I have really become enamored with the flavor of ground cherries and have made jam and marmalade with them this year, but really want to make some wine with the few quarts left in the freezer from summer, but none of my wine making books mention using them…any ideas? Was planning on mixing white grape concentrate with them, but don’t know what amounts to use. Thanks for your help-
Name: Debra Macone
While it is possible to make wine using ground cherries, there are two issues that need to be brought up:
The first is the ground cherries themselves. One of the common mistakes I see among beginning wine makers is over processing the fruit they use. If one was to normally make wine from fresh cherries, they would only want to burst or crush the cherries. Smash them up; that’s it. Shredding the cherries or making a puree out of them is way too much from making wine. Doing so allows too much tannin from the skins to release into the wine, giving it a bitter astringency.
Your cherries have been ground. This may be great for jam and marmalade, but a real concern when making wine. One thing you mentioned was that you would like to use a white grape concentrate in the wine recipe. This may be the one thing that will allow you to get away with using the ground cherries. By cutting them with something with less tannin, such as the white grape concentrate, you can bring the wine recipe back into balance. I would recommend somewhere around equal parts of each.
This brings ups to the second issue which is the wine recipe, itself. I do not know of a wine recipe that is going to directly help you out. In all honesty you can create your own recipe with just a little bit of reading and understanding. Some great information is in the article, “Creating Your Own Wine Making Recipe” that is on our website. It explains that by learning how to use a wine hydrometer to adjust the sugar of the wine must, and how to take acid test readings to adjust the acidity of the wine must, you can develop your own recipe out of almost any source of produce you run across. As far as how much of your jam or marmalade to use, I would guess between 1 and 1.5 pints of jam with an equal part of white grape concentrate for each gallon of wine.
Thanks for the great question.
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.