blueberry wine

Blueberry Wine

Blueberry season is in full swing in our region and one of our favorite ways to make use of some of our harvest is to turn it into Blueberry Wine.  We came across this recipe a couple of years ago and with a few modifications, this has become our go-to recipe.  It’s so straightforward and easy and tastes so good, that we’ve tossed our old grape wine recipe and now use this one for the grapes too.  We’ve made wine in the past using just the natural yeast that comes on unwashed fruit but after tasting this, it is the recipe we use when we know we’ll be sharing with our friends.  You’ll need a few ingredients and a couple of tools, but they are easily accessible through Amazon or at your local brew store if you have one.  I had never bothered with a hydrometer before this recipe, but man does it ever make a huge difference in the end product.  There are links at the bottom of this post you can follow to buy the items or at least be able to view what you need.  If you’re like me, visuals help me understand better than just descriptions.  The pectic enzyme, yeast nutrient and potassium sorbate I use are produced by LD Carlson Company so those are what my ingredient measurements are based on.  If you use a different brand, it might pay off to check their label instructions to make sure the recommended proportions work out to be the same for the other brand.  Citric Acid and Red Wine Yeast packets should always be the same proportion no matter who makes it.

Blueberry Wine

3-4 pounds of washed Blueberries  (you can also use ones from the frozen foods section if you don’t have fresh)
4 Cups of White Granulated Sugar
1 Gallon of distilled water
1/2 teaspoon Citric Acid OR the juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon Pectic Enzyme (optional, but helpful in breaking down solids)
2 teaspoons Yeast Nutrient
1 packet of Red Wine Yeast (0.176 oz / 5 grams)
1 teaspoon Potassium Sorbate (wine stabilizer that stops further fermentation after bottling)

Step 1:
Crush berries in a fermenting bin.  (we use a sterile 5 gallon food-grade bucket)
Add 1 Gallon of Distilled Water and sugar and stir until dissolved.
Stir in Citric Acid, Pectic Enzyme and Yeast Nutrient.
Cover and let sit at room temperature for about 48 hours, stirring twice each day.

Step 2:
Using a Hydrometer, check the gravity of the liquid by straining a little into the hydrometer protective sleeve (or test cylinder if you have one) and then lower the hydrometer in until it floats. Note the reading and pour the sample liquid back into the bucket. Add sugar in your bucket and keep remeasuring until you get a gravity reading of 1.090. The amount of sugar you will need to add will vary depending on the sweetness of the berries that year.  As a point of reference, you’re generally looking at 1 to 2 cups of sugar.

Step 3:
Once you have the gravity reading of 1.090, mix the packet of yeast in about 1/4 cup of lukewarm water and let it sit for 20 minutes.  (instructions will also be on the packet.)  After the yeast has activated, (dissolved and sat) add it to the blueberry mash, stir it well and cover the bucket again.  Let sit until bubbling stops, somewhere between 5 – 7 days, stirring once a day.

Step 4:
When bubbling stops, strain into a carboy or demijohn.  For this you can use several pieces of cheesecloth and a plastic funnel or go fancy and buy one of the big funnels with the strainer that snaps into it.  Once strained and in the carboy, insert a stopper fitted with an airlock and leave to sit for 1 month. If you don’t have a carboy/demijohn or airlock, you can put it in a container with a loose lid and just make sure it has room for air to get out as it continues to ferment. Believe me, you want it to be able to release air and not build up inside! The benefit of a carboy with airlock is that you don’t have to worry about fruit flies or other bugs finding their way in and ruining your wine.

Step 5:
After a month has passed, siphon the wine out so that any sediment is left behind in the bottom of the carboy. (we use a cheap gas siphon from the auto parts section that’s dedicated to wine making only) You’ll still wind up with a little sediment, but since you’ll be siphoning again, this won’t hurt anything.

Step 6:
Rinse the sediment from the carboy and re-fill with siphoned wine. Replace the stopper and airlock and let it sit for another month.

Step 7:
After the second month has passed, check the ABV with the hydrometer like you did in step 2. If you are about 10-13% ABV, you can move on to the next step. If you are not there yet, repeat step 6.

Step 8:
When the ABV is measured to be 10-13%, add the Potassium Sorbate to stop any further fermentation. For this recipe, use 1 teaspoon.

Step 9
Bottle!  Use the siphon method again so that you get really nice, clear wine.

Blueberry wine gets drier as it ages so 3 or 4 months in storage after it is bottled seems to be the magic number. We still like it much further past that though.

Now for a closing thought, and I’m not condoning the making of “hard spirits” because that’s illegal and all, but if you have access to that sort of thing, or a friend that does, add some back to the wine before you bottle it. It gives it a nice kick and tastes like a wicked blueberry popsicle when served over ice… or so I’ve heard. Or maybe I read it somewhere, I’m not sure… 😉

Get all the things you’ll need here:

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