bad chokecherry wine

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JustJoe

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I tried making chokecherry wine after the north star cherry tree died. I made one batch in 2019 and one in 2020. The first batch developed an unpleasant smell and a taste like dirt or maybe decayed wood. The second batch had the same issue but not nearly as bad. The first batch was made with half chokecherries and half elderberries. The second was 2/3 elderberries and 1/3 chokecherries.
Both batches were fermented with red star premier classique and started at 1.090 and fermented dry.
The first batch had oak cubes added after fermentation and no oak on the second batch, Neither batch was backsweetened.
The first batch had an off smell and taste after fermentation and at bottling 6 months later. The second smelled and tasted ok but not good. Now, going on 3 years old. the first batch taste has mellowed substantially. The first bottle I opened, I tasted and poured the rest down the drain and the bottle I opened today was poor but not bad enough to dump it.
I tried the second batch today and it still had a bad smell but the taste was not as bad as the first batch was at this stage.
2 questions - What did I do wrong? Is there any chance it may improve enough to be a good drinkable wine?
 

VinesnBines

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Have you tried decanting or letting a glass of either wine sit for at least 30 minutes? I have a petit Verdot that isn’t right, yet. My wine has an off smell and very little taste immediately upon pouring. The off smell and taste blow off after sitting or decanting.
 

JustJoe

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I have a glass sitting next tome now. I opened the bottle about an hour ago and poured the glass about 30 minutes ago. The smell is still unpleasant but the taste has gotten better. Not good yet but better than 30 minutes ago.
 

hounddawg

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ok, i am a zero when it comes to grapes, but you said choke cherries, which is a country wine, pour you a half glass and stir a little bit of dry cane sugar,,,, country wines= fruits/berries , country wines need backsweeten to bring back your flavor,,,, try that and see if that helps the taste,
Dawg
 

JustJoe

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I was wondering if you were going to respond. If anybody had a solution for chokecherry wine problems, I figured you would have it. I will try a little sugar! I made the wine pretty much the same way as my grape wines - I fermented it dry and did not backsweeten. Hopefullu a bit of sugar will help because I am very close to dumping more than 10 gallons.
 

hounddawg

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I've not being notified of the threads i post on, or some of the questions, so i just ,, went to my profile and turned everything on,, lol,,
hopefully i will now be let known when posts advance,,
Dawg
 

hounddawg

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choke cherry is not in my area, but the questions above are still needed, you need to post how you went about making it, yeast, SSG, WAS IT fermented in a open container, how long bulked aged in a airlocked carboy, to let it degas,,,, which stinks, need to know your procedure ,,
Dawg
 

JustJoe

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I used red star classique yeast and fermented in a food grade plastic bucket covered with a loose lid. Recipe for 5 gallons was -
17# 9 oz. chokecherries
15# 3 oz elderberries
4 cups simple syrup
½ tsp kmeta
½ tsp pectic enzyme
red star premier classique yeast
All fruit was frozen. Dumped the frozen cherries into an enamel pot with simple syrup. Mashed them as they thawed and warmed to 160 degrees. Dumped that into the primary and repeated the process with the elderberries. Combined juice and syrup at 14 brix. Added water to 6 gallons and sugar to bring brix to 19. Cooled, then added pectic enzyme. Later added kmeta. Put into the cellar overnight.

SG at 1.091 next afternoon. Added yeast.

5 days and SG at 1.010. Racked into secondary and there was less than 5 gallons left after removing skins and seeds. topped off with three bottles of last years cherry wine to get back to 5 gallons.

One month later racked and added oak. Taste seemed a little off, hope it’s just too early. A little more time on oak will hopefully make it great.
One month later racked into a carboy for aging.
4 months later bottled. Taste is not great but hoping age will help.

1 year after bottling tried one bottle and was very disappointed. Tasted like dirt or some kind of metal. After a couple of tastes, the bottle was dumped, Hope it gets a lot better with aging but not really expecting much.
Another year later taste is still bad.

2022 taste is marginally better but still poor. At least it tastes like wine and not dirt.
Tried adding sugar - added about 1/2 tsp to a 6 ounce glass. That made it taste better but it was still not good. I tried adding another 1/2 tsp and it was too sweet for me - made me think of cough syrup.

That was the 2019 wine. The 2020 wine was off but not nearly as bad 2019. In 2020 we had bad weather and I could find only 6 pounds of chokecherries so it was more elderberry wine than chokecherry but it still had some of that nasty taste that the 2019 had, Today it isn't bad. I am hopeful that in another year it will be good.
 

hounddawg

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@Arne said you'll need to cut back, or water down, that ice trick,, ought to let you know, i do make elderberry, and it is a very harsh flavor ,, which is why I age straight elderberry for 8 to 10 years, that's for it's prime flavor, i do a 50% elderberry & 50% blackberry, that is fair at a year, good at 2 year, and killer good at 3 year, as for smell like i said whites get a year airlocked in a carboy, reds get 2 or 3 years in a airlocked carboy, some use ventless silicone bungs, i use a S airlock, the 3 piece evaporates was to fast,
Dawg
 

hounddawg

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I used red star classique yeast and fermented in a food grade plastic bucket covered with a loose lid. Recipe for 5 gallons was -
17# 9 oz. chokecherries
15# 3 oz elderberries
4 cups simple syrup
½ tsp kmeta
½ tsp pectic enzyme
red star premier classique yeast
All fruit was frozen. Dumped the frozen cherries into an enamel pot with simple syrup. Mashed them as they thawed and warmed to 160 degrees. Dumped that into the primary and repeated the process with the elderberries. Combined juice and syrup at 14 brix. Added water to 6 gallons and sugar to bring brix to 19. Cooled, then added pectic enzyme. Later added kmeta. Put into the cellar overnight.

SG at 1.091 next afternoon. Added yeast.

5 days and SG at 1.010. Racked into secondary and there was less than 5 gallons left after removing skins and seeds. topped off with three bottles of last years cherry wine to get back to 5 gallons.

One month later racked and added oak. Taste seemed a little off, hope it’s just too early. A little more time on oak will hopefully make it great.
One month later racked into a carboy for aging.
4 months later bottled. Taste is not great but hoping age will help.

1 year after bottling tried one bottle aysnd was very disappointed. Tasted like dirt or some kind of metal. After a couple of tastes, the bottle was dumped, Hope it gets a lot better with aging but not really expecting much.
Another year later taste is still bad.

2022 taste is marginally better but still poor. At least it tastes like wine and not dirt.
Tried adding sugar - added about 1/2 tsp to a 6 ounce glass. That made it taste better but it was still not good. I tried adding another 1/2 tsp and it was too sweet for me - made me think of cough syrup.

That was the 2019 wine. The 2020 wine was off but not nearly as bad 2019. In 2020 we had bad weather and I could find only 6 pounds of chokecherries so it was more elderberry wine than chokecherry but it still had some of that nasty taste that the 2019 had, Today it isn't bad. I am hopeful that in another year it will be good.
lol yup if chokeberry is as astringent as elderberry, then you had enough for 2#-5 gallon carboys,, if bottled I'd set them bottles back for a few years, any still unbottled try a glass like @Arrne said,, with even more sugar and a few ice cubes. if that does the trick, then add water and sugar to any unbottled
Dawg
 

JustJoe

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Thanks guys! The bad news is that it is already bottled. The good news is that I have enough room to store it. Now the question is will I live long enough to enjoy it 🤪. At least I have enough really good wild grape, rhubarb and blueberry to keep me happy til it's ready.
 

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