Springtime Is A Great Time For A Cherry Wine Recipe!

Cherries for making cherry wine.One of the most rewarding wines I’ve ever made was a sweet cherry wine. In general, cherry wine tends to be rich and robust in its overall character. The tartness is mellow from the malic acid that dominates the cherry family. The tannins are firm giving the wines made with it a wonderful structure and body.

The one I made a couple of years ago from the sweet cherry wine recipe below turned out exceptional. It took a few months to age, but once it came around, turns out, it was well worth the wait.

The cherry flavor came through nice and fruity and lingered into a rich, earthy aftertaste. It had layers of flavor that you do not always expect in a fruit wine. Some of this I attribute to the brown sugar called for in this wine recipe. Some of it I attribute to the fruit acids. The Lalvin RC-212 that was used in this cherry wine recipe could have helped out in this department, as well.

Since spring is here it won’t be long before cherries will be in full-swing, so I thought this would be a great time to share it on the blog. The cherries you use can make a difference. As its name implies, you want to be sure to use sweet cherries as opposed to sour cherries. According to my notes, I used a mix of Bing and Lambert cherries, but there are many other varieties of cherries that I’m sure would work.Shop Fruit Wine Bases


Sweet Cherry Wine Recipe
(Makes 5 Gallons)

18 lbs. Sweet Cherries (pitted)
9 lbs. Cane Sugar
3 lbs. Brown Sugar
1 tbsp. Yeast Energizer
Pectic Enzyme (as directed on the package)
2-1/2 tsp. Tartaric Acid
2-1/2 tsp. Citric Acid
1 Packet Lalvin RC-212 Wine Yeast
10 Campden Tablets (5 before fermentation, 5 before bottling)Shop Campden Tablets


This is a fairly straightforward sweet cherry wine recipe, so for the most part all you need to do is following the basic 7 wine making steps on our website. The only thing different that you should take note of is that the cherries need to be pitted. You do not want the pits in with the fermentation. Also, you do not want to over process the cherries. This can cause the wine to be too bitter. Cutting the cherries in half as you pit them is sufficient. If you are using a cherry pitter, all you need to do is lightly crush the cherries after they are pitted.

I also like to pre-dissolve the brown sugar whenever it’s called for in any wine recipe. This can easily be done by taking 2-parts water and 1-part brown sugar and heating it on the stove until liquid. You will need to stir continuously at first so that the sugar does not burn on the bottom of the pan.

Even if you only make 2 or 3 batches of wine each year, I would urge you to give the sweet cherry wine recipe a go. It makes a remarkable wine that it hard not to like. It’s also pretty easy to make. And as always, you can make it as sweet or as dry as you like, by back-sweetening the wine to taste.

Happy Wine Making,
Ed KrausShop Wine Making Kits
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.

37 thoughts on “Springtime Is A Great Time For A Cherry Wine Recipe!

  1. When taking a specific gravity during fermentation, what was the reading you allowed it to get too? For sweeter and for dry wine?
    -Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Spring Means Time To Make Some Cherry Wine??? Cherries ripen in the late summer, so late Summer means time to make some Cherry Wine, NOT NOW!!!

    You should have Spring Means Time To Make Some Rhubarb or Strawberry Wine. Any decent winemaker knows you only make wine with fruit in season…

  3. Since reading this article, I’ve been watching our cherry tree. Yesterday, my husband picked enough to have 18 lbs after pitting in the fermenting bucket and we started the must. I took a starting hydrometer reading, but it is extremely high. Is this because of the displacement of the cherries? Also, can an accurate starting reading be taken when there is fruit rather than juice?

    • Annette, thanks for the great questions. You are correct in your assumption that the beginning hydrometer reading might be off, but it is not because of the displacement of the cherries. That will not affect the reading at all. But, what will make it off is the fact that not all the sugars are being measured. All the natural sugars in the cherries are not being account for in the beginning hydrometer reading. Some if the sugar is still bound within the fiber of the fruit, so when you take a sample for your reading, the concentration of sugar in the cherries are not being read. Fortunately, it is usually not enough to throw the reading off by any significant amount, but if it is throwing the reading off in any direction, it is giving you a reading that is lower than reality, not higher. As to why you are already getting a higher reading than you should, this can be made up after the pulp has been removed. When you go into your secondary fermentation you will want to bring the volume of the batch back up to 5 gallons with water. The recipe takes this into account and should give you a wine with a reasonable amount of alcohol…. Ah, it just hit me! That’s what you meant by “displacement”. Yes, the fruit pulp will be replace with water as you go into secondary, and that is why your reading right now seems to be a little on the high side. Again, thanks for the great questions.

    • Bill, all you need to do is divide all of the ingredients by 5 and then multiply that amount by the number of gallons you wish to make. The only exception is the yeast, you will use the entire packet of yeast to make 1-5 gallons.

  4. Made this and it looks great. Can’t wait to try it. In the meantime do you have a recipe for a peach wine. I have an abundance and thought this would be a great way to use them up. Thanks

    • Nancy, you can make the wine without using sulfites, however what is a concern is keeping the wine from spoiling after it is made. The one time that we do recommend adding the campden tablets is prior to fermentation to kill of any bacteria that may be on the fruit. Any free sulfite that is in the wine at this point will be long gone by the time the fermentation has completed. The sulfite will readily dissipate as a gas. The article below will discuss this subject in much more detail.

      Making Wine Without Sulfites

  5. I highly recommend the new Skylar Rae cherry grown at the Stemilt orchard in Wenatchee Washington! This is by the sweetest Cherry in existence!

    • Ronald, you want to remove the pits so that you do crush them when you crush the fruit. If the pit is left or crushed, it will cause bitterness in the wine.

  6. Ed: I make my cherry wine and cherry molecule from Nan King Cherries that ripen around May here in Illinois, but I leave the pits in during the initial primary fermentation. The Nan King Cherry is a bush, has a semi sweet flesh, is a heavy feeder and has extremely high production. I use natural fertilizer and compost heavy.

    • Willy, within the first 30 days of aging most people experience enough improvement in their wine’s flavor and bouquet. The first 30 days is when a significant portion of the improvement happens. Continued aging will also reap additional benefits, and each additional month will provide marginal improvements.

  7. Ed
    If I were to use corn sugar instead of table sugar, how would that change the flavor profile? Would it be helpful or not to make that small change?


  8. Hello, I’m making this recipe and I was curious at the step where you remove the pulp and try to leave the sediment behind. Do I also want to leave the yeast (foam) on the top behind as well. I wasn’t sure if I did that if it will continue to ferment in the carboy?

    Thank you!

    • Brian, you do not need to leave the foam behind. Just simply start siphoning from the bottom leaving as much of the sediment behind as possible. For your first racking it is okay if you take a little of the sediment along just so that you get as much liquid as possible. Your final racking is where you want to sacrifice a little of the wine to make sure that you leave all of the sediment behind.

  9. I only have acid blend (malic, citric and tartaric) powders in my stock. Can an acid blend be substituted for the individual tartaric and citric acid powders? If so, how much blend would I need to add to be the equivalent of what the recipe calls for?

  10. I really appreciate your help so far. I had made a different cherry recipe I found on a different website, it had me ferment in the primary fermenter for a full 21 days before racking to the carboy. at which I had to ferment another 4 weeks. When I went to back-sweeten, I tasted it first and it was super dry and didn’t taste like cherry (I guess being dry is the point of fermenting). Once I added a “TON” of sweetener (your conditioner, and that didn’t change the taste much at all so then I had to add a bunch of concentrated grape juice) and by time it got sweet enough, it didn’t taste like cherry, nor wine.
    I made your recipe and tasted a little after the 6 days of primary fermentation before I racked it and it tasted very good. Now I’m very nervous that after another 4-6 weeks of fermentation I may end up in the same place. So I was hoping you had some comments/thoughts on my previous experience. Also, when it is time to back-sweeten and bottle, do you think 1 bag of conditioner for a full recipe should be enough to sweeten the 5 gallons?
    Thank you for your time, it’s very much appreciated!
    – Brian

    • Brian, once the fermentation is complete and the wine is dry, it normal for the wine to lose some of it’s fruity flavor. Back sweetening the wine is one way to bring back the fruity flavors. Below are the links to a couple of article that will discuss other ways to get more fruit flavor in your wine. As far as how much wine conditioner to use, that is a personal preference because everyone’s sweetness perception is different. I can tell you that each bottle of conditioner is sufficient to sweeten anywhere from 6-12 gallons of wine.

      More Fruit Flavor

  11. I have an acid blend rather than the individual acids. How much of the blend should I use to replace the individual measurements for tartaric and citric the recipe calls for, or would it be the same amount? Thank you!

    • Kimberly, our acid blend is comprised of 50% citric acid, 25% tataric and 24% malic acid. I would recommend using the same amount the recipe calls for.

  12. why do I need water if I have enough juice. 18 lbs of cherries does not yield 5 gallons of juice. Juice is about 10 lbs per gal. thus 50 lbs of juice would make 5 gals of wine. Pulp extra.

    • Hank, fruit wine recipes need to have their juice cut with water in their wine recipes. This is mainly because these juices have too much acid in them. This makes their flavor too sharp/sour for drinking.

  13. I used yeast nutrient instead of energizer, I am already in the carboy stage 3 days. Is there a fix for this or just leave it alone? Thanks in advance for any advice on this.

    • John, it will more than likely be fine. Yeast Energizer actually contains nutrient plus a wider variety of other nutrients. At this point as long as it is fermenting fine, you do not need to do anything. If you find that the fermentation stops before completion, you can add the energizer at that time.

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