Category Archives: Raspberry Wine

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


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


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!

Raspberry Wine: How the pros do it

Winemaker magazine has a good article on commercial raspberry wine and how two wineries make it. There are striking similarities between the two, but each has a unique style and that means there are some important differences. Lets look at both and see what we can learn.

Denny Franklin of Pheasant Hollow Winery

Mr. Franklin aims for a must of 21-22 Brix, ferments dry, then sweetens to 4-6% sugar. That’s a lot of sugar, but the high acidity of raspberries leaves it tasting less sweet that you might think. He notes that pressing can be difficult and advises patience – be slow and deliberate. He doesn’t use recipes, but provides a lot of info on the typical quantities he uses. I was able to scale those down and distill his method into a recipe:

Ingredients for 6.25 – 7.5 gallons (23.7 – 28.4 liters) of Raspberry Wine
Item US Measure Metric Measure
Frozen Raspberries 40 lb 18 kg
Sugar 10 lb 4.5 kg
Water 1 gallon 3.8 liters
Superfood 7 g 7 g
Pectic Enzyme unspecified unspecified
Bentonite 7 g 7 g


  • Use frozen raspberries, dissolve sugar in water then add to raspberries
  • Add pectic enzyme and stir
  • Pitch yeast (Lalvin EC-1118) when the must reaches 50F (10C)
  • Ferment at 75-80F (24-27C), punch down the cap twice per day
  • Press when it has fermented out (about 7-8 days)
  • Fine with bentonite (1 g/gallon)
  • Cold settle at 26-30F (-3 to -1 C)
  • Filter or age & rack until clear
  • Stabilize and sweeten to taste ~ usually 4-6%, 0.68–1.0 lb/gallon (81–118 g/L)

Christine Lawlor-White of Galena Cellars Winery

Lawlor-White offered less detail about quantities, so no recipe. But experienced winemakers should be able to make good use of her method. She notes the same difficulty in pressing as Mr Franklin, and suggests rice hulls. She doesn’t specify a residual sugar level or discuss sweetening, but I’ve got to think she’s not out to make dry wine with 100% raspberries.

  • Use frozen raspberries, freeze fresh ones, to get better extraction
  • Sugar to 23 brix, 8-14 Brix from raspberries & 1 Brix for each 0.084 lbs. (0.038 kg) sugar
  • Sulfite frozen raspberries to 50 ppm, then cover with dry sugar
  • Stir in sugar when the raspberries have thawed
  • Pitch yeast when must reaches 50F (Lavlin EC-1118 or V-1116)
  • Ferment between 50-60F (10-16C)
  • Skim off cap w/slotted spoon and discard to avoid cloudy bitter wine from ellagic acid contact
  • Press after 5 days, even if still fermenting, to get the wine off the fruit ASAP
  • Press with rice hulls to improve yield

One’s like a red, the other like a white

Both use frozen raspberries, neither dilutes with water, and both pitch the yeast at 50F. They both recommend Lavlin EC-1118 yeast. Mr Franklin makes his raspberry wine a lot like a conventional red wine: punch down the cap, press after it’s fermented out, ferment at a relatively high temperature. Lawlor-White, on the other hand, ferments cool and presses early. She also scoops out and discards as much of the cap as she can. It’s more like a white or rose. And yet, I imagine her white is full bodied and brimming with flavor – unlike any white or rose you’ve ever had.

Lesson learned: Avoid acid reduction – sweeten instead

What really stands out is that they both make undiluted raspberry wine, while nearly every raspberry wine recipe I’ve seen calls for a small amount of fruit (3 lb or so per gallon) and a lot of water. The reason for this, aside from cost savings, is that raspberries are so high in acid. Yet, neither winemaker mentions reducing the acid, and here I’d like to talk about my own experience. My last raspberry wine was from juice, like Lawlor-White I don’t want my raspberry wine fermenting on the fruit, and much less water than most recipes. I tried to make a dry wine and reduce the acid. It was a pretty drastic reduction and I think it affected the flavor. I wasn’t happy with the result, and I now recommend sweetening to bring raspberry wine into balance.

Red or white?

As I said, I’m wary enough of fermenting on the fruit that I make raspberry wine from juice. That said, the decision to make it like a red or white is a stylistic difference. The only way to know which is right for you is to make both and try them. Yes, that means drinking a lot of raspberry wine, but you’ll just have to take one for the team and drink up!

Know Your Ingredients: Raspberries

You can make good raspberry wine without knowing much about raspberries. Lots of people, including me, have done it by following a recipe. But if you want to know why your favorite recipe does things the way it does, or if you want to create your wine from scratch, then you need to know more about the fruit. I tried to collect information about raspberries that’s relevant to making wine and put it in a convenient place you can bookmark.

First some basics: One cup (240 ml) of raspberries weigh about 4.3 oz (123 grams).1 Fresh raspberries keep best when stored cold, just above 32F (0C).2 If you’re making wine and you have the space, then I recommend freezing – they not only keep well frozen, but the freeze/thaw process aids in extraction. One more thing: unlike grapes, the acid in raspberries is almost all citric.

What’s in raspberries?

Raspberry and grape composition1
Component Raspberries Grapes
Water 85.75 80.54
Protein 1.2 0.72
Fat 0.65 0.16
Ash 0.46 0.48
Fiber 6.5 0.9
Total Sugar 4.42 15.48
Starch 0 0

The amounts are g/100 g, and do not add up to 100 because the test for each component is subject to experimental error. The USDA presents this data a little differently, by including a carbohydrate line item. They don’t actually test for carbohydrates, though, they just report the difference between 100 and the sum of water, protein, fat, and ash3. Ideally, it would equal the sum of total dietary fiber, total sugar, and starch. They do measure those three quantities, so I include them in place of the carbohydrate line item.

Sugar content is hard to measure

The amount of fiber is interesting because it might explain why you can’t rely on your hydrometer to gauge sugar content in raspberries. Almost all the soluble solids in wine grapes are sugar, but they are only about 30% sugar in raspberries. Adding acid content to total sugar only gets us to 50%, on average4. So what’s the rest? Take another look at that fiber line. Some of that fiber, the USDA doesn’t say how much, is soluble fiber and would make up part of the soluble solids.

Average Stats
Brix: 10.04,5,6
Sugar (g/100 g): 4.31,4,5
TA (% citric): 1.64
pH: 3.35,6

Making raspberry wine

What does all this mean? That raspberries are different from wine grapes in some important ways. Since most knowledge about wine making comes from making grape wine, we should start with those differences and how they might change our usual practices.

Because sugar is harder to measure in raspberries than grapes, you’re better off using an average value of 4.3 g/100g rather than a hydrometer or refractometer reading. Another big difference from grape wine is the high pectin content, so you should plan on a higher dosage of pectic enzyme – maybe 6x as much for the same weight. Finally, because each raspberry is a collection of many tiny berries, raspberries have a lot more skin and seed surface area than grapes. This means phenolic extraction will be very high, so I recommend juicing the raspberries and making the wine like a white or rose instead of fermenting on the skin.

So start with your juice. Measure the volume and titratable acidity (I’d expect around 16 g/L) and use 4.3 Brix (1.017 SG) as an approximate sugar content. Choose target values for alcohol and TA based on the style of wine your trying to make and your personal taste. Then determine the amount of sugar, water, and acid to add to your juice. I created the Wine Recipe Wizard just for this purpose.

If you’re making a dry wine, then all you have to do is make these additions and ferment to dryness. For a sweet wine stabilize and sweeten after your wine has cleared.


1) USDA National Nutrient Database Great information on the composition of many foods. I used the keyword “raspberries” and the food group “fruit & fruit juices,” and selected raw raspberries to find information for this post.

2) On Food and Cooking – Haraold McGee
An excellent book on the science of cooking. No recipes, but lots of information on ingredients, like raspberries and other fruits, and food chemistry. That makes it a great reference for the home winemaker as well as the home cook.

3) Documentation for USDA National Nutrient Database When you really want to know how the USDA determined the amount of fat in raspberries – or how and why they did anything in the nutrient database – look here.

4) Volatile Composition in Raspberry Cultivars Grown in the Pacific Northwest Determined by Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction-Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry – Sarah M. M. Malowicki, Robert Martin, and Michael C. Qian
Measures the composition of raspberries grown in Washington in 2005. Includes good data on sugar, acid, and soluble solids.

5) Raspberries And Related Fruit – Dr. Marvin Pritts
Does not report direct measurments, but indicates that “typical” raspberries will weigh in at 9 Brix, which agrees with Malowicki et al, have a pH between 3.0 – 3.5, and will contain 5-6% sugar. That’s a higher sugar content than Malowicki but significantly less than if the soluble solids were 100% sugar.

6) Raspberry Wine Recipe – One of my own raspberry wines.

Notes and Further Reading

The Average Stats table is just me with a calculator trying to boil down the tables, ranges, and approximate values of my sources into a simple useful number. Here are sources that I wanted to track down, but couldn’t for one reason or another:

  • Boland, F.E., V. Blomquist, and B. Estrin. 1968. Chemical composition of fruits. J.A.O.A.C. 51: 1203.
    Chemical composition of strawberries, red raspberries, blackberries, black raspberries, boysenberries and cranberries is presented. Analysis included total soluble solids, ash, K2O, P2O5, invert sugar, protein, citric acid and amino acid.
  • Leinback, L. R.; Seegmiller, C. G.; Wilbur, J. S. 1951. Composition Of Red Raspberries Including Pectin Characterization. Food Technology 5:51
  • Spanos, G.A. and R.E. Wrolstad. 1987. Anthocyanin pigment, nonvolatile acid, and sugar composition of red raspberry juice. J. Assoc. Off. Anal Chem. 70(6): 1036.

Raspberry Wine Recipe

I made raspberry wine last year. I haven’t talked about it before because I made it and racked it before I started blogging. I also made it before I owned a pH meter or an acid test kit, so I was really flying blind. How do you make raspberry wine without measuring the acidity? I measured what I could, then I consulted Ben Rotter’s table of fruit data. It’s a goldmine of data about sugar, acid, and tannins in fruit as well as juice yield.

Raspberry Wine Recipe

My 10.75 lb (4.9 kg) of raspberries yielded 3 quarts (2.8 liters) of SG 1.050 juice. My notes show that I expected a TA of 14-18 g/L, though when I look at the table now that seems low. I picked the fruit at a U-pick farm after some unusually hot weather. My notes don’t say, but maybe I was expecting the hot weather to lower the acid. At any rate, I dissolved 3 lb (1.4 kg) sugar in 3.3 quarts (3.1 liters) of water. I treated with sulfite, pectic enzyme, and nutrient then pitched the yeast. It fermented to dryness in less than two weeks.

More on raspberry wine

Promising, but too acidic

I did some measurements recently:

SG = 0.992
TA = 14 g/L
pH = 2.96
volume = 1.5 gallons (5.7 liters)

It tasted tart, but it wasn’t the undrinkable firewater you might expect. There was a very nice flavor in there, and it complemented the raspberry aroma very well. I decided to use potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3), to take down the acid a notch, at a 1.5 tsp/Gallon (2.4 g/L) rate. I’m hoping to reduce the acid by 2-3 g/L. I’ve set it aside, with the cherry wine, and intend to taste them both in a few months. Maybe that’s all the raspberry wine needs, or maybe the acidity will still be too much. If so, it’ll be time to sweeten it a little.

Do as I say, not as I do!

I think this is going to have a happy ending, but you really should do your own measurements. Bookmark Ben’s site, and not just for the fruit data, and use it to help make your own recipes, but make final decisions about acid and fruit proportions based on accurate measurements of the fruit you are using.

Update 12/9/2008 – It needed sweetening

It’s still too tart, even after neutralizing some of the acid, so I sweetened my raspberry wine.