Chokecherry wine

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hawkwing

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So I picked 4 gallons of chokecherries and might pick a few more if needed. Not sure of the weight.

I believe I used almost a full wine pail 20 or more years ago to make a batch of wine. I remember cooking the berries. I was wondering if I anyone has made wine without cooking them?

Also last time I cleaned them well. I’m wondering if I need to pick every little stem out or just the green ones?

Could they be treated with the same enzymes as grapes?

What I did last time (not sure if I had a recipe) was I cooked them and squeezed through a mesh bag. Added sugar and acid blend titrating the acid. It tasted like juiced I’d want to drink. Then fermented it. After some long aging it’s pretty good.
 

hawkwing

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Well I ended up with 50 lbs of chokecherries after cleaning them.

How many pounds per gallon do people use? Most recipes I have seen are around the 2.5 lbs per gallon. Do most people find that to be there correct amount?

I found one chokecherry port recipe that has 8 lbs per gallon. Has anyone made it?
Choke cherry port

I've so far added 6 gallons of water, pectic enzyme, k-meta, and some sugar. I'm wondering if I should be adding more water and scaling up the batch size?
 

BigDaveK

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Generally when I'm doing a fruit or vegetable or flower for the first time I'll get an average weight/volume from a couple recipes and then bump it up 50%. Future batches will depend on the results.

I currently have 3 1/2 gal of pear in primary with 1 gal of water added. I have a boatload of pears this year.
 

hawkwing

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Generally when I'm doing a fruit or vegetable or flower for the first time I'll get an average weight/volume from a couple recipes and then bump it up 50%. Future batches will depend on the results.

I currently have 3 1/2 gal of pear in primary with 1 gal of water added. I have a boatload of pears this year.
My only concern was people saying it’s very astringent. But I made some yeas ago and used a boat load. It’s turned out nice after aging for so long.

I do wonder if it’s because they cooked the berries.

Most recipes are 2.5-3 lbs. I’m thinking those are more of a pink wine not a red.
 

hawkwing

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Unfortunately my freezer is full. Trying to make a liquor. Took me 8 hours to pick and probably longer to clean. Not as thick as when I picked them over 20 years ago.
 

vacuumpumpman

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I have been making aronia wine for the last 7 years or so -

I will use around 20lbs per 5 gallons and best to use 71b1122 yeast.

2 years ago - it came out GREAT !! most people could hardly tell it was aronia - I believe I added a touch of lemon juice
 

JustJoe

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I see recipes for 2 1/2 or 3 pounds of chokecherries per gallon. Is this after pits are removed? I made a very disappointing thin chokecherry wine with almost 6 pounds per gallon but that weight was with pits.
 

hawkwing

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I'm assuming whole berries. Sounds like a crazy making feat to pit them.

I'm sure I used a whole wine bucket when I made last time and it's good. So I have used all 50.3 lbs. for 6 gallons or 6.5. Which works out to the 8 lbs per gallon mark. I decided to not cook them this time so will see how it works out. Hopefully the pectic enzyme and the yeast extract the color nicely. I might have to try breaking them up again after they soften.
 

snowgirl812001

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So I picked 4 gallons of chokecherries and might pick a few more if needed. Not sure of the weight.

I believe I used almost a full wine pail 20 or more years ago to make a batch of wine. I remember cooking the berries. I was wondering if I anyone has made wine without cooking them?

Also last time I cleaned them well. I’m wondering if I need to pick every little stem out or just the green ones?

Could they be treated with the same enzymes as grapes?

What I did last time (not sure if I had a recipe) was I cooked them and squeezed through a mesh bag. Added sugar and acid blend titrating the acid. It tasted like juiced I’d want to drink. Then fermented it. After some long aging it’s pretty good.
Did you end up destemming? I am interested in trying this one out but I'm from the desert and have no experience with chokecherries.
 

hawkwing

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Did you end up destemming? I am interested in trying this one out but I'm from the desert and have no experience with chokecherries.
Yes I did destem them. I put a layer on a cookie sheet and picked through them.

This is the first time I didn’t cook them. Not sure if that’s going to be an issue or not. It probably helps extract the color. I also read about the pits have cyanide on them and cooking destroys it. But I’m not breaking the pits.
 

JTS84

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I've made chokecherry for the last few years, each year regretting I didn't make more. This year I'm making 5 gallons.

I shoot for 3-4 lbs per gallon. If the berries are ripe, I find I can strip them from the bush with minimal stems. The less ripe they are, the more they stick to them stem. Chipmunks don't always let me wait until they are fully ripe.

I do not boil my choke cherries for wine. Last year I actually added some tannin. I do try to squish the berries prior to fermentation and daily during primary fermentation with the goal of not breaking pits.

I clean the berries by removing leaves, bugs, and anything else that doesn't look good. There are still little stems there which don't bother me.

The wind ends up a nice dark ruby color and is ready to drink IMO in one year. For jelly we do simmer the berries and that comes out a lot more tannic than the wine. Last year I actually added tannin to the wine before bottling.
 

hawkwing

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That’s what I thought about the cooking making it more astringent. I’m going to continue fermenting at 8lbs per gallon. I figure I can always dilute it later if necessary and ferment with more sugar.

I’m not sure I’ve smashed them all enough but lots are smashed. Maybe when I press them it’ll get the flavor out.
 

Rice_Guy

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continue fermenting at 8lbs per gallon. , , not sure I’ve smashed them all enough but lots are smashed. Maybe when I press them it’ll get the flavor out.
The seeds get in the way, it is hard to press the pulp.
With mine I mushed in the primary every day this was dirty looking with lots of floating pulpy material which after day two was scooped off the surface.
 

hawkwing

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I have some beautiful color in mine. It was already under way fermenting with RC-212 but I added some Lallzyme EX-V when I got it for my grapes. I had already added some pectic enzymes. I can’t say with certainty without a side by side test but I think it has a better flavor and color without cooking it. Seems more fruity. I can actually taste the cherry a bit without the bitterness. Also less astringent. But I’ll have to open a bottle to check for sure.

I seem to recall going through a lot of work last time and I had either a hydrometer or thermometer break and the lead balls went inside. I had to chuck a pail.
 

hawkwing

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I pressed this a couple days ago. From the 7 or so gallons of chokecherries and 6.5 gallons of water plus sugar. I got 23 L plus 15 L for a total of 38 L of pressed juice. For taste it has a little spice but not too bad. I’ll have to sweeten a sample at some point. I need to find another smaller carboy so it doesn’t have so much air contact.
 

barryjo

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I have been making aronia wine for the last 7 years or so -

I will use around 20lbs per 5 gallons and best to use 71b1122 yeast.

2 years ago - it came out GREAT !! most people could hardly tell it was aronia - I believe I added a touch of lemon juice
I have heard about lemon juice being used. Going to try it this year. I did some aronia a couple of years back and added some blueberry flavored concentrate. That seemed to cancel the sharp tartness. Definitely consumable. PS I dont care for dry wines. Semisweet is more my style.
 

hawkwing

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I have heard about lemon juice being used. Going to try it this year. I did some aronia a couple of years back and added some blueberry flavored concentrate. That seemed to cancel the sharp tartness. Definitely consumable. PS I dont care for dry wines. Semisweet is more my style.
Lemon juice might be good. I used citric acid powder to keep the flavor pure. The last one turned out great. The major difference was I cooked the chokecherries that time. Now I like to try to not cook any fruit I use.
 

barryjo

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The seeds get in the way, it is hard to press the pulp.
With mine I mushed in the primary every day this was dirty looking with lots of floating pulpy material which after day two was scooped off the surface.
Maybe you could mush them and then put the mush into straining bags and add to the primary. Personally, I use knee-high nylon stockings for the bag.
 

hawkwing

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I found the free seeds sunk to the bottom and everything stayed pretty clean. They didn’t rise up out of the liquid like grapes do.
 
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