Blackcurrant wine is the best of the fruit wines
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 black berries. 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:
Equipment – 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 with a potato masher.
2. Bring your water to a boil and then remove 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 and then take about 1.5 cups out and place into 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 dish-cloth 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 sterilised 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 sterilised fine-mesh strainer or a muslin and into a sterilised 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 sterilised (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 sterilised 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 flavour to mature.