Cherry Port?

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Jun 11, 2021
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Hey veteran makers, I have a couple questions if you have a moment! I am just about to start a blackberry port and am excited about it, but I've just been offered 4kg of pitted, frozen black cherries as well and I was thinking I could also turn them into a port, probably using the same recipe but with cherries instead. But I had a nosy online to check and I can't really find any recipes for cherry port, which worries me, as there may be a reason for that. questions are: Are cherries suitable for port making? Should I make cherry wine instead? Is there anything I should know or watch out for? Is there something better suited to my bounty of frozen cherries?

it begs the question why more people aren't making cherry port then 😂 When I make venison or duck I either do a blackberry balsamic sauce or a ruby port and cherry sauce to go with it, and it's nice to have a complimentary tipple that can stand up to the dish to go with that :D ...and IN that haha.

blackberry port recipe I am going to use is from the same youtuber I got the strawberry wine from. He gives a great video of his process and the recipe is this:

4.0kg ripe blackberries
1kg granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. pectic enzyme
1 tsp. Citric acid
2 litres water
Campden tablets
1 tsp. yeast nutrient
1 sachet high alcohol yeast (GV2 , champagne or port)
Wine Finings
Potassium Sorbate
Brandy or Calvados

Put the fruit in a nylon straining bag and crush.
Add sugar & citric acid to the bag and mix
Tie or clip the top of the straining bag
Put crushed Campden tablet in jug and dissolve in boiling water
Add Campden tablet & 2.0L boiling water to fermentation bucket
Leave 24 hrs.
Add half a teaspoon of pectic enzyme dissolved in warm water
Leave 24 hrs
Measure original gravity with a hydrometer (1.102 in video)
Create a yeast starter culture of yeast & yeast nutrient in fruit juice & add to the primary fermenter.
Ferment on the fruit for around 3-5 days until SG is below 1030 and violent frothing has finished
Strain the fruit squeezing the nylon bag to ensure all liquid is kept
Siphon liquid into a sterilised demijohn, fit an airlock & cover until fermentation complete.
When no further gas bubbles pass through the airlock, test specific gravity again (0.992 in video )
Calculate ABV by the formula (Original Gravity - Final Gravity) x 131.25
(1.102 – 0.992) x 131.25 = 14.4%
Rack the wine into a clean sterilised demijohn
Add finings to the wine, refit the airlock and brown paper cover & wait for the wine to clear.
Rack the wine off the sediment
(Optional) Run the wine through a wine filter
Dissolve 1 crushed Campden Tablet & 0.75tsp of potassium sorbate in warm water
Add stabilisers to the wine and wait 24 hours
Dissolve 1 kilogramme of sugar into 1 litre of boiling water and allow to cool (up to 2kg may be required)
stabilised wine (4.2 litres at 14.4%ABV is 0.605 litres of alcohol)
Add Calvados or brandy (1.2 litres at 40% ABV is 0.48 litres of alcohol)
This produces 5.4 litres of port containing 1.085 litres of alcohol.
This is 20% ABV
Add sugar syrup to taste to back sweeten wine
Bottle wine – this recipe may produce up to 7 litres of finished port.
Overall, the recipe looks good. There's a few things I'd do differently, such as not using boiling water on fruit, which pretty much guarantees pectin haze. Here's my take on the recipe:

4.0kg ripe fruit
2 litres warm water (120-130 F, 48-55 C)
1 tsp Citric acid
1 kg granulated sugar + 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 1 tsp pectic enzyme
1-1/2 tsp yeast nutrient, divided
1 sachet high alcohol yeast (GV2, champagne or port)
Campden tablets
Wine Finings
Potassium Sorbate
Brandy or Calvados

Put the fruit in a nylon straining bag and crush. For cherries, I'd pit them first.

Place water in a primary fermenter and dissolve the 2 1 kg sugar, citric acid, and pectic enzyme. Add the fruit bag and cover with towel.

Make yeast starter by placing 1 cup / 237 ml warm water (85-95 F, 28-35C) in a sanitized wine bottle. Add 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient, and yeast, and swirl to mix. Cover loosely.

Let rest 24 hours.

Stir the remaining 1 tsp nutrient into the must. Using a sanitized implement, gently press on the fruit bag to release juice and stir the must well to ensure sugar is distributed. Check and record the SG.

Gently pour the starter down the side of the fermenter so it spreads as little as possible. Re-cover with a towel.

Stir the must and press gently on the bag twice per day. Check SG daily.

When the SG is below 1.010, siphon the free wine into a secondary container. Press the fruit bag to release as much juice as possible, and add to the secondary container.

After 1 week, check the SG; if the SG is below 0.998 and stable for 3 days in a row, fermentation should be complete.

Siphon off the sediment and add 1 well-crushed Campden tablet. If adding a fining agent, degas then wine, then add a fining agent. Move back into secondary storage.

After 1 to 2 weeks, rack off the sediment and check SG. Add 1 well-crushed Campden tablet.

At this point I'd bulk age for at least 3 months, adding 1 well-crushed Campden every 3 months.

Calculate ABV by the formula (Original Gravity - Final Gravity) x 131.25. Use Pearson's Square to determine amount of brandy to add to raise ABV to desired level (18%-21%). Add brandy and 1 well-crushed Campden tablet.

Note -- I'd aim for 21% ABV, as backsweetening the wine will lower the ABV, which needs to remain above 18% to avoid a renewed fermentation since sorbate is not being used.

Make 2:1 sugar syrup (2 cups sugar to 1 cup water), and sweeten to taste.


When fortifying wine, the sorbate is unnecessary.

The indicated sugar for backsweetening (1 to 2 kg) seems REALLY high. I'd go with a lot less, since as @cmason1957 said, you'll get cough syrup. A drier port should avoid that.

3 months is my minimum for bulk aging, although I'd probably let this one go at least 6 months.

I'd also consider starting the SG around 1.120 to have a higher initial ABV, with the understanding that getting the fermentation going could be more difficult.

I have an Excel workbook that automates the fortification calculation, but it's not a legal attachment for this site, and my site is giving me an upload hassle as well. Once I get it figured out, I'll update this post.
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The indicated sugar for backsweetening (1 to 2 kg) seems REALLY high.
Oh aye to be fair in the video those were just the ratios he used for making the simple syrup, he didn't use anywhere near that much to backsweeten, and he had a ton of syrup left over 😂

Thank you for the revised recipe 🥰
I would advise against using brandy, it will impart a different taste and may overwhelm the cherry flavor. If your state (or a nearby one) sells Everclear 190, that is without question the better way to go. It will not change the flavor you worked so hard to craft. The Pearson square spreadsheet can tell, you how much you’ll need.

When you still have your carboy in the wine state, you can add chocolate powder to take any sour edge off, or fix any medicine flavors, or pour in a bottle or two of wine. Whenever topping off my carboys when they’re in the port state I estimate how much more “something” I need to top off, get out the Pearson square and make a small quantity, say 300 ml of wine and maybe 25 ml of Everclear 190.

I’ve made cherry port and blackberry port, both were very tart in the wine state, but softened and became great with some chocolate powder, or wine.