Pomegranate wine is easy to make at home with fresh pomegranates or pomegranate juice. It’s a traditional drink in eastern Europe and the middle east, and it’s still made today. Commercial bottles of pomegranate wine generally sell for more than $20 each and tend to be very dry and acidic. Making pomegranate wine at home costs about $2 per bottle, and you can adjust the sweetness to your own tastes.
Pomegranates aren’t quite sweet enough on their own to make wine. Though they may taste quite sweet, they’re only about half as sweet as wine grapes. They’re also considerably more acidic, and pomegranates lack the natural tannins that give red wine “body.”
That said, it’s still possible to make a great tasting homemade pomegranate wine, with all the flavor of a pomegranate and the right amount of sweetness to suit your palate. When you’re making a small batch fruit wine, it only takes a tiny amount of tannin powder to add body, a bit of sugar to bring up the alcohol level and ensure sweetness.
The acidity is another matter. Many cultures have cuisine that naturally includes a variety of acidic foods, but it’s an acquired taste. It’s not going to be quite the same as a grape wine, but that’s the point right? If you’re bothering to make pomegranate wine, it’s a conscious choice to drink outside the box.
Pomegranate wine recipes start with either fresh pomegranates or pomegranate juice. If you’re using fresh pomegranates, it’s hard to get as concentrated a flavor, and they’re a bit harder to come by. Still, if you have a pomegranate tree readily available, extract the seeds from about 10 to 20 pomegranates and muddle the seeds in with 2 to 3 pounds of sugar. The sugar will extract the juice. It’s the same method I describe in this recipe for rhubarb wine and as well as this recipe for peach wine.
Since pomegranate juice is available year round, I started with two large bottles of POM pomegranate juice, and it was more than enough for a one-gallon batch. Start by adding 2 to 3 pounds of sugar to a saucepan, and then add in about half a gallon of pomegranate juice. Whisk them together and simmer on the stove until the sugar has dissolved.
Allow the sugar and pomegranate juice solution to cool to room temperature, and then pour it into a fermentation vessel. Add in a tannin source, either a tiny bit of tannin powder for winemaking or a cup of strongly brewed black tea. A pound of raisins helps provide yeast nutrients to keep the fermentation going strong, or you can add in commercial winemaking yeast nutrient for a cleaner taste not impacted by the raisins.
If you’re using fresh pomegranates, add in a bit of pectic enzyme to help break open the fruit cells and extract more juice.
This simple one-gallon pomegranate wine recipe is easy to make at home with fresh pomegranates or bottled pomegranate juice.
- 96 ounces pomegranate juice
- 2 lbs sugar
- 1 tsp yeast nutrient or up to 1 pound raisins
- 2 tsp acid blend or 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp tannin powder or 1 cup strongly brewed black tea
- 1 packet wine yeast
- water to fill
Add the sugar and half the pomegranate juice to a saucepan and bring it to a boil on the stove. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved, allow it to cool to room temperature.
While the juice is cooling, dissolve the yeast into 1/4 cup of luke warm water. Allow it to bloom for at least 5 minutes, or up to several hours.
Pour the sugar and pomegranate juice into a fermentation vessel. Add yeast nutrient (or raisins), acid blend (or lemon juice) and tannin powder (or black tea).
Add the remaining pomegranate juice, and add the yeast that you dissolved in water earlier.
If necessary, top the fermentation vessel with water to bring it to within a few inches of the top.
Seal with a water lock and ferment for 2 weeks.
Rack into a clean fermentation vessel with a siphon and continue to ferment for another 4 to 8 weeks until the fermentation has stopped.
Bottle and age a minimum of 2 weeks, but preferably several months before drinking.
If using fresh pomegranates, muddle the pomegranate seeds with the sugar and allow it to sit for 24 hours. Cover with boiling water and filter out the tiny white seeds from the syrup. Continue with the recipe as if using juice, but be sure to add 1 tsp pectic enzyme along with the other brewing additives.