Mango wine has a reputation for capturing the very essence of mango in a light and sweet summer wine. I’ll ferment just about anything that’ll fit in a carboy, but somehow I’ve never gotten around to making it.
After 10 years of home brewing, adding yeast to anything with even a hint of promise, we always make our first batches small. I’ve made a few too many toxic 5-gallon batches to waste ingredients before I have a winning recipe. Single bottle quart batches are a great way to refine a recipe before investing a lot of money in homemade wine.
How to Make Mango Wine
Most mango wine recipes start with fresh whole mangoes. The problem is, it’s tricky to get the juice out of mangoes. Even with a really sexy expensive juicer, at best you get mango pulp. When starting with fresh mangoes, a brewing additive known as pectinase or pectic enzyme is used to break up the pectin in the fruit cells and release the juice.
Up here in Vermont, mangoes aren’t exactly cheap either. A friend of mine at the Smiley Farm in Northern California starts his batches with 20 pounds of fresh mangoes. Around here that’d set us back at least $100.
If you do have access to cheap mangoes and a ready to try a big batch from a proven recipe, he shares his recipe in this discussion thread. He uses a number of enzymes and additives to get the wine crystal clear and perfectly sweet, including:
- Pectic Enzyme for breaking open the mango fruit cells.
- An acid blend to decrease the overall pH.
- Yeast Nutrient to feed the little beasties and give them the micronutrients that help them thrive.
- Tannin to give the sweet wine a bit of astringency and balance the flavor.
- Potassium Sorbate and Camden tablets (potassium metabisulfite) to completely end the fermentation and stabilize the wine before bottling.
For my very first batch, I’m keeping things really simple and try to make my mango wine with ingredients I have in my home pantry.
I’m going to use mango juice instead of mango chunks with the hopes that I won’t need pectic enzyme. Instead of a prepared acid blend, I’m going to try simple lemon juice, and I’ll use black currant and grape leaves for the tannin. I’m ok with my wine finishing with a bit of carbonation in the bottle, so I’m skipping the stabilizers.
In the recipe below, I’ll give you instructions for making a standard mango wine with all the additives in the right proportion, so you can either make mango wine with standard wine-making ingredients, or you can try a kitchen pantry version.
Our local market sells a brand of mango juice (bottled in Belgium of all places) that is just mango juice, water and sugar. No preservatives and no additives. I’m using that as a base. If stores near you don’t have it, it’s available here.
It’s a very smooth juice, and hopefully, I’ll be able to make a wine without added pectic enzyme. We’ll see.
Since this is a test batch, I’m making this batch in a quart mason jar using a mason jar fermentation kit. It’s a simple lid that turns any wide mouth mason jar into a fermentation vessel for anything from sauerkraut and natural pickles to homemade meads, wines and beer. I’ve made many small-batch meads using this method.
For super tiny 1 quart batches, it’s best to just bottle in a simple Grolsch bottle and save the effort of getting out the wine bottles and corks. To bottle, all you need is a small funnel and a careful pouring hand.
Start by carefully pouring the mango wine off into a second container, being careful not to disturb the sediment at the bottom. Next, pour the finished mango wine into a bottle using a small funnel.
For one gallon batches or bigger, be sure to use a racking cane to pour off the wine so that the sediment stays in the bottom, and bottle in regular wine bottles with corks. It’s not practical to pour off large batches without the help of a siphon.
The recipe below is for a 1-quart batch. Feel free to make it in a standard 1-gallon brewing carboy by multiplying all the quantities by 4. For a 5 gallon batch, multiply by 20.
How does this simplified recipe taste? Spectacular!
The end result is thick and rich, much like the juice that went in at the beginning. Without the pectinase, this wine did not clear at all. It still retains the character of the original juice, and it tastes a bit like drinking a mixture of champagne and mango juice, like I’ve made a mango mimosa.
Mango Wine Recipe
A simple homemade mango wine made in a small one-quart batch in wide mouth mason jar with a mason jar fermentation kit. Multiply this recipe by 4 to make a one-gallon batch in a standard brewing carboy.
- 3 3/4 cups mango juice or 1 pound mango chunks & water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 packet wine yeast reserving the rest for other batches
- 1/2 tsp acid blend (or 1 Tbls. Lemon Juice)
- 1/4 tsp yeast nutrient (or 3-4 raisins)
- 1/8 tsp pectinase (pectic enzyme) (optional unless you're using fresh mango)
- 1 tiny pinch wine making tannin (or grape/currant leaves or 2 Tbls. Prepared black tea)
Fill a quart mason jar with all the ingredients listed above, except the wine yeast. Cap it and give it a good shake to incorporate all the ingredients and help dissolve the sugar.
Dissolve the wine yeast in a few tablespoons of water and allow it to activate for at least 5 minutes. Pour it into the prepared mango juice.
Seal the jar with a mason jar fermentation kit.
Allow the mango wine to ferment for 4 to 6 weeks at room temperature. It'll take longer in cool weather, but watch for when fermentation has pretty much stopped and bubbles are no longer moving through the water lock for 5+ minutes at a time.
Slowly pour off the mango wine into another jar, leaving behind any sediment.
Bottle in the tiny batch in simple Grolsch flip cap bottles and allow it to age for at least 2 weeks, preferably longer.