Blackberry WineApril 21, 2008
Fresh Blackberries, sugar, yeast, and patience. If you have those four things, you can have delicious homemade blackberry wine. (Yes, that was HOMEmade, not HOMOmade, although I’m gay, that has nothing to do with wine-making.) Last summer, Scott was at a flea market, followed a sign that indicated fresh berries were for sale nearby, and we hit blackberry gold! It turns out that the woman who was selling them from her hillside vines is a co-worker of mine. We arranged the deal over the phone, and soon I was driving to her home to make the purchase.
Twenty pounds of the most beautiful blackberries were quickly dumped into a mesh bag and covered with hot sugar water to extract the juice. I mashed them and let the flavors seep out a day or two before adding the yeast that would turn the sugars into alcohol and the juice into wine. The must got stirred daily and the yeast worked so hard that you could hear bubbling noises as the gasses escaped through the air lock. After that first week, the wine was removed from the primary fermenter, a 6 gallon plastic bucket, to the secondary fermenter, a 6 gallon glass jug known as a carboy.
After that, all I had to do was wait patiently. Well, there was a little more to do. Occasionally I would test the wine to see how the process was coming along. I would also “rack” the wine to eliminate the sediment which is created by the dead yeast cells. Most of the time though, I would just look at the wine, admire the color, make sure the temperature was right, adjust the work-light if needed, then walk away for a few more weeks. At about the 6 month point, I started to watch for stability in the fermentation process: no more bubbles in the air lock and a consistent water level in the lock. I continued to restrain myself, I wanted to be sure the process was complete.
What you see above is the result of that patience. I bottled nearly 30 bottles of a wonderfully transparent, deep red, blackberry wine that is neither too dry, nor too sweet. Now, if I can only have the willpower to enjoy this wine with the same restraint I used in creating it.
“I have lived temperately … I double the doctor’s recommendation
of a glass and a half of wine a day and even treble it with a friend.” -Thomas Jefferson
As for me, I only drink wine on days that end with a “Y”.