the sugar and water together, use 5-10 cups per 5 lb bag of sugar. Let it cool and add to the juice. Use a hydrometer and get a reading, we are aiming for something in the 1.075 to 1.090 range, depending upon how much alcohol you want in your wine. More is not always better. Add the grape tannins, yeast nutrient, acid blend, stirring the mix well. If the specific gravity is too low, add more sugar with less water. You want to bring the whole mixture up to about 6 gallons and maintain the desired specific gravity.
  4. Add the yeast to the top of the mix. After several hours, stir the yeast into the juice. The yeast needs oxygen, so stirring is not a bad thing.
  5. The yeast usually takes about 24 hours to really get going. Put in an air lock and keep an eye on it to make sure it is not getting clogged with foam. If it is, clean it out and even remove it while the wine is doing the serious fermentation.
  6. Take readings with your hydrometer daily. When it gets down to about 0.990, your wine is mostly fermented. Time to transfer it to a glass carboy.
  7. Carefully siphon the juice leaving the heavy junk behind. Squeeze out the mesh bag, get as much juice as you can out of it. This will take some time, but it is worth it. You may be able to squeeze out a couple of pints from the fiber.
  8. Once it is in the carboy, top it up with water or sugar water. Let it sit in the carboy for at least a month. Make sure the air lock has liquid in it, I like to use sulfite solution, that way I don’t get any bacteria growth in the airlock.
  9. After a month or more (3 or4 months is fine) carefully siphon to a bottling bucket. Take samples and add sugar to taste. I generally use about 4 lbs of sugar boiled into 4 cups of water for the whole batch. Don’t forget to use Potassium Sorbate to stop the added sugar from fermenting.
  10. Bottle and let it rest for a couple weeks before drinking.

261 Comments

  1. Mark Grishaber said,

    For someone just learning how to make wine this makes it easy . Thanks for taking the time to do this site ! We newbees appreciate it.

    • Scott said,

      Thanks Mark, I’m glad you like it. I think you’ll find that making wine really isn’t complicated and doesn’t need to be. Once you get the right equipment and a routine, especially the cleaning and bottling, the rest is just having the space to let it do its thing.

      The best advice I can give you is don’t be afraid to experiment. A full batch of fresh fruit might run you $50. If it doesn’t work, you’re out $50 and you hopefully learned something. If it works, you got 30 bottles of wine for that price.

    • Don said,

      well so far so good , but after 12 days the wine seems not to be formenting very much?my ready is 0.990 too?

      • Scott said,

        If your specific gravity is at .990 then your fermentation is done. Put it in a carboy with an airlock for at least a month.

      • Don said,

        so 12 days is good you say ? wow im used to 4 to 6 weeks for fermation/ AT LEAST WITH hard Cider

      • Scott said,

        Yes. Primary fermentation runs about 10 days, depending on temperature.

      • Don said,

        ok kewl ty, now adding sugar water, boiling it first then cool before adding it ,to bring it up the 6 gal ,mark , about a gal im adding is that ok too/?

      • Scott said,

        Yeah, hopefully it will restart. I wouldn’t normally wait until the fermentation was completely done to move it to a carboy and top it up.

        On Mon, Sep 2, 2013 at 6:21 PM, Homemade Wine

    • paul horniak said,

      hi, this recipe is VERY good. for newbees…. may be confusing. my friend simplified it for me… now,, 4 years of making wine.(perfect every year). IF YOU NEED ASSISTANCE. .. you can call me direct,,,, i’ll give you MY exact way I make me wine. almost exACT TO RECIPE. JUST SIMPLIFIED .. if you question amounts of ingrediences..
      860-923-9729. paul
      im drinking a bottle right now made in feb.

  2. Angie said,

    How much Champagne yeast do you need?

    • Scott said,

      I’ve never seen a recipe call for anything but one package for a 5-6 gallon batch of wine. There is probably about a teaspoon in there.

      You can use more, but it would be a waste. If you use less, you take a chance of other microbes taking hold and growing before the yeast takes over. That is more of an issue for beer making, but better safe than sorry.

  3. chelsea said,

    hey, im in the process of doing this wine, i followed all of the instructions. Im getting a lot of foam and scum it looks like. I dont know if i used maybe to much yeast, but it has a weird smell now. Is it ruined? and do i need to remove the foam?

    • Scott said,

      Hi Chelsea,
      The foam isn’t a big deal, I have a batch of plum doing the same thing right now. The reason it is in a vat and not a carboy in the beginning is because all of the CO2 given off causes that foam to clog up your bubbler. The foam will subside, but it doesn’t hurt to stir the whole mess once or twice a day, it adds oxygen to the mix which the yeast needs. Different yeasts foam more than others, I used Premier Cuvee and it’s got quite a head on it at the moment. One pack of wine for a 6 gallon batch is plenty. You really can’t use too much yeast since it’s multiplying like crazy once it gets started. When the alcohol content gets high enough, the yeast dies off.

      There is a potential issue with having the must (that foamy mess) too warm (like 80+ degrees). I think you get some bad types of alcohol forming. You don’t want that to happen, a slower, cooler fermentation gives better flavors. I don’t recall that temperature, but if you are in the 70′s you should be okay, cooler is better. It only needs to be warm enough for the yeast to get started, and that is around 68 degrees.

      The smell is a little harder since I can’t smell it. Is it a yeasty smell? Wine yeast doesn’t smell like bread yeast. If this is your first batch of wine, it’s not a familiar smell (my wife doesn’t like it and usually complains), but if you have been to a local winery, it’s a very familiar smell. Can you describe it?

      You can taste it you know, it should be bubbly and sweet. If it has an off flavor, then you might get concerned, but since you have already invested in the batch, be patient. I think you should be fine.

  4. chelsea said,

    Thank you greatly. I took some out because i wasn’t sure why it was so foamy, should i add some more.

  5. Frank said,

    How much wine does this recipe make? I know that the sack full of berries displaces a lot of water.
    I am assuming this recipe will make 5 gallons, so when I get al the juice i can out of the berries i can top it offwith sugar water to make 5 gallons?

    • Scott said,

      Frank,
      All of my recipes make 6 gallons because that is the standard wine carboy. When the stuff is in the vat, I will often bring up the volume to more than 6, closer to 7 gallons. Then after a week, siphon off the wine while squeezing out as much as you can from the remaining berries. It’s a messy job. In the end, the fruit fiber is probably closer to a 1/2 gallon.

      You can now choose to top off the carboy with either water or sugar water. I tend to just use water. The batch I transferred yesterday was probably only about 2 cups short of the base of the neck, I’ll just use plain water. You don’t want fruit wine to be too high in alcohol content, it detracts from it.

      If you use sugar water, watch that the fermentation doesn’t get active enough to clog up your trap. If it does, just remove it and cover it with a paper towel until it settles down.

      I find the key to this is to have enough liquid during the primary fermentation to not have to worry about it.

  6. Melissa said,

    Hi Scott,

    Your instructions have been awesome – I followed them to make my first batch of blueberry wine. I do have some areas I need clarification on, though, if you could help me out.

    I added all ingredients inside the mesh bag with the berries, is this correct?

    My wine is not foaming, but all the berries are rising to the surface. I started fermentation last Friday, left for the weekend, and checked it on Monday night. The hydrometer reading was still at 1.07 and the mixture did not look like it was fermenting. I added another package of yeast last night, I am going to see if that helps. I am wondering how long I should expect fermentation to take. I am also not putting the cap on my fermentation bucket tightly, so that some air can get inside – is this OK?

    Any further clarification you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Melissa

    • Scott said,

      No, the ingredients just go into the liquid and get mixed in. The bag is so you can easily remove the fruit pulp, otherwise you would need to filter the junk.

      Fermentation should be visibly active within 24 hours. You should also smell yeast and if you put your ear close, hear the bubbles popping. There are a bunch of reasons your fermentation might not start; old yeast, must is too cold, too much SO2, lack of nutrients, bad pH, or scalded yeast. I really can’t guess without learning more, but your SG is in the right range.

      When adding yeast, I sprinkle the yeast on top of the liquid and let it stand for about 12 hours, then I stir it in and leave it again for about a day. Then a couple times a day, you want to punch the fruit down to keep it wet. I usually just sink it with a big spoon, let it finish bubbling, then flip it in the liquid. You should give it a good stir a couple times a day for the first couple of days, the yeast needs oxygen in the liquid.

      After the first week (assuming you’ve had fermentation), oxygen is more your enemy than your friend. Transfer to a glass carboy and put a bubbler on it.

      Melissa, answer some questions for me and I can be more helpful. What type of yeast did you use? What is the room temperature? Did you add yeast nutrient? Did you use potassium metabisulfite to the must? If so, how much?

  7. Frank said,

    I would appreciate a MUSCADINE WINE recipe. I intend to make 5 gallons. I have seen recipes telling me to use 15 lbs to 60 lbs of muscadines with which to make the wine.
    Sixty don’t even make sense. Can you send me a proven, #1 recipe? I would greatly apreciate it.

    • Frank said,

      Please send me a recipe for Muscadine wine. I have 77 lbs of Muscadines & Scuppernongs in zip locks in my freezer waiting to be turned into Christmas season wine. I must hurry in order to get it ready on time. Please help.

    • Scott said,

      Frank,
      I don’t have a recipe to give you. Check out Jack Keller’s website http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/, he’s got lots of recipes that are tested. I only post the recipes that I created or used and know work. I don’t make wine from grapes because I don’t have ready access to them, it’s too hard to control the fruit, and I don’t have the equipment to press them.

  8. David W said,

    I followed this recipe the on my first not from a kit wine. It has been in the bottle for only 2 months and it is great.

    Everyone now thinks I am a wine expert!! I say I am good at following directions.

    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Marshall Sonksen said,

    Hi,
    Made a batch and it is turning out terrific ! It is going into month 2 of the second fermentation. I just sweetened and bottled a couple of bottles to share at Thanksgiving and they tasted great. However, they are not totally clear and I noticed that you do not add any clarifier, such as bentonite. Any reason why I can not add a clarifier ?? I also usually filter my wine at the last minute to give it that extra sparkle – comments on this?

    I made this batch with fresh low-bush blueberries we brought back from Maine. I have the second half of the berries in the freezer and am planning to start the second batch in a day or two using you receipe.

    • paul horniak said,

      ive been using this recipe for 4 years now. wine has been coming out great.everyone loves it. I don’t keep berries in the whole timethough. only 3 days. then put in press and squeeze all juice out. if you want to talk. 860-923-9729. ill gladly talk and tell you how I do it. way too much to type. good luck

  10. Maurice Melton said,

    Hi,

    We grow all natural blueberries on our small family farm in North Carolina. After having several folks suggest we try making blueberry wine I ran across your web site while surfing the web trying to figure out how to go about it.

    I’ve never made wine or even seen it made on a small scale. With that said, anything you or other posters can help, suggest, recommend, etc. will greatly appreciated. Not sure exactly where to start – don’t even know who/where to obtain a making kit from.

    Best site I’ve seen on the subject. You can email me off-list if you want.

    For those of you in the Piedmont part of North Carolina, keep us in mind for your blueberries in 2011. Check out our web site hosted by the Goodness Grows in NC folks.

    Thanks in advance for all the help!!!

    • paul horniak said,

      this recipe is a good one. 4 years now.. very simple and very easy. if I can ANYONE can lol.. a couple things I do differently…. you can call if you want . i’ll tell you my experiences.. 860-923-9729.

  11. Isobel said,

    can the blueberries be used for anything after they are pressed out.

    • Scott said,

      I suppose you could use it in bread, but all that is left is the fiber. The original 18 lbs of blueberries is reduced to a mass of fiber about the size of a softball. I usually just put it into the compost bin.

      If you try using it and find some value, I’d love to hear back.

      • Kathy said,

        I tried that one time – a blueberry/St. Croix grape must. I mixed it with some flour, sugar and an egg and a little oil. Came out like a bread-like thing, tasted not too bad. Sadly I never continued the experiment. It’s worth trying again, though.

  12. pcbrewer said,

    Scott, could I just smash up the blueberries and put in the carboy? I am not sure I understand why you need to put them in a mesh bag…thanks

    • Scott said,

      Maybe I should clear something up; a carboy is a large glass jar with a small neck that accepts a rubber stopper and bubbler. It is used for aging and secondary fermentation. You don’t want to put the solids into the jar, you will spend your life trying to get them out later.

      The primary fermentation is done in a plastic tub. The first week of fermentation is very active and you need to constantly stir down the solids and keep them wet. Also, the berries don’t really smash well, that’s why you freeze them to break up the cell structure. What you have is a big bag of berries, about the size of a basketball. With the help of the pectic enzyme, at the end, the left over fiber is about the size of a softball.

      You do the primary fermentation in a big covered vat so the foaming from the heavy fermentation doesn’t pour out the top. After a week, you can siphon out the liquid into a carboy and discard the softball sized pile of remains. Now, you could do this in the vat without the mesh bag, it would work, but you will have a lot more work separating the wine from the floating bits of ex-fruit. The bag helps contain the solids and makes your life just so much easier. Trust me, do it the way the instructions say. If you really feel like being a rebel, make a 1 gallon batch your way and see how much fun it is. It’s not like you have to throw out the bag, wash it out and your are ready to go again. I’ve been using the same nylon mesh bag for 10 years, it was a solid $5 investment.

    • paul horniak said,

      DEFINETELY NEED MESS BAG…. look on line. go to a wine/beer making store.

  13. pcbrewer said,

    Scott, I will make it like you say using the mesh bag. I have another question, In step 2 you say ” add 50 ml of 2.5% solution of potasium sulfite”, Is this Camden tablets? I don’t see this in the list of ingredients.

  14. Keith said,

    I have a quick question about the pH. I haven’t started this recipe yet but I intend to soon as my blueberries are almost all ripe. My question is: Along with testing with the hydrometer, should I also be checking the pH? And if so, what should the pH readings be close to during primary and secondary fermentation as well as before bottling?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Scott said,

      I’m out of my league on this one. When I first started, I worried about pH. I don’t have any advice for you on this one, you are going to have to do some research and let me know what you learn.

  15. Roy said,

    I started the fermentation on 6-21 with a hydrometer reading of 1.09 and checked today and its at 1.08 . I have only made beer and this seams slow to me. could I have used to much potasium sulfate? one tablet per gal in the beginning. Im also using vodka in the air lock is that OK ?

    Thank you for this recipe Roy

    • paul horniak said,

      I use granular.. 3/4 tsp. works perfect. don’t worry about readings… if you got 1.09 at start… LET IT GO…. don’t keep checking it. if airlock is still bubbling………….. let it go.. don’t check for at least 2 months… or until no more bubbles… no bubbles means yeast are done eating. I’ve been doing this for 4 years….. 2 to 3 months seems the norm… I let the yeast tell me ….always comes out perfect.

  16. winer said,

    reusing the berries over for a second batch of wine some of the best wine that i have ever made has been with using berries over again. i use white grape concentrate from acme.

  17. hellomazahouse@msn.com said,

    How long do you leave it in the primary? Mine has been in for 2 1/2 weeks and my gravity is 1.026 should I move it yet? Thanks

    • Scott said,

      You can move the wine after a week to 10 days from the start of fermentation. What you are really looking for is the really active fermentation to be over so it won’t overflow the bubbler in the carboy.

      Move it to a carboy with a bubbler and give it time to finish fermenting. This could take a couple more weeks. Then just let it settle until you can see the filaments of a flashlight from the other side. Don’t rush this, another month is acceptable, you want the wine to clear.

      • hellomazahouse@msn.com said,

        thanks :)

  18. Arnie Brown said,

    Just a comment if I may. You might want to leave a note that when talking about gallons that you mean US gallons and not Canadian gallons.

  19. Scott said,

    At first I chuckled at Arnie’s post, but it goes a little deeper than nationalism. Most of the wine kits come from Canada. It turns out that 5 Imperial gallons are equal to 6 US gallons. The Canadian born wine kits make 5 Imperial gallons, that is why the wine carboys we purchase are 6 US gallons. Of course, being American, I’m always speaking of US gallons.

    The question is whether it is cheaper to purchase the kits in US Dollars or Canadian Dollars?

  20. Mike said,

    I am making a 5 gal batch of blueberry wine, its 3 weeks old and specific gravity is now 1.015. It tast a little flat. I have read that this means that it is low in acid. Can anyone tell me when and if it is a good idea to add some acid to it?

  21. Steve said,

    Hello, i already have the berries crushed and ready to go in the primary, but i only have 75 ppm campden tablets and not sure if its potassium or sodium … how many should I add… i am a little confused with the 2.5% solution.. aaahhhhh

  22. Tioma said,

    I’ve never made wine using campden tabs and have never had a spoiled batch in 5 years. No sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate either. The secret is in cleaning very well all utensils and containers and in using 1 lb of honey to replace 1 lb sugar. Cinnamon and ginger also help keep it wine not vinegar. Makes a big difference to the taste and the health quotient of your wine.

  23. Roy said,

    I have a white haze on the top of my secondary fermentation . Is this normal ? it is about 2 months
    Thanks Roy

    • Scott said,

      Roy,
      I think I need more details. Is the haze on the glass maybe and not in the wine? Do you see it floating and making streaks? Is it possibly in all of the wine or just on the top layer?

      After two months, wines are usually pretty clear. A lot of the particulate matter tends to settle to the bottle.

      Please describe the haze in more detail.

  24. Dave said,

    I’m going to try this recipe as we have both berries in season here now.
    Would you happen to have a recipe for a cranberry wine ?
    That would be perfect for X-mas.

    • Scott said,

      It’s posted here, go to the top of the bar on the right, it’s under recipes.

  25. Scott said,

    Gang,
    In regard to the campden tablets, I hate them. I know the winemaker kits always include them, but life can be so much easier if you just purchase a small container of Potassium Metabisulfite. I think the post is on here somewhere, you use only like a quarter teaspoon to a half-liter to make the 2.5% solution. If you have a scale, it’s 14 grams to a 1/2 liter. That’s it.

    I found the page I printed 10 years ago here:
    http://www.winemakeri.com/Metabisulphite_Dosage_Table_s/136.htm

  26. Phyllis said,

    I made blueberry wine 3 yr ago and cannot find recipe. I have 15 lbs of wild Maine blueberries. Is this enough to use in your wine recipe?

    • Scott said,

      The rule of thumb is 3 lbs per gallon. You could make a 5 gallon batch or find another 3 lbs to bring it up to 6 gallons.

  27. Becca said,

    Scott, I have been following your recipe and right now I have a very slow primary fermentation. I think it is because of the room temperature, which is about 68-70 degrees. I started the fermentation seven days ago with the specific gravity of 1.082, and yesterday I measured it at 1.076. I see and hear it fizzing away but there is no frothy mess on top, just small bubbles. What are some ways I can raise the temperature of the batch to encourage the yeast? Also, do I need to worry about the batch “going bad” (mold, etc) because of how long it is in the primary fermentation stage?

    • Scott said,

      Hi Becca, You can put a heating pad on low under or around the vat to warm it a bit. The temperature may be the problem. You could have put in too much Potassium Metabisulfite. Are you punching down and turning the bag of fruit? It needs to keep wet, punch it down at least once a day, more if you can. You can also stir the must to increase the oxygen content. Stirring will help counteract the sulfites if you put in too much, plus the yeast needs oxygen grow.

      I have had this happen to me, the last time I realized I forgot to add the yeast nutrient. So if you forgot something, add it in. You can also throw in another pack of yeast.

      If that is not working, make a starter. To do that, use a cup of the juice, warm it slightly to about 100 degrees, put in a pack of yeast. It should start fermenting well within an hour or two. Then add another cup of the must. Wait for it to get going strongly again, then double the volume again. By now you have a quart of strongly fermenting wine. You can double it again, but at some point you pour this into the vat, it should take off.

      Yes, we don’t want it sitting around without strong fermentation for too long. Let me know what works.

      • Becca said,

        Thanks for the advice! I ended up buying one of those submerging fish tank heaters which kept the temperature of the must between 76-80 degrees, and also added another packed of champagne yeast in the way you suggested. Together they worked like a charm! Although it did not form much foam on top, it was “crackling” consistently and it began to ferment relatively quickly.

        On Monday we moved the liquid into the glass carboy, but the taste was nowhere near what I was expecting. It was incredibly alcoholic, although the specific gravity started at 1.082 and was 1.00 when we transferred (which makes it at about 10.8% by volume right?). I thought it might taste slightly sweet or at least fruity but it was overwhelmingly alcoholic to the point that I couldn’t taste anything else. Is this normal? Will it mellow out when I let it sit?

      • Scott said,

        Hi Becca, Your alcohol by volume calculation is correct. I never thought of using a fish tank heater, but it worked. I’m glad we got the wine restarted.

        First, if you fermented down to 1.00 or lower SG, there is no sweet stuff left to taste. You are going to add the sweetness back in with sugar in a few months. It will taste harsh at this point. If you are in the experimenting mood, you can add a packet or two of sugar to a glass of the wine and see how the taste changes.

        Any time you transfer the wine, it goes through “bottle shock.” Leave it in the carboy to clear for as long as it takes. When it is done, you can test the wine by adding different amounts of sugar to each sample until it gets where you like it. This is actually rather challenging because it will mellow and taste so much better over time. I would probably suggest going a little sweeter than your first instinct, or you can just follow my recipe and hope for the best.

        So even when you bottle this and you think you have the sweetness right, you need to wait a minimum of 3 months for it to start tasting good. Try every couple months after that is you like. It does get a lot better, you just need to have some patience and faith.

        Let me know how it goes.

        Scott

  28. Cayce said,

    I have made this recipe, and am ready to bottle. It is a beautiful dark red, and tastes delicious! The problem is, it’s still fermenting, very, very slowly. I added Potassium Sorbate with Potassium Metabisulfite about 2 weeks ago. How do I stop the fermentation so I can bottle already?

    • Scott said,

      You need to be patient. You can stop fermentation by chilling or filtering, but those aren’t good options for the home winemaker. The correct answer is that we really can’t stop fermentation, we wait for it to use up all the sugar. If it is still bubbling, it is possible the bottles will explode. I don’t add the sorbate until it is completely done.

      Sorry, that’s the best I got.

  29. Charles said,

    Scott, I appreciate the recipe and sharing your knowledge. I would like to make a gallon to start and was wondering if I could simply use 1/6th of each ingredient. What about the yeast, would I still use the whole packet? If I increase the amount of blueberries from 3 lbs per gallon to 4 lbs per gallon what effect will that have on the final outcome? Also, would I increase any of the other ingredients? This will be my first attempt at making wine. I grow my own berries. Thanks

    • Scott said,

      You would think that making a gallon is 1/6 the work, but it isn’t. After racking to clear the wine, you’ll be lucky to be left with 3 or 4 bottles. Do yourself a favor and make a full batch. If it came out great, you’ll be kicking yourself for only making 4 bottles. The time and effort really aren’t any different, just the starting quantities. It might seem like a lot, but $50 worth of fruit to make 30 bottles is less than $2 a bottle. Even if you spent $100 on fruit, you are looking at less than $4 a bottle for wine.

      To answer your other question, more fruit is definitely better. It will add to the body and the flavor. You don’t want to make wine from bad fruit. The better the juice, the better the finished product.

  30. Nicole said,

    Anyone having problems with fruit flys in the airlocks? It’s driving me crazy. I bought a fruit fly trap and some go in there and some still get into the airlocks. It’s not wrecking anything cause I have vodka in them but any suggestions would be great.

    • Scott said,

      Use a potassium metabisulfite solution, they won’t be attracted and it will keep any infection from your wine.

    • audrey said,

      i use 1/2 cup of vinager and a tsp dish soap 1/2 cup water in a shallow dish stir &set it next to fermenting wine .all the fruit flys are drawn to it. i got 30 or more over night…..works great……

  31. dardar said,

    I’ve made several batches of Blueberry wine and the recipe I’ve used call for red grape concentrate – very expensive stuff. Do you know the reasoning behind adding this ingredient? The wine is excellant.

    • Scott said,

      Fruit wine can be thin and lack body. The grapes or grape concentrate add that body. It also alters the flavor from purely blueberry wine to a blueberry/grape wine. You can also use raisins instead of juice concentrate.

      I was just talking about this wine yesterday to my friend that I ferment beverages with. I was over his house and he had an old blueberry wine we made that was really thin and lacking body. The berries came from a monster farm where they produced tons of large, plump and mostly tasteless berries. The best wine comes from smaller berries that are either wild or less Miracle-Grow fed. The more intense the berry flavor, the better the wine.

  32. audrey said,

    i notice that all reciepts never mention degassing.does all wine need degassing??

    • Scott said,

      I think the gas problem is more a problem with kit wines because they are finished so quickly. I have never had a problem with home made wine needing degassing. I think this is because the gas has time to come out of solution naturally. Think of soda, it will go flat given enough time. So should wine. I also think the racking process stirs up the wine and removes some of the gas. But to answer directly, I’ve never done anything with home made wine to remove gas and it has never been an issue.

  33. audrey said,

    i appreciate your quick responce…how long then should i wait to bottle ..i have blueberry grape just finishing the fermenting process —racked and carboy .how long from there .do you put in any bentnite to clear or just keek racking??

    • Scott said,

      If you can shine a flashlight through the wine and see the bulb clearly through the carboy, it is ready to bottle. As long as you have it in a glass carboy with a bubbler containing liquid, it can sit for a very long time. Wait for the wine to be crystal clear, then rack it to a bottling bucket, add your sulfites, sorbates, and sugar and bottle it. Then give the wine a couple months to recover from “bottle shock” and enjoy.

  34. Frances said,

    What wonderful tips to help newbee’s. My husband and I have just started making Plum and Strawberry wine. We have having so much fun with this new hobby. Blueberry is the next on the list. Thank you for the help.

    • Scott said,

      Plum makes a great wine, strawberry is a little tricky. It doesn’t have much body on its own, you have to add in other wine or raisins or something else to help it along. If you have a good recipe for strawberry wine, I’d love to give it a try.

  35. Frances said,

    The strawberry recipe I used came with the wine kit. Enjoy Home Winemaking , A Guide for the Beginner.

    For 1 gallon it calls for: 3 1/2 pounds of fresh or frozen strawberries.
    Stem and Wash
    4 1/2 cups sugar
    1 tsp yeast nutrient
    1 tsp acid blend
    2 tsp Pectic Enzyme
    1/4 Tannin
    1 Camden tablet
    All purpose or rhinewine yeast.
    Assemble all except yeast and Pectic Enzyme. Wait 24 hours before adding them.
    So far the recipe seems ok. But as a newbee I really don’t know. Not enough confidence to add ingredients. Possibly the next time.

    • Scott said,

      Please let me know how this turns out. If it comes out too light bodied, consider blending it with something like a pinot grisio or other fresh white wine. I think it could be a real winner. You will have to play with the ratios and taste test it.

      I hope you made a 6 gallon batch. It seems like an expensive experiment, but it really isn’t. Nothing is worse than tasting it, finding out it’s great, and then realizing you only have 4 bottles left.

      One other thing, read up on the use of Potassium Metabisulfite. You have it in the recipe in the form of a campden tablet. I wouldn’t scale up to 6 tablets for 6 gallons, that is way too much Potassium Metabisulfite. It is an important ingredient in your wine, but you can have finer control of how much you use simply by purchasing it in powder form and doing a little reading. I’m pretty sure I have a post or two about its use. If I don’t, email me and I’ll dig up the information.

    • Frances Henshaw said,

      After sitting in the carboy for 4 months, I tasted the strawberry wine to see how it was doing. I wish I knew how it should taste. I found it smooth, with a strange taste I can’t describe. It could be fruity. What do I do now? You suggested that strawberry can be tricky and to use Pinot Grisio at bottling. Should I do this? It is beautifully clear and ready to bottle. What if I just let it be, without adding anything. Someone suggested artificial flavors? Will it improve with additional aging. I also made a batch of the Blueberry. Don’t know how that is doing, haven’t tasted it yet.

      • Scott said,

        I have not made a strawberry wine, I’m not going to be much help here. Can you try to describe the strange taste? Adding a white wouldn’t be bad, but I’m not a fan of artificial flavoring. Aging will mellow harsh flavors but it won’t fix bad flavors.

  36. Frances said,

    I will let you know soon I hope. The Strawberry Wine has been fermenting for 9 days now and still going strong. Last s.g. was 1.005. I was instructed to let it go to 995. Then add some ingredients and degas the wine. Let it settle and then rack again. Then wait a few months for it to clear.

    Would like to do Blueberry next.

  37. Phyllis andrews said,

    It has been 6 weeks and my wild blueberry wine should be ready to bottle. Myhydrometer is reading 1.3 what should I do. it is cloudy clear with no sediment.

    • Scott said,

      Your last posting had the specific gravity at 1.03. I’m guessing that is correct, not 1.3 because at 1.3, there is lots of sugar left to ferment.

      So if it’s sitting perfectly calm and not clear, give it another month. It is possible there is stuff on the sides of the carboy that make it look like it’s not clear. If it truly isn’t clear, you can lower the temperature to help it clear a little faster. You can also rack it to another carboy and leave some of the sediment behind, then give it another month or two.

      I think a month to clear is a bare minimum. I’ve often left a wine to clear for 3 months or even more. Your alternative is to filter it, but I’m not a fan, it strips color and flavor.

  38. Phyllis andrews said,

    My wine is sweet, taste good. actually its 1.03. No more bubbles in the airlock. I believe it has stopped fermenting. Last time I bottled too early and the corks blew out of the bottles making a disasterous mess. :)

  39. Joe said,

    I could comment on several issues. However, the most important point is to not use an airlock until the specific gravity of the must is around 1.03 or 1.02. Otherwise, you’re just starving the yeast of the oxygen it needs at the outset of fermentation. Just use an open fermenter covered with a towel or other piece of cloth that is clean. Let it breath!

    • Scott said,

      Joe, I don’t disagree with your reason, however the instructions call for stirring the blueberries under the liquid several times a day. That serves the purpose of both keeping the fruit wet and providing lots of oxygen for the yeast.

      I don’t use an airlock until the must gets to the carboy, instead I lightly stuff a paper towel into the hole to keep bugs out. But if you are stirring the fruit under several times a day, an airlock is fine after the initial foaming part of the fermentation

      • David said,

        Once the yeast gets going it doesn’t need any oxygen it is perfectly happy with sugar. Also during aerobic respiration of yeast, co2 and water are created not alcohol. This isn’t the goal and it isn’t fermentation. Yeast more importantly needs nutrients in order to avoid a sluggish or stuck fermentation. Most importantly fatty acids during the growth phase and a good source of nitrogen.

  40. Phyllis said,

    I do not stir my blueberries. I put them in a cheesecloth bag. making it much easier to get them out and you can squeeze the juice out . I have just let me wine sit an extra month. It had not stopped bubbling. Last time I did not and the bottles popped. the xtra time made a very nice Maine wild bluerry wine.

  41. Chris E said,

    what does the T mean in the the blueberry wine recipe

    • Scott said,

      T means Tablespoon, as opposed to tsp for teaspoon

  42. Chris E said,

    thanks for the info above, Scott
    i started my 5 gallons of blueberry wine.I got all the mixtures mixed up and put togather and ichecked the SG and it was at 1.086 insted of i.075 is that alright. this is before i add yeast or grape con. and what does grape tannins mean.

    • Scott said,

      Grape tannins are a powder you add to give the wine body. You can pick them up at any winemaking supply store. The higher sugar content means you will have a higher alcohol content when its done. That’s not killer high, but you will want to offset the higher alcohol by making the wine a little sweeter when you bottle.

  43. Joe said,

    Tannins add astringency to the wine that gives your wine that puckery mouth feel you get especially with dry red wine fermented on skins which contain tannin. 1.086 corresponds to about 11 % alcohol which is toward the minimum for wine but acceptable. I’m not sure why Scott advocates making the wine sweeter unless you want a sweeter wine. From my experience blueberry makes a very nice dry wine as well.

    • Scott said,

      Joe is right, thanks for keeping me honest. I’m traveling on business and I don’t know the numbers without my notebook. I was mistaken thinking that the previous commenter added too much sugar, in which case there would be too high an alcohol content. I agree, an unsweetened blueberry is excellent, but I find most people prefer it sweet. I prefer it sweet with a piece of chocolate cake.

  44. Chris E said,

    scott and joe i started my wine on 6/10/2012 and it started out at 1.086 and 0n 6/20/2012 it had reached to 1.020 so i siphon it to carboy and it is at 1.010 now 7/25/2012. so do i need to let it sit to it gets to 0.090 and siphon it to another carboy or just let it just finish for about 3 months and then siphen it to a bottling bucket

    • Scott said,

      You definitely need to let it finish completely before you do anything. After a couple of months you can decide to either bottle it or rack it and let it clear again. Either is fine, but its going to need time now to finish and clear.

  45. Joe said,

    Hi Chris. You’re making good progress with blueberry if you’re at 1.010 after two weeks. My inclination would be to let it continue until it’s essentially dry – i.e., below 1.00, then rack to another carboy for aging until you’re ready to bottle, then rack once more to your bottling bucket. I assume the wine is under an airlock since you first racked it. When I rack, I usually top-up with a little cheap merlot or cab which doesn’t appreciably change the taste or character but may add a little body. Good luck.

    Joe

    • Scott said,

      Joe, I like your comment about adding wine to top it up. I like to use a something like a merlot or a red zinfindel. I’m personally not a fan of cabs, so I don’t have them around. I agree they add body and some depth to the wine.

  46. Chris E said,

    joe how often should i check it with my hydrometer. and will it hurt it to take off yhe airlock to check it

    • Scott said,

      If your new at this, check daily if you want. Now I hardly ever check, just at the start and at the end. Taking the airlock off of a carboy that is topped up won’t be a problem. Do sanitize anything you are putting into your carboy. I’m a big fan of Iodophor for sanitizing.

  47. Joe said,

    Chris: I agree with Scott to take your time. When people first start making wine they want to get to the bottled product quickly. With a red wine, including Blueberry, I age it for a year before bottling. During that time, I may rack every 3 months or so and top-up each time I rack. At your stage now you should be concerned about completing the fermentation process to a dry wine. I’d check the specific gravity (spg) every 4-5 days to monitor the progress. Removing the airlock to take a sample is no problem as long as you sanitize your wine thief or anything that touches the wine. If the spg does not go down after a couple of weeks, then you’d have a “stuck fermentation” in which case you’d have to add a yeast starter again to finish the process. After that, rack the wine and let it clear for a few months as Scott recommends. Blueberry will clear readily over a period of several months. If I were you I wouldn’t bottle earlier than 6 months of aging; by that time the wine should be reasonably clear. Make sure you stabilize the wine with potassium sorbate and potassium sorbate before you bottle.

    Then enjoy it. Good luck.

    Joe

  48. Chris E said,

    joe or scott– i have a 5 gallon carboy that is still fermenting and waiting for a couple of months is no problem even up to 6 months-but i also have a gallon jug that is about 3/4 full and it has stopped fermenting. so do i need to add yeast to it and if so how much. it is out of the same batch.

    • Scott said,

      I’m not sure which I’m more concerned about, the carboy not done or the jug not full. Wine is usually completely done after it has been in a carboy for a month, especially this time of year. Just a guess, but if it’s still going, it might need something like yeast nutrient. I would just leave it and let it finish. As for the gallon jug, you don’t want head space in a jar. Right now it is full of CO2 because of fermentation, but when you open it up, that will be air, and the air will oxidize the wine. I would rack that wine to a smaller container that will leave only a very small amount of room for air.

      I don’t know when you racked it to the carboy, but you want to do it while it is still pretty active. You need to bring some yeast over to the carboy to keep it fermenting. If you filtered it or waited until it was almost gone when you racked it, there wouldn’t be a lot of active yeast brought over to the carboy.

      My recommendation is to wait on the carboy and don’t open the gallon jug. If you do open it, rack it to a smaller container and wait for the rest of the wine to finish.

  49. Joe said,

    You could add a yeast starter solution composed of say 1/2 package yeast mixed with a glass of grape juice and some yeast nutrient that has stood for several hours to activated the yeast. Leave the jug covered only with a paper towel secured by a rubber band for a few days to get it going again. then put your airlock back on and monitor. If the Specific gravity is 1.01, you could simply top it up with Zin or Merlot and let it age til you;re ready to bottle. Then combined with the 5 gallon batch, treat with sulfite and pot. sorbate (to prevent more fermentation) and bottle. The 3/4 gallon of sweeter wine won’t affect the taste of the total batch that much. Or you can drink it now!

    Joe

  50. Chris E said,

    i am not a wine maker i just thought i would try and make some. so what is zin or meriot ? the specific gravity is 1.000. the 3/4 gallon probley quit frementing because when i siphon it out of my my first carboy i had 3/4 gallons left so i strained the 3/4 gallon and it came out fairly clear, but it kept fermenting for about 7 more days after i strained it. i done it because it was at the very bottom of carboy and had a lot of settlement in it.i need to know what zin or meriot is and what it does. Do i add this with the sulfite and pot.

    • Scott said,

      We were just being lazy. The suggestion is to add a bottle of wine to the blueberry wine to top it up and add additional flavor. Mer is Merlot, a red wine with nice cherry and spice flavor. Zin is Zinfandel (sp?), another full bodied red. Cab is Cabernet Savignon, a very full bodied red wine. Adding one bottle to the 30 bottles of blueberry will mildly impact the flavor and body, almost certainly for the better.

      The gallon finished first because you brought over the sediment with it. That was the yeast, and you needed some of that.

  51. Joe said,

    I agree with Scott’s advice.

  52. Chris E said,

    ok scott—i have yeast nutrient and yeast energizer will it help it to add a little to the 1 gallon of wine . or should i chalk this one up and add a little wine to it and drink it.

    • Scott said,

      Chris, take a breather. I think your gallon is done fermenting, it doesn’t need anything. Rack it to a smaller bottle and put an airlock on it.

      Don’t do anything to the carboy, just let it keep fermenting. If it is still fermenting, it is not stuck. If the specific gravity is over 1.000 and it stops fermenting, we can worry about starting it back up. But as long as it continues to bubble, let it go and update us in a month.

  53. Chris E said,

    or maby a pint of blueberry juice and then the yeast

  54. Chris E said,

    my 5 gallons of wine is at 0.990 and all but quit fermenting. it might bubble 1 time every 5 or 10 min or longer i still have airlock on it and will it hurt to leave the airlock on it after it has finish fermenting

    • Scott said,

      Everything sounds perfect. You can leave it in the carboy for months as long as you keep fluid in the airlock. I’d give it a month or two and it should clear nicely. Then either rack it or bottle it.

  55. Phyllis said,

    I racked my blueberry wine and let is set for anohter month, it cleared nicely.

  56. Rob said,

    out of curiosity, i wonder if anyone has replaced the sugar with honey to create same initial hydrometer reading. I believe it would come out the same but I know how sensitive wine making can be. Any suggestions?

    • Scott said,

      A fermented drink made from honey is called mead. I have tried making one once with a friend, it didn’t go well. We have talked of making it again but it can be costly. They generally require several years of aging before they are considered drinkable. Look them up, you will find specific yeasts and recipes for mead. I have never tried using honey in place of the sugar for a fruit wine. If you have an abundance of blueberries, try it.

  57. Dolores said,

    Hi, Scott…thanks for all your info!
    My preference is to make a sweet, low-alcohol content wine.
    Q: Can I use Montrachet yeast for this purpose? Do you have any other tips?

    • Scott said,

      Hi Dolores, I’ve experimented with different yeasts, but I can’t say I’ve noticed a flavor difference from one yeast to the next. I wouldn’t hesitate to use Montrachet, or Champagne, or any of the other “standard” yeasts.

      Your other part of the question really has nothing to do with yeast. The ending alcohol content is determined by the amount of sugar you start with, which is your starting specific gravity. There is a very simple formula for calculating the potential alcohol, you can find it already done here: http://www.hotsaucedepot.com/Calculators-C108.aspx. Put in 0.995 as your final specific gravity.

      The final sweetness has only to do with how much sugar you add back in after fermentation is complete. I remember this being one of the big surprises for me when I first got started making wine. You don’t just add extra sugar hoping for the wine to be sweet. If you do that, the yeast will continue fermentation until they either run out of sugar or they die from too much alcohol. So we set the final alcohol level based on starting specific gravity and let it ferment until the sugar is gone and the yeast go dormant. Then we add potassium sorbate to inhibit the yeast from starting back up and add sugar to taste.

      • Erik said,

        Hi Scott,

        Just found this site and I have a question at this point. I have had this happen a few times now, once with strawberry and also with muscadine grape batches following recipes gotten from Jack Keller’s web site. Used campden before primary fermentation, did fermentation, used campden again after fermentation done at racking, when I have taken a cup of wine (totally clear) out and added potassium sorbate to stabilize before sweetening I have had a congealing take place within just a minute or so of adding it. It looks like pectins to me but I have hesitated to add it to the full batch. When I did on the strawberry wine it clouded the entire batch. I was able to clear eventually with more pectic enzyme and time. Am I doing something wrong because I did use pectic enzyme at the beginning also as called for.

        Erik

      • Scott said,

        Hi Erik, I have never seen that, so I can’t speak from experience, but it sounds frustrating. I’ve also never made wine from either of those two fruits. I’m wondering if you need more enzyme in the beginning. The only time I had a protein haze like that was when I made peach wine, and it happened from the beginning. I eventually just tossed that entire batch because I ruined it trying to remove the haze.

        I’m just thinking of other possibilities here. I don’t use Campden tablets, I purchase Potassium Metabisulfate as a powder, mix it into a 5% solution and use that. It could be the filler from the tablets. I don’t know the chemistry to know why a sorbate salt would cause a protein to appear. Do you dissolve the sorbate in water first? Is anything hot when it is added? Perhaps there is an issue with the pH. Does a too acid or base solution cause a protein haze? We need a chemist to jump in here or anyone else that has some experience.

  58. Dolores said,

    You are so kind to take the time to teach us all! Thank you. My son, who is 15, has made two batches of wine so far. I finally bought him all the right equipment. He is so excited!

  59. chris said,

    scott i started makeing 5 gallons of wine out of scuppongs on 8-14- 2012 and according to the book i bought it says to add 6 pints of water to every gallon so i did and as of today it has only fermented to about 3% abv and i’am wondering if i added to much water or if i need to add another pack of yeast

    • Scott said,

      Any chance you could send me the recipe (and what are scuppongs)? Does the recipe mention adding sugar? Yeast won’t just quit unless it gets very cold. If it stopped at 3%, it probably has no more sugar to ferment.

  60. chris said,

    wild grapes–6 lb grapes–6 pints water-2 lb sugar – 1/2 tsp petic enzyne 1 tsp nutrent – 1 campdn crush -1 pkg wine yeast

    • Scott said,

      That was a good start, but I’m going to need a little more info. I have never made wine from wild grapes, so I’m going to do my best. Did you use a hydrometer to get a starting specific gravity? Grapes are naturally sweet, but without a specific gravity reading, we don’t know the sugar content or the potential alcohol.

      How much liquid did you have total when you started, either from the crushed grapes or after you added the water? For my blueberry and blackberry recipes, I use 10 or 11 lbs of sugar and the total starting volume is 6 US gallons. That works out to a little under 2 lbs of sugar per gallon and a specific gravity of 1.090 to 1.100.

  61. chris said,

    my wine started out at 1.110 instead of 1.095 and should have reached 1.030 in 5 days but it did not and it still has not reached 1.030. so what to do is my question.i also taste sample it and it is still sweet and it is fermenting real slow at 72 degrees

  62. chris said,

    scott i started out with 24 lbs of wild grapes and i actually can only make about 4 and 1/2 gallons wine from it. i had about 1 gallon of grape juice and i added 3 gallons of water or about 6 pints per gallon as receipt says to do. and i used 2 lbs of sugar per gallon. the wine is frementing ,but it is real-real slow, like the yeast is not strong enough. and i was wondering do i need to take the pulp out now or wait. it is in a nylon bag.

    • Scott said,

      Chris,
      I somehow missed your post that mentioned the specific gravity. You said your wine was at 3% alcohol. I’m guessing you used a vinometer, but that device is only accurate when all of the sugar has been fermented out. Based on going from 1.110 to 1.030, you should be at 10.5% alcohol.

      I usually remove the fruit after 7 to 10 days. At that point I transfer the wine to a carboy. You are also at the point where fermentation should be going a lot slower.

      You may run into a problem with the sugar content. Your starting specific gravity was pretty high, you could end up with 15%-16% ABV. That is high enough to kill off many strains of yeast. I did a rough calculation and I came up with adding about 400 ml of water to reduce the starting specific gravity to 1.095. That doesn’t seem like very much to me.

  63. Valerie R. said,

    This is our first batch of fruit wine, and I have been following your blueberry recipe to the letter (and keeping my eyes glued to all these great comments!). My question is, our wine has been aging in the carboy for 2 months and is beautifully clear. Is there an advantage to letting age longer in the carboy vs. aging in the bottle?

    • Scott said,

      No advantage that I am aware of. Don’t you love the way it looks?

      Are you going to sweeten the wine?

      • Valerie R. said,

        I love the color! We have a nice stockpile of clear bottles so we can show it off.

        We are going to sweeten, but it makes me nervous since we’ve never done that before!

      • Scott said,

        You’ll be fine, the hard part is done. Use a bottling bucket, carefully siphon the clear wine to the bucket. Add the sugar syrup and the Potassium Sorbate, gently stir well and bottle. Put whatever doesn’t fit into a bottle into the fridge (I use a water bottle) and drink it as soon as it gets cold.

        Give it a month or so in the bottle, crack one open and enjoy.

  64. audrey dethlefs said,

    wine is done..too.990 on the hydromater scale .now can you tell me how to use the scale to put the sugar back .i know 0.990 is dry wine .need to know scale for med sweet & sweet what should it read.?????
    how much sugar to get there ..in a 3 gallon jug. audrey

  65. chris said,

    scott i have had my 5 gallons blueberry wine sitting for about 2 months clearing up in the carboy. and it has cleard up very good. at least enough to sweeting up and bottle. but do i need to add a bottle of ZIN to it first. ( or how much do i add to 5 gallons of blueberry wine for more body) and do i still add 1/4 pound of sugar to 1 gallon of wine or just sweeting to my taste) and let it sit for about 7 days before bottling it. with airlock still on it.)P.S kind of like the taste of the Zin for sweetnes. i;am really looking for a smooth mellow tast if i can get it. Please reply –Thanks

    • Scott said,

      Hi Chris. I always reply, although sometimes you may not like my answers. As for the Zinfandel, I would have used it to top up before letting it clear. I don’t see why you can’t add it at the time of bottling. The sweetening is a little trickier.

      I’m not sure where you got 1/4 lb per gallon. The recipe says 4 lbs to the 6 gallons. I got to that by doing it to taste a few times and generally getting the same number. If you are brave enough to do it to taste, go for it. But if you use my number, you can always blame me if it is too sweet or not sweet enough.

      I would not sweeten it and let it stand. Besides, adding all that sugar/water is going raise your volume quite a bit, it won’t fit in the carboy any more. Add the sugar water, stir thoroughly but without frothing, then bottle and let it age for a month or two before cracking one open.

      Good luck getting the taste you want. Let me know how you do.

  66. masinick said,

    I just racked my blueberry wine from the first carboy into a new carboy (I’m new to this, but I guess you can’t have too many carboys). Color is beautiful, clarity is pretty solid. It’s bubbling in the new carboy about once every 45 seconds to a minute… so it’s slow, but still rolling. It was in the first carboy for about 45 days after primary fermentation.

    Tastes very dry, but has a great aftertaste flavor. Didn’t try it with sugar, I wish I had read the comments before finishing the racking and throwing out the last cup. Oh well. I’m hoping to have this bottled around November so that we can try it by Christmas… we’ll see.

    • Scott said,

      Sounds like it is going absolutely perfectly.

  67. chris said,

    scott how much potassium sorbate would i use for 5 gallons wine. i might be wrong but i think it is 1/2 tsp per gallon. is that right ? and if so is that the only thing i use

    • Scott said,

      That is the right amount, it works out to 1 Tablespoon for a 6 gallon batch. For 5 gallons you would use a little less. Potassium Sorbate is going to stop the yeast from starting back up if you add sugar. If you don’t add sugar, you don’t need it.

      Potassium Metabisulphite is used as a preservative. If you are planning on drinking the wine in the next year or two, you can do without. If you are planning on keeping it longer, you might want to add some. I can’t find my wine chemistry notebook, so I’m going strictly from memory, but I think it was about 50 ppm at bottling. You need to check and not trust my memory.

      If you run a commercial winery, you would test the sulphite level and then bring it up to a point to reduce the oxidation and allow it to keep longer. I don’t bother, but I do lose wine from time to time because I don’t bother.

      • David said,

        There are testers called Titrettes which allow you to test the level of free so2 in your wine. This is the amount that protects against spoilage. Just because you throw 50ppm of sulfite in the wine doesn’t mean it will all be free. Most will get bound up in the wine itself and only a fraction, maybe 15ppm will remain free. The titrettes test for free so2 and you should aim for about 40-50ppm of free so2 before bottling. Your wine will be able to age for a while if you do this.

  68. chris said,

    so my calacation for adding sugar to 5 gallons of wine is 0.8 oz per gallon. does that sound about right to you

    • Scott said,

      I think you mean 0.8 lbs/gallon, not oz. My first batch, I used 4 lbs for a 6 gallon batch. In my opinion, I would err on the side of a little too much sugar rather than too little. Just don’t over do it.

  69. chris said,

    you are right. thanks very much. i will let you know how it turns out. so again thanks.

  70. Kathy said,

    Scott, I found your recipe – it looks great! I’ve made blueberry wine but with 12 lbs of berries and a quart of red vinifera juice concentrate. I’m going to try your recipe with some raspberries and the few St Croix grapes that survived the summer in my garden and omit the grape juice. The lovely thing about fruit wine is that you can experiment and just add things and it sometimes comes out quite lovely!

    I’ve found that about 10oz of wine conditioner sweeten 5-6 gallons nicely. I’ll try to remember to let you know how it comes out next year!

  71. chris said,

    scott can i add the potassium sorbate and the sugar to my wine and leave it in the carboy with the airlock until i can find the bottles to put it in. probley no more then a week.

    • Scott said,

      Sure, but when you add the sugar, you are going to have more wine, it won’t all fit in the carboy.

  72. Steve said,

    Scott I’m just starting to make this wine. I’ve made wine before and most have come out pretty good. I’ve never tried bblackberry though. Is it necessary to remove the seeds from the blackberries?

    • Scott said,

      No, just follow the instructions. Freeze it, thaw it, mash it, put it in a nylon bag. After primary fermentation, most of the seeds will be removed with the bag. The ones that aren’t will be left behind by the two rackings. Good luck.

  73. chris said,

    scott my scuppernong (grape) wine is finish fermenting, and i already transfered it to the next caboy . i have about 4 and 1/2 gallons. when i sweeting it do i have to boil the sugar.

    • Scott said,

      I like to make a simple syrup of equal parts sugar and water. Let it cool a while, you don’t want to cook the wine when you add it. I have done it without boiling, but I don’t think it clears as well.

  74. chris said,

    by makeing syrup how will i keep from droping the ABV so low

    • Scott said,

      It will drop a little, but not enough to matter.

  75. chris said,

    do you think i could keep my wine stored in mason jars. my wife does a lot of canning and i have plenty of one quart mason jars and lids.

    • Scott said,

      It might work, it sure won’t go over well as a gift.

      A wine bottle is filled to just below the cork, you usually leave about 1/4″ of air space. Air is the enemy of wine. You would have to fill the mason jar all the way up to the top.

      You would be better off getting used screw cap wine bottles and filling those.

  76. chris said,

    ok thanks.

  77. masinick said,

    Bottled last night. The hardest part was getting the labels off of the bottles so that I could have a nice presentation! After sweetening (4 cups water and 4 lb sugar) it still tasted a little alcoholly. I’m hoping that taste will mellow out after a few months in bottles? I don’t know what it’s supposed to taste like at this point but it’s definitely a little sharp right now.

    • Scott said,

      It will be harsh at that point. Give it a month in the bottle and try it again. It will start to mellow and you should be able to taste the berries and not the alcohol.

    • masinick said,

      You were right! 6 weeks later it tastes great. Very mellow. I hope more blueberry flavor comes out with time. I’m SOOOO pleased because I have 35 bottles of this stuff. =) Thanks again!

      • Scott said,

        I’m really glad it worked out. Suddenly 35 bottles isn’t enough.

  78. Fran Henshaw said,

    Just enjoyed a glass of Blueberry Wine that we made 4 months ago. The recipe is the best as the alcohol ages out nicely. Can’t wait to make more. Surely will double up.

    • Scott said,

      Fran, If you were to make it again, would you make it more or less sweet?

  79. Fran Henshaw said,

    I believe I would do exactly the same. I fermented it down to .992 and when I bottled, I added 1 can White Grape Concentrate. I taste a more dry than sweet wine.

  80. Frances Henshaw said,

    Update on the Strawberry Wine. It has been close to 9 months and I have tasted it. It mellowed out from the hard alcohol taste it had early on. Iit is not my favorite as it is tart with little strawberry taste. Actually, the taste is more chemical than fruity. I have the same problem with Jack Kellers watermelon wine recipe. I made some Nectarine and had problems with hydrogen sulfide. I started to charcoal filter the wine before bottling and it seems to correct some of the off taste. Blueberry is still the best one.

    • Scott said,

      I have stayed away from Strawberry wine precisely because it is so challenging. I’m sure there is a good recipe out there, but I haven’t bothered and probably never will. I would expect a decent strawberry wine would require a lot of berries and need to be blended with a white wine to give it body.

      If you continue on and find a good recipe, I’d love to try it.

      On Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 6:28 PM, Homemade Wine

  81. curtis parris said,

    My blueberry wine is great!!!!!!:-D

    • Scott said,

      Did you sweeten it? If so, how much sugar did you add?

      On Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 9:39 PM, Homemade Wine

  82. Jim said,

    Curious. I have made several wines of which one, Mustang Grape wine, won grand champion reserve in our county fair horticulture division. It was my 3rd batch I attempted. One thing does confuse me in this wine making process. After one week, and the major fermenting of foam is over, I transfer to a glass carboy to finish fermenting. I have been in the glass for 4 weeks and my sg is a little below .990. At what point can it actually be bottled. In the past I have waited until my airlock stopped bubbling. Some recipies I have read say you can bottle after a month in the carboy. Basically one month short of my normal process. Problem with potasium sorbate, waiting 3 days and bottling now? What is the advantage of waiting longer?

    • Scott said,

      Most of us amateur wine makers don’t filter our wine. My buddy that owns the winery needs to filter to polish the wine because he can’t wait for months for the wine to clear. Filtering removes the small floating bits, leaving a bright, clear wine. Leaving the wine in the carboy allows those floating bits to settle, but it takes time. It is actually better to rack the wine to a clean carboy after the fermentation clears. Then let the wine sit for a few months to clear again. That way there is much less of the bits to accidentally stir up so when you bottle.

      On Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 7:51 PM, Homemade Wine

      • Jim said,

        Think I will buy a filter. Not the patient type. But yet another question looms. As I stated, I added potasium sorbate, twice the amount called for to stop yeast reproduction. I know that I read wait 3 days then bottle. But I have been down this road before and had corks pop because of continued fermentation after bottling. After adding a doule dose of potasium sorbate to my 5 gallon carboy, going on 3 weeks now and I am still getting a bubble in my airlock every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. My sg is well below .990. What iis the deal with my yeast not stopping reproduction?

      • Scott said,

        Jim, Filtering will clear your wine faster, but it will also strip some flavor (it could also remove any live yeast, depending on the filter size). I think your patience is the cause of the other problem. Potassium Sorbate will not stop fermentation, it will only stop it from restarting. I don’t think your wine was completely done. I realize the specific gravity was low, but it sounds like there was still some bubbling going on. You have to wait it out. It could be taking a long time because of a lack of nutrients or if it is too cold. Without being there, it’s hard to know.

        On Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 6:46 AM, Homemade Wine

  83. Teal Jefferis said,

    In lieu of the grape tannin, can I use raisins?
    Is this a full bodied or light bodied recipe?

    • Scott said,

      I would classify the wine as medium bodied. A number of people here have made this wine in the last year or so, perhaps one or two of them will speak up as to the flavor and body.

      My recommendation to you is this: whether it is a baking recipe, wine recipe, or any other. Unless you are a master of the craft or you cannot get the ingredients, make it the way it is written. Then you can decide if it needs more body or something else and change it according to your tastes. There are plenty of recipes out there for blueberry wine. I make this one, it works, I detailed it for others to follow. After making wine for 15 years, I have enough experience to create my own recipes and they don’t always work out.

      Will raisins work in place of tannins? Maybe, but it will be a completely different wine.

  84. rocky said,

    my blueberry wine still has a slight fizz after 6 weeks is it ok and when do i put a solid cork on y carboy

    • Scott said,

      You could rack it to a clean carboy, that would get probably release a lot of the fizz. Just be patient, you don’t want to bottle it that way.

      I always keep an airlock on a carboy, just make sure it doesn’t go dry.

      On Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 9:52 PM, Homemade Wine

      • Rocky Proctor said,

        will the wine get less dry after time or should i add sugar and if so how much

      • Scott said,

        When the wine is done fermenting, the sugar is used up. If you want it sweet, you need to add sugar to taste and potassium sorbate so that the yeast does not start fermenting again. Sweetening is something that takes a little practice and experience. You need the right amount of sugar to balance the alcohol. I mention in the recipe that I use about 4 pounds of sugar dissolved in 4 cups of water, brought to a boil, cooled, then added to the wine. Try that, make note of how you like it, then adjust your next batch to taste. You can also stir in more sugar when the wine is in front of you.

  85. Jim said,

    This is my 5th recipe for different wines I have made, the first of which is Blueberry. I have opened my first bottle this evening after being bottled for 2 weeks. Could not resist getting a good taste of it. I am surely going to enter this one in area county fairs. It is the most soft, mellow, semi sweet wine I have made. If you can keep patience during the making process(which I had a hard time doing), this recipe is a winner!!!!!!!! I have started a second batch of this very same recipe and should net 36 more bottles from the 8 gallons in process. Thanks for the previous advice and a great recipe!!!!!

  86. Frances Henshaw said,

    Your recipe for Blueberry wine is my favorite also. Sooooo Delicious. Just picked blueberry’s for a new batch. Last time I did not wash blueberries before freezing them. As the farmer recommended. Should I rinse before freezing?

  87. Josh said,

    Hi Scott, I’m attempting my first go at wine making and have started my journey using this recipe. I’m lucky enough to live on a large farm in Southern California so lots of fresh fruit is often at my fingertips.

    We harvested 40 lbs of blueberries this afternoon so I took about 16 lbs and mashed them in the bottom of a clean brewing bucket. I’m trying to stay true to the directions but I was thinking of leaving the mashed berries (unbagged) in the bucket and filling up to the 3 gal mark, add my pectic enzyme and 5 crushed Camden tablets to the must.

    After a few days I’ll add water to the 6 gal mark add sugar and pitch the yeast. Get my SG where it needs to be and cross my fingers.

    After primary is done I’d like to place a fine screen over a large funnel and pour into secondary, hopefully removing 95% of the skins and remaining fruit before I start clearing the wine.

    Do you think this method would be successful?

    Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all of these questions.

    • Scott said,

      Your methods will be fine but very messy. We use the nylon bag to help remove 95% of the solids, but you still have a lot of liquid in there, so you can squeeze the juice out while retaining the skins. The only problem is the filtering. You are going to instantly clog the screen. When you finish that first round, you are going to have lots of solids still left floating in the wine. You are going to have to give that several days to settle and then rack the wine off to a carboy. So in a way, you are adding a second filtering step that is only adding work but not clarity.

      If you already started, go pick up a nylon mesh bag, they are only like $2. Before you top the wine up to the 6+ gallon mark, pour the whole thing into the bag. Then top up. Whether you use the bag or not, you will have to make sure the berries are stirred frequently, you don’t want the top drying out.

      On Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 3:59 AM, Homemade Wine

      • Josh said,

        Hey Scott,
        I got a nylon bag and strained the must though it. I then poured the sugar water through the bag. Like you said the bag became clogged and when I lift the bag the liquid level drops to maybe 3 gallons and I’m left holding a large bag indeed.

        I’m thinking I should leave the bag delicately open just above the wine line and squeeze later before secondary. I just mixed the additives and pitched the yeast inside of the open bag. In a few hours I’ll stir it up and try to leave it with the mesh above the wine line and hopefully keeping the skins on the inside.

        My numbers are:
        1.0825 = 11%

        Sound ok to this point?

      • Scott said,

        Josh, You are definitely making it a little harder than it needs to be. Tie a knot in the bag and drop it in. You need the fruit to stay wet, stir it under at a minimum once a day. You can add more water now, there is no way you are going to have 6 gallons when you remove the fruit solids. I usually start with the water at the 7 gallon line and I have to top up to 6 gallons in the carboy later. If the yeast is going strong, great, but read the post about adding yeast. There are a few techniques that will give you the best chance of success.

        Realize there are a lot of very smart people making wine. It’s a huge business and has been a science for thousands of years. I didn’t create any of the methods, I’m trying to give you the most foolproof and proven ones for the home winemaker. My blog is here to help the beginner have a successful start. So many people make one bad batch of wine and then quit because they tried to do too much the first time out. Follow the instructions, learn the methods, then get creative.

        On Thu, May 2, 2013 at 2:19 AM, Homemade Wine

  88. Kathy said,

    When straining, 18 lbs of berries yields a LOT of fruit that can be heavy and cumbersome to squeeze all at once. I broke this step up into about 5-6 loads. (If you have chickens, they love eating the left over fruit.)

    • Scott said,

      It takes a while to squeeze down, but I generally end up with a mass about the size of a softball. It would probably be easier to break it up.

      On Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 7:30 AM, Homemade Wine

      • Kathy said,

        The time I tried it in one batch it was not possible to manage the fruit and liquid in one bag – I have small hands and the fruit escaped more than once from the bag. Sure, I could’ve asked my husband to do this for me, but I’m the wine maker….he’s the fruit grower. And I ended up with a LOT more than a baseball sized mass at the end.

  89. Jim said,

    If you have a 8 quart or larger steamer pot you can take the steamer section out with the holes in it, place your bag in it, then use a smaller pot to apply pressure to it, thus getting out a goodly portion of the juices. My wife gave me the idea and it works very well.

  90. Jim said,

    To keep the contents in the nylon bag, just tie a knot in the end of it. It will not come open and will take a lot of pressure.

  91. Dorothy Kominakis said,

    I can’t wait to try your recipe, I have never made wine from actual fruit before (just kits) . I have a question I don’t like my wine real sweet and my husband is diabetic so could I use less sugar than the recipe calls for?

    • Scott said,

      Don’t change the initial sugar, you need that to create the right alcohol content. After the wine has fermented to completion, the sugar is all gone. You can now choose to add sugar if you want it sweet, or don’t add sugar if you want it dry. But like Fran said, if you add sugar, make sure you put in the Potassium Sorbate or you will have sparkling wine right before the bottles explode.

      On Tue, May 21, 2013 at 4:41 PM, Homemade Wine

  92. Fran Henshaw said,

    the sugar you put in for fermentation goes to the yeast. Ferment down to .990 and it is very dry. Before bottling, sweeten or not to your taste. Just be sure to add potassium sorbate. This is the best Blueberry Recipe.

  93. Benni said,

    Hello everyone, can perhaps a brandy or alcohol be used to stabilize instead of potasium sorbate ?
    If so, how much alcohol per bottle ?
    Many Thanks, Benni

    • Scott said,

      Hi Benni, It’s actually an interesting question. Wine is usually made to have an alcohol content of around 13%. Any higher and it starts to taste like rocket fuel. There are some exceptions, my Black Plum wine is 16%-18% alcohol. The problem is that you have to make it much sweeter to offset the higher alcohol content. There is a point, and it is different for each variety of yeast, where the yeast dies off due to alcohol poisoning. You can look that value up, for most, it’s around 15%. I intentionally used a more alcohol tolerant yeast when I made the Black Plum wine.

      So to answer your question, I suppose you could fortify the wine to a point where the yeast will die, but it will have to be so high that you won’t enjoy drinking it as wine. I also don’t know if the yeast actually dies, I would guess it just goes inactive. I’m sticking with potassium sorbate. It is widely used and has roughly the same toxicity to humans as table salt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_sorbate).

      On Wed, Jul 3, 2013 at 6:06 AM, Homemade Wine

  94. Mike said,

    I started a batch last week using a recipe nearly identical to yours except that it called for 3T of acid blend. Not sure why there is such a difference. I used Red Star Montrachet yeast. SG was 1.091. Fermentation was visibly active for the first 3 days though I did not take gravity readings. While stirring the must it seemed that the fermentation had basically stopped. No visible bubbling or foam. The gravity last night (day 7) was 1.061. Fermentation temp has been steady at 75 degrees. I feel like the gravity should have come down more in 7 days.
    Do you recommend I make a yeast starter and add that to get the fermentation going again? Would you use a different yeast? Would you add additional yeast energizer if/when adding the started? Do you think the ph is too low due to the extra acid blend and that it is disrupting the fermentation? I don’t have a way to test the ph but could go get a kit at the local shop if you feel that could be the cause. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    • Scott said,

      I doubt the acid blend caused your problem. Yes, I would definitely go with a starter. You can use the must and add some sugar, or try it without adding sugar. Once it gets active, doubling the volume. Repeat until you have a quart or more, then pitch it in the vat. You could also try putting a little more nutrient in and see if that does anything. The only time I had a fermentation stop was when I completely forgot to add the nutrient.

      On Wed, Jul 3, 2013 at 12:20 PM, Homemade Wine

  95. Frances Henshaw said,

    I am having the same problem with my Blueberry Wine. After trying all the obvious fixes, I have it in a carboy to just do its’ own thing. Patience is hard to come by in wine making. lol

  96. Tom said,

    Is it possible to use a clarifier i.e.: isinglass on this recipe? Or possibly even bentonite?

    • Scott said,

      Sure. I prefer to let time and gravity do the work, but I don’t see why not.

      On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 9:58 AM, Homemade Wine

  97. Tom said,

    Excellent thank you! I just started this recipe this weekend. I did a kit wine at the same time, and started wondering if it was possible to do. Great recipe super easy for a first time fruit wine!

  98. Dorothy Kominakis said,

    How do you know when it is ready to bottle kinda hard to see if it is clear,should I check SG again ? It has been in carboy for about a month ? Never made wine from anything but a kit before now . Thanks

    • Scott said,

      Shine a flashlight on the other side of the carboy. If you can clearly see the bulb, it’s clear enough to bottle. A month might be enough.

  99. Sylvie said,

    I have a bumper crop of blueberries this summer and was wondering what to do with all of them. I will attempt this recipe as all comments sure sound positive and encouraging.

  100. Dorothy Kominakis said,

    One more question when getting ready to bottle and adding the sugar water to taste should I let the water cool to room temp or can I add it right after boiling it? It would make since to me to let it cool to room temp before adding it ,but wanted to make sure I am correct. Thanks

    • Scott said,

      You need to let it cool but it doesn’t have to be room temperature, just cool enough to comfortably touch. I try to boil up the sugar water a couple hours ahead of time on bottling day.

  101. Dan said,

    Thank you for the recipe! I have a questions regarding step 2. Should the fermenter be sealed during these few days? I assume that it should be, but this is my first wine and the instructions do not specify. Thanks in advance!

    • Scott said,

      The fermenter for me is a 7 gallon plastic bucket. I cover it but you MUST have a way for gas to escape. Fermentation is very active in the first 2-7 days and tends to foam.

      Traditional recipes just covered it with a towel to keep the bugs out. Today we tend to use a bubbler. Just make sure the bubbler never clogs with foam or you will have a wine volcano.

      On Sun, Aug 25, 2013 at 9:38 AM, Homemade Wine

  102. Dan said,

    Thanks for the quick response! I understand that during fermentation an airlock is required, but I was attempting to ask about step two, which I believe is pre-fermentation. My interpretation was that since potassium sulfite is added during step 2, you do not expect any fermentation until the sugar is added in step 3. My reading was that step two is basically an extraction and that fermentation will occur later. So my question is whether the berries should be in an airtight container during the few days during which this extraction takes place. Currently, I have the berries+water+potassium sulfite+pectic enzyme in a 7 gallon plastic bucket with a cover and air lock. I just wanted to make sure that I am not screwing things up by denying the extraction fresh air. I have not yet added any sugar. Thanks in advance for your reply.

    • Scott said,

      Yes, you can close that up. You want to gently stir the fruit under the water a few times a day to help the enzyme do it’s job and to keep the fruit wet. I put the lid on the fermenter with a paper towel poked lightly in the hole for the first week. Once fermentation slows down, I will put in the air lock.

      • Dan said,

        Thank you for the clarification! I’m really looking forward to trying the wine!

  103. Benni said,

    you might want to give the wine some oak
    for body and a finish

  104. Luther said,

    I have two carboys cooking at this time. I did everything wrong. Straight from the blender to the pot to the carboy, added yeast too hot. Used baking yeast. Started fermentation with airlocks in carboy. After 2 months and several rackings it is starting to look and tast like wine/kool-aid. I will drink all of it before it gets ready for bottling anyway so it doesn’t really matter. NEXT TIME I am going to do it your way. Thanks

    • Scott said,

      Hi Luther, I didn’t invent any of this, I just translate what worked for me into simple instructions. Hopefully this wasn’t too expensive a lesson. I made my first attempt at winemaking 25 years ago following a folk type of recipe. It got moldy and smelled bad, but didn’t cost me much. The problem is that I was put off from it and didn’t try again for over 10 year.

      You ought to bottle some of it just to compare it to your next attempt. The only no-no there is the yeast, the rest is more about how much work you will have cleaning up. You can use airlocks right away, just make sure they don’t clog or you will have a fountain. A blender would help get more juice out, it will just suspend a lot of solids you will have to deal with later. I’m willing to bet your wine won’t be bad, it might have a bit of a odd smell or taste to it from the yeast.

      On Sat, Sep 21, 2013 at 8:20 AM, Homemade Wine

      • Luther said,

        Hey, my new Best Buddy. No, I made all of the mistakes and have the plugged up airlock marks on the ceiling to prove it. The wine is starting to be very much to my liking so it may be gone by the time it quits bubbling. I found your site and after reading all of the post I am sure I am going to continue with this recipe (not much different than what I did) except my methodology was way off. Thanks again

  105. chris edmonson said,

    I made 6 gallons of peach wine.i think i did everthing right because it fermented down to 0.990 before it quit bubbling. my problem is i let it clear for 1 month before i changed it to another carboy to finish clearing. but it smells like rotting peaches. ( is this normal smell) i have not sweeting it up yet i was waiting for it to clear up a little more

  106. Bulldog said,

    Give it some air
    I assume that it is a glass Carboy ?
    To give some air, get 2 sterile clean pails and pour from one pail to the other, do this about 10 times, rack/pour back into the glass Carboy, let sit one week and repeat. I really think it need gas off and get some oxygen into it.

  107. chris edmonson said,

    So you dont think the air will spoil the wine

  108. chris said,

    when i start to sweeting it up a little can i use the peach syrp from canned peaches ( without using the peaches)

    • Scott said,

      I’m not sure on the air question, but if it smells bad, that seems to make sense. You may need to add a little sulfites to offset oxidation. If you have a test kit, that may be the way to go.

      I don’t see any reason not to use the peach syrup, It may have some solids in it which won’t have time to settle if you sweeten and bottle at the same time. Still, it sounds like a good idea. Don’t forget your potassium sorbate.

  109. chris said,

    I dont have a test kit but i did aireate it by pouring back and forth into sterlized containers. maby that will help to get rid of the rotten smell. but if thet does not work-what is sulfites and how much would i use in 6 gallons

  110. kathryn said,

    Hello I have a bunch of frozen blueberries. Should I measure them before thaw them or before? I usually take a measurement of 4 cups to equal 1lb.

    • kathryn said,

      Oops sorry about the confusing post. I am typing on my kindle and it seems to enter what it wants. I meant to say before I thaw the berries or after.

    • Scott said,

      A pound is a pound. They shouldn’t weigh any more frozen or thawed unless they are covered with ice. I usually package them 3lb to a Ziploc and then throw them in the freezer.

      On Tue, Sep 24, 2013 at 8:19 AM, Homemade Wine

  111. chris said,

    try tawing the berries out first, you need to do this before you can crush them. it would also be a good time to weigh them in the bag.

  112. chris said,

    do i add the potassium sorbate before i add sugar to my wine to make it sweeter or after ( to stablize it)

    • Scott said,

      Same time

      On Sat, Oct 5, 2013 at 10:49 AM, Homemade Wine

  113. chris said,

    Thanks Scott. I thought so but i was not sure.

  114. Michael said,

    For blueberry wine, when squeezing the juice out of the fermentation bag, do you wear gloves? If not, are your hands stained blue afterwards?

    • Scott said,

      No, I don’t wear gloves. I don’t remember it staining my hands and I’d remember if I looked like a smurf.

      On Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 2:41 PM, Homemade Wine

  115. Michael said,

    It started with 20 lbs of highbush blueberries along with water and recipe ingredients to make 6 gallons at 1.090, and after 9 days of fermentation in a cloth covered bucket kept around 72-74 degrees, it was 0.088, so I transferred it into a 5 gallon carboy (and had about 2 cups extra). The next day, I could clearly see about an inch of material on the bottom, even though I had used a fermentation bag. I’d like it to be ready to serve in about 6 months. Wondering if I could/should immediately rack it again to get a lot of this out of there before I let it set for a month and rack it again, to achieve a better clarification so I can bottle it at about 5 months time. If I rack it immediately, would it be a mistake to add sugar water to fill the carboy (I don’t think the 2 cups will be enough) since from your previous comments, it seems that I might be removing a lot of the yeast and therefore, fermentation may not re-start. What would you do?
    Your comments have been so helpful and enlightening, Thank You!
    As a side note, I can’t even see a flashlight through the carboy. Will I be able to later?

    • Scott said,

      Michael, This can be a good drinkable wine in 6 months, but you do have to be patient. Do not rack the wine now, that would be a mistake. You can top up with water or sugar water. You said you made enough for 6 gallons but you have it in a 5 gallon carboy. That says to me that you didn’t start with enough water. With the fruit in the vat, I want it sitting at the 7 gallon mark on my fermenter when I start. More fruit is never a bad thing, but you can top up with water if you want. You could also top up with a red wine, like a Zinfindal to give it a really nice body. Do you not have a 6 gallon carboy?

      Do not try to rush the process. The wine may take another couple of weeks to completely finish fermenting, let it go and then let it settle. You will start to be able to see a light through the wine after a couple of weeks. Only when it is really clear should you rack it, and you want to do your very best to not stir up the mess on the bottom. Each time you rack, it costs you at least one bottle of finished wine and you don’t want to be in a carboy with air space at the top.

      The most I every racked a wine is twice. The first time is to get rid of the heavy stuff, 2-3 months after the transfer. It then should only take about a month for the wine to clear again. Longer isn’t bad, just make sure the air lock is in place and has water or sulfites in it. When it is time to bottle, I rack the clear wine into a bottling bucket and add the sugar/water mixture to that. Your goal is to be in the bottle at least one month before drink time. That shouldn’t be a problem if you don’t create problems for yourself.

      On Sat, Dec 21, 2013 at 9:03 AM, Homemade Wine

  116. Michael said,

    I only have a 5 gallon carboy, that’s why I started with 6 gallons total in the primary fermenter, and I did have just enough to fill the carboy :) . This is my first try at wine making. I didn’t know what to expect to see at the bottom of the carboy, but I didn’t expect an inch of stuff so soon. Is this a somewhat normal amount? Seems like the fermentation bag lets a lot of stuff through and I didn’t do a very good job of siphoning it from the primary into the carboy.

    I am still seeing a lot of very fine bubbles rising to the top of the carboy, which sounds like a good thing. I’m using vodka in the air lock.

    OK, I’ll wait 2-3 months for the first racking, although I’m not sure I understand the siphoning process. When I do rack it (siphon it), what is the closest to the gunk that I should hold the bottom of the auto-siphon? And what about only getting like within an inch of it, and then filtering the last bit through a coffee filter; would that be a good thing?

    One more thing, In theory,I can understand adding sugar water to fill the carboy when the wine if first placed into the carboy to fill it, since fermentation is still occurring; and that way the alcohol content wouldn’t be diluted. But, at the 2-3 month racking and any later rackings, I should only add water or like a red zinfindal to fill the carboy, right?, since I wouldn’t want any fermentation to re-start at that point?
    Thanks again.

    • Scott said,

      Don’t worry about all the stuff in the bottom of the carboy. The nylon net is to keep the bulk of the material, not the fine stuff. It sounds like everything is perfect. The stuff in the bottom of the carboy (lees) will compact a bit over time. You are seeing fine bubbles because there is still some sugar left in the juice, the last bits can take a few weeks. Yes, you could add sugar water now, but not after racking again. Later, you can add either water or wine. By the way, I try to make sure I have enough water in the original vat so that I have a liter more than my carboy holds. That wine is set to the side with its own bubbler and is used to top up the carboy after racking.

      I have two siphons, one is an auto-siphon, the other is just a rod. Both of them have a small black cap on the bottom that redirects the stream from above the opening. If you are missing this cap, get another siphon. The cap lets you get right down into the lees without sucking them up. A week or two before I rack, I put one edge of my carboy on a block of wood. That moves the lees to one side. When I rack, I start the siphon and lower it slowly as the liquid drops. If you are careful and gentle, you can get into the lees and remove very little. You can play with the block to give you the most wine with the least amount of lees. I wouldn’t waste my effort on the coffee filter, but that’s me. A better solution is to take the remains from the carboy, put it in a water bottle and put it in the fridge. You will be able to carefully pour off good wine in a couple of days.

      I need to give you a word of warning about topping up with wine. Some wines (reds in particular) goes through an intentional secondary fermentation called malolactic fermentation. Adding wine that went through this process could cause your wine to do so as well. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it would add a couple months to the time it will take to finish fermenting. I have done this on purpose with a blueberry wine, the results are great, but it took ages to complete.

  117. rich said,

    about to bottle my blueberry wine wondering how much potassium sorbate to add for a 7 gal carboy?

    • Scott said,

      It should be right on the label. I believe it is 1/2 a teaspoon per gallon. You sure it’s a 7 gallon carboy? They are usually 5 or 6.

      On Thu, Jan 2, 2014 at 4:04 PM, Homemade Wine

  118. rich said,

    Thanx scott, my p.sorbate has no instrucions on bottle and i have been looking for a while,,and, your right its a 6 gal carboy.Thank you for the recipe and your help last oct when i started this, it looks great.

  119. maikel said,

    my first try at blueberry dessert wine
    inspired by your blueberrywine recepy I decided to give it an go

    for an 17 liter blueberry desert wine i used your recepy as base with some of my approach to blueberry wine

    i used 7.200 kg blueberries that I smashed in my cheese cloth and added to fermentation bucket
    than I added 2 kg of sugar to get to the 1130 sugar content mark that I aimed for than used 1.5 gr of sulfite to sterilize the must
    24 hours later at an temperature of 21 degrees Celsius added the pecto enzyme and the rhopect to get rid of the pectin also at this point I added the yeast starter and the Bourgogne yeast

    progress of fermentation after 24 hours of the pitching I got an intense fermentation that continued for 3 days stirred the must every day for 3 a 4 days to make sure the fruit have time to dissolve and mix in some oxygen to help the yeast out during primary during day 4 I added the 1 kilogram extra sugar to raise the must level to 15.5 liter mark
    on day 5 the must had broken down enough and I had 17.600 liters
    at that point I filtered out the remainders of the fruit with help of an cheesecloth and some squeezing by hand I ended up with approx. 17 liters of liquid this I left overnight in the bucket to let some particles settle down and than racked it into and 15 liters sanitized bucket sugar content was down to 1028 day six sugar content was down to 1010 and I racked it into an clean sanitized carboy with airlock
    day 7,8,9, having an airlock activity every second and fermentation is happening at an approx. stable 18/19 degrees Celsius

    planning on racking next month into clean 15 liters carboy and adding sugar water for the loss of volume due to the removal of lees (dead yeast and fruit leftovers
    planning on keep adding sugar water until alcohol content gets to high and the yeast stalls/stops/dies want to avoid using sulfite to stop the yeast to I am aiming for the alcohol to do that

    can anyone give tips and tricks for blueberry’s desert wine and maybe check my recipe ?
    help is appreciated greatly I am aiming for an sweet high alcohol content desert wine

    thanks ahead for al the help tips and tricks or remarks greetings
    maikel

    • Scott said,

      I have tried making this high alcohol and sweet. Sweet is good, however I’m not sure I like the high alcohol because the wine is light to medium body. I make a high alcohol like a dessert wine out of plums because I can load up the fruit and it has a very nice full body.

      One other thought, and that is that I don’t like getting rid of too much sediment between the primary fermentation and the racking. You need the yeast in there and strong to finish the fermentation.

      One of my batches, rather than topping off with sugar water, I used a bottle of zinfindal to give it body. That was the best batch of blueberry wine I ever made.

      • maikel said,

        fermentation is still going strong so I don’t think I lost to much yeast during filtering in the cheesecloth every second airlock bubbling
        but does the aprox 1 month waiting than racking and topping up with sugarwater gets me to stop the yeast by the alcoholcontent? it might take time but im patient
        I am guessing that above 16 a 17 percent the alcohol would be enough to kill the yeast and get it bottle ready am I right ?

      • Scott said,

        If you want to maximize the alcohol content, you need to feed sugar water regularly, don’t wait for them to die off. The max alcohol will be in the data sheet for the type of yeast you used. Some max out at 15 percent. I don’t see any harm in continuing to feed sugar water while you watch the progress, you are going to sweeten it later anyway.

        On Thu, May 8, 2014 at 9:50 AM, Homemade Wine wrote:

        >

    • maikel said,

      the yeast I choose for the dessert blueberry wine

      Saccharomyces cerevisiae

      Origin

      The Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain was selected from fermentations produced in the Burgundy region by the Bureau interprofessionnel des vins de Bourgogne (BIVB). It was selected for its ability to ferment a traditional heavier-style Burgundian Pinot Noir.

      Oenological properties and applications
      The Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a low-foaming moderate-speed fermenter with an optimum fermentation temperature ranging from 20° to 30°C (68° to 86°F). A very low producer of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), the RC 212 shows good alcohol tolerance to 16%.

      The Saccharomyces cerevisiae is recommended for red varieties where full extraction is desired. Lighter red varieties also benefit from the improved extraction while color stability is maintained throughout fermentation and aging. Aromas of ripe berry and fruit are emphasized while respecting pepper and spicy notes.

  120. rich said,

    I am making one gallon of blueberry port. It has been in a one gal. bottle for about three months. I will soon rack it again into another.I have high hopes. got the port recipe from a recipe book. good luck..Also have another 6 gals. of the original blue wine recipe just started….

    • maikel said,

      sounds like something I would like blueberry port hmmn before dinner on an sunny day !

    • maikel said,

      can I get the recipe?
      very interested for an future batch do u use special port yeast ?
      and how much do u fortify after?

      • Scott said,

        My recipes are on here. The link is on the right hand column.

        On Thu, May 8, 2014 at 1:28 PM, Homemade Wine wrote:

        >

  121. maikel said,

    thanks scot it seams that im on the right track and wasn’t waiting until bubbling stopped until adding more sugar
    so Im in for an good wait and keeping an eye on the yeast not dyeing of before alcohol is to high
    il keep posting if progress is made and tell about the gravity amount of sugar in total and of course the taste after bottling and ripening
    im kinda curious what the Bourgogne yeast adds to the flavor of the wine
    thinking up an label and name for the wine . suggestion are welcome
    for now the working name is Bourgogne blueberry but im sure it needs an other

  122. rich said,

    scott I need some advise.. I thawed my berry’s. added three gals water.
    and the p. enzyme.. and 50 m.l. 2.5% pot sulfite.. this is where i screwed up I added(and shouldnt have) the yeast nutrient and the tannin and the acid blend. the question is, its almost time to add sugar what should I do to try to correct my goof?

    • Scott said,

      I don’t see a problem. All you did was add some minerals and change the acidity. None of this should interfere with the work of the pectic enzyme. You added the pot sulfite, so it should inhibit random bacterial and yeast growth. Just continue, add your sugar, mix it all up and add the yeast. Winemaking is a forgiving science.

  123. rich said,

    thanks again! scott…. someone asked about blueberry port, the recipe i used came from Winemakers recipe handbook. Blueberry Port…6lbs blueberrys(mine are frozen)1/2 cup lt. dry malt..4 pints water..1&3/4 lbs. sugar..1/2 tsp acid blend..1/2tsp pectic enzyme..1/2tsp energizer..1 campden crushed..1 packet sherry or port yeast..good luck

    • maikel said,

      is it an 1 gallon recipe ? need to recalculate it for ltr and grams

  124. rich said,

    yes, sorry it is a one gallon recipe.I only gave ingredients, if you want the procedure let me know. I dont know if I should fortify it in some way or not? advise??

    • maikel said,

      well its not that u should but I was asking since traditional port is usually fortified with brandy or sherry mainly it was developed for keeping the wine good for longer time in the barrel they developed port when the English where at war with the France and where running out of wine so they looked for wine from Portugal since it had great taste but there was an problem since the journey was way to long for the wine to stay good so they added extra alcohol for the preservation
      so I guess u can choose yourself fortify after or drink it when it is of taste
      I was just asking because I was interested to what percentage of alcohol would one fortify the port wine and how to calculate how much how much would one add when using lets say brandy of 40% alcohol content to get to the aiming percentage
      I just cant get the math right I guess that’s what I am asking
      how does one calculate the two water and alcohol of the two together into the new mixed result?
      and just to be sure I got things right can u send me the procedure ?

  125. rich said,

    Dont know how to calculate that problem but i can give you the rest of the recipe. Under the list of ingredients I posted, the following instruction are included in the recipe.”Use ripe but mold free berries. Remove stems and leaves. Wash and drain berries.Using nylon straining bag(or press) mash and strain out juice into primary fermentor. keeping pulp in bag, tie top and place in fermentor.2. stir in all other ingreients.EXCEPT yeast . Cover in 24hours pitch yeast. cover,check s.g., stir daily.. when s.g. reaches 1.030 strain juice from bag. syphon wine off from sediment to a glass carboy, add airlock. When ferment is complete s.g. @1.000 about 4 weeks syphon of again to clean glass secondary. reattach airlock..to aid in clearing syphon again in 2months , and again in 2 months if necessary before bottling.” Good luck

  126. maikel said,

    that about how I would do it so many thanks for the recipe and instructions and il be keeping my eyes open for the next bag of blueberrys
    small update to my blueberry desert wine :

    after neglecting my hydrometer reading for an few days I found out that the sugar level was getting dangerously low reading onely an tiny fraction above 1.000 I sprung into action siphoned of small amount of wine from the carboy cooked it vigerously and strained the solids out of it and dissolved an extra kilo of sugar in it and after cooling started feeding small amounts back into the glass carboy to slowly get my gravity reading up again fermentation started up slowly and because of the adding small amounts technique I had no blow outs our to vigorous fermentation response
    after an few days now im back up to 1.020 and am keeping an eye on my hydrometer daily I read somewhere that feeding extra sugar should be done moderately to avoid suffocation the yeast with sugar that would start to act as some kind of preservative so im trying to keep the differences small and also to avoid an to sweet end result when the yeast will stop due to the alcohol content.
    I also did an taste test and the wine is slowly growing towards an desertwine like taste an little bit high on the appelsour but I guess the malotactic fermentation will smooth this out in the end.
    so right now its an bit to sweet due to adding the extra sugar but im guessing the yeast will eat aprox 80/90% of the extra sugar I added before it dies of due to the alcohol content .
    so back to the waiting days and il keep u posted on progress made

    have fun making wine !
    I surely do!
    and don’t forget the pleasure of tasting the end result here it looks like growwing towards an fresh fruity end result :) (Y)

  127. Blueberry Wine: A Healthy Indulgence said,

    […] This recipe makes about six gallons of wine. Please be patient, as this is a process that won’t happen overnight. In fact, it takes more than a month for the concoction to turn into blueberry wine. Here’s where to find your step-by-step instructions – […]

  128. rich said,

    Hey guys me again. About the blueberry port, I’m about to bottle it next week, and am looking for advise my recipe stops here. What are your thoughts on sweetening(1 gal. recipe)? and or fortifying?I’m planning to put it in grolch beer bottles with the rubber gasket and wire clamp tops. Think thats o.k.? I can then take a little out and reseal, as time goes on.The only wine bottles i have are 1/5′s with #9 cork and cant seem to get them back in the bottle after opening.. please advise .

  129. Peter Bell said,

    I made this recipe Blueberry Wine and the result was absolutely delicious! All my friends raved about it and consequently I am needing to make another batch having run out far too quickly :) I didn’t add sorbate and made a sparkling wine with it. Many thanks!!

  130. rich said,

    hey peter sparkling sounds great.. Ive made scotts recipe 4 times and really like it(thanks scott) but how do you make it sparkling? that sounds good!

  131. Frances Henshaw said,

    Hope you can help me. I am working on Chocolate Strawberry Wine. Any advise for making this wine? I would greatly appreciate any help.
    Fran

    • Scott said,

      I don’t know if I can help. Do you have a recipe or are you winging it? You might be better off asking specific questions.

  132. Frances Henshaw said,

    I have 3 very similar recipes. Differences are Dutch vs Hersey cocoa. Must be kept completely dark, type of yeast used in fermentation. Also, I read where some vintners have made the wine port. That I am interested in?

    • Scott said,

      Fran,
      I don’t have any experience with chocolate wine. I would probably apply my taste preferences to the recipe. For example, I like dutch chocolate better than Hersey’s. I would read up on the types of yeast, but a lot of people just use what they have and don’t choose a yeast. Whatever you do, document it well so the next time you can play and compare.

  133. Frances Henshaw said,

    will keep you posted. Any info on the port please forward. Thank you.

  134. Dorothy said,

    I was wondering if we could use the blueberries frozen instead of thawed for this recipe.. I made it last year and followed it to the letter and it was great but my friend and I are making it and she thought it would be neat to try it with frozen instead of thawed. Any thoughts if it would still be OK..

  135. paul said,

    hi well , the trouble with berries frozen is how are you goingto crush them? I ‘d just let them thaw.. why rush.

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