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Chilkat

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Looking for guidance in making a cherry wine

I have a 20gal crock and plan on making cherry wine this year. How many pounds of fruit per gallon should I use for this?

It's not season for cherries here yet but I'd like to get an idea before it is.
 

Scooter68

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Since you are working with fresh cherries I would not add any additional water other than what is in a simple syrup to raise the SG. I use a 2:1 simple syrup solution to raise the SG of my wine musts and that is the only water I would add for a cherry wine from fresh cherries

Of course de-pit the cherries then crush the cherries and add the remaining pulp/skin to a fruit bag.

I use cherry juice concentrate for my wine and for me I use enough Tart Cherry concentrate for 3 gallons and then add a bottle of Sweet Cherry concentrate. Then I bring my volume up to just under 3 gallons. At that point I start adding my simple syrup. My goal is to hit a volume of about 3 1/3 gallons to allow for gross lees lost.
 

Stressbaby

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You may not have to use straight fruit (no water), but even Jack Keller, who is known for recipes light in fruit, takes cherry wine up to 6-8#/gallon. And in his 2010 Winemaker magazine article he recommends 8#/gallon. I haven't made cherry but given Keller's recommendations, I wouldn't go under 7-8#/gallon.

Hopefully you will get some additional advice from someone who has made it from fresh fruit.
 

Chilkat

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Looking for a recipe for cherry wine. Enough for fifteen gallons. You say not to use any water and to use syrup to raise the SG. But with no water and only cherries, you will need to wait for them to expel the juices first right? Unless you use a juicer.

Ok - That's a lot of cherries.
 

pgentile

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Here is my recipe from last summer:

34 lbs pitted dark sweet cherries(lost 2 lbs to stems and pits)
64 oz sour cherry concentrate
6 lbs sugar to SG 1.090
Water to 6 gl volume
3 tsp pectic enzyme
6 tsp yeast nutrient
1.5 tsp tannin
6 tsp acid blend
Montrachet Yeast

Many people liked the wine. I have only 6 bottles left. But when I make again I will double the fruit to 70 lbs or more for 5-6 gallon batch. Decrease water and some sugar. Not so sure I would pit next time. Either that or more tannin.. For me it needed a little more depth and mouth feel.

Oh and I did oak this for 3 months with med chips.
 

Chilkat

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Here is my recipe from last summer:

34 lbs pitted dark sweet cherries(lost 2 lbs to stems and pits)
64 oz sour cherry concentrate
6 lbs sugar to SG 1.090
Water to 6 gl volume
3 tsp pectic enzyme
6 tsp yeast nutrient
1.5 tsp tannin
6 tsp acid blend
Montrachet Yeast

Many people liked the wine. I have only 6 bottles left. But when I make again I will double the fruit to 70 lbs or more for 5-6 gallon batch. Decrease water and some sugar. Not so sure I would pit next time. Either that or more tannin.. For me it needed a little more depth and mouth feel.

Oh and I did oak this for 3 months with med chips.
What's mouth feel? I've heard this about mead. Is that the heaviness of it? Tannins?

Found it:

mouth·feel
ˈmouTHfēl/
noun
noun: mouth-feel
  1. the physical sensations in the mouth produced by a particular food.
    "this Cabernet has a dense, tightly woven mouthfeel, with complex, chewy, and velvety tannins"
 
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pgentile

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What's mouth feel? I've heard this about mead. Is that the heaviness of it? Tannins?
Kind of like viscosity or thickness. Water has little or no mouthfeel, oatmeal has a lot.
 

Scooter68

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Yes, that is a lot of cherries. The Concentrate I use has this in the product description "1 Serving of Tart Cherry Concentrate equals 2 cups of Fresh Cherries! " (1 Serving is one oz of the concentrate with 7 ozs of water) So figure from those numbers.

We just shared a bottle of Tart Cherry wine with some friends. The wine is full bodied, very tart with very little indication (Sweetness) that it's SG as bottled was 1.018 (Back-sweetened to that from .995) It was made from Montmorency Cherry concentrate.

That batch was 3 gallons made with 3 x 16 oz bottles of concentrate. Each bottle was supposed to make 1 gallon of Tart Cherry Juice. Additionally I used on 16 oz bottle of Dark Sweet Cherry Juice concentrate also supposed to make 1 gallon of juice. I'm not saying that you won't get a good wine with less than that but this is one solid wine and I have another batch aging right now that will be ready to bottle next May/June.

As to waiting for the cherries to free up the sugars, yes that's true with all fresh fruit. If you don't crush the fruit or run it through a juicer you won't get a true SG reading until the fruit as broken down enough to free the sugars. That's one reason many people like to freeze their fruit before crushing. It tends to break down the fruit pulp. BUT that's also what the Pectic Enzyme does too. That why it should be the first additive to your cherries or any fruit. Let it get started doing it's job ASAP.

Also, a lot depends on how ripe those cherries are. I have a tart cherry tree and I frequently start picking a bit early, only to discover that there are many shades of red and only the darkest red ones on my tree are truly ready. Hopefully in about 3 years my 4 new tart cherry trees will start producing to some extent and I can make cherry wine from home grown cherries.
 

Scooter68

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Just looked over Keller's Cherry Recipe and the one thing I personally find fault with is the use of Grape Juice concentrate in the recipe. That's only because I try to be a 'purist' in that I rarely use anything but one fruit in the wine. Cherry wine with ALL Cherries no grape juice. For raising the SG I just mix up a 2:1 simple syrup. (Some on here go for a 4:1 Simple Syrup but that involves a lot of time to create) That's just my preference. That way I know exactly where the wines flavor comes from.

What ever way you go just keep COPIOUS notes on what you add, when, how much and even temps. Also be sure to invest in two key pieces of equipment. A good hydrometer (Buy 2 because nothing's worse than breaking on in the middle of a ferment) and A decent digital pH meter. TA kits are fine but reading a dark wine for color change is pretty tough. A pH meter lets you do either a TA test or a straight pH reading of the wine.
Without those two tools you are doing too much guessing with some valuable fruit and of course your time.
 
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