Wild Blackberry Wine

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Raptor99

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I have access to wild blackberries, so I wanted to reach out to those who have tried this. The variety that is most common here in Oregon is himalayan blackberries. This is an invasive species that is difficult to control, so it is widely available. One distinguishing feature of himalayan blackberries is that the have a stem with five flat sides, so that the cross section of the stem is a hexagon.

Have you made wine from himalayan blackberries? How was the flavor? My thought is to use 5 lbs. per gallon, and to adjust the pH if necessary.
 

Scooter68

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I've not educated myself on the varieties of wild blackberries so I can't help you there but if they are ANYTHING like the wild blackberries in NW Arkansas - you will be very happy with the outcome. Typically somewhere between 5-6 lbs per gallon provided an awesome robust flavored wine so 5 should be great.
 

Rice_Guy

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In this zone I don’t have wild varieties.
My preference is lots of fruit so I run high on pounds per gallon.
My one caution is that at eighteen months I get astringent flavors (likely oxidation issue). When I pull this years batch out of the freezer I am going to run high on tannin and see if it is a cure. ,,, ? type and level TBD yet ?
 

OrchardRoad

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I'll be making a blend with the "wild" Himalayan blackberries from my neighborhood here in the Santa Cruz Mtns in CA. They are watery-er than the native smaller blackberries and wild raspberry but far more abundant though I do think they lack good blackberry flavor. I'll put Santa Rosa plums and strawberries from my garden in for the blend since I'm not convinced the blackberries will be flavorful enough or have enough body. For 5 gallons I'll use 13lbs of fruit- 7 lbs blackberries and 6 of other fruit.
 

Raptor99

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They are watery-er than the native smaller blackberries and wild raspberry
That's what I have heard as well. I wonder how it would work to use more Himalayan blackberries per gallon? I was planning on 5 lbs. per gallon, but I could increase that. Since this is my first time making wild blackberry wine, I don't want to add any other fruit. I would like to see how they taste on their own first. Once I taste the ripe berries, I may have to adjust the amount per gallon.
 

Rice_Guy

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2.6 pounds of fruit per gallon sounds skinny for a commercial wine where the boss wants a cheap food product.
My preference at home when no one looks at cost of goods is to do 100% fruit juice.
The EC Krause recipes are for three to five pounds per gallon.
, , , , , since I'm not convinced the blackberries will be flavorful enough or have enough body. For 5 gallons I'll use 13lbs of fruit- 7 lbs blackberries and 6 of other fruit. , ,2.6 pounds per gallon
 

Scooter68

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Every body has their own likes and dislikes but I agree Rice_Guy 2.6 lbs of almost any fruit sound more like something for a wine cooler than a full on wine.

Raptor99 - Perhaps just plan on using ZERO water in that wine. Get ALL of your liquid volume from the berries and use that juice also if you are going to make a simple syrup., or just stir in your sugar addition directly to the juice. Of course depending on the amount of pulp I'd start out perhaps at volume of 6 to 6.5 gallons for a 5 gallon batch.

With berries and some other fruits, I am of the "opinion" that a tree, bush, vine will produce smaller fruit one year when there is less water available and larger fruit in years with plentiful water supply BUT the flavor amount is the same in either case. With larger plumper fruit the same amount of flavor is there but it's distributed in a larger fruit resulting in what seems to be a less flavorful fruit. Just my opinion but I know that others have express similar ideas. That would account for why my nephew took some wild blackberry plants home and his blackberries are much much larger but I'm betting that other than fertilizer impact the difference is mostly water content not so much more flavor.

Those connected to or experienced with vineyards often comment that "perfect soil conditions" does not neccessarily result in better tasting grapes/wine, rather, the more challenging the soil conditions the better the grapes/wines. Happy to be corrected and I know that such comments are not applicable to all fruit and situations. Ok I've rattled on long enough. Good luck on your blackberry and let us know your results.
 

Raptor99

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I went out to the new house today and found a few blackberies that are ripe. There should be a lot more next month. As expected, the Himalayan blackberries have a nice flavor, but the flavor is not very strong. I don't know if I can get enough to make wine without adding any water, but I might aim for at least 10 lbs. per gallon. Fruits with a weaker flavor like pear need more fruit per gallon. On the other hand cranberry wine is great with 5 lbs.per gallon.
 

Scooter68

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I went out to the new house today and found a few blackberies that are ripe. There should be a lot more next month. As expected, the Himalayan blackberries have a nice flavor, but the flavor is not very strong. I don't know if I can get enough to make wine without adding any water, but I might aim for at least 10 lbs. per gallon. Fruits with a weaker flavor like pear need more fruit per gallon. On the other hand cranberry wine is great with 5 lbs.per gallon.
You might find that 6-7 lbs gets you a solid flavor.
 

SLM

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Raptor99, I made my first wine a year ago with wild blackberries, a port actually. It is so delicious I have to ration it! I'm not sure what variety but I'm north of you in WA. I'll snap a picture when I get home.

I had 80 pounds of berries and got 8 gallons of juice before fortifying. Last year's berries were quite plump. This year they are smaller due to the heat and lack of rain. But we have begun picking and will be using the same recipe. Can't say yet how much juice they will produce but I definitely won't be adding water.
 

SLM

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Apparently mine are himalayan too, judging by the telltale pentagonal stalk. I think you will be pleased with the flavor.

IMG_9715.JPGIMG_9722.JPG
 

Raptor99

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@SLM Thanks for the update and the photos. They look just like my blackberries. Based on your experience, it sounds like you got a gallon of juice from 10 lbs. of berries. That gives me a good starting place.
 

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@SLM Thanks for the update and the photos. They look just like my blackberries. Based on your experience, it sounds like you got a gallon of juice from 10 lbs. of berries. That gives me a good starting place.
Yeah, keep us posted on your results
 

Raptor99

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Will do. We are moving later this month, so as the blackberries ripen I will freeze them. Once we get settled in the new place I will start a batch.

Mine are not as ripe as yours, so it will be a few more weeks until I can harvest them.
 

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I have one black berry in the file with a TA of 0.7% (pH 3.91), ,,, ie right on target for a wine with minimal back sweetening, a bit high on pH. I have seen numbers as low as 3.3 on pH so very ripe fruit could use some acid.
it sounds like you got a gallon of juice from 10 lbs. of berries. That gives me a good starting place.
 

iridium

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I did two batches of wine using Himalayan blackberries. The first was 7.5 pounds for a gallon batch and I wish I could have had more. I also made a blackberry port and there I used 10 pounds of fruit.
 

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A lot of the difference, and this is just my personal reading on it, comes from the amount of water in a berry. Big Plump berries from the store may have good flavor for eating but I'll take a smaller, less water bloated wild berry every time. I've had some mighty strong flavored black berry wine with just 5lb of blackberries per gallon. Most of those berries are between the size of a penny and a dime but packed with flavor.
 

SLM

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One thing I might add about these blackberries. While the berries themselves are quite delicious as is, the juice is pretty sour and needs considerable sweetening. Having no experience with country wines, I'm not sure if this is typical.

Wife picked 25 pounds this morning and harvest is just beginning!
 
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