Getting Started in Country Fruit Wine Making ?

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heatherd

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Wild black raspberries are awesome but hard to come by for me. Have you used the golden raspberries? I don't have enough of those to make wine, but might be able to combine them with another fruit.
You could add some of this juice if you wanted to do a raspberry (or any fruit wine) and needed more fruit: - Walker's Wine Juice, LLC
 

heatherd

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Keep in mind that his recipes favor lighter fruit taste and a bit higher ABV. As long as that suits your taste they are pretty complete and well explained. I don't know who snagged all the recipes he posted but apparently they are out there.
It is my understanding that his widow collected them all into a pdf after his passing.
 

Scooter68

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I've always used a target pH range of 3.4 to 3.6 I raise Blueberries and they are normally going to be at the low end of that.

Anything above 3.6 I would adjust. I would start a blueberry batch as lost as 3.35 but that's about the limit for me.
 

Tstryke

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Oh, and good luck having any of your first batches last 3 years unless you have a great deal of self-control.

I read that and just about spat my drink all over my keyboard. I just started my first ever kit (a 1 gallon) and I was looking at it last night and thinking, "That's like one night of drinking for us. We're going to need more wine."
 

BernardSmith

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One night of drinking? A gallon is 5 bottles and each bottle is likely to be around 12% ABV. You may want/need more wine but THAT is a hell of a lot of alcohol for most folk. Of course if you have a large extended family then a gallon ain't so much but five bottles a day?
 

Tstryke

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I actually drank 3 bottles myself last weekend (on a Saturday), granted it was a virtual "tasting" that lasted all day and we all know the wine at the bottom of the bottle tastes the best...…My fiancée drank two more. We do love wine when we actually get around to drinking it.

It's definitely a rare occasion when we hit it like that but we can put it away when the occasion arises.
 

hounddawg

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I actually drank 3 bottles myself last weekend (on a Saturday), granted it was a virtual "tasting" that lasted all day and we all know the wine at the bottom of the bottle tastes the best...…My fiancée drank two more. We do love wine when we actually get around to drinking it.

It's definitely a rare occasion when we hit it like that but we can put it away when the occasion arises.
dang that makes me hate the next morning
Dawg
 

Scooter68

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I gave away two bottles of wine from 2016 to a friend and told him - Don't expect too much from these. I said when you try them if you don't like them pour them down the drain - I will NOT be offended because I almost poured them out a couple of times when I tried a bottle at 2 years and 3 years. Then I sort of forgot about them/ignored them but kept them around to remind me of what can happen. One was strawberry the other Apricot. Will never bother with either one again. Last Apricot I tried about 6-8 months ago had risen in my rating to - meh. (that would make the wines 5 years old)
This friend is getting to try out about 15 different wines I 've made - I know him to be able to be bluntly honest and that's what I'm looking for. You can't improve if folks don't give you a little feedback +/-
 

BernardSmith

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I love country wines but I find many "recipes" published on line are blah even before I begin. No one would think of using 3 lbs of grapes to make a gallon of wine but country wine folk have a religious commitment to dilute their fruit with more water than they would dilute concentrates. That said, do you know the basic recipe you used to make the strawberry and the apricot wines? Neither fruit, of course, are flavor rich at the best of times. Me? I try to use about 10 lbs of strawberries /gallon and add enough tannin and acidity to keep the red color. Strawberry blonde might be a hair color but strawberry wine should be a deep red and not a pale orange.
 

hounddawg

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I gave away two bottles of wine from 2016 to a friend and told him - Don't expect too much from these. I said when you try them if you don't like them pour them down the drain - I will NOT be offended because I almost poured them out a couple of times when I tried a bottle at 2 years and 3 years. Then I sort of forgot about them/ignored them but kept them around to remind me of what can happen. One was strawberry the other Apricot. Will never bother with either one again. Last Apricot I tried about 6-8 months ago had risen in my rating to - meh. (that would make the wines 5 years old)
This friend is getting to try out about 15 different wines I 've made - I know him to be able to be bluntly honest and that's what I'm looking for. You can't improve if folks don't give you a little feedback +/-
Amen
 

Scooter68

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I love country wines but I find many "recipes" published on line are blah even before I begin. No one would think of using 3 lbs of grapes to make a gallon of wine but country wine folk have a religious commitment to dilute their fruit with more water than they would dilute concentrates. That said, do you know the basic recipe you used to make the strawberry and the apricot wines? Neither fruit, of course, are flavor rich at the best of times. Me? I try to use about 10 lbs of strawberries /gallon and add enough tannin and acidity to keep the red color. Strawberry blonde might be a hair color but strawberry wine should be a deep red and not a pale orange.
Your point is well taken and yes, the strawberry was a low fruit batch. The Apricot was made from a can of Vintner's Harvest Puree and that was also probably a mistake too. That was not highly diluted but overall it just was not anything like what I hoped for. (Think I tried to may 1.5 gallons with it.)

The amount of fruit per gallon of wine for country wines really depends on the fruit. Some, like strawberry clearly need to be almost a pure fruit juice wine. Blueberries, eh 6-7 lbs/gallon is about right, Wild Blackberries or Wild Black Raspberries are fine at about 5lbs per gallon. So one size-fits-all doesn't work well for country wines. Potency of flavor varies way too much to do that.
 

BarrelMonkey

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The amount of fruit per gallon of wine for country wines really depends on the fruit.

Any thoughts on fruit per gallon for elderberry? It looks like I'm going to have a lot of berries this year so I'd like to make at least a gallon as an experiment. The recipes I've found so far range from 3 to 10lb per (US) gallon...
 

hounddawg

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Any thoughts on fruit per gallon for elderberry? It looks like I'm going to have a lot of berries this year so I'd like to make at least a gallon as an experiment. The recipes I've found so far range from 3 to 10lb per (US) gallon...
7's plenty for elderberry, even 5 to 6 work mighty fine, the real trick is aging 7 to 10 years,
Dawg
 

Scooter68

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I've actually heard folks use 3-4 lbs of elderberries with success but I have zero experience making elderberry wine from the actual fruit. I suspect a lot has to do with the quality of the berries and the methods used to extract the juice.
 

winemanden

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I love country wines but I find many "recipes" published on line are blah even before I begin. No one would think of using 3 lbs of grapes to make a gallon of wine but country wine folk have a religious commitment to dilute their fruit with more water than they would dilute concentrates. That said, do you know the basic recipe you used to make the strawberry and the apricot wines? Neither fruit, of course, are flavor rich at the best of times. Me? I try to use about 10 lbs of strawberries /gallon and add enough tannin and acidity to keep the red color. Strawberry blonde might be a hair color but strawberry wine should be a deep red and not a pale orange.
I think a lot of the problems with "old" country recipes, is that they were from a time of shortages of money more than anything else. ABV and quantity were premium in those days.
 

Rice_Guy

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Any thoughts on fruit per gallon for elderberry? It looks like I'm going to have a lot of berries this year so I'd like to make at least a gallon as an experiment. The recipes I've found so far range from 3 to 10lb per (US) gallon...
The answer to me is how much do you like tannic flavors? My last elderberry was 6.2 Kg in a 19 liter batch of concord juice. The tannic notes were dominating on year one, so I would ask folks “do you like a tannic wine?”
 

BernardSmith

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I think a lot of the problems with "old" country recipes, is that they were from a time of shortages of money more than anything else. ABV and quantity were premium in those days.

Interesting thought but I might counter this with the suggestion that most older country wine recipes came from people who grew their own fruits and vegetables and their approach to wine making was as much about preserving some of the "harvest" for many months more than most other methods of preservation to which they had access. If you grow apples they will only be edible for so long. The same with zucchini or berries or rhubarb. In other words, the cost would be less than zero because if they chose not to make wine they might not have been able to salvage the fruit of their labor. And my assumption comes from the fact that anyone who lived with apple or pear trees would almost certainly have learned to make (hard) cider before they were old enough to knock those fruits from the branches.
 
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I think a lot of the problems with "old" country recipes, is that they were from a time of shortages of money more than anything else. ABV and quantity were premium in those days.
Interesting thought but I might counter this with the suggestion that most older country wine recipes came from people who grew their own fruits and vegetables and their approach to wine making was as much about preserving some of the "harvest" for many months more than most other methods of preservation to which they had access.
Both sides of this question are true, depending on the situation.
 

cenk57

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It is my understanding that his widow collected them all into a pdf after his passing.

I have the entire Jack Keller collection, all 326 pages of it. If you would like a copy, message me. I'd be happy to share - the file actually states to "pass it on" in Jack's honor.

Other posters are correct. His recipes are light on flavor and high ABV. I have made a few wines exactly as he calls for. To light in flavor for my taste. But the process in each recipe is explained fairly well. It is generally the same process for everything. Not my cup of tea (or wine, 😆). It is a good reference for inspiration and ideas, however.
 
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