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Prickly Pear Sparkling/Wine

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au_naturel

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I took a chance and made Prickly Pear wine, using about 28 pounds of the Prickly Pears, 10 pounds of Black grapes w/skins, 4 gallons of spring water, 1 packet of champagne yeast, and 12 pounds of sugar. The sugar was added with 6 pounds to start in the 6 gallon carboy. Over time more water and sugar was added about 4 days apart. I had a vigorous fermentation from the beginning. Now 7 weeks later, I have 6 liter bottles of sparkling wine, 6 liter bottles of semi-sweet wine, and 12 750ml bottles of semi-sweet wine. About 3 weeks earlier I added 6 tablespoons of food-grade glycerin to the mix, to add body and a little sweetness, because at that time it was very dry and the tannin was quite strong. I have not used any sulphite in the production of this wine. The black grapes add some sulphites naturally and seem to be necessary when not using campden tablets with fruit wine. I think sulphite is important, if you are not willing to risk losing all of the wine to nasty microbes, or you invest a lot of money in an expensive grape juice. I used boiling water at all stages to sterilize the carboy, bottles and siphoning equipment, and was careful to keep everything very clean. This has produced a tasty semi-sweet wine, with a slight tannin bite. There is something interesting in the way this wine tastes and it seems to have a little more relaxing effect on me anyway. I can't recommend creating wine without the use of campden tablets in general, but I would say this is going to be one of those times that it worked well. The grapes were just washed with cool water, but the Prickly Pears were dropped in boiling water for 5 minutes, to kill any microbes. I used Lalvin ec-1118 and 2 teaspoons of sugar per bottle, to restart fermentation in the sparkling wines and that worked well. After bottling the 6 sparkling and 6 unsweetened wines, the rest of the carboy underwent a malolactic fermentation on its own. Then that was bottled in the last 12 bottles. I have one gallon left and will make some Prickly Pear wine vinegar for salads.
 
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A

au_naturel

Guest
Well I have been drinking the prickly pear wine slowly. It ended up tasting like a good table wine. Between a chianti and a cherry flavor. It went slightly drier in the bottle(didn't use sorbate/campden), but still has a little sweetness. It is not a dessert wine, and isn't heavy bodied like it started out. It also doesn't have a strong alcohol flavor and doesn't inebriate very much, but relaxes the body. I am scratching my head about where some of the heady alcohol went. You couldn't get a headache with this wine if you tried. A success, but not a dessert wine as I thought it would be. Would go well with poultry.
 
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