Black Raspberry Wine From Homegrown Raspberries

Black Raspberry Wine

 

I had a bottle of this black raspberry wine just the other day.    It is not that old yet, yet it tastes amazing!  I can only dream of what it will taste like in a year…  If it lasts that long…   Who am I kidding… I know it will not last another six months.  But like I said, it is a very delicious wine.  I would definitely recommend that if you have the chance to make some wine out of fresh fruit, like raspberries, do it.

It is so rewarding to grow and nurture some raspberry plants in your back yard.   You will be able to enjoy fresh raspberries for breakfast and desserts.   I also made some black raspberry jam that is delicious on an toasted english muffin or mixed in yogurt. But making black raspberry wine from these black jewel raspberries is probably one of the one of my favorite things.

Black Raspberry Wine with Black Jewel Raspberries

Black Jewel Raspberries

One of the things I believe is that the quality of the fruit greatly impacts the final quality of what you drink in your glass.   I grow my fruit organically and I use rock dust and compost when growing.    The quality of the produce that I grow far surpasses what you will see in the store.   Raspberries can be expensive and not everyone is able to grow them.   I suggest seeing if there is an organic farm in your area.  Talk to the farmer and see if you can participate in a “Pick Your Own” adventure.    Connecting with the plants in nature is very therapeutic and will give you a connection to your wine.

Raspberries and Blackberries

Raspberries and Blackberries From The Back Yard Garden

Making wine from fresh fruit can be a little intimidating for a new winemaker.  That is why I recommend making wines from kits to get a little experience in the wine making process.   Soon after making wine from kits, you will want to try to make wine from fresh or frozen fruit.   It is a natural progression in modern wine making.   It is also a natural process that you need not be to nervous about.   I am posting this article on how I make black raspberry wine so show you how easy it can be.

You will notice that it takes a lot of fruit to make the black raspberry wine.  That is why, as a home winemaker, I love three gallon carboys.   A one gallon doesn’t give me enough wine to make it worth the trouble.   Five or Six gallons would require double the fruit that I used here.    For me, three gallons is the happy medium most of the time.    A three gallon carboy also is lighter and easier to handle.   From a three gallon carboy, you will get around 15 bottles of black raspberry wine.  In this round of making black raspberry wine, I ended up with four gallons.   I can use a 3 gallon carboy and a one gallon jug OR a 5 gallon carboy for that much black raspberry wine.

You can follow along with my start to finish video series here:

If you wanted to learn how I grow the black raspberries,  check out my YouTube video channel.   You will see how I grow them in a small 4×4 space.  Take a look and you will see not only the wine making process, but the growing process as well.

I was trying to make 3 gallons of black raspberry wine, but actually ended up with 4.   I am not complaining as it is great to have an extra 5 bottles of this wonderful black raspberry wine.

The recipe for it was:

  • 12 lbs of fresh black raspberries that have been frozen first and thawed
  • 7 lbs of sugar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tsp. acid blend
  • 1/2 tsp tannin
  • 1 Tbsp yeast nutrient
  • 3 campden tablets
  • 1 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
  • 1 packet of Montrachet yeast
  • 2 1/2 gallons of water

The directions to make this black raspberry wine are:

  • I put the raspberries in a sanitized net bag in my primary fermentor.
  • I added the sugar to the water and dissolved the sugar to it, while bringing the water to a boil in a stock pot.
  • While the water was heating up, I took a sanitized potato masher and smashed the raspberries as best as I could.  Then, I tied the net bag so that the raspberries would not come out.
  • When the sugar was dissolved, I poured the hot sugar water over the black raspberries.  Then, I mash the bag some more with the potato masher.
  • After waiting for the temperature to come back down to room temperature, I added the tannin, acid blend  and yeast nutrient.   I give it a good stir to evenly distribute the contents.
  • Next, I crush the campden tablets and add them, stirring thoroughly again.   I put on the cover and airlock and wait 12 hours.
  • 12 hours later, I put in the pectic enzyme, giving it another good stir.   I put the top back on and wait an additional 12 hours.
  • Now, it has been at least 24 hrs past the campden tables have done their work.   It is time to take a specific gravity reading, write it down, then pitch the yeast on top.  I prefer not to stir in yeast.   I think that sprinkling it on top makes the fermentation start faster.   Put the top back on and let it ferment.
  • Stir the mixture with a clean and sanitized spoon once a day after the fermentation starts.
  • After about a week, take a Specific Gravity reading.   It should be around 1.020.  If you are in that ballpark, rack to a clean and sanitized carboy and let it sit in a dark place.  Before racking, remove the net bag of raspberries, let all of the wine drip out without squeezing the bag.   Discard or compost the used raspberry pulp.
  • About a month later, rack off the sediment into another carboy.   Take a specific gravity reading.   It should be bone dry.   It is time to add a crushed campden tablet for each gallon of wine and degass the wine.  You can degass anyway you want, I like to use a Mix-Stir device on a drill.
  • Next, I add a clearing agent.   I used sparkoloid with great success.  Follow the directions on the sparkoloid, add it to the wine and stir it in.  Put the airlock back on and  put the raspberry wine aside in a dark place for two weeks.
  • Rack the black raspberry wine off of the sediment.   You may choose to filter, if you want to do that.   I don’t always do it, but it almost always makes the wine nicer.
  • Taste the wine.   Even though it is young, do you like it?  Do you think it needs some more sweetness?   If you like it dry, bottle it the way it is.   If you think it needs a little sweetness to bring out the black raspberry flavor, then follow the procedure I outlined in How To Back Sweeten Your Wine.

That is how I make black raspberry wine.   I have read that many people like to remove the raspberries prior to pitching the yeast.   They say the seeds in the raspberries can ruin the wine.    I have read many recipes and some say remove it and others don’t.    I have never removed it and never had a problem.   I may choose to remove the raspberries next time I make it just to see the difference.   I don’t know if that is foolish, since I love the way the black raspberry wine comes out just the way I make it.

I hope you enjoyed this article on making black raspberry wine.   Making wine from other fruit is very similar. When making wine from berries, I prefer to freeze the berries first.    I think it makes the wine come out better.   Keep an eye out for another adventure!   I have 15 lbs of blackberries in my freezer waiting to be transformed into a tasty beverage.


6 thoughts on “Black Raspberry Wine From Homegrown Raspberries

  1. I followed your recipe for black raspberry wine in July of 2014. It came out very well…in fact I am sipping some right now. So we made a much larger batch this year, using 30 pounds (about 6 gallons) of wild black raspberries, also known as “blackcaps” here in Wisconsin. We live out in farm country and they grow wild everywhere. I just finished the 3rd racking and we now have 8 gallons of tasty wine bulk-aging in glass carboys in the basement, to be bottled next spring. Thanks for the great recipe and video!

  2. One (superb) bottle left from 2014, and 9 bottles left from 2015. Really great stuff. For the 2016 batch, I tried removing the berry mash from the primary after only 2 days instead of 6-7 days, in an attempt to reduce “woody” flavor from the seeds. I bottled the first 5 gal carboy last week after bulk aging for a year and while the wine is indeed smoother, it lacks the flavor, body and bouquet of previous year’s batches. Drinkable, but disappointing.

    The original recipe as posted is really good. If you do decide to experiment and remove the berries from the primary sooner than 7 days per the recipe, I’d suggest increasing the amount of berries (i.e., from 12 lbs to 15 lbs per 3 gallons). And don’t remove the berry strainer bag from the primary any sooner than 3-4 days.

    I’m picking berries for this year’s batch right now. Bumper crop; I picked 15 lbs today in 2 hours behind our barn and along borders of woods and meadow. Aiming for the usual 45 lb of berries to make 10 gal of wine. I’ve made wines from red and white grapes, Winesap apples, dandelions, Santa Rosa plums, and wild black raspberries. The black raspberry is my hands-down favorite.

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