The Strawberry

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Johnd

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Admittedly, I'm not much of a fruit winemaker, but every now and then I do dabble, and decided earlier this year to do a strawberry wine. I live about 15 miles from Ponchatoula, LA, home of the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival every year, an area well renowned for its strawberry production.

I bought a bunch of really nice strawberries in bulk from a grower, cut the leaves off, halved and froze them a while back. They're at home thawing right now. The plan is to make wine from the strawberries, no water added, and I have 100 pounds, which I'm pretty sure should get me 6 gallons, though I don't know from experience, anyone know?

All recipe stuff is under control for adjustments to pH, TA and BRIX, as well as yeast, nutrients, tannin, etc.. Plan to use Lallzyme EX-V for breakdown of the fruit, and plenty pectic enzyme to work on the pectic haze ahead of time, but just wondering if anyone here has done straight strawberry with no water and has any tips / best practices to get the must prepared...Run it through the press first? Run it through the crusher? Chop it up with a paint stirrer? Mush it up with my punchdown tool? Any thoughts?
 

cmason1957

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I always add just a (like a gallon or 1.5 gallon) of nearly boiling hot water to which I added some sugar to break down over the top of my frozen strawberries to help retain the red color of strawberries and then some tannin in the primary for the same reason. I am thinking next time I make a strawberry to do it more as a strawberry flavor added to a very bland (on purpose) white wine, like a Chardonel, maybe a Niagra, or a Chardonney kit, made to a fairly higher than normal alcohol. The idea being that the strawberry juice added after the fact would bring the alcohol back to a normal level.
 

Johnd

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Looks pretty good after thawing, let them sit outside in the sweltering heat today, got em up to 70 before loading the fermenter, sitting in their own juice. Got some EX-V on board, along with a bunch of pectic, some tannins, and some bentonite. About to boost the BRIX up to 22 and check the pH. Prolly let it sit til the morning and load some D47 into the mix.
07BAAAFD-3C3A-49D3-AF55-B517F87A4081.jpeg 3916FEAB-B8F1-444D-942C-4F0C2B7DF2AB.jpeg
 

Johnd

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Got the must chapped up to 22 BRIX, and adjusted the pH down from 3.55 to 3.45 with a little acid blend. As I was working with it, stirring and mixing, it really broke down into a lovely deep red viscous must. I’m going to skip the sulfite and pitch the yeast tonight.
318A6731-8602-46EF-B25E-263536DC153A.jpeg
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CDrew

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Interesting how much it broke down with the pectic enzymes. You went from fruit to a slurry. Very cool.

Good luck!
 

Cxwgfamily

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Johnd, I have a little different approach. I add only 3.5 to 4.0 lbs of strawberries per gal of wine. Obviously, sugar, water, acid blend, tannin, and petic enzyme. Won bronze at this years competition. But I add 1.5 lbs. of Dates and 1.5 lbs. of white raisins per gallon of wine. Just a thought.

When you get it bottled and drinking it, shoot me a note, we can meet compare results. I am just down the road in BR.

cxwgfamily
 

Scooter68

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Man That is beautiful looking - For me it would be soooo hard not to just dip out a ladle full of that to put on some ice cream or suck it down straight.
 

Ignoble Grape

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Oooh! Strawberry season has finally arrived. I'm inspired, JohnD. Isn't the must the most divine strawberry smell ever???

I just bottled last year's and it is one of the better I've made - certainly the best fruit wine. I'm going to the farmer's market to get some more berries tomorrow. Need to make a 5 gl batch this time around, only made 2 last time and I don't think it's going to last me through June.

As a side note - the majority of what I bottled was straight strawberry, added lemon zest, oaked lightly. Heavy strawberry nose, did not back sweeten, so it's dry. I want to enter it the local county fair, but I want to drink it, too... Fair's in August, though, and as I said, not sure it's gonna last through June.

Ended up with an odd amount after racking and blended 3 bottles with a fruity commercial rose - yummy.

Cheers to summer!
 

porkchopmessiah

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Just about done picking mine, had Cabot and Honeyoye... got over 60 lbs, I should be able to get 15 gallon ez this year
 

Johnd

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Good caps yesterday evening and this morning, if you can call them that. There’s almost nothing solid left in the fermenter, just a viscous, carbonated slurry, fermenting very well so far. Bout time for some nutrients.
 

porkchopmessiah

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Admittedly, I'm not much of a fruit winemaker, but every now and then I do dabble, and decided earlier this year to do a strawberry wine. I live about 15 miles from Ponchatoula, LA, home of the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival every year, an area well renowned for its strawberry production.

I bought a bunch of really nice strawberries in bulk from a grower, cut the leaves off, halved and froze them a while back. They're at home thawing right now. The plan is to make wine from the strawberries, no water added, and I have 100 pounds, which I'm pretty sure should get me 6 gallons, though I don't know from experience, anyone know?

All recipe stuff is under control for adjustments to pH, TA and BRIX, as well as yeast, nutrients, tannin, etc.. Plan to use Lallzyme EX-V for breakdown of the fruit, and plenty pectic enzyme to work on the pectic haze ahead of time, but just wondering if anyone here has done straight strawberry with no water and has any tips / best practices to get the must prepared...Run it through the press first? Run it through the crusher? Chop it up with a paint stirrer? Mush it up with my punchdown tool? Any thoughts?
My recipe calls for 17 lbs per gallon....I use about 20...sounds like you have more than enough, lol
 

porkchopmessiah

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Yup, not a single drop of water added....it’ll be interesting to see how many gallons of wine come from 100# of berries.
let me know as well...I grow my own so it have limitations, the wife wont allow me to crave of any more yard to plant..
curious though what your yield will be
 

Johnd

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let me know as well...I grow my own so it have limitations, the wife wont allow me to crave of any more yard to plant..
curious though what your yield will be
I’ll certainly post the yield, looks pretty good so far. Was hoping to net out 6 gallons in the end, looking like it’ll be a good bit more in the end. There will be no pressing, there’s nothing left to speak of, probably do a little straining, then into carboys for settling / racking.
 

Johnd

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Hit the strawberry with a combo of Fermaid K and DAP on Sunday, D-47's not a big nutrient hog, so the dosage was kept on the moderate side. Fermentation has been proceeding as well as possible, just some little thin caps on a very thick must with lots of particulates in it. Looks and smells wonderful, no off odors at all, good, clean ferment. Down to 1.020 this morning, so it'll be ready to move shortly.
 

ibglowin

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Yea, a big ol scoop of that must on some vanilla ice cream........

How does it smell? Always a good sign when you just want to dunk your head in the bucket.
 

Johnd

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Yea, a big ol scoop of that must on some vanilla ice cream........

How does it smell? Always a good sign when you just want to dunk your head in the bucket.
It smells just like you'd want to ladle some onto vanilla ice cream, but then you couldn't drive after you ate it..........the ABV just starting to be evident, but in a good way. Really thinking that at least part of this wine should be bottled dry, if not all of it, just need to get down the road to be able to do some taste testing with different levels of sweetness / acidity, etc..........
 
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