Strawberry wine is simple to make at home with minimal equipment. After you’ve canned your fill of strawberry jam, a small batch country wine is a great way to preserve strawberries for year round use.
Growing up, my mom was a huge country music fan. Our local station had a pretty limited mix, and I must have heard the song “Strawberry Wine” hundreds of times in my youth. I can still hear the corus as I type,
“Like Strawberry Wine, seventeen, the hot July moon saw everything. My first taste of love, oh bittersweet, and green on the vine, like strawberry wine…”
Now that I’ve made my own strawberry wine, I can tell you that it’s in no way bittersweet and there’s nothing green on the vine about it. The song’s romantic, but a more accurate chorus would have been something along the lines of,
“Like strawberry wine, innocent and sweet. A kiss on the lips, with a taste so complete. Gentle at first, but then the flavors seep, into my heart, like strawberry wine…real strawberry wine.”
See, I’m no songwriter. I’m a winemaker, and I won’t quit my day job.
We started this batch of strawberry wine with some of the first everbearing strawberries of the year. The first spring berries are a bit on the small side as the plants wake up, but those same plants keep producing all summer. We harvest the last berries in November, and those last few are the beauties sitting right next to the mason jar fermenter above right before bottling.
I love making wine in a mason jar because it means I can just put the chunky fruit right in the jar and allow the sugar to do the juicing. Since strawberries are so soft, there’s no need to even chop them.
It’s going to look a bit strange, but once the strawberries are in the mason jar, just add the sugar. The sugar is going to completely cover the berries and you’ll be thinking “this can’t possibly be right…”
Wait a few hours and you’ll see. The sugar will completely dissolve the strawberries and extract their juice for the wine. Putting strawberries through a juicer just purees them, so this is a much more efficient method.
Here they are a few hours later, all the sugar dissolved and the strawberry juice extracted. Use a wooden spoon to muddle it down a bit to break up the last bits of strawberries and then you’re ready for the next step.
If you don’t have a mason jar fermenter, you can just do this juice extraction step in a bowl and then pour the whole mass into a traditional fermenter.
After juicing the strawberries with sugar, it’s time to add in the rest of the ingredients and a bit of water to fill the jar completely. Be sure to dissolve the yeast in a bit of water and allow it to bloom for at least 5 minutes before adding it into the strawberry wine because going straight from dehydrated to a high sugar solution can shock the yeast. Be nice, give them a minute to wake up before putting them to work.
At this point, it’s time to seal up the airlock and let the yeast do their work. Leave the strawberries in for the primary fermentation for about 2-3 weeks, and then they’ll be filtered out as you rack the strawberry wine into a secondary fermenter for another 4-6 weeks.
There are a lot of different airlocks that fit on a mason jar, most designed for making sauerkraut and vegetable ferments. There’s no reason you can’t use those same kits to make strawberry wine or any other fruit wine, mead or beer. There are a number of brands to choose from. Try this one. Or this one.
I use a kit by Fermentools that looks a lot like a homebrew setup, and if you choose to do bigger batches later you’ll need the rubber stopper and water lock that are included in the kit.
I recently tried out these new silicone fermentation lids from Mason Tops and loved them because they’re super easy to clean. Since there’s no airlock at the top you have to watch for tiny bubbles within the fermenter to determine when the fermentation is complete, which can be a bit tricky.
I also have a wide mouth one-gallon jar equipped with a waterlock which is handy for making full one-gallon batches without worrying about cleaning out the narrow neck on a traditional fermenter.
Since most people will be making a one gallon batch of strawberry wine, I’ve written this recipe for a full gallon. If you want to make a micro-batch in a quart jar, just divide by 4. Similarly, divide by 2 for a half gallon batch. Or you know, go crazy and multiply by 5 for a full five gallons of strawberry wine, and enjoy 20 bottles of tasty bliss.
For more details on the process of winemaking, read this guide to making small batch wine.
Strawberries brew up nicely into a sweet and flavorful strawberry wine. All you need is a tiny bit of equipment and patience.
- 4-5 lbs strawberries
- 2 lbs sugar
- 1 tsp acid blend
- 1/8 to 1/4 tsp tannin
- 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
- water to fill
- 1 packet wine yeast
Place the strawberries and sugar into a large bowl or directly into your fermentation vessel. Allow the sugar to pull the juice from the strawberries for a few hours.
Add the remaining ingredients (except wine yeast) and fill with water to within a few inches of the top of the fermentation vessel. Give it a stir or shake to combine the ingredients.
Dissolve a packet of wine yeast in about 1/4 cup of water and allow it to rehydrate for at least 5 minutes. Add the dissolved yeast into the wine base and cap the mixture with a water lock.
Allow the mixture to ferment for about 2 weeks and then use a siphon to rack the wine into a new fermenter. Filter through a fine mesh strainer as you go to remove any strawberry chunks and leave any sediment behind.
Cap with an airlock and allow the strawberry wine to ferment in secondary for about 6 weeks, or until fermentation is complete, before bottling.
Bottle the wine, leaving behind the sediment. Cork bottles and allow it to age for at least a month, preferably 3-6 months before drinking.
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