Have you had success with making homemade grape wine and want to branch out into something a little different? Do you have fruit trees on your property and want to be able to use that extra fruit in your wine-making? Adding fruit to your homemade wine is a little different than making wine entirely from grapes, but it’s not difficult to do.
Homemade grape wine isn’t the only tasty wine that a amateur winemaker can create. Peaches, plums, apricots, cherries, strawberries, currants, blackberries and nectarines are just some of the fruits that can be fermented in wine-making to create wine at home. The best fruits to use are fully ripe and fresh off of the vine. Thus, it’s best to avoid grocery store fruit and deal with your local orchard or farmers market instead. If you have your own fruit trees or plants that’s even better.
Preparing the Fruit
- To prepare your fruit, clean the fruit gently in a 1:40 bleach solution to get kid of any bacteria, dirt or residue from pesticides.
- Rinse thoroughly twice with fresh water and pat dry.
- Cut the large fruit in half and gently remove the stones, if applicable.
- De-stem, if necessary, and cut out any browns spots.
- At this point you can either freeze the fruit or proceed by adding it to your wine. Freezing the fruit helps you buy time if your fruit is ripe, but the rest of your wine isn’t quite ready. Some also feel that frozen fruit makes for tastier wine because it breaks down the fiber in the fruit.
Adding Fruit to Wine
Most fruits lack the body and substance to create a tasty wine by themselves so they are generally added to grapes or grape concentrate. To extract the juice, tie the fruit in a cheesecloth bag and mash gently with your hands over a bowl until no solids remain except for the skins. The amount of fruit to be used will vary with the fruit you chose. There are just as many recipes for making fruit wines as there are successful winemakers. All include yeast, sugar and water.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different fruits as you gain experience as a winemaker. Wine-making shouldn’t be limited to just grapes.