Wine making is a good way to use excess fruit in summer. Fermentation is a natural process. All fruit can be used for making wine, some are better in flavor than others. Sweet or sour cherries make a very nice wine. I use a recipe from Jake Keller’s – The Winemaking Home Page.
I tweak the recipe some and I am not always so precise, I usually use 3/4 sweet cherries and 1/4 sour. I don’t use tannin acid or pectin enzyme. ( 2 black tea bags can be substituted for tannin acid. Add the tea bags to the boiling water.) I use citric acid instead of acid blend. If I use a combination of sweet and sour cherries, I don’t add extra acid. I always take a specific gravity reading, with a hydrometer, after the juice has cooled to room temperature and adjust the sugar before adding the yeast to the must. A must with a specific gravity of 1.088 will contain 12.5 percent alcohol. A wine with less alcohol will taste flat and be a candidate for wine disorders.
Cherry Wine [Dry]
- 4-5 lbs fresh or frozen sweet cherries
- 2 lbs finely granulated sugar
- 7-1/2 pints water
- 2 tsp acid blend
- 1/4 tsp tannin
- 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
- 1 tsp yeast nutrient
- Montrachet wine yeast
Stir sugar into water and put on to boil. Meanwhile, sort, remove stems, and wash the cherries, rejecting any that are moldy. Without breaking the stones, crush the cherries with your hands or other means and put in a primary vat. Pour the boiling water with dissolved sugar over the crushed cherries. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool to room temperature. Add all remaining ingredients except yeast. Stir well, recover, and set aside for 12 hours. Add activated yeast and recover. Stir daily. After two weeks, remove cherries (do not squeeze). Transfer to a dark secondary and fit airlock. After two weeks, rack, top up, and refit airlock. Rack again in two months and again two months later. When specific gravity registers dryness (0.990), rack into bottles and store in dark place for one year. Server slightly chilled. [Adapted from Terry Garey’s The Joy of Home Winemaking]
Jack Keller’s Winemaking page:http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/index.asp