Cranberry Wine From Frozen Concentrate?

I noticed some cranberry juice concentrate on sale the other day, and since I’m thinking about making cranberry wine I bought some. Can you make wine from cranberry juice concentrate? Yes, but “cranberry wine” might not be the best way to describe it. Most cranberry juice products are cocktails that contain cranberry juice. This frozen concentrate, for example, has more apple juice than cranberry juice.

Cranberry Juice Concentrate

What, you thought the “Cranberry” and “100% Juice” on the label meant that it was 100% cranberry juice? Silly you. The first ingredient is apple juice concentrate, followed by water, then cranberry juice concentrate. We’re not quite done. Next comes grape juice concentrate, black currant juice concentrate, and aronia berry juice concentrate. Aronia? It’s deciduous shrub, sometimes called black chokeberry that’s popular in Siberia. Really! Anyway, there’s still a few things in this “cranberry juice:” natural flavors, citric acid, and ascorbic acid.

I don’t want to knock this product. A blend of juices like that sounds promising, and might make a nice wine. In fact, I will make wine from it. Any ideas on what I should call the wine? “Apple Cranberry Grape Black-Currant Aroia wine” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue …

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12 thoughts on “Cranberry Wine From Frozen Concentrate?

  1. Aaron

    Hi Erroll,
    If the juice is “100% juice, cranberry” maybe the wine should be “100% wine, cranberry”? Seriously though, you’ve probably already seen it the Trader Joe’s here has pure cranberry juice for about $4 a quart, the best price I’ve seen recently. Can’t wait to here how it turns out.


  2. Erroll Post author

    I like it Aaron,

    Makes me want to pay with “100% money, dollars!”

    The juice aisle in Trader Joe’s, with all that unfermented wine, is a dangerous place for me. The apple juice is a real bargain. A gallon, in a glass jug, sells for less than an empty gallon jug in the homebrew shop. But yeah, I should check out their cranberry juice.


  3. Brad

    I’ve made several batches of Cranberry from both various types of cranberry concentrates. Some mixed, some not.

    An interesting problem with making Cranberry is that it has some sort of built in component that causes it to ferment very slowly. I’ve had some where it was still slowly fermenting a year or more later. My next batch I’m going to ensure I put more yeast nutrient and yeast energizer. A year in the bottle and Cranberry is awesome. Just have to pay attention because it is a real cork popper. — I have no problem using mixed fruit concentates. I just look for the 100% pure juice and no preservatives.

  4. Erroll Post author

    Hi Brad,

    The slow fermentation you mention reminds me of a similar problem with blueberries. My first batch of blueberry fermented slowly, stuck, resisted my efforts to restart, before finally fermenting to dryness. After that, I did some reading and it turned out that other people found blueberry tough to ferment. I started thinking it was something in the blueberries – some peculiar bit of chemistry that inhibited yeast. The funny thing is that my second batch of blueberry was much more concentrated (almost 100% blueberry instead of 3-4 lb per gallon) and it fermented quickly with no trouble. Now my thinking is nutrient deficiency or a pH crash (I didn’t measure pH in either batch, so I can’t be sure).

    After reading about how good your cranberry wine is, I’m getting really impatient to bottle mine!


  5. Bill D Hagerman

    Hi I to would love to make a cranberry wine ,where we live there are lots of hi bush cranberries, but any recipe I have read takes a year to make does that sound right ?? I mean I know it takes time for things to work I am short on patients, So if you couls provide me with a recipe I would love and I’ll give it a whirle. Thanks Bill.

  6. Bill

    Interesting. My best cranberry wine to date has been made from blue berries – fresh squeezed plus a cranberry juice found in the hippy food section of grocery store that was truely 100% cranbery. A 5 gal batch only included 1gal of hippy cranberry juice. Don’t recall the brand but it claimed to be 100% cranberry,, no sugar added, no other juice. It was terrible tasting on its own. I found this very tart and if I did it again would look closely at pH. I tried the ocean spray on sale but not so pleased. The 100% hippy cran was expensive but made an awesome Thanksgiving wine.
    cheers Bill

  7. Erroll Post author

    Hi Bill,

    I think blending has a lot of promise for fruit wine, and I love hearing about successful blends. So yours was one part cranberry to four parts blueberry? I’ll have to give that a try.

    Trader Joe’s sells a 100% cranberry juice called “Just Cranberry.” It might work as well as your “hippy cran.”


  8. JRL

    I’m messing with a batch now just using a 64oz bottle of the store brand 100% juice “cranberry flavored juice” with just adding the sugar and the yeast to see how it turns out.

  9. cryptozoologist

    my local grocery store has run a special on old orchard a few times this past year where you get 10 cans for $10 and the 11th can is free. all their juices are 100% juice and I have had especially good luck with the blueberry-pomegranite and the cranberry-pomegranate for wine.

  10. mike

    I have been reading about ph and acidity. seems as though pectin acid only found in grapes. it is a large contributor for a healthy fermentation. also for flavor and tartness. the acidity changes with the type of grape and the season and where it is grown. I am in the process of trying to figure this all out. there is a acidity test kit that can be purchased. I also understand that the three major types of acid supplements can be purchased to alter the acid levels. I just finished a batch of spiced apple wine, I did not check the levels of acid it took awhile to start working one it did holy cow . I added an extra 5 pounds of sugar and the alcohol content was through the roof 15/18% It was nasty . I sweetened it with 4 frozen concentrate apple juice then added Potassium Sorbate to make sure the fermentation would not start up again. I had to use a 2 step clarifier which cleared the wine to a crystal clear in just 48 hours. The wine is very delicious . I am going to try the same process with the cranberry wine.

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