Now that we’ve hit September, out come the glass fermentation jars (demi-johns) again – of at least one gallon capacity. In England, at any rate, this is a fabulous year for countryside fare. Vegetables, fruit and berries are abundant and are just waiting to be picked to be made into wonderful wine, jam and preserves.
To make several varieties of blackberry wine, do try to collect wildblackberries which have a stronger, more robust flavour than the cultivatedgarden bushes. Sometimes the addition of apples or mulberry give anintriguingly appealing flavour and it is such fun to experiment with differentquantities and styles. At fruit markets there are great bargains to be had,although the chosen fruit must be of good quality and not already fermenting orgoing mouldy.
There are dozens of good pure blackberry wine recipes and otherswith additions of other fruit and vegetables, but here is one which has won meprizes over the years.
The following recipe makes a good medium bodied table wine. Allutensils that come into contact with the ingredients must be scrupulously cleanand sterilised with campden tablets. An hydrometer to test sugar level isuseful, but not essential.
BlackberryTable Wine Recipe
– 2 kg (4½ lb) blackberries
– 2 ripe bananas
– 250g (9 oz) red grape juice concentrate
– 900g (2 lb) granulated sugar
– 10 g (2 tsp) citric acid
– Grape tannin (1 tsp)
– 5 pints water
– Pectic enzyme and campden tablets
– Wine yeast and nutrient (optional)
1- Prepare a white plastic bucket. Sterilisewith crushed campden tablets. Put the washed and drained blackberries into thebucket with 5 pints of boiled and cooled water. Add the peeled bananas, mashedwith the back of a sterilised spoon (or liquidise them). Add acid, pecticenzyme and 1 campden tablet. Cover and leave for 24 hours.
2- Stir in the grape juice, yeast andnutrient and ferment in the bucket for five days, pressing down the fruit capdaily.
3- Strain out the pulp, through a sterilisedtea-towel or muslin. Pour this ‘must’ into a sterilised 1-gallon fermentationjar, using a large funnel. Stir in the sugar, top up to the neck with coldboiled water. For a day or so, pop cotton wool into the neck of the jar asblackberries are particularly vigorous, then fit an air-lock and allow toferment in a warm place (around 70 degrees). This could take several weeks.
4- When a sediment settles,rack off into another clean jar, using sterilised plastic tubing. Add onecrushed Campden tablet to the jar. When the wine has cleared and is lookingclear and bright, rack again and store for at least 6 months before bottling.Keep for a further period then serve, free from chill with cheese and roastmeat.