How to Make Blackcurrant Wine with Fresh Berries
How to make homemade blackcurrant wine using fresh blackcurrant berries and a few other winemaking ingredients. Blackcurrant wine is one of the best of the country wines and creates a fruity light red drink.
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I’m really taking advantage of this year’s berry harvest down at our local ‘Pick-Your-Own’ berry farm — it’s a joy that it’s only a five-minute drive away. While I was picking strawberries for my Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam, I spotted the blackcurrant bushes absolutely laden with juicy blackberries. Hanging from the branches as they do, they remind me of trusses of mini black grapes – which is a good thing because that also reminded me that they make excellent wine. As John Seymour said in his book ‘The New Self-Sufficient Gardener’:
“Blackcurrant Wine – This is the best of the fruit wines, except of course grape wine.”
My wine is already in its airlocked fermentation stage as you can see in the first picture of this post. It’s a gorgeous crimson magenta and is happily bubbling away in the kitchen now. After fermentation is complete, I’ll rack it into another demi-john and put it away in a cool, dark place for about three months before I rack it again into bottles. So this batch of summer goodness should be ready to drink in the darkest days of the coming winter. Here’s the recipe I used:
Country Wine Recipes
Blackcurrant Wine Recipe
Makes 6 bottles of wine
- 900g [2lb] Blackcurrants
- 1020g [2.25lb] Sugar
- 3.8L [1 US gallon] Water
- 1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
- 1 tsp Pectic Enzyme (pectolase)
- 1 Sachet of Red Wine Yeast (5g)
- For after fermenation: 1 Campden Tablet (potassium metabisulfite)
You will also need winemaking equipment, and the below product from Amazon has everything you need to get started:
Premium Wine Making Equipment Kit – with Auto-Syphon
1. Rinse blackcurrants well and remove any leaves and as many stems as possible. Place them into your primary fermentation bucket and crush them with a potato masher.
2. Bring your water to a boil and then remove it from heat. Stir the sugar into it until it’s completely dissolved and then allow this sugar water to cool to room temperature.
3. When cooled, mix the yeast nutrient and pectolase into the sugar water. Next, take about 1.5 cups out and place it a small bowl. Pour the rest of the sugar water over the berries. Blackcurrants contain a lot of pectin, which is great for jam-making but will cause your wine to go cloudy or even slightly jelly – the Pectolase will make sure this doesn’t happen!
4. Empty your sachet of yeast into the 1.5 cups of reserved sugar water, stir well and wait about 15 minutes or until the yeast has been activated and it’s built up a good foam. Stir this into the primary fermentation bucket.
5. Now cover the bucket with a clean dishcloth and let sit in a quiet corner of the kitchen for five days, stirring gently once a day. The yeast will be going mad at this moment and will be putting off a lot of carbon dioxide, thus protecting it against bacterial contamination.
6. At the end of the five days, have your demi-john sterilized and ready. Mine are glass so I’ll first wash the demi-john with soapy water, rinse it well and then put it in the oven for 30 minutes at 130°C [275°F]. Allow to cool before pouring your wine in.
7. Now strain your berry mixture through a sterilized fine-mesh strainer or a muslin and into a sterilized bucket. Squeeze as much of the liquid as you can out of the berries and then discard the pulp. Then you need to get your liquid into the demi-john: you can either siphon it using a small hose or you can pour it in using a funnel and a ladle. Fill the demi-john up to at least its shoulder. Just make sure that there’s some space between the bottom of the airlock and the top of the liquid – about 3 cm is ideal. Also, try to avoid pouring in any of the sediment that forms at the bottom of the primary fermentation container.
8. Once the liquid is in, fit your air-lock cork into the demi-john and then pour a little sterilized (but cool) water into your air-lock before fitting it into the cork. The temperatures that the wine should be at during its fermentation vary depending on the type of wine yeast you’re using – take a look at the sachet for this information.
9. Fermentation in the demi-john will take about a month, more or less.
10. Once fermentation is complete, you’ll rack the wine out, add a crushed Campden tablet to it to inhibit bacterial contamination. Then siphon it back into another clean and sterilized demi-john to age for about six months before racking the wine into bottles. You can technically drink it at this time but it’s best to allow the wine to age at least a further 6 months to allow the flavor to mature.
My demi-John is six gallon but this recipe makes only 6 bottles. Should I buy a smaller demi-john as the recipe says the liquid should come to the shoulder of the bottle? Is all that air space alright? Thanks for your help.
Hi Paul, you could scale up the recipe or get a smaller demi. The more oxygen exposure, the more chance of your wine going bad.
You need only 1/2 liter of water and 400-600 grams of sugar per 1 liter of unfiltered blackurrant juice. When the fermentation is over (it takes about 4 months to ferment thoroughly) you need to bottle the wine and let it mature for at least one year in a dark place.
Give it a try and you’ll never look for another recipe.
Nice blog i allways make creme de cassise as some years ago i decided to prune my 3 blackcurrant bushes in the spring as they were growing very tangled cut the pruned branches into 8 inch lengths n stuck them all in a row in the veggie garden…..106 cutting took so these were replanted in in bunches of 5 or 6 and very rapidle formed big bushes that way. Will try this as no way do i need the amount of C D C my bushes can make but will point out campden tablets are not good for anybody who suffers migranes as the sulfates are a common trigger if you select the right wine yeast for the strength you want when alcohol reaches that amount in the wine yeast dies
hi first time , have elderbeyy and blackberry wine , was strain a weel ago and but in fermenting bucket with airlock, 8 days on the bubbling stopped. so read up and said syphone to clean demijohn to settle , but did not say whether to add bung and airlock again, so i have and am still getting bubbles added campen tablet and settling powder as explained. i have one full demijohn and half one, do i need to do anything or just let it rest and when looking clear syphone off or rack off again , not very good instructions once at this point
It’s hard to say whether your wine needs more fermentation or is finished without your taking specific gravity readings. You do this before fermentation truly begins and then again when you think it’s finished. It will tell you how much alcohol is in the wine. In your case, fermentation could have stopped because it was finished, or because of other factors like ambient temperature. 8 days of bubbling does not sound like enough time to me so I doubt that your batch has succeeded. Re-read the instructions and you’ll note that it takes 5 days plus a month for the wine to be made.
I wish I had found this post before I used another much more complicated recipe!!! The recipe I used didn’t say to add the pectolase prior to fermentation. It is now 5 days and definitely ready to be syphoned off the currants and into first demijohn. Is it too late to add the pectolase?
You could try but it’s best to add Pectic Acid before fermentation to reduce the haze. Your wine will be completely fine without it though — it will just probably be cloudy rather than clear.
Thanks for sharing your currant wine recipe. I love your posts and visit often.
You’re welcome Marlene and thanks for your lovely comment :)
Tanya. Seen your recipe for blackcurrant wine last week.
I’ve inherited an allotment with masses of blackcurrants and Joster Berries. Got all my stuff and going to give it a go. Fingers crossed.
Josta berries? Oh they are delish! Have a fun time making homemade wine :)
Followed your method which was really easy to follow thank you. Reached stage 10 I have racked the wine off (and a quick taste all was looking good) the wine is now back in the demi John but is now very cloudy and not looking like clearing I am considering adding finings what are your thoughts please
Blackcurrants are high in Pectin, which is the same substance that makes Apple Cider cloudy. To clear your wine you can add ‘Pectolase’ before fermentation begins as mentioned in the recipe. If you’re at the stage where Pectolase has been added and the wine is still cloudy after fermentation then you can add 2 teaspoons of Bentonite Clay. Mix the clay in about 1/2 cup of water until there are no clumps. Let the clay sit a couple of hours to fully hydrate and then gently mix it into the wine. Re-attach the airlock and let the wine sit another seven days.
This is the first time I’ve made wine from scratch! Thanks for the easy to follow guide – I’ve got a demijohn full from 2kg of fruit. Just need to wait 6 months now before testing some..
I now have only about half a demi jar of liquid left. Siophan spillage didn’t help. At least it looks like wine and it tastes OK, Its not too sweet.
The hydrometer is less than 1010 and above the black mark which says bottle. It probably needs a sugar and yeast
solution. I have ordered wine yeast. There is a bubble about every 2 min from the jar, The liquid is at 22*C.
You’ll be a pro by round two :)
Hi, great recipe and easy to follow. Just a quick question; after it’s finished fermenting and you’re racking into demi John’s for 6 months, prior to bottling, do you need airlock?
Not after it’s finished fermenting. You top the demi with a solid rubber bung rather than an airlock.
I made wine over 20 years ago. This was just to see how the thing worked and it was all shop bought ingredients.
This time I hope to get brew from my own berries. I notice it is more difficult now. There are no shops selling the equipment and its difficult enough to get advice. Alcohol is much cheaper now in the Off Licence. I asked a lady in a small Health Shop about wine making. She looked it up on the computer and it seemed to be a simple as 1,2,+3. She was unsure about the yeast but I took a chance.
With brewing in Britain the internet is your saving grace! Purchase wine making yeast from specialty suppliers or Ebay and recipes are abundant. Saying that, my blogging friend Ben Hardy wrote an excellent wine making book. See more information at the bottom of this piece
There is a very helpful man in the Health Food shop on Bucks Road which stocks all the home brew equipment etc – if you live in IOM I would pop in and see him. His prices are very competitive.
Have a good crop of blackcurrants. Have started the process of wine making. I have the lot bubbling in the jar. I now realize I will have to mash up the berries. I put the cart before the horse.
Not a big deal but do you mean that the berries are in your demi-john? You’ll ideally need to strain them out before then.
I transferred everything into a basin and mashed the berries. Its a week in the basin and its still active -a bubble per sec. I used ordinary bread yeast. I got pectolase to day. I may add it soon.
The sugar I used was coconut blossom. The sugar seems to be of good quality.I will siphon the liquid in the basin into the jar in the next 24 hrs.
After all that I now have my eye on an elderberry tree. Its rooted in the next garden but I got a branch to grow in my side. Its now has a reasonable crop of berries but Mr Blackbird has them on his menu. They are just about getting ripe. So I hope to make some wine from them.
I’ve heard that using bread yeast doesn’t give a good result in wine…will you let me know your own experiences? Is this your first time making wine?
when i transfer the fermented wine into a clean demi john do i still use the fermentaion funnel as the stopper?
24/4… saw some bubbles yipeeee Thank you for your help… Sandra
Sometimes it takes a day or three for the wine to start bubbling again. In the meantime, place it in a warm part of the house to encourage the yeast to get back to work.
Hi Blackcurrant wine was fermenting really well in my tub but now transferred to DJ with bung and airlock but now no bubbles??? what should i do now please..
Hi, Have made 3 demi-johns of blackcurrant wine using your recipe. Concerning the water quantity, 3.8 litres is considerably less than 1 gallon. can u advise?
The issue is with imperial vs us measurements… I use litres but many of my readers are Americans so the non metric weights are in US volumes.
But don't let that worry you too much. When making country wines it's okay to top up your demis with water if you don't have enough. You'll find that some will evaporate during the primary fermentation stage and it's always best to have your demis full to neck. About 3 cm between the bottom of the airlock and the surface of the wine is best.
After moving wine from bucket to the demijohn with airlock there are no bubbles or sign of fermentation. It smells yeasty and colour is like the one in the picture, is something wrong and if so how can I fix it?
There's a few things that might be happening. First, check that the airlock/bung is really air-tight. If so, and you don't live in a hot climate, I'd let the must sit in a warmish place for a couple of days to give the yeast a chance to restart on their own.
Tanya, at the end of my five days can I taste the wine to see how the fermentation went. The wine smells really strong, and am concerned that it might of turned to some sort of vinegar.
It will smell pretty strong at that point and won't taste that great for at least a few months after final racking and bottling. If it does smell vinegary though then you might have a problem with contamination…
Sissi – Thank you for your kind words :) Blackcurrant Vodka sounds really interesting…I haven't tried it before but can imagine it's delicious!
Matron – I'm really happy to bring back memories of happy times. I think that's why I enjoy gardening and preserving as well – it reminds me of summer days at Grandma's house :)
You've brought back happy memories of my childhood. My Dad used to have dozens of demi johns popping away on a high shelf in the kitchen. I loved to stop and listen!
Tanya, you have a beautiful and inspiring blog! I started making my first black currant vodka last week. The smell is already divine… I wonder what will happen in a couple of months.
I once had the pleasure to taste a home-made black currant wine. It was luscious and the aroma was incredible. However, I never think of embarking on this kind of adventure. The fermentation stage scares me! I will have to content myself with my infused vodka ;-)
Thanks Cynthia! It really is an easy process – even more so, since it's divided over a long-ish period of time. I really encourage you to give it a go :)
Your blackcurrant wine sounds just wonderful! I have always wanted to try my hands at making elderberry wine or maybe even some dandelion wine but get a little intimidated by the whole process. Is it as tricky to make as I fear? I would love to read about updates on your wine!