Fruit vs Kit Wine

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hawkwing

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I’ve been thinking about what to make next and I’ve considered something like a blackberry port or something tasty and sweet. When I consider the cost of buying enough fruit it’s in the vicinity of a kit wine or even more than the cheap Costco kit I’m currently fermenting and trying to make a port. Frozen blackberries are in the $5 per 400g (454g is a pound) and from this forum people are recommending 5 to 8 lbs per gallon or even more. That is more than and even getting to be almost twice as expensive as a kit. Is Blackberry that good? What else is in the top echelon for flavor? Hard to consider fruit over grape at that price. Can anyone convince me it’s worth considering some store bought fruit for wine?
 

Rice_Guy

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You are asking opinions;
if you can find tannic apple or crabapple I would say apple
5% cranberry mixed with X, cranberry has long flavor notes and I like how it blends with concord or white grape or apple
If I had it in the back yard passion fruit, ,,,, that said the best is what one finds in the yard, ,,, I like mulberry with lemon juice, but when I first made it straight, mulberry was flat/ flavorless. ,,, think about what is missing and where can you get it,,, ex 5% crabapple/ tannin goes in my rhubarb and apple and etc
what fruits besides grapes make the best wine?
 

hawkwing

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You are asking opinions;
if you can find tannic apple or crabapple I would say apple
5% cranberry mixed with X, cranberry has long flavor notes and I like how it blends with concord or white grape or apple
If I had it in the back yard passion fruit, ,,,, that said the best is what one finds in the yard, ,,, I like mulberry with lemon juice, but when I first made it straight, mulberry was flat/ flavorless. ,,, think about what is missing and where can you get it,,, ex 5% crabapple/ tannin goes in my rhubarb and apple and etc
I’ve made hard apple cider. I would guess wine is just stronger. Would that be correct?

My aunt said she has a bunch of Saskatoon berries and some gooseberries in her freezer she wants to give me to make wine. Not sure how much yet. Might have to be small batches. That said I might rather make deserts with them.
 

Raptor99

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I am working on growing more berries, but in the meantime we need to buy them or get them from friends. If you spend about $10 per gallon for fruit, that works out to around $2 per bottle. That is very cheap for a good bottle of fruit wine. I figure that if my total costs for ingredients is less than $5 per bottle it is a bargain.

I try to work with the seasons. At peak harvest time I can get a flats of pears, peaches, etc. at a good price. Even blueberries from Costco are pretty cheap at the right time of year. That's when I will fill my freezer for the upcoming batches of wine. I am lucky to live in a major fruit and berry producing region.
 

Ohio Bob

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I’ve been thinking about what to make next and I’ve considered something like a blackberry port or something tasty and sweet. When I consider the cost of buying enough fruit it’s in the vicinity of a kit wine or even more than the cheap Costco kit I’m currently fermenting and trying to make a port. Frozen blackberries are in the $5 per 400g (454g is a pound) and from this forum people are recommending 5 to 8 lbs per gallon or even more. That is more than and even getting to be almost twice as expensive as a kit. Is Blackberry that good? What else is in the top echelon for flavor? Hard to consider fruit over grape at that price. Can anyone convince me it’s worth considering some store bought fruit for wine?
I give two thumbs up to making blackberry port. If your ever near parks or woods, sometimes you can find groves/stands of wild blackberries. The back of my property is wooded and I get all I need.

Second option is to use canned concentrate, for cost reasons. In season grocery store prices will make you think twice.

I add a little dark chocolate powder in place of back sweetening, just enough to take an edge off the tartness. Fortify with the highest proof you can fine, preferably Everclear 190.
 

BigDaveK

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Gooseberry will be nice. Saskatoon berries, from what I read, are like our serviceberries. It's on my list. Definitely see how much your aunt has. Heck, you could even combine them.
Costco has numerous options. They have many organic juices and nectars that can be used.
Banana!
Have dandelions there yet?
Jam and jelly! Your choices and combinations are almost limitless. Just watch the ingredients. Cleaned off my canning shelf and made 3 so far this year. Surprisingly good! One was a jalapeno jelly and Hungarian hot wax pepper jelly wine. Wow! I have fallen in love with hot wines!
Awkward time of year to get good fresh ingredients. I definitely agree that most grocery store fresh fruit is dull, flavorless, and boring.

I suggest you pick something you think you'd like and go for it. Do something, anything, to keep those wine making skills fresh. When the bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables arrive later this year go absolutely crazy.
 

Scooter68

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If you live in an area where there are wild blackberries - THAT's the best. There is no comparison of a domestic blackberry to wild ones. I haven't had many domestic blackberries until about a week ago when we visited family. The domestic berries were big and plump but the flavor was meh. Definitely flavorful but just not anywhere like the wild blackberries we have. As far as cost, perhaps you might pay more for berries at a farmers market but you might also ask if they have any bruise or "less than pretty" berries they'd discount to you. You might have to sacrifice a bottle of wine to them but.... if you end up building a relationship where they save the bruised and overripe fruit, that could turn out well. Locally I have bought peaches they had overripe and bruised fruit for $42.00 a bushel. (that was 2 years ago so more now of course) and I ended up with 3 gallons of wine and perhaps another 8 lbs for freezing and other uses.
 

Raptor99

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If you live in an area where there are wild blackberries - THAT's the best. There is no comparison of a domestic blackberry to wild ones.

It depends on the wild type and climate. On my property we have three types of wild blackberries. Most of them are himalayan blackberries. They are difficult to pick because even ripe berries do not "let go" of the vine very easily. The flavor is very insipid. This year I am planting some thornless domestic blackberries. The ones that I tasted last year from a friend had a very nice flavor.

I have found that any fresh berries have a much better flavor than most frozen fruit. Interestingly, the berries that I grow and freeze myself still are better than any frozen fruit from Costco. Check out all your local options, both for wild and domestic fruit. Our local farm store has a sale once year with good prices on flats of peaches and pears. Later this year I will visit some of the local blueberry farms to see if I can get a deal on 20-30 lbs. of blueberries.
 

hawkwing

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I ended up getting 20.85 lbs of gooseberries and 17.86 lbs Saskatoon berries. Two bags of the 20 or so ended up being blueberries but that shouldn’t matter too much. From searching it looks like using 6 lbs per gallon of Saskatoons is recommended but not less than 5 and 8 was too much. So that looks like a nice 3 gallon recipe. For the gooseberries Keller suggests 3 lbs per gallon. This would work out to about 7 gallons. Is this thin as he recommends less Saskatoons as well? Not sure about gooseberries being too acidic with more?

I’ve so far out the berries in fermenting buckets and mashed them a bit with a potato masher. Not the best way but I’ll press them after he fermentation. I added sulfites and pectic enzymes. This I have a little time to figure out exactly how much water to add and the recipe in general. My initial thought was to keep them pure and use powdered acid over lemon juice. Just add sugar yeast nutrient and yeast from where I’m at. Thoughts?
 

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