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ChuckD

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Next Friday I’ll be heading over to my brother's house to make cherry wine. He and my SIL picked and pitted about 40 lbs of tart cherries last summer and want to learn wine making. This is what I was thinking.

40 lbs of cherries with enough water to make 10 gallons in the brute.
Pectic enzyme
Acid blend to pH of 3.4 if needed
Sugar to SG of 1.00
Fermaid O according to label added in thirds.
71B yeast starter with GoFerm.
Oak chips?

Press at SG of 1.01
Age in glass for 4 months.

Any suggestions? Do tart cherries have tannins? Are the oak chips needed? Oak during aging?

My SIL likes a really, really syrupy sweet wine so we will be ruining more than half of it 😂. I like off dry and will leave a few bottles dry or lightly sweetened.
 
Sounds like a good plan.

I think your going to have a lot more than 10 gallons. Better be prepared to have an extra brute on hand. Better to have the next size up, now, rather than find that out the day of.

Probably will not need any acid blend. My guess is the cherries will be plenty tart. I would be curious to know what the pH is. Cheap way to guess would be to use pH strips.

I do both powdered tannins and oak chips, the more the merrier.

For any wines made from fruit (not juice buckets or kits without skins) 4 months is not nearly enough time to age. Even kits and buckets are rarely ready at that age. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s 9 months or more.

Oak during aging is really a matter of taste.
 
I'd target water addition by fruit weight, not overall volume. How many pounds of fruit do you want per gallon? If you go with 6 lbs, that's 8 gallons. Or with 8 lbs it's 6 gallons.
I have seen a range of recipes… from 4 lbs/gal to 100% juice. I lean towards more fruit but I don’t know what kind of juice yield I will get from 40 lbs.

With my rhubarb I added just enough water to make the must “stirrable” And I was hoping to do something similar with the cherry. The goal is to fill a 5 and a 3 after pressing.
 
At 40 lbs. of cherries to make 10 gallons, you have 4 lbs/gallon of fruit. For many fruits I use more than that. If you want a stronger cherry flavor, you might aim for a total volume of 7-8 gals. rather than 10.

By pounds of fruit per gallon, I am talking about the total volume of the must (fruit + water). That would be the method you describe, starting with X lbs. of fruit and add water up to a total of Y gallons. If I understand @winemaker81 correctly, he might be talking about the pounds of fruit per gallon of water added.

I wonder which method others on WMT use when talking about "pounds of fruit per gallon"? I didn't realize until today that there might be two different ways of measuring that.
 
For any wines made from fruit (not juice buckets or kits without skins) 4 months is not nearly enough time to age. Even kits and buckets are rarely ready at that age. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s 9 months or more.
Agreed. Like me when I first started, my SIL is very impatient. I’m hoping to bottle one carboy earlier and age the other until next winter.
 
At 40 lbs. of cherries to make 10 gallons, you have 4 lbs/gallon of fruit. For many fruits I use more than that. If you want a stronger cherry flavor, you might aim for a total volume of 7-8 gals. rather than 10.

By pounds of fruit per gallon, I am talking about the total volume of the must (fruit + water). That would be the method you describe, starting with X lbs. of fruit and add water up to a total of Y gallons. If I understand @winemaker81 correctly, he might be talking about the pounds of fruit per gallon of water added.

I wonder which method others on WMT use when talking about "pounds of fruit per gallon"? I didn't realize until today that there might be two different ways of measuring that.
I always understood 4lbs/gal to mean take 4 lbs of fruit and add a gallon of water. Perhaps I’m wrong on that. I was guessing that cherries have a lot of solids so after pressing I might have 8 gallons of wine for secondary. In a fruit per finished gallon that would be 5lbs/gal.

The cherries are pitted and frozen so yield might be higher. Maybe I should aim for 8 or nine gallons in the primary.

After pressing my rhubarb (about 40 lbs I think) I could put all the press solids in a gallon pail.
 
I wonder which method others on WMT use when talking about "pounds of fruit per gallon"? I didn't realize until today that there might be two different ways of measuring that.
Your method uses a lot more fruit per gallon of water, which is not a bad thing. I do the "X lbs of fruit in 1 gallon water", as that is what I gleaned from old recipes and was later taught, and in recent years the few fruit wines I make tend to have more fruit that I used many moons ago.

@ChuckD, IMO your thinking is backwards on this. You're starting with a final volume and working backwards. IME you'll get a better wine determining how many pounds of fruit you want per gallon (regardless if it's @Raptor99's or my method of measurement), and you get whatever volume you get. Base your secondary containers on the output.

My best guess is that 8 gallons of water and 40 lbs of cherries (5 lbs/gallon) will produce the volume you want, after sediment loss. If you have a fruit press to get the max wine from the pomace, you're more likely to hit your target.

What is the volume of 40 lbs of cherries and how much juice will you get from them?

EDIT: Fixed my failure to correctly do simple math.
 
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my 2 cents.... I add the fruit to the bucket first (say 24 lbs of blackberries) then add water (around 2 gallons) to get to the total I need (4 gallons total in the fermenter) which will yield 3 gallons of wine (when racked off lees) to fit in a 3 gallon carboy.
Does that make it 12lbs per gallon or 6 lbs per gallons in this wine? I was thinking it would be 7 lbs/gallon (of wine/must) but maybe I have been looking at it wrong.
It makes a good wine however you look at it!
 
Next Friday I’ll be heading over to my brother's house to make cherry wine. He and my SIL picked and pitted about 40 lbs of tart cherries last summer and want to learn wine making. This is what I was thinking.

40 lbs of cherries with enough water to make 10 gallons in the brute.
Pectic enzyme
Acid blend to pH of 3.4 if needed
Sugar to SG of 1.00
Fermaid O according to label added in thirds.
71B yeast starter with GoFerm.
Oak chips?

Press at SG of 1.01
Age in glass for 4 months.

Any suggestions? Do tart cherries have tannins? Are the oak chips needed? Oak during aging?

My SIL likes a really, really syrupy sweet wine so we will be ruining more than half of it 😂. I like off dry and will leave a few bottles dry or lightly sweetened.
Try to use 6lb tart cherries per 1 Imperial gallons. 40 lbs in 10 US gallons is a bit light. Tannin will be fine. Oak will make it taste tangier. Don't add acid blend 71B is fine. Pectic enzyme is necessary.
 
Interesting... Apparently we don't all calculate lbs. of fruit per gallon in the same way. Neither method is wrong, just different. But when we recommend a certain amount of fruit per gallon, we need to specify which method we are using, because the results will be different.

Most cooking recopies would probably be interpreted along the lines of "add X lbs. of fruit to Y gals. of water." Some wine recipes that I have seen do say to add the fruit, and then add water to bring the total volume up to X gals. If you think of it like a nutrition label, it would be X lbs. of fruit per Y gals. of the final product.

my 2 cents.... I add the fruit to the bucket first (say 24 lbs of blackberries) then add water (around 2 gallons) to get to the total I need (4 gallons total in the fermenter) which will yield 3 gallons of wine (when racked off lees) to fit in a 3 gallon carboy.
Does that make it 12lbs per gallon or 6 lbs per gallons in this wine? I was thinking it would be 7 lbs/gallon (of wine/must) but maybe I have been looking at it wrong.
It makes a good wine however you look at it!
Here's how I see it:
  • By my way of thinking, it would be 6 lbs. of fruit per gallon (using the initial vol. in the fermenter).
  • Using @winemaker81's method, I think it would be 12 lbs. per gallon.
  • I suppose that one could also use the volume of the end product which would give you 8 lbs. per gallon. But I don't like that method, because some of the fruit is lost with the lees, so the entire 24 lbs. of fruit is not present in the final produce.
We really need to specify our method of calculation, because these numbers are very different! At any rate, usually more fruit is better.
 
Try to use 6lb tart cherries per 1 Imperial gallons. 40 lbs in 10 US gallons is a bit light. Tannin will be fine. Oak will make it taste tangier. Don't add acid blend 71B is fine. Pectic enzyme is necessary

I think I’ll just play it by ear, adding not more than 6 gallons of water to the cherries (6.7 lbs/gal), but stopping short of that if I get to 10 gallons in the primary. I have plenty of carboys and jugs to match the volume after pressing.
 
I meant 6 lbs of pitted sour cherries to 1 Imperial gallon of water or 5 lbs of pitted sour cherries to 1 US gallon of water.

If you want to add oak then I would switch to EC-1118 yeast, get the alcohol to 18% and then make a port at 20% alcohol back sweetening with corn sugar (dextrose) which has a better aftrtaste IMHO than cane sugar. If you want to have some fun make both 1) your recipe table wine with no oak to minimize the tanginess sensation and 2) a sour cherry port full on with oak cubes. You can raise the alcohol from 18 to 20% with lots of things - demerara rum, drambuie (Scottish heather honey/Scotch liqueur), brandy (e.g. Greek Metaxa), Bols cherry liqueur. or drum roll - your own sour cherry liqueur made from pitted sour cherries, dextrose and vodka. Actually if I was making wine with you I'd go the homemade sour cherry liqueur top up (1 bottle of 40% alcohol liqueur into 25 bottles of 18% EC-1118 sour cherry wine containing oak. If you have really good sour cherries this should give you something really tasty. If you don't make a lot of the Sour Cherry Port then bottle it in splits (half bottles) so you can let it age and and then open 1 split at each family event that has fruit desserts containing sour cherries such as Sour Cherry Gruetze (German sour cherry custard with vanilla ice cream, cream or vanilla yoghurt or cherry pie. You can even pour your port onto the dessert for a sour cherry IMAX experience! Good luck with it! You can even add active EC-1118 to a 71B ferment at low SG e.g. ~1.020. This approach allows you to drop the sweetness of the Port since 71B reduces tangyness by fermenting part of the malic acid in the sour cherries.
 
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I meant 6 lbs of pitted sour cherries to 1 Imperial gallon of water or 5 lbs of pitted wild cherries to 1 US gallon of water.
The whole cherry common name thing confuses me. I know Bing are sweet cherries. Where these are grown in WI they are called tart cherries… I don’t know the actual variety. Is tart the same as sour? They definitely aren’t any of the wild varieties.

ETA. I did a little research and it appears the most common varieties grown here are Montmorency, Balaton, and North Star.

The question remains, are tart cherries the same as sour cherries?
 
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Where these are grown in WI they are called tart cherries… I don’t know the actual variety. Is tart the same as sour?
I'm not an expert, but I think that they mean the same thing. They are also called "pie cherries."
https://www.tastingtable.com/939118/the-two-types-of-tart-cherries-explained/

Since I don't have ready access to tart cherries, I use this concentrate: https://www.fruitfast.com/fruitconcentrates.cherryjuice which are a blend of Montmorency and Morello.

Bings are a specific variety of sweet cherries. They grow a lot of them here in OR, but not many tart cherries.
 
The whole cherry common name thing confuses me. I know Bing are sweet cherries. Where these are grown in WI they are called tart cherries… I don’t know the actual variety. Is tart the same as sour? They definitely aren’t any of the wild varieties.

ETA. I did a little research and it appears the most common varieties grown here are Montmorency, Balaton, and North Star.

The question remains, are tart cherries the same as sour cherries?
yes
 
A one gallon ice cream bucket of tart cherry/ pitted/ solid no air/ pH 3.09, SG 1.084 (this is a high sugar variety) ,,, weighs in at 3,887 grams. This bucket is currently frozen therefore what was a gallon fresh off the pitter has expanded enough to make it hard to push the lid on. ,,, I use about 3.7 Kg per gallon. At four pounds per gallon you will have a commercial thin wine. The discussion about weight plus water or volume including fruit in the volume won’t make much difference at 4lb per gallon. ,,, opinion 6 is a good flavor.

As a comparison a two gallon peach flesh/ stone and skin removed/solid no air/ contender variety/ SG was about 1.055 weighs in at 17lb / 7.7 Kg
If I didn’t know anything other than juice’s gravity, I would multiply the weight of water by the density. ,,, If I am pressing juice I can get about 83% yield by weight.
 
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