Homemade fruit wine – a guide
Here I give you a little guide so that you can make homemade fruit wine according to a recipe no longer a problem. But how do you make wine yourself according to a recipe from your own garden? Is it difficult to make wine yourself? It all starts with the question of how to preserve fruit from the garden. In addition to juice, syrup and jam, you can also make liqueur and fruit wine.
Making fruit wine yourself with a hobby wine recipe is very easy. Your home-made wine will soon be stored in your own cellar. A simple instruction is enough to make fruit wine. The literature sources mentioned in this post are my personal recommendation and the mention was not made through paid advertising. More about fruit wine production in the Hindberry fruit press.
- Homemade wine and liqueurs
- Fruit wine from our own garden
- International literature on wine and fruit wine
- German-language literature on homemade fruit wine
- Why not use wine recipes?
- Jesus Units or how to make wine out of water
- What is sugar-free extract in fruit wine?
- Pure wine analysis – dry wine and dry numbers
Homemade wine and liqueurs
Liqueurs are very popular in the household. All you need is juice, fruit, sugar and alcohol. The homemade liqueurs are often refined with spices such as vanilla, cinnamon and cloves. Either one uses grain, double grain or alcohol to prepare the homemade liqueurs. Preparing liqueur according to a recipe is very easy. It is of course much easier to prepare liqueurs than to make wine yourself.
Producing red wine or white wine from your own garden is a little more time-consuming and requires a little expertise in winemaking. Making fruit wine from your own fruit from the garden according to a recipe seems easier. But making wines at home is a demanding hobby. There are many wine forums on this topic, such as the fruit wine cellar in Germany. The community provides hobby winemakers who are keen to experiment with a lot of know-how. There is also fruit wine literature on the subject such as Donath’s book „Obstwein homemade“. All sources provide useful hobby wine recipes and help so that you can start your career as a hobby winemaker.
Some wine accessories are of course needed.
- Wine barrels, cider barrels.
- Funnels, sieves, measuring cups, buckets.
- Sugar spindle or must weigher.
- Vinometer, acidometer, refractometer.
From the small budget to professional winery equipment, everything is available in specialist winery shops. You could also get a fruit press or hydro press and a berry grinder if you want to regularly press large quantities of fruit wine for your own use. In addition to a wine pump, hoses, fermentation vats and other winery equipment for wine production, there are no limits to the ambitious hobby winemaker.
Then it comes to the ingredients for the hobby wine recipes. First, you have to buy wine yeast. There are many different pure yeasts to choose from. Baker’s yeast, turbo yeast, cold yeast, port yeast. In specialist wine shops there are also professional wine yeasts that are also used in the commercial sector. You will find special white wine, red wine or even beer or sparkling wine yeasts there. The only question left is whether you prefer to use liquid wine yeast or dry yeast to prepare the fermentation starter. Here you can find out what exactly wine yeast is all about : What influence does the pure yeast and wine yeast strain have on the wine?
Fruit wine from our own garden
Which fruit wine should it be now? Maybe a currant wine or a currant wine from your own garden? Cherry wine and strawberry wine are also very popular with amateur cellar masters. Garden fruit is usually available in the household and experience has shown that fruit wine always tastes good. The delicious self-made fruit wine can even be drunk during the summer. Anyone who owns many apple trees can also produce Äpplewoi, apple cider or apple cider. But the effort is much greater than with berry wine. Because the pome fruit is reluctant to give the coveted apple juice. Apples must first be crushed with a fruit grinder and the apple mash then squeezed out with a fruit press. Only then can the raw apple juice be fermented into fruit wine.
Of course, I cannot give you any precise instructions here. However, everything is described in detail in the relevant literature. This is how tasty grapes can be made from berries and cherries at home. How much citric acid and sulfur you need and how exactly the added sugar works so that the berry wine gets a harmonious residual sweetness, you can read everything there.
However, a lot is also a matter of experience and is not entirely covered by fruit wine recipes. Sometimes the fruit wine gets too acidic and you may wonder how you can deacidify it. I also wrote you a little guide: How can you deacidify fruit wine?
International literature on wine and fruit wine
If you would like to deal with fruit wine production in more detail or just want to read up on this topic, a few books are recommended. Like Kolb and Demuth’s book on industrial, commercial and domestic fruit wine production. I also like to use international literature and read publications from universities, for example in Australia and Asia.
As for the topic of fruit wine books, Dominic Rivard should be mentioned here, who has made a name for himself in the fruit wine industry. He has published „The Ultimate Fruitwine Maker’s Guide“ and works as a winemaker and wine consultant in this segment.
If you want to expand your knowledge in the hobby winemaking sector, you should definitely read Daniel Pambianchi’s “The Comprehensive Guide to Making Chateau-Style Wines”, Techniques in Home Winemaking.
This work mainly describes small devices and devices sold in specialist shops for the hobby sector in great detail. Which small appliances are recommended for a hobby winemaker and thus very helpful utensils for the production of your own wine. The book is therefore an indispensable source of literature for owners of grapes in their own garden who would like to make wine themselves. It is definitely worth it as a reference work for the thirsty hobby cellar master.
Pambianchi explains the production of red wine using the example of Pinot Noir. He goes into the production of Sparkling Wines and Sparkling Icewines and explains the production of home-made port wine. He also explains what the analytical values of acid, sugar and alcohol content say and actually mean for certain products. Understanding this background also means being able to produce better wines yourself. He goes into the entire area of wine analysis. This makes it easy for the ambitious hobby winemaker to understand certain wine styles. On the whole, his book conveys very clearly what needs to be considered when making wine.
There are well over several thousand different grape varieties worldwide. It depends more on the climate and the ripening conditions which grape varieties are suitable for local wine growing. Not all grape varieties grow everywhere on the large continent of America. In some areas it is wiser and safer to harvest fully ripe hybrid grapes than unripe Vinifera grapes. Drinkable wines can be made from all grape varieties if you use the most sensible wine style for the respective grape variety. The rest is a matter of taste.
In Jeff Cox’s book „From Vines to Wines“ you can find out interesting facts about vine training. The book explains hybrid varieties that are important to hobby growers in the United States. When can grapes be harvested? How do you test tartaric acid and the degree of ripeness of the grapes and what happens to the grapes after the harvest? He explains why it is more wise to produce “blush”, i.e. rose wine, from red hybrid grapes rather than red wine and that blending should not necessarily be viewed negatively. The goal should always be to produce delicious wine. Whether it actually has to be single-origin is then more a question of philosophy.
German-language literature on homemade fruit wine
In the Austrian and German wine literature one finds very little useful information that would be applicable in the hobby area of fruit wine production in one’s own household. More detailed descriptions of the small appliances in the household are mostly completely lacking in the German-language literature. The area of fruit wine and fruit wine is almost completely withheld in the specialist literature in Austria. In Austria, apple cider, apple cider, pear cider and pear wines are primarily produced, which fall into the field of fruit processing and are largely outsourced from viticulture.
In Georg Innerhofer’s big book on „fruit processing“ you can find out everything you need to know about it in a nutshell. The liquid products range from juice, nectar, syrup, fruit wine, fruit vinegar, fruit brandy to fruit liqueur. You can also learn about jams, jellies, marmalade, canned fruit, dried fruit and dried fruit.
„Der Winzer“ by Meidinger, Blankenhorn and Funk gives an insight into the work of the winery. Likewise, Steidl’s book on „Kellerwirtschaft“. You can read more about winegrowing practice in the Agrarverlag series. Publications and interesting papers have been written by well-known Austrian authors in the field of viticulture such as Eder and Renner.
In German-speaking countries, Donath “Homemade fruit wine” is one of the almost time-honored works of the fruit wine hobby winemaker literature. The Vierka wine book, which has been known since the 1960s, is also part of the old literature. Arauner also has a more recent edition of his work „Wines and juices, liqueurs and sparkling wine, homemade“ which is available under the title „Kitzinger Weinbuch“. Lehari’s “Berry, Fruit and Herbal Wines” also fits into this list. Finally, the Vina “Most and Wine Guide” for Hobby Cellar Master.
In the English-speaking world there are much older recipe collections and books on the subject of homewine making. Country wines, home-made fruit wines and herbal wines such as dandelion wine or nettle wine, have a long tradition in England. If you want to expand your knowledge on the Internet and are looking for unusual recipes for the hobby production of fruit wine, you can stop by Jack Keller Homewine Making. In German-speaking countries, people also use relevant forums and well-known homepages on the subject of fruit wine making.
Why shouldn’t you use hobby wine recipes?
Sure, you are here now for interesting, unusual and helpful hobby wine recipes to make your own fruit wines at home. First of all, the bad news. I think very little of recipes in books and on the Internet. There are several reasons for this. One is the legal aspect. Because commercial manufacturers have to adhere to certain requirements and some recipes cannot be implemented legally as they can be found in books or on websites. But this is often the case, and not just when making wine. So recipes cannot always be adopted 1: 1 and directly. Many fruit wines would have to be labeled or declared differently. As much as hobby winemakers are keen to argue against these legal requirements because the legislature is supposedly so restrictive,
The top priority is always high quality products. It should not be any different in the hobby area either. Who wants to call sugar water flavored with elderflower a wine? Or dried out rose hips infused with hot water as sherry? A lot is possible for private fermentation experiments in the household and it should stay there. One should not expect the highest quality and excellence from such wine-like drinks. And it is precisely these experiments that are often one of the reasons for the bad image of over-sweet, home-made fruit wines. Not every hobby winemaker is also a good hobby winemaker.
It is very difficult to make dry table wines from dirndls or currants, as they would have to be diluted too much because of the excessive fruit acid. They would end up running out of essential extract. This extract is often only mentioned in passing and very rarely in the fruit wine literature. This important wine ingredient is hardly given any attention on recipe pages on the Internet. That is why people like to and often look for hobby wine recipes.
Not all recipes in books are bad. They provide at least approximate clues and inspiration for new test wines. Hobby wine recipes have the major disadvantage that they are reminiscent of a cookbook. At first glance, recipes seem simpler to the layperson than such a complex topic really is. If you mix the said ingredients, you get the desired result at the end. Sometimes yes, sometimes no, and there’s a lot in between. The many questions in fruit wine forums show that there is often a lot of perplexity here. Not every hobby beginner and layman becomes a wine professional straight away.
Countless German and English-language internet forums deal with this large field of possible interpretations and open questions. On the one hand, the entries deal with troubleshooting, where one can often only guess where the actual error was. On the other hand, everything revolves around tips, advice, suggestions for improvement and assistance for wine amateurs and newcomers. What went wrong in principle or what is the best way to proceed with the vine so that the wine can still be saved.
Winemaking is not just a simple biological process. Even if the conditions are almost exactly the same, it is never exactly the same. In some cases, such processes can only be controlled to a limited extent and, in the rarest case, are 100% reproducible. On the other hand, it also takes years of experience and sensitivity to make wine. There is also a technical component that should not be completely neglected. Alcoholic fermentation itself is relatively simple and a relatively robust process if the optimal conditions for the wine yeast are maintained.
Various fermentation experiments can be carried out here for private use, some of which are good and sometimes not so good. The art is to know exactly what you are doing and how to bring the wine into harmony.
Recipes are not bad or unusable per se, but there are good and not so good recipes. Of course, this is not understandable for the layperson. Even bad recipes still have the valuable benefit that you learn from them and gain experience. However, this does not help the person looking for help and he has still not found any answers to his questions.
If you only want to produce an alcoholic drink for private household use, recipes are also useful for laypeople as a quick start. It’s not much different when it comes to cooking and baking.
However, you need a lot of patience when making wine. Because it takes several weeks and months until the homemade wine is ready. The storage of the house wine can then take years, depending on the product. So it’s not a hobby for the impatient. The time to wait for the end of the alcoholic fermentation and the maturation of the wine is best bridged by reading high-quality fruit wine literature.
Jesus Units or how to make wine out of water
The hobby winemaker wants to have as much wine as possible, especially if he uses expensive fruits. Unfortunately, that’s in the nature of things and many hobby wine recipes suggest that this would also be possible. A high wine yield is often and unfortunately the top priority. In many recipes, both water and citric or lactic acid are added. Some recipes prescribe around 4kg of fruit for a 10L of wine. This is far from being insufficient in fruit.
You have to imagine that, depending on the type of fruit, between 40% and 85% juice yield can be obtained after pressing or maceration. With such excessive addition of water, you only get sugar water flavored with fruit, which is fermented. However, this is not a fruit wine.
There are certainly fruits with a very high acid content that would partially justify such a dilution. But if you first dilute sour fruit and then add citric acid or lactic acid again to counteract the dilution, you have already overstretched the juice. There are also mild, undiluted fruit juices such as apple or pear, where the moderate addition of edible acid does not harm. But everything with measure and aim.
The hobby winemaker knowingly or unknowingly overstretched the juice because he is following the recipe. Some fruits tolerate this dilution more than others because they have high extract contents, others simply do not.
In the worst case, the result is smutty wines with little body and mouthfeel that are difficult to bring into harmony. They taste thin and empty despite the high alcohol content. Even residual sugar doesn’t help much. The body of the wine remains thin. This may still work for light summer drinks, there are also fruit wine cocktails, fruit wine-containing drinks and punch bowls that are diluted with water. However, a missing body no longer works with dessert wines. A disharmony would be clearly noticeable here.
Hobby wine recipes always work with exact quantities, although the acid and sugar content in fruits can vary widely. You will harvest different qualities from year to year and from harvest to harvest. Only a corresponding analysis of the sugar and acid content, as is common with grapes, offers a certain safety factor.
Then of course the recipe has to be adjusted accordingly. That means you should know which analytical parameters the finished wine you want to produce should have. A little too complicated for laypeople who want to quickly make wine themselves. However, this also means that a wine can taste wonderful once according to the recipe, another time either too sweet or too sour or it could have other rough edges.
What is sugar-free extract in fruit wine?
This analytical parameter is completely excluded in the entire hobby winemaking sector and almost all Internet forums. Because the extract (rest) cannot be measured so easily by the layperson. A wine laboratory should be consulted for this. The wine amateur is apparently not particularly interested in this because he wants to make his own wine or process fruit into his own fruit wine. Scientific aspects and background information aside from added sugar and alcohol content yield are not very exciting and often only confusing.
There are, however, literature sources with which one can work with regard to sugar-free extract. In this way, at least an initial estimate can be made. The remainder of the extract is usually specific for the respective type of fruit. However, it can vary slightly depending on the age.
The extract basically describes all of the ingredients of a juice from minerals to acids, sugar and colorings. The total extract is measured, for example, with an aerometer or must scale. The total extract consists of sugar and an extract residue, which consists of sugar-free extract and acid. The sugar-free extract includes minerals, non-fermentable components, colorings and also glycerine in the finished wine. This parameter also determines the value of the wine. Mash fermentations also slightly increase the extract content and make the wine fuller.
Some hobby wine recipes take the extract (rest) into account when taking a closer look at the composition. In some books the extract value of the fruits is also given or you can simply calculate or estimate it. Basically, the sugar-free extract says how much a juice can be diluted. The respective legal requirements must be taken into account here, as the requirements for the production of fruit wine differ in Austria and Germany. Finally, the legislature would like to see a minimum proportion of fruit juice in fruit wine.
Grape wine is usually not diluted with water. In the past, so-called wet sugaring, galling, was allowed to reduce the total acidity. Nowadays it is forbidden in wine. Because the fruit acid is usually quite high, it is permissible in fruit wine, but only to a limited extent. The fruit acid, which, along with other types of acid, is mostly composed of malic and citric acid, cannot be chemically precipitated compared to tartaric acid. Dilution with water or less acidic fruit juices is the method of choice here. You can find out what you can do if the fruit wine is too acidic in another post on my homepage.
After all, you want a full-bodied drink, in this case fruit wine, in your glass. No flavored sugar water. This only works if a corresponding extract residue is available. Therefore, the dilution of fruit juice and fruit mash should be rather moderate and, in the best case, again with other low-acid fruit juice, if possible.
The sugar-free extract is very important for the taste, because it gives the wine body and fullness. Minerals and ingredients buffer acid and stabilize color and aroma. It is therefore advisable to aim for a high extract residue for fruit wine, too, for harmony and digestibility. Especially when it comes to rich, high-percentage dessert wines.
The use of concentrated fruit juices can be beneficial for dessert wines. Because the more fruit juice, the richer the fruit wine. The main focus should not be placed on increasing the yield by stretching the juice but on increasing the quality. Hobby winemakers in particular would benefit from higher quality house wines.
English-language fruit wine recipes work, for example, with white or red grape concentrate in fruit wine or fruitwine. This not only brings more sugar into the wine preparation before fermentation, but also more body. Since grape juice concentrate tends to have a neutral aroma, its own aroma can be neglected. It should be noted, however, that grape concentrate can also be easily bought in the supermarket in the USA.
The blending of different juices is sometimes an art form. It is not for nothing that the field blend or mixed set has established itself as a cultural asset. This greatly reduces the risk of a juice component emerging in terms of taste.
Pure wine analysis – dry wine and dry numbers
For those who deal with winemaking and wine in general, it is also essential to know the final analytical values of alcoholic beverages. These dry figures allow those who show interest to assess the product beforehand.
It is therefore very exciting to know and compare these figures for the most varied of dry wines and sweet dessert wines, to taste the wines and to assess the result. Alcohol content, acid content, residual sugar content and possibly sugar-free extract. Knowing these numbers helps create a product that hits the mark. Not only your own, but also that of your customers or family and friends.
All this in sum is know-how, experience and, in part, luck. Winemaking is an art and a science. The technical aspect is one thing, but the composition is quite another.
How long can fruit wines keep now? What do you all mean?
Anyone who has the cellar full of homemade fruit wines is probably thinking of selling their fruit wines. Selling liqueurs at the Christmas market is also a very sensitive issue. The commercial regulations and the hygiene requirements of the respective countries apply here. Sales are not permitted without a registered commercial production.
In Germany, the guidelines for wine-like and sparkling wine-like drinks must also be observed. It is not that simple and there is a lot more work to do before the first bottle of fruit wine can be sold.