Raspberry Wine: A look at existing recipes

I’ve written about commercial raspberry wine before. It’s usually made with 100% raspberries – not diluted with water at all, and that means big bold flavor and aroma. Residual sugar is very high, but balanced against very high acidity. These wines are Texas-sized in every respect. Home winemakers do it differently.

Made well, this wine is fragrant, subtle, dry, and goes with anything except heavy tomato and meat dishes. ~ Terry Garey

So how exactly do homemade raspberry wine recipes differ? Let’s find out. Here’s a look at some popular recipes that have stood the test of time.

Terry Garey’s “Furst Raspberry Wine”

Recipe for 1 gallon (3.785 liters) of Raspberry Wine
Ingredient US Measure Metric Measure
Water 3.75 quarts 3.6 liters
Sugar 2.25 lb 1 kg
Rasberries 3 – 4 lb 1.4 – 1.8 kg
Acid Blend 0.5 tsp 2.5 ml
Tannin 0.125 tsp 0.5 ml
Yeast Nutrient 1 tsp 5 ml
Campden Tablet 1 1
Pectic Enzyme 0.5 tsp 2.5 ml
Wine Yeast 1 packet 1 packet

Procedure

The raspberries can be fresh or frozen, the campden tablet is optional, and she recommends Montrachet or Champagne wine yeast.

  • Dissolve sugar in water, then boil
  • Put raspberries in a straining bag, then crush
  • Pour hot water over the berries, then add acid, tannin, & nutrient
  • Wait for the temperature to come down, then add the campden tablet
  • Wait 12 hours (if not using a campden tablet, just wait for the must to cool), then add the pectic enzyme
  • Take a hydrometer reading (SG), wait 12 hours, then add yeast
  • After fermentation begins, stir daily
  • After fermentation subsides (about a week), remove the straining bag with the fruit
  • Rack to a secondary fermenter when the SG drops below 1.030
  • Rack again when you notice sediment
  • Wait six months, sweeten if desired, then bottle

Thoughts

I’ve got a soft spot for Terry Garey. Her’s was my first winemaking book, and I still think it’s a great way to start. I’ve made her raspberry wine, and liked it. It’s great in the summer with shrimp & pasta salad!

She emphasizes quality fruit, “perfect, flavorful, fresh berries” and starting the wine as soon as possible after picking (hours or less). Her book is worth buying just for the recipes, but it’s more than that. It’s a terrific source for ideas on blending – she recommends cherry, blueberry, or blackberry to blend with raspberry, for example.

Jack Keller’s Raspberry Wine Recipes

Red raspberries make a fragrant, subtle wine. It should be made dry so that a subtle hint of tartness carries its distinctive flavor to the sides of the tongue as it is sipped, chilled. ~ Jack Keller

You really can’t look at raspberry wine recipes, or any wine making recipes, without looking at Jack Keller’s website. He presents two dry raspberry wine recipes here. These are made in the style of traditional country wines, in fact the first recipe was adapted from Terry Garey’s (great minds think alike!). No need to repeat that one, so let’s look at his second recipe:

Red Raspberry Wine #2
Ingredient US Measure Metric Measure
Water 7 2/3 pints 3.6 liters
Sugar 2.5 lb 1.1 kg
Rasberries 2.5 lb 1.1 kg
Acid Blend 1 tsp 5 ml
Tannin 0.25 tsp 1.25 ml
Yeast Nutrient 1 tsp 5 ml
Campden Tablet 1 1
Pectic Enzyme 0.5 tsp 2.5 ml
Wine Yeast 1 packet 1 packet
If there’s one thing I would do differently, it would be to defer the acid addition. Once the finished wine has aged for a bit, a few months maybe, measure the acidity and taste the wine. Then add acid as necessary.

More alike than different

A little less fruit. A little more sugar, acid, & tannin. The procedure is slightly different too (click through to see that details, plus some info on making a “second wine”). Garey’s recipe calls for a straining bag and warns against pressing the pulp, for example, while this one does not mention a straining bag and instructs you to press. Compared to commercial raspberry wine, though, these two recipes are nearly identical.

In fact there’s quite a consensus on how to make raspberry wine at home. I did an internet search and found quite a few recipes. I selected five of the highest ranked (I’m not sure what Google knows about making or drinking wine, but you work with what you have) and made a spreadsheet of the ingredients. Four of the five clustered together, with one outlier. I could probably make that spreadsheet into a composite recipe: “Meta Raspberry Wine” or “Internet Raspberry Wine”. It would look a lot like these two recipes, but what I’m interested in is why the divide between commercial and home winemakers? Each style is good and has it’s place – make both!



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2 thoughts on “Raspberry Wine: A look at existing recipes

  1. Christopher Hall

    I made a raspberry mead, a variation of the classic JAO. I used 24 oz of berries and 3.25 pounds honey. Looking at these recipes, my berries are on the light side. Being a JAOV, I used bread yeast (gasp!).

    It fermented well, cleared beautifully, and is a deep red with a hint of pink. When you taste it, there is a small hint of cough syrup in the beginning, but that fades and leaves a wonderful sunny berry taste that lingers on the tongue. When I tasted a cold glass of the lees, the medicine taste was gone and it was just wonderful.

    Think I’ll try another, using more berries and maybe some tannins.

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