Blackberry wine is a popular drink that is surprisingly SIMPLE to create at home.
You’ll learn everything you need to know about making blackberry wine here, regardless of your experience level.
Bramble bushes seem to keep popping up everywhere, whether in forests, empty ground, or parks, so harvesting berries is not an issue.
Since blackberry wine is one of my favorites, this recipe is certainly worth trying.
Where to Find Blackberries
There are around 2000 unique blackberry species around the globe, many of which are superior to others. Try your local blackberries to see whether they’re of good quality.
A rich, luscious, dark berry is what you’re searching for in a nice blackberry wine. Simply add 3.5oz (100g) sugar if your berries are bitter.
If they’re too light, a spoonful of elderberry wine or red grape juice can be added to boost the taste and tannin levels.
Blackberries are by far the most common fruit in the countryside, and whether you like them or not, you’ll be competing for the best ones with hundreds of other gatherers.
The best advice is to keep it a secret once you’ve discovered a terrific local stockpile of big, luscious berries.
Unless, of obviously, they’re on somebody else’s property, you should certainly notify the owner. It is ESSENTIAL to prepare for a blackberry picking adventure.
Hedges sprout by ditches in the countryside, while blackberries grow in hedges.
A good pair of rubber boots will keep your feet dry and muddy to get as close to your target as possible.
Because blackberry bushes have STRONG STEMS coated with SHARP THORNS, carry a sturdy gardening glove to grip the stem while picking the berries with your bare hand.
Berry season also usually coincides with the nettle period, and wild nettles can reach heights of over 6 feet in the countryside!
Nettles enjoy hanging around with blackberries, so wear a sturdy garment like leather or denim to protect your wrists, arms, and legs from being stung.
If you are stung, get a dock leaf around and put it on the stinger for immediate relief.
How to Identify Blackberries
If a blackberry was placed on a platter in front of us, many would recognize it. In the wild, though, things might be a bit different.
Blackberries can be found almost ANYWHERE. However, some sites are thriving than others.
AVOID blackberries growing alongside the road and berries within ‘watering’ proximity of approaching pets.
The tastiest berries are commonly grown in trees and bushes all over the region, with the more remote, the better.
Blackberries, fortunately, are easily recognizable: the ripe berries gleam like gems amongst green and brown bushes and brambles surrounding them.
The berries are hung in small clusters from thorny branches, albeit they ripen at varying periods.
What to Watch Out For
You’ll notice exquisite small white-petaled flowers developing on the brambles even before the berries come.
Crimson berries that resemble little raspberries will take their place when these fade away. Picking these is NOT RECOMMENDED because they are as tough as nuts and extremely bitter.
However, wait a couple of weeks until the red berries have grown in size and become a dark purple color. They’re then harvestable.
Only choose ripe blackberries and get rid of any that turn mushy in your hands; if you mix them in with the other ‘good’ berries, they may infect the remainder of your batch.
Blackberry season is OVER if the berries cramp up among the branches.
Best Time for Picking Blackberries
Blackberries may surface around the end of the summer season, but they can also appear as early as July and sometimes in early November, depending on the change in weather.
The only alternative when the tastiest fruit are tantalizingly out of reach is to snip them off.
Because blackberry stems are so thick, a conventional pair of scissors will literally not cut it. Rather, bring a pair of sharp scissors or hedge trimmers with you in case of an emergency.
Observe the buds of the bramble bushes if any first few berries are emerging. Let the sunny days come first before plucking out the growing blackberries.
If you choose to pick the fruits on the sunny days, they will turn out better than picking out in the cold season.
Some say that the berries are at their tastiest after the ‘first frost’ season.
For the Superstitious
HOWEVER, if you are a superstitious person in the UK, try collecting the berries before Old Michelmas Day on October 11th.
As per British mythology, the devil strikes on this day, spitting or polluting the blackberry thickets, leaving them UNFIT for consumption.
Like many other myths, there’s some truth to this: the longer the berries stay on the branches, the more vulnerable they can be to worms, germs, pollutants, and contamination.
Therefore, it’s better not to wait very long before selecting berries.
The Taste of Blackberry Wine
Blackberry wine is typically described as a PLEASANT and HARMONIOUS flavor, similar to Merlot or Malbec.
Blackberry wine created at home is EXTREMELY COMPLICATED AND FRAGRANT, and it will impress your guests.
The flavor composition of the finished product, just like every other wine, is measured by the characteristics of the fruit used, to begin with.
For a rich wine, choose ripe berries that are overflowing with flavor. A tasteless berry is USELESS!
Did you realize that your DNA influences your wine choices? Dry wines and hard ciders might be excessively harsh unless you have heightened taste sensitivity.
Because blackberries have few tannins, they produce a sweet wine that you will like.
Is Blackberry Wine Beneficial?
Blackberry wines are not only tasty, but they also have BENEFICIAL PROPERTIES.
Blackberries, like elderberries, are highly nutritious that can reduce cholesterol and decrease the risk of stroke.
Regular consumption of blackberry wine may even LOWER THE RISK of heart disease. There are no bad reasons to create blackberry wine at home!
Where Blackberry Wine Is Suited
The wine from a blackberry wine recipe always BLENDS WELL with desserts like black forest cake, fruit tarts, cheesecake, and others.
When you look up the wine recipes on google searches, it doesn’t contain that many chemical stabilizers, which is still a good thing.
More often, bananas are also good additives that enhance the mouthfeel of the fruit wine. Sugar is also a good alternative if you feel that the finished wine might be thin for your liking.
What You Need to Make Blackberry Wine
Don’t be overwhelmed by all of the equipment if you’re new to winemaking. Here’s a rundown of the essentials for making blackberry wine at home.
The good news is that practically ALL this equipment can be used for various varieties of wine.
If you’re making a massive batch of wine, you’ll need more fermentation containers and bottling equipment.
Five bottles and corks per gallon of wine is a basic rule, but you can NEVER go wrong with having a few spares available.
Before creating blackberry wine, ensure your main fermenter is big enough to hold your fruit juice.
Best Wine Yeast for Blackberry Wine
The trick to changing fruit juice into wine is yeast. Sugar is converted to alcohol by yeast microorganisms.
Varied yeasts yield different outcomes, typically exclusive to a particular wine. Certain yeasts are sensitive to changes in temperature, while others thrive in high-sugar foods.
Preparing Fresh Blackberries
You can prepare fresh berries with these EASY STEPS:
- Pick blackberries when they’re in the season if you’re lucky enough to have your own or live anywhere near a patch. In three easy steps, make fresh berries for wine:
- Make sure you sort out the berries thoroughly, from the underripe to the bad fruit. Soak the fresh blackberries in cold water for about an hour.
- Soaking the berries helps remove pests like caterpillars and other bugs that float to the water surface. It’s UNSKIPPABLE if it’s a pesky vinegar fly that you might find floating.
- Put the berries in your main fermentation container, mash them, or mix them in a food processor for a minute.It’s ACCEPTABLE to have a couple of stalks and thick consistency.
- To sanitize the fresh fruit, pour a few cups of hot water over the berry mix and proceed with the remainder of the preparation.
Preparing Frozen Blackberries
You can also use frozen blackberries when making blackberry wine. Simply thaw the berries in the primary fermenter, and everything’s set.
Usually, frozen blackberries are from leftover fresh fruit from the blackberry season picking and are WELL-PRESERVED.
Blackberry Wine Making
Now that you’ve acquired all the supplies, IT’S TIME to create blackberry wine. This recipe creates around 5 bottles of blackberry wine from 1-gallon small batches.
Don’t forget that the primary fermenter should be LARGE ENOUGH to accommodate the berries juice before proceeding with the blackberry wine recipe.
Homemade Blackberry Wine Equipment
These are all the equipment that you MUST HAVE to successfully make a homemade blackberry wine recipe:
- Fermentation container (a fermenting bucket made of plastic also works)
- Glass carboys as an alternative container
- Air lock or fermentation traps
- Food processor
- Plastic tubing
- Wine bottles
- pH meter
- Hand Corker
- Straining bag
- Sanitized spoon
- Other options include: Shrinkwrap capsules and labels
Ingredients to Make Blackberry Wine
- red wine yeast
- granulated sugar, about 1.5kg or 3lbs
- Crushed Campden tablet or potassium sorbate
- 1 tsp yeast nutrient
- ripe blackberries, 4lbs or 2kg
- 2 quarts of blackberry concentrate
- 1 to 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
- Wine stabilizer of your choice
- 1-gallon spring water
- 1/2 tsp acid blend
Steps in Preparing Blackberry Wine
Before starting the brewing process, familiarize yourselves with the fermentation process from beginning to end.
Homemade blackberry wine making may take a LONG TIME because of the months you have to wait for them to age; it is worth it in the end.
1 – Get the Blackberries
If you’re harvesting blackberries yourself, keep an eye out for brambles and nettles. The thicket’s branches and thorns can be an unpleasant surprise.
Hire a berry picker to make things simple, if you can, and always have the red wine yeast around.
2 – Start the Fermentation
After picking out the berries, carefully use a potato masher to stir and mash more blackberries.
Combine the pectic enzyme, yeast nutrition, and acid blend in a mixing bowl. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before using.
Add them to boiling water after the berries are ready, then gently simmer for half an hour. And into the same boiling water, stir the acid blend, enzyme and yeast nutrient.
3 – Begin With the Primary Fermentation
Using a clean spoon, mix the contents. Using a clean mesh bag, strain off the remaining blackberry pulp using a straining bag.
Measure the original gravity with your hydrometer before you add yeast. This will determine the blackberry wine’s percent ABV (alcohol by volume).
Tips on Using a Hydrometer
- Cleanse all your equipment THOROUGHLY.
- Using a sample container, fill the most part with the juice mixture.
- Remove any air bubbles by spinning the hydrometer in the juice mixture. Wait until the hydrometer settles, then read the reading.If necessary, add the sugar until the wine reaches 1.090.
After that, sprinkle the wine yeast onto the juicy berries mixture. Carbonation and bubbles should be evident after a couple of days.
If that happens, the wine yeast nutrient- is working, and the wine is fermenting.
Because blackberry wine ferments QUICKLY, keep an eye on it during the primary fermentation and stir it daily for a week.
4 – Strain the Juice
After doing so, you can transfer the primary ferment into the glass carboys. Once the primary fermentation is over, you need to use a clean siphon as a rack.
It’s necessary to carry the wine into the glass carboys. Ensure that the juice is in an air lock once they’re tightly contained. Leave it be, say, a month or two for further fermentation.
5 – Reducing Sediments via the Racking Stage
The racking process may not be that hard. What matters is to drain the wine into a cleaner carboy while leaving behind some sediments that might affect the quality.
And then, once it’s over, close the drain and let the homemade blackberry wine ferment for a month.
6 – Check-In and Taste
Blackberry wine is traditionally made with HIGH SUGAR CONTENT and sweetness in Swiss and French traditions.
But the beauty of winemaking is that you can make it whatever you like. You can make a few flavor adjustments at this time.
If you think the wine is a bit lighter in sweetness, add additional sugar syrup. If you want a drier, more acidic wine, a pinch of tannin powder can be added.
Increase the Campden tablets for about a week or less before bottling.
7 – Racking and Bottling Again
If you like a sweeter blackberry wine, let the bottle age and add a stabilizer, then the air locks to end the fermentation process and prevent future fermentation complications.
Rack as late as 16 WEEKS if you desire a dry wine to allow the sugars more chance to ferment and produce extra alcohol.
Use the SAME PROCEDURE before you start bottling to determine the final gravity with your hydrometer as before. Blackberry wine should have a final gravity of 0.992 to 0.996.
If it’s a lot higher, ferment the wine for a LONGER TIME to allow the yeast to convert the extra sugar to alcohol.
Bottling wine is a hands-on operation, so REQUIRES the assistance of a friend or family member.
You can funnel your wine into bottles through a clean glass carboy to eliminate any remaining residue.
To catch spills, lay down several towels on the floor. Close each bottle with your hand corker. If necessary, label and shrink-wrap the wine, or mark the corks with the bottling date.
8 – Savor the Wine’s Goodness
You might be wondering, “How long should I age blackberry wine?”. The answer is mostly determined by your particular preferences.
The blackberry wine will pack more flavor after bottling as a sweet wine after a few months. With time, the flavors will become more NUANCED and RICH.
Allow your wine to age for the GREATEST flavor for six months to a year for it to be sweet.
You’re ready to produce blackberry wine now. Gather your supplies and follow the instructions for making this simple blackberry wine.
The MORE wine you make, the BETTER your results, so get started NOW!
If you’re stabilizing, STOP fermentation according to the instructions on the bottle of wine stabilizer you’ve chosen. This should be completed 2-3 days before bottling potassium sorbate.
After sealing the bottle or fermenting bucket tightly, store the fermented mix in a dark place for YEARS to be safely tucked in optimal conditions.
What to Know About Yeast
The kind of yeast you pick will impact the ultimate alcohol percentage. The potential of yeast organisms to convert sugar to alcohol is NOT INFINITE.
More yeast can only exist in an atmosphere HIGH in alcohol, which is the case with brewing wine. The fermentation ceases when they die off.
The sensitivity of different strains of yeast to alcohol in the surroundings VARIES.
In that instance, certain yeast can withstand LARGER LEVELS OF ALCOHOL in the wine, allowing them to continue generating it longer than others.
Pick a good yeast with a LESSER TOLERANCE for alcohol if you want a sweet fruit wine with a fairly low ABV without trying to reverse the sweetness.
HOWEVER, if you want a sweet but dry wine with less ABV, it’s preferable to choose yeast with lesser tolerance to alcohol. Most importantly, do not add too much sugar water to it.
You can determine the yeast nutrient needed by checking the yeast packet for the exact number that matches the size of the fermenting bucket.
Sweetening the Homemade Blackberry Wine
If you notice that the yeast may have gotten a bit too far, it might ruin the homemade blackberry wine recipe, and the berry juice might be excessively sweet.
Try stabilizing the flavor once again to reverse the effects of the fruit wine and its undesirable sweetness.
About Alcohol Content
The flavor of the berries isn’t the only factor to consider; ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION is also a factor in making wine recipes.
The ultimate ABV of your wine may vary greatly depending on many factors.
That includes the initial sugar level of the blackberries you use, the amount of sugar you add, and the yeast you select.
Any sugar content will INCREASE THE AMOUNT of alcohol in the drink. Sugar is what feeds the yeast, both within the original wine and in the additional sugars.
The yeast consumes the sugars and produces alcohol due to the fermentation.
What Is Maceration?
The process of maceration is the BREAKDOWN and LOOSENING of different compounds.
The procedure is most COMMONLY used in food production when softening and enhancing fruit by soaking it in sugar, alcohol, or other flavored liquids.
Once fermentation ends, maceration can be prolonged for a couple of days to a few weeks; the maximum is a MONTH.
This is because the process is heavily affected by many reasons such as temperature, duration, alcohol content and Sulfur dioxide.
Noteworthy Last Tips
The juice inside the fruit is combined with the small seeds, small hairs, and the thin epidermis that covers every little round on the berry.
Blackberry wine accumulates a little more residue than other fruit wines.
You should be particularly CAUTIOUS when racking, or you risk having a DEMIJOHN that isn’t quite full.
After the racking step, top it up with a spritz of bottled water combined with a tablespoon or two of sugar syrup.
Frequently Asked Questions
Take a look at these questions, mostly asked about how to make blackberry wine.
What Blackberry Type Is Good for Wine Making?
You CAN use fresh blackberries, frozen blackberries and processed blackberries for homemade wine making. Either way, there are DIFFERENT preparation methods for each one.
Can Fruits Undergo the Maceration Process?
Strawberries or raspberries macerated in sugar with lemon juice, lemon peel, and framboise, a raspberry liqueur, would be EXCELLENT.
Pit and stem pitted cherries and macerate them in honey with vanilla, balsamic vinegar, and cinnamon. Peaches are best macerated with lemon juice and sugar.
Will Added Campden Tablets Disrupt the Taste?
As long as it’s done before bottling, adding Camden tablets to stop the fermentation and stabilize the wine is okay.
To keep it as natural as possible, it’s better not to use ANY stabilizers.
What Is an ABV?
ABV, or alcohol by volume, is a metric for determining the STRENGTH of an alcoholic beverage.
The percentage of the entire drink volume is made up of ETHANOL (alcohol). The greater the alcohol, the higher the percentage.
So, water has NO ALCOHOL CONTENT, whereas PURE alcohol has a 100 percent alcohol content.
It’s always GOOD to try mead recipes using all the fruit in making wine.
If you plan to make blackberry wine at home, you should ALWAYS follow the wine recipe to avoid problems with the primary ferment up to the finished wine.
Homemade wines taste different from commercially made wines; therefore, treat the process with care and SAVOR the fruits of your labor.