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Inspired Cherry Wine

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pgentile

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Inspired by another thread and loving cherries, I have decided to give it a try. Somewhat searched around the Philly area and couldn't find many sour/tart cherriy offerings. A frozen bag or two in supermarkets here and there, didn't hit Cosco or BJ's, but not much. Italian Market vendors and/or the wholesalers I called didn't have any fresh sour/tart cherries.

So I ended up with 36 lbs of sweet dark cherries from a wholesaler for 1.78 per lb. Pitted these last Saturday they are in the freezer now. Took two of us 2 hours with a quad and single pitter. Only a couple bad cherries in the whole lot. After reading some more though, next time I won't pit the cherries.

Here's my recipe so far for this coming Saturday:

34 #'s pitted cherries(lost 2 #'s to stems and pits)
64 oz Sour Cherry Concentrate ($41.95)
6 gl water
6-7 +/- #'s sugar 1.090-1.100
3 tsp pectic enzyme
6 tsp yeast nutrient
1.5 tsp tannin
6 tsp acid blend
Montrachet
 

Forager

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Cherry lover here as well! There are a few sour cherry trees in my neighbourhood (that the owners let me pick from) that are loaded every year with beautiful bright red cherries. Got about 10 lbs in the freezer right now. I'll use some of that for cherry jam, and thinking the rest will be enough for a 1 gallon batch. Hope to start that in a week or two. It'll be the first time I've tried a sour cherry wine, so interested to see how it turns out. Pgentile good luck with yours!
 

pgentile

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Jealous of those trees. Stay friendly with those neighbors.

Thanks Forager, good luck to you as well with the wine.
 

Scooter68

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Cherry lover here as well! There are a few sour cherry trees in my neighbourhood (that the owners let me pick from) that are loaded every year with beautiful bright red cherries. Got about 10 lbs in the freezer right now. I'll use some of that for cherry jam, and thinking the rest will be enough for a 1 gallon batch. Hope to start that in a week or two. It'll be the first time I've tried a sour cherry wine, so interested to see how it turns out. Pgentile good luck with yours!
8-10 is about enough for a gallon of wine after pitting them.

Great to have that much. I planted 3 tart cherry trees this year and one tart cherry bush. My existing tart cherry tree had a very bad year looks enemic and I may lose it. Our 2 sweet cherry trees try but the birds steal everything. As soon as the fruit start to turn yellow (Before any red is showing) birds swoop in. At least with the tart cherries the birds aren't as interested.
 

Forager

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Yeah after reading a number of other threads about cherry wine I'm going to try my best to add as little water as possible. I'll have about 8 lbs to put towards that gallon, plus I've got around 1.5 liters of juice that I preserved from last season that I can use to top it up. The only problem with making one gallon is that it's just such a small amount, your lucky if you get 4 bottles out of it after all the racking is done.

I'd love to have some of my own cherry trees to work with, but my backyard is tiny, plus it's got way too much shade. I'm hoping to move to a larger place next year. I'd love a few acres with a little hobby farm, but my wife isn't interested in that, haha. Gonna have to compromise on staying in suburbia with a larger backyard I guess.

Good luck with your 3 new tart cherry trees Scooter68, jealous! I've heard the same thing from everyone about sweet cherry trees, never enough left after the birds get to it. I'll stick with tart cherries as I like them more anyway.
 

pgentile

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Cherries went from freezer to brute today. As well as 36lbs of blueberries in another brute for a blueberry wine. The blueberry wine recipe will be similar to the cherry but will use 64 oz malbec extract and a few other changes.

Will crush/bruise up after thawed tomorrow add pectic enzyme and kmeta.

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Scooter68

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Yeah after reading a number of other threads about cherry wine I'm going to try my best to add as little water as possible. I'll have about 8 lbs to put towards that gallon, plus I've got around 1.5 liters of juice that I preserved from last season that I can use to top it up. The only problem with making one gallon is that it's just such a small amount, your lucky if you get 4 bottles out of it after all the racking is done.

Why would not top up to maintain a full gallon (5 Bottles)? Unless you use something to top up you are going to exposing that wine to oxidation. Find some wine or use water. Better a slightly thinner 5 bottle batch of wine than 4 bottles of oxidized wine.
 

Forager

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I always top up nowadays, learned that lesson the hard way when I didn't top up my first ever batch of hard cider and it ended up turning into hard cider vinegar. I do try to avoid using water though as it both lowers the alcohol % and messes with your ph. Personally I'd argue that a watery/thin wine is just as bad as an oxidized wine.

I used marbles once to top up a batch of strawberry wine which is where my 'lucky if you get 4 bottles' comment came from I guess. It worked, but the hassle of sanitizing a bunch of marbles, then dropping them in one by one, hoping they don't crack your carboy, etc. isn't something I want to do again. Anyway I usually get about 4.5 bottles out of a gallon (even when toping off) when using my racking cane. There is always a bit of wine + sludge that gets left behind at the end, and which I don't want in my wine bottles anyway. Wasn't counting that half bottle as it just goes in the fridge and gets consumed the same day instead of to the wine rack where it can age a bit longer.
 

Scooter68

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You might want to consider:
- Increase your volume of must in the fermenter higher 1.5 gallons.
- Use 4 liter carboys initially rather than 1 gallon. (That give you an additional 7 ozs) Then back down to a 1 gallon carboy from the 4 liter as the volume drops in additional rackings.
- Use some smaller bottles like 20 oz bottles with the same size cap as the gallon bottles so you ca airlock them and use them for topping off. That lets you start with a larger volume intially and have that topping off volume you need.
- Start with a higher concentration of fruit and a higher ABV, the addition of water doesn't lower the ABV below your actual target ABV or weaken the taste. The pH can be easily adjusted.
Don't give up on getting the full gallon.
Marbles create an addition thing to clean and sanitize not to mention actually creating greater loss of volume if the lees don't cover all the marbles.

Loss of volume to lees is something you need to plan for in your recipe to permit "watering down" without actually watering down the finished wine.

Not making light of the issue but it can be dealt with without giving up on getting a full gallon/5 bottles at the end of a years worth of waiting.

The same sort of issue occur with 3, 5 or 6 gallon batches. It's not unique to a one gallon batches. And you don't have to go out an purchase store bought wines or sacrifice a bottle from your previous batch.
 
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PandemoniumWines

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I do what Scooter says - and I keep that carboy filled into the neck, and I get 5 bottles and a little bit left over to celebrate ;)
 

Forager

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Some good points and things to consider in that list Scooter68, I appreciate it! Waffling now between sticking with the one gallon, or getting some more sour cherries from the store (sale on now) and doing 3 instead.
 

Scooter68

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You might find some Tart Cherry concentrate. Most run about 16 oz to make 1 gallon of drink. I use them but I use 4 bottles for 3 gallons and next time I may push that to 5 to pump up the flavor. (Using only the concentrate)

I started with 1 gallon batches for the first year and then pushed into 2 and 3 gallon batches using 2 or 3 of the 4 liter carboys (Actually empty 4 liter "Carlo Rossi" Wine bottles) bump the pounds per/gallon up about 1/2 to 1 lb and that extra volume is well covered.

Good luck and keep us posted on the progress!
 

pgentile

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Added yeast to both wines this morning @ 8:30. Blueberry has activity already, cherry is still quiet.

Cherry:
pH: 3.57
sg 1.080
Montrachet

Blueberry:
pH 3.48
sg 1.090
71b
 

Scooter68

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Added yeast to both wines this morning @ 8:30. Blueberry has activity already, cherry is still quiet. 71b
For me Blueberry has always been a fast fermenter. My first batch scared me - start to finish in 4 days 14% and dry to .990. I thought something was wrong but nope - just fast to the finish line.

Sounds great and keep us posted on the Cherry too.
 

pgentile

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Cherry must is now very very vigorous, going to take temp and possibly need to cool down.
 

pgentile

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Never seen anything foam quite like the cherry must is. It's 10 gl of volume in a 40gl container, so no chance of overflowing, but quite frothy. I haven't used Montrachet yeast in a very long time, don't recall it being like this when I did use it. Smells good so far.
 

pgentile

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This morning the cherry was 1.010 and the blueberry 1.030 at 6 days out. All is looking good.
 

pgentile

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Cherry wine is in secondary and looking good, pressed last Sunday. Ended up with 8+ gallons. Last 5 days looks like another gallon will be lost with the amount of lees that has dropped off.

Blueberry down to .998 today, going to press it tomorrow.

Photos of cherry wine from last Sunday:

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pgentile

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Pressed the blueberry this morning. Ended up with about 8 gallons.

Here is the cherry after 5 days in secondary:

cherry.jpg
 

pgentile

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Tasted the cherry today, not too hot, not too tart, nice flavor, but a little light on body. I'll have 7+ gallons after I eventually rack off lees, thinking of back-sweetening a gallon. Leaving a gallon alone and then light oaking the remaining 5 gallons and bulk age.

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