A Brief Guide to Country Wine Making

Your chosen fruit governs how you extract the colours and flavour.
This introduction will guide you through making any kind of wine using any of the recipes here or even if you're making your own up.

Tips & advice.

1. Whatever fruit you use, take the time to remove leaves, stalks, stones, insects or anything rotting or mouldy.
2. A wine blend or a mixture of fruits will have a larger breadth of qualities than any single fruit.
3. Never pour a batch of wine away. Unless it definitely tastes like vinegar, it can always be useful.

A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

2 Lbs of Yellow Crab Apples
1.5 Lbs of Red Crab Apples
1/2 Lb of Sloes (Optional replacement for the strawberry juice)
300 grams of Young’s Strawberry Juice (1/3rd of a Can)
(Or 1 1/2 Lbs of sliced fresh strawberries)
Handful of fresh Elderflower Heads
Cup of strong tea.
1 gallon water
1 crushed campden tablet
1 tsp pectic enzyme
2-3 Lbs of sugar
1 tsp Citric Acid
2 tsp of yeast nutrients
Ritchies Port Yeast

A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

This a nice variation in colour for a honey mead recipe, the flavour is still honey based, but has a warmer colour and flavour that looks great in the bottle.

First things first: Honey has no natural nutrients so needs a lot of yeast nutrients.
Honey doesn't ferment as fast as sugar so a little more patience might be needed.

When I was a young teenager in the South West of England getting hold of scrumpy or Mead was the most enjoyable use for alcohol. Back then, scrumpy was rough, usually flavoured with dead rat and Mead Wine was thick, sweet and liqueur-like ... and they both worked well on the tongue and senses.

However, I've not been able to recreate either (yet), but this is a Honey Mead Recipe that works. - Strictly speaking, adding Blackberries makes this mead a Melomel.

3 Lbs of Honey (1362 gms)
4 pints of water, 2 boiled, 2 cold
1Lb of crushed Blackberries
Juice of one lemon or 1 tsp Citric Acid
A strong cup of tea for tannin
2-3 tsp of TronOzymol yeast nutrient
Gervin Wine Yeast #1 Strain GV1

When topping this Mead Wine up use a hydrometer. Only add as much honey water as you need to reach an SG that will drop around 95 points in total.

A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

4 Lbs of Sloes
300 grams of Young’s Strawberry Juice (1/3rd of a Can)
(Or 1 1/2 Lbs of sliced fresh strawberries)
Cup of strong tea
1 gallon water
1 crushed campden tablet
1 tsp pectic enzyme
2-3 Lbs of sugar
1 tsp Citric Acid
2 tsp of yeast nutrients
Ritchies Port Yeast

A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

This red currant wine recipe is easy. It clears fast, matures quickly and tastes perfect. It's worth making as much as you can, red currant wines are thin without the red grape juice, but bright red and unmistakably fruity.

4 lb Red Currants
1 campden tablet
1 tsp Pectolase
1/2 litre of Red Aldi Rio D'Oro grape juice
2-3 Lbs of  sugar
1 lemon
6 pints of Water
TronOzymol yeast nutrient
A good quality red wine yeast

A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

A blackcurrant wine recipe is not ribena for adults. If you have access to Blackcurrant bush you'll have already made ribena and jam so use this Blackcurrant Wine Recipe to turn these guys into something special.

4 Lbs of Blackcurrants
1 gallon water
1 crushed campden tablet
1 tsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp citric acid
2.5 Lbs of sugar
1 tsp of yeast nutrients
Bordeaux Yeast

Again, this blackcurrant wine recipe is more reliable if you don't put as much sugar in as I did the first time. The rule is really to only add as much sugar as you need to reach an SG of say 1.080 - 1.085 and that will almost guarantee a dry ferment at 12%.

A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

This is my basic blueberry wine recipe. I have limited experience like anyone in the UK, but so far I think every wine with blueberries has been exceptional.

It's worth noting that without your own Blueberry bushes, this is going to be an impossible wine to attempt in the UK. Having said that, the number of people growing blueberries is enormous. Our climate is perfect as long as you water them a lot even if its wet in the summer. Don't forget to prune them when they are a few years old to keep the centre open.

2.5 Lbs of Blueberries
1 Lb Raisins
1 gallon water
2 Lbs of sugar
1 teaspoon of pectolase
1 teaspoon citric acid
1/2 a lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of TronOzymol
1 crushed campden tablet
1 tsp of yeast nutrients
Bordeaux Yeast

As with any wine making, the easiest way to mess it up is by putting too much sugar in so that the alcohol kills the yeast before it's finished fermenting. So, only add as much sugar as you need to reach an SG of say 1.080 - 1.085 and that will almost guarantee a dry ferment at 12% when the hydrometer reads dry (0.990 - 0.995).

A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

This raspberry wine recipe is easy. It clears so fast, matures so quickly and shines so brightly it's worth making as much as you can, but I'd say the same for Red Currant Wine too. They both appear similar and both are thin but unmistakably fruity.

3 Lbs of Raspberries
6 pints of water
2-3 Lbs sugar
1 lemon
1 tsp Pectolase
1/2 litre of Red Aldi Rio D'Oro grape juice
1 tsp TronOzymol
Bordeaux Yeast

You can see from the record below that I put too much sugar in without using a hydrometer. As a rule of thumb: Only add as much sugar as you need to reach an SG of say 1.080 - 1.085 and that will almost guarantee a dry ferment at 12%.

A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

This is a nice Apricot Wine recipe, a mix of fresh fruit and any dry apricots produces a wine with a lovely warm amber glow & makes a great change from pale white wines.
I have one apricot tree in the Lovington garden so I'll be looking forward to something happening with that next year.

1.5 Lbs of fresh Apricots
1 Lb 2 Oz of Dried Apricots
10 Oz of Dried Figs
10 Oz of Raisins
2 Oz Plantain (or Banana)
Half pint of strong tea for extra tannin
1 gallon water
1 crushed campden tablet
1 tsp pectic enzyme
2+ Lbs of sugar
1 tsp of yeast nutrients
Youngs Burgundy Yeast

The great thing about winemaking is that once you start experimenting, there's probably a dozen demijohns on the go and if you're clever, you'll always keep a store of fruity top up wines in the fridge for when you make a sludgy one, i.e. anything with banana, peaches or figs! When you rack off, you'll need the bottle of something fruity from the fridge to top up the demijohn!

A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

There's nothing unusual about following this kiwi fruit wine recipe, it's completely straightforward. The most difficult part of this for people in the UK is getting hold of Kiwi Fruit ... I suggest the bargain bins in Supermarkets for the cheapest deals near the end of the season. I can honestly say that this kiwi fruit wine is beautiful, but I'd encourage you to be adventurous with the recipe. Add other fruit if kiwi fruit is too expensive or try honey instead of sugar, or maybe some cinnamon & cloves for a honey mead kiwi fruit wine recipe.

4 Lbs of Kiwi Fruit
6 pints of boiling water
1 crushed campden tablet
1 tsp pectic enzyme
1 Litre White Aldi Rio D'Oro grape juice
1 tsp citric acid or 1 lemon's juice
2-3 Lbs of sugar
2 tsp of yeast nutrients
Youngs Bordeaux White Yeast

Careful when you add sugar - My rule is of thumb is as always: Only add as much sugar as you need to reach an SG of say 1.080 - 1.085 and that will almost guarantee a dry ferment at 12%

A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

This blackcurrant and blackberry wine recipe isn't seasonally possible without using a freezer or like me, I add too much sugar and need to blend the sweet wines with dryer wines to balance them up again by blending demijohns!

2 Lbs of Blackcurrants frozen in July or August
2 Lbs of Blackberries fresh from the hedgerow in September
Half Lb of Raisins or Litre of Aldi red grape juice.
1 gallon water
1 crushed campden tablet
1 tsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp citric acid or juice of 1 lemon
2.5 Lbs of sugar
1 tsp of yeast nutrients
Bordeaux Yeast

As with any wine making, the easiest way to mess it up is by putting too much sugar in so that the alcohol kills the yeast before it's finished fermenting. So, only add as much sugar as you need to reach an SG of say 1.080 - 1.085 and that will almost guarantee a dry ferment at 12% when the hydrometer reads dry (0.990 - 0.995).

A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

Here's a Cherry Wine Recipe that is flexible, you don't need a ton of cherries and it'll mature faster and taste as nice or nicer than many other single berry wines.

A lot of people don't make cherry wine because they are disappointed that the flavour changes during fermentation, they might have to wait 2 years before tasting and a lot of cherry trees have grown too high to pick. So I say, use less cherries or pick up frozen ones and add flavours that you already like to make up the bulk to 4.5 Lbs of fruit

2-3 Lbs of Cherries
1.5 - 2 Lbs of any mix of berries you like.
Half a pint of strong tea or a half Lb of Raisins or a litre of Aldi grape juice
1 gallon water (6 pints if using grape juice)
2.5 Lbs of sugar
1 teaspoon of pectolase
1 teaspoon citric acid or a lemon's juice
1 teaspoon of TronOzymol
1 crushed campden tablet
1 tsp of yeast nutrients
A Good Red Wine Yeast

This cherry wine recipe is more reliable if you only add as much sugar as you need to reach an SG of say 1.080 - 1.085 and that will almost guarantee a dry ferment at around 12%.

A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

It's worth noting that even with your own Blueberry bushes, it's going to be difficult to justify using more than 2 Lbs of Blueberries in one wine recipe. So this blueberry and blackberry wine recipe is for people who have a few blueberry bushes and access to a lot of blackberry brambles and hedgerows.

1.5 - 2 Lbs of Blueberries
2 Lbs of Blackberries
Half a pint of strong tea or a half Lb of Raisins
1 gallon water
2.5 Lbs of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of pectolase
1 teaspoon citric acid
1/2 a lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of TronOzymol
1 crushed campden tablet
1 tsp of yeast nutrients
Bordeaux Yeast

This blueberry and blackberry wine recipe is more reliable if you only add as much sugar as you need to reach an SG of say 1.080 - 1.085 and that will almost guarantee a dry ferment at 12%.

A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

Another house special wine recipe. You could recreate it making half gallon of plum and a half gallon of blackberry and elderberry and blend them together after the fact like I had to, but you could in fact recreate this as is, if you save some plums until September in the freezer.

This particular plum wine recipe with blackberry & elderberry would look like this:

2 Lb's of late ripe Plums
1.5 Lb of Blackberries
8 Oz of Elderberries
1 tsp Pectolase
6 pints of water
1/2 litre Red Aldi Rio D'Oro grape juice
2.5 Lb Sugar
1 tsp Citric Acid or 1 lemon's juice
1 tsp of yeast nutrients
Bordeaux yeast

A rule of thumb is as always: Only add as much sugar as you need to reach an SG of say 1.080 - 1.085 and that will almost guarantee a dry ferment at 12%.

A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

Another house special wine recipe. You could recreate it making half gallons of plum, raspberry and blackcurrant and blend them from the linked recipes, but you could in fact recreate this as is. This particular plum wine recipe with raspberries and blackcurrants would look like this:

2 Lb's of ripe Plums
1 Lb of frozen Raspberries
1 Lb of frozen Blackcurrants
1 tsp Pectolase
6 pints of water
1/2 litre Red Aldi Rio D'Oro grape juice or 8 Oz Raisins for tannin
2.5 Lb Sugar
1 tsp Citric Acid or 1 lemon's juice
1 tsp of yeast nutrients
A good red wine yeast

Be adventurous with this wine recipe, especially using honey or raisins or change the berries or currants or buy some frozen from the store.

A rule is of thumb is as always: Only add as much sugar as you need to reach an SG of say 1.080 - 1.085 and that will almost guarantee a dry ferment at 12% when the hydrometer reaches 0.990.

A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

So to Autumn in the hedgerows and gardens of Dartmoor. The sun is still warmish when it isn't raining and the first apples, ripe or windfallen are being assembled for pipping, coring, peeling crushing or chopping .. It's the right time to write out a blackberry and apple wine recipe.

Because the methods of making blackberry and apple wine differ so much, they need to be made separately. Or at least the apple wine started a week prior to the blackberry wine so the apple flavour can be extracted before they are mixed for fermentation.

Half Gallon of Blackberry Wine
2 Lbs of Blackberries
Half gallon water
1 crushed campden tablet
1 tsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp citric acid
1.25 Lbs of sugar
1 tsp of yeast nutrients
Yeast

Half Gallon of Apple Wine
4-5 Lbs of windfall Apples cored & chopped up
3 pints of boiling water
half litre of preservative free white grape juice
1 crushed campden tablet
1 Lbs of sugar
1 tsp Pectolase (pectic enzyme)
1 tsp citric acid
1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
Ritchies Sauternes wine yeast

A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

I wrote this blackberry and plum wine recipe after I'd made them as separate half gallons, but there's nothing stopping anyone from doing it in one fermentation bucket with some late season plums. Or better still some frozen plums so the stones squeeze out easily.

2 Lbs of Blackberries
2 Lbs of Plums
6 pints of water
1/2 pound of Raisins or 1 litre of Aldi red grape juice
1 crushed campden tablet
1 tsp Pectolase
1 tsp citric acid
1 tsp pectic enzyme
2.5 Lbs of sugar
1 tsp of yeast nutrients
Good Red Wine Yeast

As with any wine making, the easiest way to mess it up is by putting too much sugar in so that the alcohol kills the yeast before it's finished fermenting. So, only add as much sugar as you need to reach an SG of say 1.080 - 1.085 and that will almost guarantee a dry ferment at 12% when the hydrometer reads dry (0.990 - 0.995).

A Tiger Barn Cattery 'House Special' Wine Recipe

Woohoo! Coming to the end of the season so it's time for another vintner's House Special Blend ... I love putting the leftovers to good use. A wine recipe like this would be impossible to write or to follow. If you experiment a lot with wine making, you'll be in a similar situation to me, a few failures and extras sitting in demijohns waiting to be saved. I had a couple of half gallons from July & August that need a blender's touch and of course I had a few bits and pieces of currant wines to pitch in for the complex fruity body we both enjoy.

SG of July's Blackcurrant and Blackberry wine: 1.050
SG of August's Blackberry and Apple wine: 1.008

Final blend SG: 1.029

Friday 7th September 2010

1st Rack
Topped up with Sweet Blackcurrant Wine reserve.
SG: 0.994

Sunday 26th September 2010

SG: 0.995

A Tiger Barn Cattery 'House Special' Wine Recipe

While Katriona & I like to visit the Isles of Scilly, I like to be there when the blackberry brambles are out or when the puffins arrive. This blackberry wine recipe is perfect in taste and the colour is deep but I have no idea what puffin tastes like. :)

4 Lbs of frozen Scilly Blackberries
8 Oz of fresh Red Grapes
1 gallon water
1 crushed campden tablet
1 tsp citric acid
1 tsp pectic enzyme
2.5 Lbs of sugar
1 tsp of yeast nutrients
Youngs Bordeaux Yeast

A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

4 Lbs of Damsons
300 grams of Young’s Strawberry Juice (1/3rd of a Can)
(Or 1 1/2 Lbs of sliced fresh strawberries)
Cup of strong tea
1 gallon water
1 crushed campden tablet
1 tsp pectic enzyme
2-3 Lbs of sugar
1 tsp Citric Acid
2 tsp of yeast nutrients
Ritchies Port Yeast