There’s an old saying that the best time to plant a blueberry bush is 5 years ago. They take a while to come into production, but once they start, crops can be huge.
Once the freezers full and you’ve made your fill of blueberry jam and muffins, there’s often still enough to fill a carboy with homemade blueberry wine.
This recipe is adapted from The Home Winemakers Companion. The author describes it as, “One of the most interesting fruit wines…The basic recipe produces a fruity, easy-drinking, nicely balanced wine. Slightly sweet, it is a match for fruit pies, chocolate cake, ice cream, and soft, creamy cheeses.”
While the recipe has you simply place the blueberries and sugar in the primary fermenter and then top with boiling water, I find it helps to use a wooden spoon or potato masher to muddle the blueberries into the sugar.
I then give them about 6-12 hours to soak in the sugar, which helps to extract their blueberry juice. At the end of this time, you should have a good amount of blueberry syrup already, before adding any boiling water on top.
That’s completely optional of course, and as the recipe is written, the blueberries, sugar and boiling water go right into the fermenter with no delay.
Another option for pulling more flavor out of the blueberries is freezing. Freezing the berries for a day or two before making blueberry wine helps to break open their cells and release their juices.
Homemade blueberry wine is easy to make and pairs well with sweet, creamy foods.
- 3 lbs blueberries
- 2 1/4 lbs sugar, about 4 1/2 cups
- 1/4 tsp yeast nutrient
- 1 tsp acid blend
- 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
- 1/4 tsp grape tannin
- 1/4 package wine yeast, preferably Cotes des Blancs
- water to fill
- 2 tbsp oak chips, optional
- 1 Campden tablet, optional
- Sanitize all equipment.
- Add the berries and sugar to a primary fermentation container. Bring one quart of water to a boil and pour it over the fruit/sugar. Stir to dissolve.
- Let cool to about 70 degrees F.
- Once cooled, add the remaining ingredients (except oak chips & Camden tablet, if using) and add enough water to fill the one-gallon fermentation vessel.
- Stir daily for 5 to 7 days. Once the fermentation calms down a bit, rack into a sanitized glass brewing carboy, add oak chips if using and seal with a rubber bung and water lock.
- Ferment in secondary for 4 to 6 weeks.
- At this point, either rack the wine again to ferment for another 6 to 8 months....or add 1 crushed Campden tablet and rack into a clean fermenter for a few weeks until the wine clears.
- Bottle the wine and allow it to age for 6 months before drinking.
Oak Chips - Oak chips are optional, but they add a wonderful flavor to this blueberry wine. After secondary fermentation, either stabilize the wine before allowing it to clear and then bottle...or allow it to ferment for another 6 to 8 months for a wine without stabilizers.
Yeast - I've had a few people note that they think the initial fermentation is a bit slower than they'd like, that might be a result of very acidic fruit. Blueberries can vary in acidity, and I haven't had that problem. One helpful suggestion I've received is to try Lavin DV10 yeast, which tolerates acidic environments better than other types of yeast. You can also cut down the acid blend to 1/2 tsp. Again, I haven't had this problem, but if you think your blueberries are more acidic than average, try cutting down the acid blend or using a more acid-tolerant yeast strain.
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