Gooseberry Wine

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quiltertoo

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I noticed an abundance of wild gooseberry plants on our property when out walking this week. Has anyone ever tried making wine from them? I know they are very tart but they do make a good pie that is similar to rhubarb in taste. Maybe mix them with strawberries?

Mary Lou
 

BernardSmith

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Hi Mary Lou, I grew up in Scotland and gooseberries were a summer treat - both sulfur (the sour ones) and enormous red ones and more recently here in the US, I've made wine from gooseberries but here I used Vintner's Harvest Gooseberry fruit base (after which I planted a few gooseberry bushes in our yard with the intention of making wine from my own fruit). The wine was quite delicious (in my opinion). I don't know if VH do anything to their juice to reduce the acidity but unless the pH is very low (lower than about 3.2) I wouldn't be overly concerned about the acidity inhibiting the yeast's activity. Some things you might consider to help reduce the tartness include - using a yeast such as 71B, adding some K- carbonate (an alkali), adding some banana to the must and/or backsweetening to balance the acidity.
Go for it!
 

Bergmann

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I have Gooseberries in my garden The green ones! I planted them for pies. Love Gooseberry pie!

I have made wine from them. and just like the pies, gooseberry wine taste exactly like rhubarb wine, Other than the label, I can not tell the difference.
 

mill roader

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I have an abundance of tart green gooseberries on my allotment. Too late to make wine this year (2019) but I have just made a gallon batch of rhubarb (mainly) with some blackberries and raspberries thrown in for good measure. My first wine making project for 50 years! Hope it tastes better than my first attempt (dandelion flower wine)!
 
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Perhaps too late for you but here's what I did.

13.7 kg red gooseberries
2970g sugar
300g golden raisins
454g whole bananas with peel (3 bananas)
1 g Campden
20ml pectic enzyme
10l water
1 packet QA23 dissolved in 150ml water with 12.5g Go-Ferm

9g Fermaid O
1 g DAP

I had all the fruit in a nylon bag and used the dragon blood method of squeezing it every day. It was A LOT of fruit but by the end it was just seeds and mush, removed when it hit 1.000. Lots of sediment, so cold crashing was required. It smelled like candy when fermenting and the finished color is a gorgeous shade of deep pink. It's now in a carboy with light and med toast oak, and the final amount was about 18-18.5l. I'm going to top it off with some dragon blood i made which is similar but with mixed berries (red and green gooseberries, red currants, and rhubarb).

The taste now is quite acidic and not very good, but I am hoping bulk ageing, oak, and possibly a touch of backsweetening will make it shine.

Pics of the carboy and of the lees mid-cold crash!
 

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Rice_Guy

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Mary Lou, gooseberry makes a good acid based wine (like rhurbarb or cranberry wine). The green variety I have pressed out juice this year with pH 3.07, TA 2.93, and a gravity of 1.037.
MotherOfGallons above puts banana in his 10 liter of must. My variation is cut the TA 1:4 or 1:3 with banana water or other aromatic, low acid fruit. Otherwise you back sweeten a lot.
 
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Mary Lou, gooseberry makes a good acid based wine (like rhurbarb or cranberry wine). The green variety I have pressed out juice this year with pH 3.07, TA 2.93, and a gravity of 1.037.
MotherOfGallons above puts banana in his 10 liter of must. My variation is cut the TA 1:4 or 1:3 with banana water or other aromatic, low acid fruit. Otherwise you back sweeten a lot.
It was actually about 22L of must if you count the bulk of the berries, after crashing it was about 18.5L.

How long would you suggest to bulk age? This is the first time I've made this and based the recipe on one by Jack Keller, so that's why I used banana. Will the acidity calm down with aging? I do figure it will need backsweetening.
 

Rice_Guy

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13.7 kg red gooseberries. 49.8%
2970g sugar. 10.8%
300g golden raisins. 1.1%
454g whole bananas 1.6%
10l water. 36.4%
total. 27.5 kg
* A guess (I have not grown red gooseberry) . . . you probably have not had a significant increase in pH with 2.7% of other fruit so it is probably in the low 3’s. . . . Yeast worked so maybe 3.2 pH, expect it to taste acidic and you will need to back sweeten. My/ my wife’s taste would bring it back to 1.015 gravity or about 30 to 35 grams sugar per bottle.
* green gooseberry is fairly dry, , which means you may have 50% extraction, , therefore TA could be .7 which is good
* My guess is acid (ie taste) is stable now, yeast may have eaten some citric acid but it isn’t significant. Bulk aging will not change the acid content, citric does not crystallize out.
* My standard is age 9 months minimum, a year would be nice, , , but this is to starve the yeast and not add sorbate.
You didn’t mention meta/campden, , or tannic antioxidants , , keep up the metabisulphite every transfer.

Good luck. . . & sorry I didn’t look to see you are a gal
 

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