August sees the hedgerows bursting with blackberries and these juicy, black fruit can be turned into wine, with the addition of just a few simple ingredients. Even if you're not a fan of blackberries as a fruit, you'll be surprised at drinkable this wine is. This recipe will produce a medium-bodied, dry wine. If you prefer it sweeter, then you will need to add a non-fermentable sweetener once fermentation has stopped, or add stabiliser (Potassium Sorbate) once fermentation has completed and sweeten with sugar.
Ingredients (makes 1 gallon / 4.5 litres):
1/2tsp citric acid
One Campden tablet
Wash and drain the blackberries and place in a large, coarse straining bag. Crush the blackberries, squeezing the juice into a sterilised 5-litre fermentation bucket, tie a knot in the bag and place in the bucket, then add the sugar, water (up to the 5 litre mark), citric acid and a crushed campden tablet. The campden tablet will help to kill off any wild yeast, bacteria and other bugs. Give it all a good stir to ensure that the sugar is fully dissolved, then put a lid on the bucket and leave for 24 hours to allow the sulphur from the the campden tablet to dissipate.
After 24 hours, add the yeast and yeast nutrient to the mix and replace the lid. Give the mix a stir once a day, for five days, then lift out the muslin bag and give it a good squeeze to extract as much juice as possible. Transfer the wine to a demijohn, using a siphon, but only fill to the shoulder (where the glass curves inwards). The fermentation process can produce a lot of froth which will come squirting out of the airlock if you over-fill, so transfer the remaining half litre-or-so of wine to a separate wine bottle, or other container, which can be fitted with an airlock.
After a few days, once fermentation has subsided, add the wine you set aside into the demijohn, using a siphon to avoid splashing. Ferment out at 18-22°C for 2-3 weeks, until all fermentation activity has stopped. Look for small bubbles rising at the neck - if no bubbles are seen after 3 weeks, fermentation has probably completed.
Using a siphon, rack (transfer) the wine to a second, sterilised demijohn, with a crushed campden tablet, leaving the sediment behind. Fit the demijohn with an airlock and leave in a cool, dark place for 2-3 months. Rack once more into a sterilised demijohn with a crushed campden tablet, Fit an airlock and allow to mature in bulk for six months to a year before bottling. Check the airlock on a regular basis and top up if necessary. If the airlock's water evaporates, your wine will oxidise turn sour. Alternatively, fit one of our safety corks.
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