First Wine Recepie

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May 30, 2017
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I have been prepping to start my first wine for about a week now. I have been making beer for a while now, so i am familiar with the fermentation process. Still not sure if I should go with "super specific, follow a recepie" or just wing it and throw some yeast in some juice and let it sit. My plan so far is as follows:

1. Gather as many black berries as I can from my back yard and juice them.
2. Add grape juice until I reach 2.5 gallons (not sure what grape juice to use either, and weather or not I should buy fresh grapes and juice them.)
3. Add 2lbs of surgar, and yeast nutrient.
4. Pitch the yeast and ferment in a plastic brewing pale for a week at 75 degrees
5. Rack into a glass carboy and continue fermenting for another week or two at 70 degrees.
6. rack into an oak barrel and let it age for anywhere from 6-12 months.
7. bottle, and let it sit for a month or so before drinking.

As I said, this is my first wine and I would like opinions on if I should change anything or if this is fine to do.

Thank You.
Check your SG before adding sugar. Blackberries can vary greatly in sugar content. You may need more or less than the recipe requires to reach your personal target SG.

You'll also probably want to add pectic enzyme (1/2 tsp for 3 gallons)) to insure the blackberries are broken down completely and to aid in settling out the pectic haze.

Also consider adding some acid blend (1.5 tsp for 3 gallons).

The folks on this board know a whole lot more than me though.
I would freeze the blackberries first, you will get more juice from them and I wouldn't juice them. you probably don't want to break any of those itty bitty tiny seeds. Let them thaw and give up as much juice as they can, try to avoid adding any outside juice. (Plan 5-10 lbs per gallon of juice or more) You will want to measure your ph and probably reduce the acidity, blackberries often need this, but the only way to know is to measure.

Same thing about how much sugar to add.

I don't add the yeast nutrient until about the 1/3 sugar break and then 1/2 of what I plan to add. The other half goes in at 2/3 sugar break.

Oak barrel idea is fine, I don't care for oaked blackberry, but many people like it, I would say less is better.
Sitting here thinkin I would really really like to get my hands on some of those blackberries. A year or so ago a great friend of mine told his sister I made wine. Long story short, she sent a bottle of blackberry juice. Wasn't a big bottle but I decided to make about 3 gal. I do not know how she juiced the berries, suspect like if you were trying to make jelly out of them. More info, since we got the juice my friend has passed on and I have lost touch with his family. So, as I type I am drinking pretty close to the last of the wine. It is really really great. Blackberries do not grow around here as far as I know. Anyway for the wine, I added about 2 3/4 gal. of water, enough sugar to get the s.g. up to 1.090 or so, pectic enzime, some bentonite, and nutrient, energizer, a bit of tannin and probably cotes de blanc yeast. (have to look at the notes to be sure.) Have fun with yours, ask more questions if you have them. Good luck with it, Arne.
Another question, what do you reckon would be the best yeast? I was planning on just using the generic red wine yeast from my supplier but is there anything better I could use?
I used 71-B since I read that it helps specifically with the acid in blackberries.
I used 71-B since I read that it helps specifically with the acid in blackberries.

Where do you find these little juicy tidbits of information? That sounds like something I'd like to know for future reference. :h
Like most things, I just did a lot of research. I have a science background and like to figure out what all of the options are before making a decision. Frequently to the detriment of the calendar.

Great site. I've been on there quite a lot but have never seen anything about which yeasts can handle certain fruits (and why). Maybe I need to read it a little more carefully!

Found this on Jack's site about 71-B:

Lalvin 71B-1122 (Narbonne) : This yeast metabolizes more of the malic acid during fermentation than most other yeasts and should be considered for wines which are high in malic. It is noted for producing 'fruity' reds such as vin nouveau and works well with high-acid native North American grapes, producing rounder, smoother, more aromatic wines that tend to mature quickly. Because it is also known for making blush, rose and semi-sweet wines with a tropical fruit character, it promotes these styles with Cabernet Franc, Gewurtztraminer and Riesling. For obvious reasons, is often the yeast of choice for a great many malic fruit and berries and for vegetable-grape concentrate blended wines. Alcohol toxicity is predictable at 14% and its temperature range is 60-85° . F.​

Yep, I need to read more carefully in the future ... :slp

I've found the EC Kraus blog to be quite helpful as well as MoreWine! and the Winemaker's Toy Store. There's certainly a lot of information out there ... sometimes I find it hard to process it all.

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