Strawberries are one of the most appealing fruits, but did you know you can make great wine using strawberries?
As with all fruit wines, you want the flavor of the fruit to come fully to the fore. This means that there isn’t a great deal of body to the wine you’ll be making today. That said, the delicate balance of succulent strawberries and crisp, dry white wine.
So, if you want to get down to business making a crisp, refreshing drink that’s ideal in the summer and year-round, you first need to decide upon the fruit you’ll be using.
Read our related article, How Long Does it Take to Make Wine? We explore different types of wine and how long it takes to make them before it reaches your table!
I. Making Homemade Wine with Fresh or Frozen Strawberries
You can make this recipe using either fresh or frozen strawberries.
Strawberry Wine with Fresh Strawberries
When you’re looking to buy strawberries to use in wine, the riper the better.
You’ll find most strawberries you buy in a supermarket are already between 75% and 85% ripe. The shelf-life of fully ripe strawberries is much shorter
As soon as strawberries are picked, they don’t ripen beyond this point. They may change color, but they will not ripen more, and they will not get sweeter.
For the purposes of winemaking, 80% ripe strawberries will do the job, but you should aim to find sweeter strawberries if you can.
One option for achieving this is to head to a pick-your-own farm. Here, you’ll be free to choose strawberries that are fully ripened.
Strawberry Wine with Frozen Strawberries
The other option for getting sweeter strawberries is to use frozen fruit instead. For the sake of ease, that’s what we have chosen for today’s recipe. These are usually frozen shortly after picking so they don’t degrade in the store.
As an added kicker, frozen strawberries normally come pre-prepared with the green parts already removed. They also happen to be cheaper, so what’s not to love?
Also, when you freeze fruit, this breaks down the cells in the fruit. Defrosting strawberries allows the juice to run freely from the fruit, making it a first-class option for winemaking.
So, without further ado, let’s get down to business with today’s guide to making strawberry wine at home, whether with fresh or frozen strawberries.
II. How to Make Homemade Strawberry Wine
Firstly, you’ll need to assemble the following equipment and ingredients:
What You Need
- Fermenting bucket
- Demijohn (1 gallon)
- Nylon straining bag
- Potato masher
- Strawberries ( 3 pound, frozen)
- Cane sugar (2 ½ pounds)
- Non-chlorinated water
- Red Star Premier Blanc yeast
- Wine tannin (1/8 teaspoon) or strong brewed tea (1 cup, black)
- Acid blend (1 teaspoon) or lemon juice (2 tablespoons)
- Pectic enzyme (1/2 teaspoon, optional)
With all of your equipment assembled, it’s time to get down to the main event.
What To Do
Here are the following steps you’ll need to take to make homemade strawberry wine:
- Making the wine
- Primary fermentation
- Secondary fermentation
- Bottling and aging
- Wash and sterilize all your equipment and maintain exceptional hygiene throughout the winemaking process
Making the wine
- Take a jar, fermenter, or bucket and add your frozen strawberries, cane sugar, and optional pectic enzyme
- Cover the container and allow it to sit until all the berries are defrosted. The mixture should be juicy. This will take from 4 to 24 hours
- Using your hands or a potato masher, smash up all the berries so they are crushed. You don’t need to create a smooth purée here
- Combine a cup of water and the yeast. Set this aside and allow it to wake. This will take 10 minutes or so
- Add the black tea or wine tannin along with the acidic agent – lemon juice or acid blend – to your strawberry mixture
- Add enough water to bring the overall volume to around 1 1/3 gallons
- Pitch your yeast water into the solution and then stir well
- Close the lid of the container and fit an airlock
- Put the container somewhere handy but away from direct light
- Stir the mixture at least once daily to agitate it
- You should notice fermentation begins within 1 to 3 days. Continue stirring the mixture thoroughly through this primary stage of fermentation
- After 10 days, you’ll see the bubbles start slowing right down in the airlock. This indicates the completion of the primary fermentation stage
- Put a funnel with a sieve into the neck of a carboy. Make sure this is sterilized. Alternatively, use a brewing funnel equipped with a strainer
- Scoop the whole and mashed fruit out using a ladle and pour it through the funnel and sieve
- Press this purée hard so as much of the early wine as possible comes out
- When you see the sieve filling up, discard the spent mixture – you can compost this – and then replace it. Repeat this process until the vast bulk of the fruit is gone from the wine
- Pour the rest of the wine into the sieve and funnel
- You need the wine to reach the bottom of the carboy’s neck. If you end up with too much wine, pour yourself a glass. The wine won’t be finished yet, but you’ll still get a lip-smacking taste
- Add an airlock to the carboy. You have been agitating the mix and this can kickstart fermentation actively, so pop the carboy somewhere you can keep a close eye on it. As mentioned, ensure this is somewhere away from direct sunlight
- When the setup is stable, move the carboy out of the way for the secondary fermentation stage. This is complete when the wine becomes still and all carbonation stops. There will be no bubbling in the airlock, and you’ll see that the wine has cleared. Refrain from bottling until the wine is completely still
Bottling and aging
- Transfer your finished strawberry wine into the bottling bucket from the carboy using a siphon
- Add a bottle filler to the bottling container spigot
- Fill up some clean and sanitized bottles with your strawberry wine
- Close and cork the bottles
- Label your bottles
- Store in a cool, dark place
- Age your strawberry wine for at least 1 month, but ideally for 6 to 12 months to bring out the best flavor
Read our related article on How to Bottle Wine the right way! Here’s everything you need to know to bottle homemade wine.
We very much hope today’s guide has shown you how to make strawberry wine the easy way.
As with all winemaking, experimentation is all part of the fun. There’s every chance you won’t get this right first time, but you’ll learn valuable lessons as you go, and it won’t be long before you make this recipe your own.
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