Cherry Wine Recipe

I made the case for white wine from cherries a while back, but when I made cherry wine yesterday it was a red. I bought 43 or so pounds of Bing Cherries, and after setting aside 4.5 lb for cherry liqueur, I had about 38 lb left for wine. They’re dark skinned cherries with red flesh, so they wouldn’t do for a white. Here’s how I started my red:

Ingredients:

38 lb (about 17 kg) Bing Cherries
3.5 lb (1.6 kg) sugar
3 quarts (2.8 liters) water
3 tsp pectic enzyme (approximately 7 g)
sulfite to 50 ppm (equivalent to 3 campden tablets)
0.5 tsp tannin (about a gram)
Premier Cuvee yeast

Cherry crush

I destemmed, sorted, and nibbled, by hand. It took a while, but Marsha and I did it together and that made it fun. The result: seven gallons of destemmed cherries ready to crush. An ordinary grape crusher would probably work, though you would need to adjust the rollers to accommodate the cherry pits. I used an older method …

Crushing cherries in a chest cooler with bare feet

Crushing the cherries with my bare feet worked well. I could feel the pits but they didn’t hurt, and I got through all the cherries quickly. Last year, I tried a potato masher. It was too flimsy, so I ended up crushing each cherry between my thumb and forefinger. I don’t recommend it. Anyway, at this point I added sulfite and pectic enzyme. Now I had to add water, sugar, and possibly acid to prepare the crushed cherries for fermentation.

Dilute with water?

Most traditional cherry wine recipes dilute with water. For every gallon of finished wine, you might use four to six pounds of fruit (500 to 750 g/L). That can be tempting on economic grounds alone. Even though I got a good deal on these cherries, an undiluted wine would cost between $5 and $6 per bottle, just in cherries. That’s a great price for commercial wine at retail, but high for homemade wine. In the end I decided that I really wanted to stay as close to conventional red wine as I could, so I did add water, but only a tad more than needed to dissolve the sugar.

Adjusting the sugar

And I did need to add sugar. To know how much, I first had to determine how much was in the cherries. I needed a clear sample of the juice, and that was harder to get than you might think. First I scooped a bunch of crushed cherries+juice through a strainer, and I measured the SG as 1.070. That’s high for cherry juice. What’s happening is that dissolved solids in the juice make it thicker, and that will push the SG higher, so I ran this juice through a coffee filter.

Filtering cherry juice with a funnel and a coffee filterThe filter quickly clogged and when I tried to get it going again, I tore it. I did better the second time. I was patient (didn’t know I had it in me!) and I changed the filter every time it clogged. It still took a long time, over an hour, but I got 0.5 cup (about 120 ml) of filtered juice with an SG of 1.065. I suspect that there’s less sugar than that, but I decided to use that number and target an SG of 1.090. If the sugar was indeed low, my actual SG would be a little less, but anything down to 1.075 would be ok with me. I created a spreadsheet to help me with sugar and acid additions, and after plugging in what I know (SG = 1.065), what I think (estimated liquid volume of the cherry juice of about 2 gallons), and what I’m aiming for (target SG = 1.090), I got back a suggestion to dissolve 3.5 lb of sugar in 3 quarts of water (roughly 1.6 kg sugar and 2.8 liters water).

Pitching the yeast now and adjusting the acid later

The dominant acid in cherries is malic, and Ben Rotter reports that Bing cherry juice often analyzes to 4.7 g/L, as malic. I have a simple acid test kit, but no pH meter. That makes measuring the TA of red juice difficult, so I’ve decided to wait until the wine has fermented out to adjust the acid.

The last step is to pitch the yeast. I had rehydrated it by pouring the yeast packet into 0.25 cups of warm water. After five minutes I added 0.25 cups of cherry juice. I added the tannin and another 0.25 cups cherry juice after it started foaming (about an hour), and I pitched it into the fermenter two hours later. Bottling is still a year or two a way, but I’m excited already!


Update 7/31/07: Sugar and acid

I have since bought a pH meter, and measured the acidity of my cherry wine. It was too high, but so was the pH and that made me reluctant deal with the problem by neutralizing some of the acid. So I’ve decided to balance the acidity by sweetening the wine. I think the high acidity is part of buying cherries at the grocery store; the cherries were just a little under ripe. I’m growing my own cherries, and once my bonsai orchard is producing I’ll have nice ripe fruit that’s not so acidic. In the meantime, I’ll try a different yeast: 71B by Lalvin. It metabolizes malic acid, and that should make it especially suitable for cherry wine.

Update 5/25/2009: Bottled!

Some have told me that it can’t be done, and it is difficult. But you can make a conventional red wine from cherries! It’s an enjoyable red wine and I would recommend it to anyone interested in this approach.



Was this helpful?

If you got something out of this article, why not spread the word? You can click any of the icons below to give this page a +1 or share it on your favorite social media. Everyone likes a pat on the back - even me!

67 thoughts on “Cherry Wine Recipe

  1. Rachel

    I have 30 lbs of rainier cherries I plan to make into wine. How would you have modified your recipe to do white cherries? It’s hard to find white cherry recipes out there. The few I’ve found call for 4-6 lbs of cherries, so do I multiply the rest of the ingredients by the same multiplier? What do you think? Any advice is appreciated!

    Rachel
    Wenatchee, WA

  2. Erroll Post author

    Hi Rachel,

    Since Rainiers have light colored flesh and skin, I would consider making a white wine from them. To do that, I would be crush and press the fruit to get juice then adjust the sugar and acid as I did with the Bing Cherries.

    This approach is more like an ordinary wine from grapes. The recipes you’ve found take a different approach – that of a “country wine.” These recipes combine fruit and water with acid and sugar, and are very popular among home winemakers. If you follow one of them, you can scale up the ingredients except the yeast. So, if your recipe calls for 5 lb of cherries, and you have 30 lb, then multiply the other quantities by 6. As for the yeast, use 1 packet for every 5 gallons of wine.

    Good luck, and let me know how it turns out.

    Erroll

  3. Rachel

    Thanks Erroll!
    So I made the must today. The sg result was very much like the bing interestingly enough.
    First juice I measured 1.080 sg, then I filtered through a tea strainer, then a coffee filter to measure just below 1.070. I ended up adding three pounds of sugar in .75 gallons of water.
    I also put a about a tablespoon of tangerine zest and six oz. of juice to boost the color and add a little complexity to the flavor. Could be good, could be disaster – we’ll find out ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I used very ripe cherries, so I’m hoping the tangerine won’t throw off the acid too much. I don’t have an acidity measure, so the next time I’m in Tacoma I’ll stop by my brew shop and get a kit.
    Anyway, thanks for the advice! Happy winemaking!
    Rachel

  4. jason

    I recently made a delicious cherry wine. I was overwhelmingly pleased with the results…but I think I made a big mistake. I had a carboy full of it. My birthday fell eleven days ago and I decided I would share the bounty. I removed two gallons from my carboy and left three in.

    I was concerned about the remaining amount being suceptable to damage; not having the carboy topped off with wine. A friend of mine, who actually got me started in the joy of wine making, said it would be fine. I thought it might be a good idea to get some nitrogen to gas the bottle to keep it from contact with oxygen, understanding the carboy was no longer filled to the top.

    We had a great time at my party. We happily consumed the two gallons, and left the other three in a nice cool spot for use at a later date. I was somewhat concerned, now eleven days later, so I drew two bottles off tonight. I am very disappointed. It is still pretty good, but not quite as deluctable as it was now twelve days ago. I notice the fruitiness is not as prevailent, and it seems to have a considerable amount more acidity.

    My question is…how do I tame the acidity? Is there a way to restore the beauty I once enjoyed, and salvage the remaining three gallons? I know it will never be as if it were untouched, but it is still drinkable, I just need to fine tune it a bit if possible.

    Please, help me save my wine…

    Unsavvy wino,
    J

  5. Erroll Post author

    Hi Jason,

    If the wine has definitely stopped fermenting, I would stabilize the wine with sorbate and sulfite, which prevents the yeast from fermenting, then sweeten. After that rack to a smaller container(s), like a 3-gallon carboy or three 1-gallon jugs. Measure the specific gravity after you rack, then wait two months or so and check the SG again. If it hasn’t changed, and it’s not throwing sediment, then you can bottle.

    Next time, keep things topped up!

    Erroll

  6. Bob Adams

    I use sour cherries for my wine and I don’t use any book or scientific methods. My sugar ratio is five lbs of sugar to 30 lbs of pitted sour cherries to make a drier wine. I simply crush the cherries and let them ferment till the cherrie mash floats….restir it a few days and then tap it off into a glass carbouy to let it settle during second fermentation…..no yeast, no chemicals, just about a half gallon of spring water and thats it. Let it settle a few weeks and then rack it off a second time and let it set for about 90 days or so……. tap off a bottle and call your friends…. its a great drier wine that has the the flavor of cherries fresh from the tree…… so far my alcohol content has been around 12%. Try it, no muss, no fuss.

  7. Erroll Post author

    Hi Bob,

    The great thing about home winemaking is: your wine your way. It sounds like you’ve got a winner, but you and I live in different worlds. I think your approach (“no yeast, no chemicals”) is risky. If you’re not adding cultured wine yeast, then you’re hoping the wild yeasts that happen to be around when you crush will ferment to dryness without introducing off flavors. Sometimes they do; sometimes they don’t. Similarly, failing to add sulfite doesn’t guarantee an infection or oxidation, but it does increase the odds.

    I much prefer the “fuss” of measuring out sulfite or nutrient (and really, how much trouble is that?) to pouring ruined wine down the drain.

    Erroll

  8. Kevin

    Erroll,
    When making your cherry wine using fresh cherries, is it neccessary to remove the pits before fermenting?

  9. Erroll Post author

    Hi Kevin,

    Not at all, in fact I left them in for this wine. Are you planning on making cherry wine? If so, I hope you’ll let me know how it turns out.

    Erroll

  10. Kevin

    That’s good to know because the labor for removing the pits will be intensive. I do plan to make some Ranier cherry wine when the cherries come out. I live in Georgia and they come out here in June/July and don’t last long in the stores. Will your recipe for the Bing cherries work for the Ranier as well. Right now I am making some Pineapple wine.

    Kevin

  11. Erroll Post author

    The Rainiers should work fine. Two things I’ve learned since starting this cherry wine are that you should keep skin contact time short, no more than three days, and the acid can be a problem. I would use Lavlin’s 71B or some other yeast that is known to consume malic acid.

    Your pineapple wine brought back memories. I grew two pineapples just to see if I could. I don’t think I’m letting out any secrets when I say that Seattle isn’t the best place in the world to do this. One fine day, I bought two pineapples at the grocery store, ate them, and tried to root the tops. They both took and I grew them in pots, taking them inside for the winter, for three years. One of them ripened a pineapple that the Lady of the House described as “cute.”

    Cute? I wasn’t lugging these things in and out of the house and tending them for three years to produce a cute pineapple!

    We ate the little fruit, and it was good. But I haven’t grown any more.

    Erroll

  12. Kevin

    Erroll,
    Thanks for the information. I can’t wait until Ranier season hits so I can make the wine. Cherries have always been my favorite fruit to eat and when I discovered Ranier, I was even more hooked on cherries.

    This is my first try at Pineapple and am new to winemaking in general. I made muscadine and scuppernog wine last year that turned out to be pretty good for my first try. Although it was country style. I am trying to take a more sophisticated and professional approach to making wine and have used the Internet as a tool to learn what I need to know to make quality wine. I must say I enjoy it and it is a great hobby to have.

    Seattle is such a great city. I was there last year for a conference and have visited once before. I love that city!!! Made any Coffee wine lol!!!

  13. Casey

    Hey, I love your blog!

    I am a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco, in a region famous for cherries. I wanted to let you know that your guidance on cherry wine has helped me satisfy many thirsty Americans in this booze starved part of the world.

    Q. Can you recommend a yeast that I could find here? I have run out of the Cuvee that I got from home and nop way to get more!

  14. Erroll Post author

    Hello Casey,

    I’m glad I could help with the cherry wine! I don’t think I can be much use in locating wine yeast in Morocco, though. The fact that you’re asking must mean that there are no retail shops that cater to homebrewers or winemakers nearby. Even though there are several local homebrew shops here, I often buy mail-order from places like The Grape and Granary. Have you thought about mail order, maybe from a European supplier?

    I’ve never used bread yeast to make wine, but I’d give it a try if I had no other choice.

    Erroll

  15. Kevin

    Errol,
    I am making black cherry wine and have crushed the fruit it is going through the Campden treatment. Do you suggest fermenting it with the pulp for a few days, or straining out the pulp and start fermentation with the juice only?

  16. Erroll Post author

    Hi Kevin,

    I lean more toward juice, these days. My last batch fermented on the skin for three days, and I enjoyed it. I don’t notice the astringency that characterizes tannic red wine. The juice should have plenty of color, so that leaves me wondering what you gain from skin contact. I made a batch with long skin contact, and I thought the flavor was a little off. I can’t say for sure if the long skin contact was the culprit, but that’s what I suspect.

    So if you’re not sure which way you want to do it, I would say juice. If you want to ferment on the skins, keep it to three days or less. My next batch will probably be juice.

    Erroll

  17. Kevin

    Errol,
    Thanks for the tip… Right now the pulp is getting the Campden treatment and I will add the yeast tomorrow. I will probably take the pulp out and just work with the juice. By the way, my pineapple wine came out terrific!!

    Kevin

  18. Rachel

    Hi Errol;
    Hey, could you email me that spreadsheet? I’m getting confused – I have an sg, but I don’t know how that calculates into how much sugar/water I need to add. Thanks!

  19. Erroll Post author

    Hi Rachel,

    Every so often I think of writing a post on adjusting the sugar, and adding an online calculator. Maybe I’ll move that up on my list of priorities. In the meantime, here’s how you calculate how much sugar to add:

    VS = VI * (SGT – SGI) / (SGS – SGT)

    VS is the volume of syrup – thatโ€™s what Iโ€™m trying to find
    VI is the initial volume
    SGT is the target SG
    SGI is the initial SG
    SGS is the SG of the syrup

    So let’s say you have 6 quarts of must with an SG of 1.050 and you want to know how much sugar syrup (SG = 1.310) to add in order to reach a target SG of 1.090:

    VS = 6 quarts * (1.090 – 1.050) / (1.310 – 1.090)
    = 6 quarts * 0.040 / 0.220
    = 1.091 quarts

    Pay attention to the units you use in VI. If instead of 6 quarts, you used 1.5 gallons (which is exactly the same amount), you would get the result in gallons (0.273). You get your answer in whatever units you plugged in for the initial volume.

    You make sugar syrup by combining two parts sugar, by volume, to one part water – boiled then cooled. This will yield approximately two parts syrup. So to make a quart of syrup (which is probably close enough in our example), combine a quart of sugar with a pint of water.

    I’ve written an article on sugar syrup that also includes the SG of honey and some weight to volume conversions.

    Does that help?

    Erroll

  20. Paul

    Hi, I live in Bulgaria, I have a huge cherry tree in the garden and the fruit usually ends up in the chickens, or to one of the neighbours (they make Rakia out of it). Anyway, this year I kept some and froze them (too busy at the time to do anything else).

    I have just got them out of the freezer and they are thawing in a plastic bath. I have 14 kilos, thatโ€™s about 31 English pounds, not sure about the American equivalent.
    I will get on with it and let you know, a very interesting and current site.

    Looking forward to the sugar calculator

  21. Michael

    I am having a rough time finding a consistant sour cherry wine recipe. I have 21 lbs of cherries and guessing i will end up with 5 gallons of wine. I have seen so many different sugar and water recommendations that my head is starting to spin. I am ready to start fermentation immediately. What should I use???

  22. Patrick

    Errol

    Nice blog, I’m am a WSU Wine making student who wants to experiment with making cherry wine. I have yet to take any actual wine making classes yet. Just how to take care of grapes in the field. My family has an orchard and so I got 5 boxes of cherries picked for me stemless. With steam the boxes are about 25-30 lbs I’m unsure how much they hold now with out stems my guess is double. But I was wondering if you knew any recipe where the time from fermentation to bottling was sorter? I wont have the ability to move the juice from southern Idaho to northern Washington and take care of it. I am using this batch to see if my family could turn cherries we cant use into wine to sell so I would appreciate tips about how to do this more commercially.

    Thanks

    Patrick

  23. Erroll Post author

    Hi Michael,

    If you want to make 5 gallons of wine from 21 lb of cherries, then you’ll be making a country wine – sugar and water with 3 – 5 lb of fruit per gallon. You’ll want to prepare sugar water at slightly higher than your target SG – just off the top of my head, if you wanted a must with an SG of 1.090 then I would would prepare 5 gallons of sugar water with an SG of 1.100 (about 12 lb sugar dissolved in water then boiled and cooled – then additional water until you get to the 5-gallon mark). To that I would add about a quarter cup of acid blend (dissolved in water first) and yeast nutrient according to the package directions. This should get you about six gallons of must with an SG in the neighborhood of 1.090 and a TA within shooting distance of 6 g/L – though you’ll want to test and taste to fine tune the acidity later.

    Put the cherries in a nylon straining bag, add them to the fermenter (you’ll be needing a 10-gallon fermenter for this) and pitch the yeast. Three days after it starts fermenting (so if it takes a day to start then day four, if it takes two days then day five, etc) remove the cherries and measure the SG.

    I wouldn’t expect it to ferment out that quickly, but it could happen. If so, rack to a carboy and fill it to within an inch of the bung.

    If not, rack to two carboys with plenty of head space so that it can ferment out. That might take up to two weeks, and you’ll know by the airlock activity and the SG. When it’s fermented out rack to a carboy and fill to within an inch of the bung.

    Fine it, if needed/desired. Test and taste to fine tune the acidity. Rack when it throws sediment. When it stops throwing sediment, it’s ready to bottle (but make sure it’s really fermented out!). Sweeten if desired.

    Erroll

  24. Erroll Post author

    Hello Patrick,

    I think you’ll have an exciting time at WSU learning to make wine.

    The biggest problem I had with cherry wine was the acidity, and the fact that TA and pH were both high. It took some time for me to decide what to do about it, so staying on top of the acidity – measure often – and having a plan for dealing with high TA/high pH will avoid delays. The decision to sweeten will be related to the acidity. I sweetened mine only because I didn’t dare bring down the too-high TA. That would have pushed up the already high pH.

    Once you sweeten, you need to let the wine sit in the carboy for a time (at least a month) to make sure it is stable. So sweetening early rather than late in the process will let you bottle earlier.

    If you plan to fine, consider adding the fining agent to the primary. I’ve started adding bentonite during the primary fermentation of my white wines and meads. It saves me a step and reduces the time between pitching the yeast and bottling.

    This is just a hobby for me, so I don’t have any direct experience with the commercial side of it. I’m sure there are quite a few regulatory hoops to jump through, many licenses to apply for, and all manner of taxes and fees. There will be some restrictions on how you make your wine. We hobbyists can dilute with water, acidify, de-acidify, and chaptalize to our heart’s content. Not so a commercial winemaker.

    As far as making wine for sale goes, I think I have a better idea of what a commercial winemaker must do. He must be able to describe his product to regulators and to customers. That means his measurements have to be spot on every time. The wine must be free of faults every time – even cheap box wine is properly balanced and without faults these days – your technique and sanitation has to be perfect bottle after bottle. Oh yeah, the wine has to be good. To know if it’s good enough to make a commercial success out of it, don’t ask your friends or family if they like it. Too much is at stake to rely on someone who might not know or who might be telling you what you want to hear. Enter your wine in as many competitions as you can and take what the judges say to heart.

    If you can do all that, then it’s just a matter of competing with a zillion other wineries ๐Ÿ™‚

    Erroll

  25. Jennifer

    Do the cherries have to be pitted? I have a case of BC Cherries and want to make wine. Can i just destem and add sugar, water and yeast? Please eamil me back with the best approach.

  26. Erroll Post author

    Hi Jennifer,

    No need to pit, just destem, crush, add sugar, water, and yeast. The trick is in knowing how much sugar and water to add. A country wine recipe makes that easy. Making it like an ordinary wine from grapes is more work, but if you can estimate the juice yield of the cherries (even if you aren’t juicing them) and measure the specific gravity and titratable acidity of a clear sample, then you can use my wine recipe wizard to get suggested amounts of water, sugar syrup, and acid.

    Erroll

  27. Tracy

    Erroll, I am making a bing cherry wine coming good so far. Do you know of anthor yeast besides 71B by Lalvin? The store I go to does not have this exact brand. Is there anthor to cut down the maltic? Thank you. asap if you could. Oh by the way you have best site going for the home wine making. Thanks again.

  28. Erroll Post author

    Tracey, Lavlin’s 71-B is the only one I know of. If you can’t get that one, then I don’t think any of the others will consume malic acid. Red Star’s Premier Cuvee is very reliable (tolerates a wide temperature range and has high alcohol tolerance). It would be a good choice too.

    Erroll

  29. Tracy

    Thank you for such a quick response. I will be in touch to let you know how I made out. Thanks again.

  30. Jerry

    My neighbor is a cherry orchardist and I talked him into giving me a box of culls left over after the harvest sorting. After pitting and stemming I have 13 lbs. of Bing cherries, frozen now.

    I plan on making a little over 2 gallons of wine and I’m collecting recipes on the net right now. The most common technique I’ve seen is to soak the cherries in plain water for 1 to 2 days and then strain before adding the Campden tablets and the pectic enzyme.

    It seems to me that the pectic enzyme would be able to extract a lot more juice if it were added while the cherry pulp was available. Do you have any advice on when to add the ingredients at the beginning?

    Jerry

  31. Erroll Post author

    Hi Jerry,

    I agree that adding the pectic enzyme right away will get you better extraction, and that’s what I would do. I would also add the campden tablets right away to keep wild yeasts and other undesirable microorganisms in check. Sulfite can inhibit pectic enzyme, but not in the concentratios winemakers normally use.

    Good luck, and do come back to let me know how the wine turns out!

    Erroll

  32. Paul

    Hi,
    I have just finished racking the cherry wine for the second time. It actually tastes like it will work out quite well. I will leave it to settle for another month or so with the airlock still in place and see what happens.
    I was up at the vineyard this morning ( I have 150 odd Merlot vines up there). They are up to 20 brix on ave now, so I will be be getting ready for that lot.
    It sounds rather grand, but I have one of the smallest vinyards up there, and almost everybody around here has one. The locals used to think I was from planet zonk with my technical bits and pieces, now they ask me to test THEIR sugar!
    Actually, it is really interesting, my Merlot are around 20 brix right now, and ‘the local’ popular grapes are at 15-18 brix, they are called Aljirka. Anyone heard of that? They are the most deep purple colour I have ever seen, juice included. I have yet to taste a nice wine from them though, but I am sure it is not the grape at fault!

  33. Kimmy

    Hello, I started some Cherry wine that I am getting excited about, but maybe I shouldn’t. I followed the recipe in the Joy of winemaking, and accidentally put in too much sugar. My PA started at 25%. I panicked, and added 2-3 more time the recipe, everything but sugar, and next day had a PA of 18. (I now have 8 gallons of this in a 10 gallon primary), and the airlock was going crazy, I am fairly new at winemaking, but have not seen this happen before. I am pretty excited, but hesitant at the same time knowing that this wine could be unstable with a PA of 18…Happy winemaking to all from Oregon. Kimmy

  34. Erroll Post author

    Hi Kimmy,

    I’ve made measuring mistakes too! It’s important not to panic, to document and measure as much as you can, then come up with a plan to fix things. If I had been following that recipe and noticed a PA of 25%, I’d probably double everything else. Hopefully that would nudge the PA to about 12.5%. It sounds like you tried something like that. Now that you’ve made your adjustment and its fermenting, I would let it run its course.

    One danger in fermenting 8 gallons of must in a 10 gallon primary is overflow. If you can, I would transfer some of it to another primary. If not, try to keep an eye on the temperature. You’ll need to balance two things here: keep it cool enough to slow down fermentation (so there’s less foaming and less chance of overflow) but not so cool that fermentation get stuck. If you’re using Red Star’s Premier Cuvee, for example, you can ferment at 55 degrees Fahrenheit – that’s a cool fermentation, but its 10 degrees above the yeast’s minimum temperature.

    Good luck Kimmy, and let me know how this little adventure turns out!

    Erroll

    By the way, The Joy of Home Wine Making was my first book on how to make wine. It got me started and I still love it!

  35. Dan Vosters

    New wine maker. Like and will try the welchs idea. However if you could tell me how much cherry juice to use vs. water for a
    six gallon batch; I would be thank ful. First time on site.
    Please E mail vosters10@sbcglobal.net

    Thank you

  36. John

    After reading through this blog it dawned on me that I have a top off wine bottle sitting half empty with my air lock on it of Blackberry wine. It has been like that for about 2 weeks. So is it no good because of the big gap of air? (this is my first wine).

    Thanks

    I have enjoyed reading all of the entries. good info.

  37. Erroll Post author

    Hi John,

    You’re right that you need to top it up – it can cause a problem. If it tastes ok and smells ok, then you’re in time and it hasn’t caused a problem yet.

    Erroll

  38. Maureen

    The cherries are picked and I’m ready to start making my first batch of cherry wine. I appreciate all your information and wondered if the 38lbs cherries to 3.5 lbs of sugar is still what you recommend?

  39. Dan

    Hi, I’ve just bottled 5 gallons of cherry wine I made. I added oak chips during the secondary fermentation and left them in the carboy for about 2- 3 months. The wine is very dry with a STRONG oak flavor. Is this something that will calm down with aging? The oak is pretty over powering. Any help would be great, Thanks!

  40. Erroll Post author

    The wine is very dry with a STRONG oak flavor. Is this something that will calm down with aging?

    The oak flavor will mellow with time, but there’s no way for me to know if it will mellow enough for you (how strong is “strong?” how strong do you like it?). So let it age for a few months, and if there’s still too much oak flavor try blending.

    Erroll

  41. Erroll Post author

    wondered if the 38lbs cherries to 3.5 lbs of sugar is still what you recommend?

    Yes, I was very happy with the wine (follow the line for some thoughts on how it turned out and what I might do next time). Of course, it doesn’t have to be exactly 38 lb – that’s just how much I had. The important thing is to add enough sugar to the cherries you have to reach your target alcohol. You can do that by keeping the proportions the same: 19 lb of cherries and 1.75 lb of sugar, for example, but the best way is to take a hydrometer reading from a clear sample of must. The Wine Recipe Wizard can help with that.

    Erroll

  42. Michael

    I have a 3 gallon primary fermenting bucket. The lid has a hole where i can put a stopper and airlock in it. I would like to use this as a secondary fermenting vessel as well. After reading above I am worried that there will be too much head room, allowing too much oxygen. My recipe calls for 6.5 lbs. of cherries, 3 lbs. sugar, fill to make 1.5 gallons. So there will only be a total of 1.5 gallons in a 3 gallon bucket, will this not work? Any suggestions, or information will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  43. Erroll Post author

    I have a 3 gallon primary fermenting bucket. The lid has a hole where i can put a stopper and airlock in it. I would like to use this as a secondary fermenting vessel as well.

    Hi Michael, as long as there is an active fermentation it will work fine. Once it has fermented out, it’s really important to limit contact with air. So you will need something air tight that can contain your wine with minimal head space – I strongly advise airlocked jugs or carboys.

    Erroll

  44. Mike

    I’m so glad i found this page… and thanks so much for being here for us and sharing your knowledge…
    I haven’t made any wine as of yet, but have been gathering the gear to do so….
    I have access to a wild cherry tree that I am slowly picking and freezing and will most likely have 30 plus lbs of cherries,,,

    I also have a rhubarb patch that I plan to use to make wine, OR combine with the cherries, ( hmmm wunder what that will be like )

    So i will definately be monitoring this blog when the time comes to get the brew rolling…

    With regards to ” topping off ” the carboys, I wanted to chime in an idea I got after reading and brain picking,,, to me I always wundered if too much topping off would weaking the batch, so someone suggested glass marbles, yes … you know,,, the ones we use to play with as kids,,,, he suggested buying LOTS of them , and after sanitizing them top off the carboy by adding them in, which displaces the batch ,,,,, sure makes a lot of sense ๐Ÿ™‚

    BTW, I also got a wine filter with the gear I purchased ( one of those mini jet filter types ) and would like to know if you recomend filtering somewhere in the process ..

    Thanks in advance for your responses and happy wine making everyone,,,

    Mike

  45. Erroll Post author

    Hi Mike,

    I’ve heard of the marbles idea, but never tried it – always wondered about getting the marbles into a carboy without splashing.

    Filtering can be a real plus – sometimes fining and racking doesn’t seem to do the trick, and other times people want their wine ready quickly. The danger in filtering is air contact, and I think this is especially true of the lower end devices. I’m curious to hear how yours works out – let me know!

    Erroll

  46. Mike

    Hi Erroll…
    Thanks for the feedback and response..
    I wanted to share what’s going on,,, 1st, I practiced with a wine kit, 1st press all grape… not bad, a couple more weeks to go before i have to bottle…..

    As for the Cherry wine,,, Here’s what I did ,,
    30 lbs wild cherry, 5 lbs rhubard, 1 lbs yellow plums ( why the plums? cause the roomate said if we don’t eat them they’ll go bad lol ,,,) about 11 lbs sugar, and 2.5 – 3 gallons water ( i got about 3 plus gallons of juice from the cherries ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    All I added was yeast nutrient, pitch yeast and left it in primary for 8 days…. racked to carboy, added bentonite ,, and this Thursday will be 3 weeks,,
    I have to say, I’ve compared the KIT wine to the cherry, and much prefer the cherry….
    The local wine shop guy has been walking me thru a few things, and lucky me , barely charges me for what I need, ( yeast, oak chips, bentonite etc, and after a taste test by him, he seems to think I lucked out with a good batch for my 1st attempt, :))) He said he could taste it all, cherry, skin, pits, and was full bodied to him ( I guess I owe him a bottle lol )

    I will add a ” bit” of sulfite on next rack, seems to be clearing quite nicely …

    I actually had an extra 1/2 gallon or more that I was planning to use to top off each racking BUT, dang lol it tastes too good.

    I think I have the wine making bug now, and next batch will be a peach wine,,,,

    Again, thanks for this forum, and post your experiences so we can all share in the joy of wine making

    Regards
    Mike

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *