A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

This red currant and cherry wine recipe is a deeper colour than a straight red currant. It matures faster than a straight cherry and tastes perfectly fruity. If you read the record below the story of this recipe is more complicated. There was honey in there and I ended up starting one of the stuck gallons with a new half gallon of Damson wine! However, these are the ingredients for a red currant and cherry wine.

2 lb Red Currants
2 Lb of Cherries
6 pints of water
1 campden tablet
1 tsp pectolase
2-3  Lbs of sugar
1 tsp Pectolase
1/2 litre of Red Aldi Rio D'Oro grape juice or half a pound of Raisins
1 lemon or 1 tsp Citric Acid
1/2 tsp Tartaric acid
2 tsp TronOzymol yeast nutrient
Lalvin EC-1118

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).

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Could this be the 4th perfect 10 in a row after the previous perfect fermentations? ... Friday came around again and I got the chance to clean the cattery and race off up to Chosen Hill Farm in Chew Magna for some red currants. It was a nice day with a few light showers and I talked to the owners about winemaking as well as picked the fruit at my leisure. Most of their clientele seem to be day-outers or jam makers, so I was slightly unusual in that regard.

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Friday 15th July 3 PM

Picked 4 Lb of red currants from Chosen Hill Farm

Friday 15th July 7 PM

4 lb of Red Currants into sterilized pan
Added 4 pints of boiling water and a campden tablet.
1 tsp Pectolase

Saturday 16th July 7 PM

Strained must into fermentation bucket
Dissolved 3.5 Lb's of sugar in 3 pints of boiling water.

Saturday 16th July 11 PM

1 tsp yeast nutrient.
Bordeaux yeast (Youngs)

SG: 1.110

22nd July 2010
Strain into a demijohn.
This will need blending to take the sweetness down.

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1 Gallon of Red Currant wine.
SG: 1.060

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My run of perfect 10's ended prematurely with the possibility of a duff yeast.

Anyways, the die is cast on this one but Steph rode to the rescue, showing me her cherry tree that the birds had been at since yesterday. It's incredible that birds know just the perfect time to descend on a cherry tree for the perfect meal and equally amazing that they will come from miles around and strip it completely in 24-48 hours.
This is where a cherry grower needs to be proactive in the net department. Prior to ripeness is always a good time to get the netting out of the shed or off the roll if it's your first experience with an avian prophylactic.
Cherries are a problem. They can grow the size of a house with ease making netting impossible and harvesting any windfall before the birds arrive an unlikely event.
For example: In 2010 I was waiting for a publicly owned cherry tree to ripen that was hit by gales before either me or the birds could devour them and trampled by passers by. In 2011 I had a 30 foot cherry tree in the garden that I didn't receive a single cherry from because they were consumed before they had a chance to be dislodged by any passing wind.
Netting is the answer, but you can only really net trees you own and only those trees grown on dwarfing rootstock. 90% of nurseries use Colt rootstock, as of this day I've never heard or seen a garden centre with any cherry on anything but Colt. This will give you a 9 foot tree in 5 years if you don't look after it by pruning and restricting it's growth. Nine foot is too big to net comfortably (you'll need two people, favourable winds and a ladder or two).
There is an answer to this too. As of 2010 (to the best of my knowledge) Keepers Nursery started grafting cherries onto Gisela 5 rootstock. I've bought four, Kordia, Summer Sun, Lapins and Penny and will see how they react to being in Somerset's heavier soil. They will only grow to six to 8 feet by maturity and with a couple of decades of production ahead of them might well outlive us and still not get out of control.

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SO, I have to make another gallon to blend with the 'stuck' Red Currant gallon

Thursday 14th July 2011 9 PM

Picked 4 Lb of dark red cherries from Dave & Steph's garden Cherry, with only the lower branches still holding fruit it was an easy and fast pick and a total surprise for me as I wasn't even aware that it was there hidden in the corner by the road.
Sterilized fruit overnight with campden tablets in case of bird poo etc.

Friday 15th July 2011 8 AM

Put cherries into straining bag
1/2 Lb of raisins
1.5 Lb of sugar to 8 pints of boiling water.
1/2 Lb of Honey
Cooled with a crushed campden tablet.

8 PM
Added 1/2 tsp of Pectolase
1 tsp Citric Acid
1 tsp Tartaric Acid
1 tsp yeast nutrient

Saturday 16th July 2011 9 AM

Added Yeast Lalvin EC-1118

SG: 1.090

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Stirred daily for 2 weeks.

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27th July 2011
SG: 1.010

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Blended 1/2 Gallon of Red Currant with 1/2 Steph's Cherry x 2

SG: 1.030

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Monday 1st August

Gallon 1:
1st Rack
SG: 1.020
Topped up with Red Grape Concentrate
SG: 1.022

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Monday 22nd August 2011

SG: 1.020

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Tuesday 30th August 2011

Bored of this … Got some high alcohol tolerant Young's Champagne yeast today to see if I can't kickstart this syrup into action. 1 tsp of years nutrients later and away we fizzed.

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Saturday 17th September 2011

SG: 1.020

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Wednesday 19th October 2011

2nd Rack - Added crushed Campden tablet

SG: 1.018
(1090 - 1.020 + 2 +2) = 76 / 7.4 = 10.3%

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This one has died again, Gallon 2 has sailed through to the end, but Gallon 1 needs a good kick up the ferment.
The best option here is to use some of the lovely damsons I picked up recently from a lady in Evercreech that I had frozen recently.

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"Half Gallon of Damson juice to get the wine a fizzin'"

Saturday 22nd October 2011

Defrosted 2 Lb's of Damsons.
Stoned and poured 3.5 pints of boiling water over them.
Added a handful of Raisins
Added a crushed Campden tablet

Sunday 23rd October 2011

8 AM Added 1 tsp Pectolase

Monday 24th October 2011

Added 8 Oz of sugar
Added 1 tsp TronOzymol Nutrient
+ Lalvin EC-1118 Yeast
Blended in a third the Cherry & Red Currant

Wednesday 26th October 2011

Blend in the rest of the Cherry & Red Currant

Thursday 27th October 2011
Strained 1 gallon back into to the Demijohn

SG: No point in measuring the SG as it wont mean anything at this point.

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Saturday November 5th

SG: 0.996

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Monday 14th November 2011

3rd Rack - Added crushed Campden tablet
SG: 0.996

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Friday December 16th

4th Rack, campden tablet added
SG: 0.996

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Gallon 2 went as perfectly as a dream

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Monday 1st August

Gallon 2:
1st Rack
SG: 0.994
Topped up with Red Grape Concentrate
SG: 1.000

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Monday 22nd August 2011

SG: 0.994

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Tuesday 6th September 2011

2nd Rack
Added Campden tablet
SG: 0.994

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Wednesday 19th October 2011

3rd Rack
Added crushed Campden tablet
SG: 0.996
(1090 - 1010 + 10 + 6) = 96 / 7.4 = 13.0%

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Both gallons are now aging in their demijohns

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