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Tart Cherry Wine in the home stretch!!

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Scooter68

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Well it's been 11 plus months since I started my Tart Cherry wine from concentrates. I've finished the final racking and stablizing. Yesterday I did a bench trial with a cup of wine. The first try with 5ml of simple syrup (2:1) for 8oz the flavor was spot on for me. Still nice and tart but the hint of sweetness lurking there. It took the last of the sharpness off. (Edit - Sg is 1.018 (Does not taste THAT sweet) pH 3.48)

Fun part was having the wife taste it. First she tried it - un-adjusted. She was trying to conceal her face but.... it was tart and dry. Later I let her try the adjusted sample - She liked it. She hasn't been crazy about the idea of a tart cherry wine but I think she can enjoy this one. ABV is 14% but I can't really taste that much in the wine.

Going to start another batch when the weather warms and will probably go for a higher ABV (17-18%) and make it sweeter when finished - a Dessert wine.

This 3 gallon batch just finishing was made with the following:
3 bottles - Sweet Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate - 16oz Syrup, Complete Natural Products)
1 bottle - Black Cherry Juice Concentrate, 16 Ounce Bottle, Dynamic Health (Corrected volume from 8 oz to 16 oz)

(Now on to the Black Currant wine (3 Gallons) waiting to be back sweetened oh Yeah - bottle washing and prep too. )
 
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Scooter68

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Well, patience be D***** I cracked the first bottle of the Tart Cherry. If it mellows much from where it is now.... it might just be too tame. Right now, I love it. Can't imagine it getting much better. Very tart, just like a fresh tart pie cherry from the tree. No edge that I can detect now, perhaps a little of the sulfite after taste, maybe but that will fade since it's only been about 3 weeks since I racked and stabilized.
Definitely going to start another batch as soon as it's warm enough in the house to do so. (We keep the empty house where I do my wine making at 59 degrees so I have to either wait for warmer weather of bump the thermostat up for a week.)
 

wildhair

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I have sweet cherry trees and froze about 20# last summer. But I need to "tart" my cherry wine up. Sweet cherries lack that real "cherry pie" taste. I was considering adding red currants - I froze a couple pounds of those - not enough for a full batch, but they are tart enough to add some flavor to the sweet cherries, I think.
Or - would I be better off getting some tart cherry juice concentrate?

As for the "cool house" - I use heating pads under the primaries - set them on low & use timers so they run a few hours at a time. I have some seedling mats - they work great, too. Either way, I can keep the must around 70-72F without bumping up the thermostat.
 

Scooter68

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I'd go with a Tart Cherry concentrate. I focus on concentrate because you can get better flavor that way. If you figure at least 6 lbs of cherries per gallon (More is better of course) Then you could use 2 16 oz bottles to tart it up. My batch was 4 bottles of concentrate for a three gallon batch. You could easily get to 4 or maybe push it to 5 gallons with 3 bottles of concentrate. I'll compare the flavor of my tart batch to anything out there. My first bottle is about gone already and I'm not a heavy drinker at all.

Oh and because I'm a purist, personally I would never use currants in with cherries. (Black Currant wine is my 3rd favorite now behind Tart Cherry then Peach.) But that's me, ol' stick in the mud.
 

wildhair

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LOL I'm more of an opportunist than a purist, I reckon. I try to use what I have on hand & what I grow - sometimes I'll combine something I have in excess with something I don't have a lot of. .......OK, maybe that just makes me cheap.
I have extra apple juice - so I'll use that as the base (instead of water) for my Mixed Mint wine & maybe in the Goji berry wine. I don't have enough red currants for a full batch, but I have 2 qt.s of juice I canned up and about 1-2# of berries frozen. Sweet cherries are great off the tree, but I discovered they make a not-very-cherry tasting jam. I added currants to the cherry jam this year and BAM - much better flavor. The cherry liqueur I added probably helped too. ;-)

I'll look for some tart cherry conc. Could I add that to the secondary to boost the flavor?
 

Scooter68

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I'm with you on the cheap approach. I just had to try the tart cherry wine and my existing cherry trees weren't providing enough. As for sweet Cherries... I find that the birds love them - they take the yellow cherries before they even get close to ripe. BUT the pie cherry trees don't seem to interest them. Except for the Cherry concentrate and Black Currant juice I grow or source locally (Peaches) all the fruit in my wines. Peaches run me little over $30 for a bushel of blemished/overripe and I can't beat that. (All my peach trees died) So I understand - and currants definitely would punch up the tart in sweet cherries.

I'm making my opportunities now. Planted 3 Pie Cherry trees & 1 Pie Cherry bush. Along with my existing 2 pie cherry trees I hope to be able to do my own sourcing for the cherry juice in the future. For now though I have 5 bottles of Tart cherry concentrate and 1 bottle of Black Cherry concentrate ready to go. I thought about planting some currant bushes but I think I've run out of practical useable space as well as not needed another conflict point with our wildlife. Electric fencing for the deer and netting enclosure for the blueberries is about as far as i can stand to go now.

Let us know how that turns out. I'm itching to start the next batch of Tart Cherry wine. One last note. The tart cherry wine had me scared about 3 months in, it was so tart and edgy that I thought it had gone over to the dark side - but at the end once, sweetened up it's fantastic. I just don't think about the calories because it doesn't even taste sweet (331 calories per 12 oz)
 

wildhair

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Calories? I don't measure no stinkin' calories! LOL
I planted a pie cherry tree last year. I keep the birds out (mostly ) of the other tree by putting an owl decoy in it. Mostly, I have to watch for brown mold. That take probably 1/2 the cherries.

I hear ya on the "use-able space" - I need to move the currants to a sunnier location - if I can FIND one. LOL
 
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Scooter68

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Yeah the calories wasn't something I worry about. Just noticed one day when I was checking the ABV of a wine that stopped short of 'dry.' The online calculator showed the ABV and below that listed the total calories per oz. Anything with some residual sugar (Or when back-sweetened) is going to have some calories. Just never noticed it until that first 'not quite dry' ferment calculation. The calorie count sort of floored me. Then again when the body processes the alcohol what does it turn it back into calories again. So you are right - Measuring calories would lead to not drinking at all. :)
 

sour_grapes

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Anything with some residual sugar (Or when back-sweetened) is going to have some calories. Just never noticed it until that first 'not quite dry' ferment calculation. The calorie count sort of floored me. Then again when the body processes the alcohol what does it turn it back into calories again. So you are right - Measuring calories would lead to not drinking at all. :)
Said another way: The calories in the sugar in the original must were partially consumed by the yeast. The yeast only got a little of those calories. The leftover alcohol still contains the preponderance of those calories.
 

wildhair

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LOL I got bigger worries than the calories in my wine. I'll be damned if I'm gonna start calculating THAT! That might suck some of the fun out of this whole enterprise.
 

Scooter68

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LOL I got bigger worries than the calories in my wine. I'll be damned if I'm gonna start calculating THAT! That might suck some of the fun out of this whole enterprise.

Agree completely - If it hadn't popped up there in my ABV calculator I would never have given it any thought at all.

Now - today is the day for some more racking of the other wine batches not yet ready to bottle. My Riesling/Peach is looking good albeit rather dark but still looking forward to bottling day for it. (Another 6 months out at least I'm thinking) Blueberry (1 x 3 gallon 1 x 1 gallon) need racking. And then there is bottle cleaning / Label removal to do. Better now when it's nasty wet outside than on a nice day.
 
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