There has been an evident upward surge in the popularity of fruit based beers over the past decade, and this trend does not appear to be slowing down.
One of the popular choices among fruit beer drinkers are blueberry beers.
Not only do blueberry beers give a sharp and delicious fruity taste, they also look kind of cool, especially in the hands of hipsters.
Despite blueberry wine not actually being blue in colour, the drink itself surpasses its beer counterpart, hands down.
Blueberry wine seems to be a secret kept well under wraps and this is a little surprising because it is not very difficult to make.
The depth of flavours, tangy streak, and fullness of the wine are a perfect reward for brewing it yourself.
Also, timings are perfect with this wine because if you source your berries in spring, you will be sipping your wine in late summer.
Although fresh blueberries are ideal, there is no problem with grabbing some shop bought frozen berries. Alike grapes, blueberries do not require much preparation before being made into wine – all you have to do is give them a clean and a bit of a bash!
Follow our DIY tutorial and recipe below and you will be amazed at what even the novice winemaker can achieve!
Ingredients Per 1 Gallon (6 Bottles) of Blueberry Wine
We highly recommend avoiding standard wine yeast and instead grabbing some red wine yeast to ensure you produce a wine full in taste and rick in colour.
Naturally, different brands of red wine yeast follow different methods of preparation and you should always follow guidelines strictly specific to the amount of wine you want to make…
What Equipment Will You Need?
Blueberry wine may just be the perfect initial wine for anyone who is new to the homemade wine making field… Not that you won’t return to it when you’re an expert brewer 🙂
The equipment needed is standard in any wine making so it will be a worthwhile investment rather than a purchase.
For those newcomers to the wine making scene that don’t want to purchase each individual piece of equipment individually, there’s a very convenient solution out there in the form of Homemade Starter Kit.
The best winemaker’s equipment will continue to work for many seasons and this one we like the most.
This starter kit contains everything that you will need and makes your journey in becoming an expert winemaker much more enjoyable.
If you’d still like to buy each equipment separately, the specific items you will need to get started are listed below:
- Food grade sterilized fermenting (brewing) bin with at least a gallon capacity. The white bucket on the left side is food grade plastic container with the capacity of 5 gallons. You can use it for almost anything and you can get it for as cheap as $39 on the market today.
- 2 demijohns from glass and more than 1 gallon in capacity.
- Simply fitted airlock and bung.
- Straining bag.
- Vinyl siphon tube with a minimum length of 3 ft.
- Glass wine bottles, corker and fitted corks.
- Large funnel.
Where To Get Blueberries?
One advantage of making blueberry flavoured wine is that most people can identify a blueberry easily.
Readily available in the wild or in gardens, and at your local supermarket; it should not be difficult to get your hands on as many as you need.
Not only are they widely available throughout the year, they are also full of nutritious goodness and not so expensive.
If you will opt for sourcing your berries from the wild to get a fresher flavour, then you will have to start searching in May.
Blueberry season does not last very long and you will probably struggle to find many after early August. At this point your supermarket becomes your reliable backup plan.
If you are going to source your berries at a farm or specified picking area, we recommend finding out if the blueberries have been organically grown.
This is because blueberries do not need chemicals or pesticides, but if they are used they can damage your wine’s flavour, making it bland and even too dry.
The berries that you should pick are plump and have a blue/greyish colour. Avoid picking any mushy berries or those that have a green or even red colour.
Attempt to start the process as soon as you have collected your berries.
If one or some of your berries start to turn moldy this poses a great risk on spreading to the rest of your stock.
Firstly, go through your berries and remove any debris such as dirt, bugs, and twigs…
Also search for those berries that are starting to mold and any berries that you accidently picked and may not be ripe enough yet.
Once you’ve sifted through your berries and are happy with them, wash them with cool water.
Place the berries into a large pot and crush them with your hands (wear some older clothes at this stage).You could also grab a potato masher if you want to avoid getting blue stained hands which can be stubborn to remove.
The aim is to ensure all berries have been split and their juices are seeping out.
You may hear some other tips on the grape vine. One recommendation we strongly discourage is to blend you berries using a processor or a juicer.
These machines dispose of the blueberries’ skin and a great deal of flavour with it. It can also make your wine have a bitter palate which sugar will not hide.
Bashing your blueberries with your hands can be fun, and you could always get your kids to help out at this stage!
Now you are ready for the winemaking process to really start!
- Add sugar to your blueberries, stirring until the sugar completely dissolves.
- Transfer your mixture into a fermentation container then add 1 gallon (approx.) of bottled water. Stir the liquid whilst simultaneously adding pectic enzyme (optional), yeast nutrient, and citric acid.
- Leave your mixture for 1-2 days in room temperature. Stir the mix two times per day.
- For the more serious brewers, use your hydrometer and achieve a gravity measurement of 1.090. Use sugar to help you do this.
- Don’t worry if you haven’t got a hydrometer, instead you can use the more traditional method of taste – at a later stage, if your wine tastes bitter, just add some sugar.
- Around 1 day later you should find your liquid has turned a blue or purplish colour with small pieces of berry floating around. This is a sign that you are ready for the next stage.
Add yeast and leave the bin to ferment for around 1 week. Ensure you check your liquid and stir it daily, using a clean spoon.
If you ever wanted to see a blue whirlpool, this might be your chance! There should be able to see some swirling bubbles after 2 days.
Another 2 days later the bubbling should have ceased considerably and replaced with a layer of foam, this is an indication that your liquid needs another stir.
On the 5th and 6th day the bubbling will have stopped completely and is a sign that you have completed this fermentation step.
All that is left to do is remove the scum that has accumulated on the bin’s edge and give the liquid a final stir. Now you are ready to start straining!
Straining With Muslin Cloth or Mesh Bag
This is the point where your equipment will get the most use so make sure everything is sterilized and maybe have some old cloths on standby, just in case!
The first task is to strain your liquid using a muslin cloth or a mesh bag. Try to remove as much residue as possible.
This step may require you to phone a friend to prevent you from some small, but always costly, spillages.
Get your friend to hold the bag securely while you pour your liquid, or vice versa.
Squeeze the bag when you are done and you will be surprised at how much delicious juice you nearly threw away. Repeat this process until you are happy that you have removed most, if not all, of the sediment.
Follow this up by transferring your liquid into a clean demijohn using a sterilized funnel. At this point you may realise that you cannot fill the demijohn. Do not panic and top it up using a mixture of water and sugar (3:1, respectively).
When complete, secure with a bung and attach the airlock. Leave your liquid in a dark and cool environment for 1 month.
Time for Racking
During this 1 month period, you will notice some more bubbling in a similar fashion to the bubbling of champagne.
When this fizzing stops, this is the indicator that you are ready to rack your wine.
What is racking? Racking is the term used within the wine industry for simply transferring the wine between demijohns for the purpose of leaving behind unwanted sediment.
This gives your wine a clearer aesthetic and a great opportunity to start some wine tasting.
To set up the racking stage, you will need to position your full demijohn on a level surface. A tabletop, chair, or step ladder are great options.
Take a second demijohn, ensure it is completely sterilized and position it below your full demijohn, on the floor.
Place a siphon tube inside the full demijohn but do not let it touch the bottom to avoid sucking up any sediment. Suck the other end of the tube to get the flow of liquid moving and transfer the end into the empty demijohn.
It is important to avoid sucking up any of the sediment as leaving this behind is the purpose of racking!
Once you have managed to transfer the liquid feel free to make another top up of water and sugar using the same ratio as previously (3:1 respectively). Then leave the new demijohn in storage for a further month. One month later, take your demijohn and clean equipment and repeat this process again.
Alcohol Content and the First Taste
If you do not intend to use a hydrometer, we recommend having a taste of your wine during racking so you can judge how well the process is going. This also gives you an opportunity to make necessary adaptations and ‘fix’ the taste to your preferences somewhat.
If you feel your wine is too dry or too bitter, add some more sugar. Alternatively, if you find your wine tastes too sweet, allow it to mature for a further 6 months before bottling.
If you own a hydrometer, this is the time to make use of it. Test the liquid’s alcohol by volume (ABV) content and if you have a reading that measures to 10-13%, you can discontinue fermentation. Instead, add wine stabilizer or crumble a campden table into the wine – 1 tablet is needed per 1 gallon.
The setup for bottling is identical to the setup for racking. Instead of an empty demijohn on the floor, this is replaced with your bottles.
Again, using the siphon tube you can transfer the wine from the demijohn into the bottles. All that is left to do is add your cork and seal!
Blueberry wine is best served after a further 3 months stored.
Dryness correlates with time left; if you feel that you first bottles are too sweet, all you need to do is be a little more patient and wait it out for another month.
If you want to add a real clasy touch while you wait, how about making some personalised labels to add to your bottles.
It will not just be the amazing tasting blueberry wine that will be impressing your dinner guests!
Ever wondered how the beer companies get their beer so blue if the same principle doesn’t transfer to blueberry wine? Well why not copy them and add some food colouring (yes, their secret trick!) to make your wine a bit more spectacular. We understand this won’t be for everybody.
It is finally time that your patience and persistent work will pay off. Sit back, and enjoy a glass of your blueberry wine, and take note of them delicious deep flavours. This wine is a perfect accompaniment with many white and red meat dishes, as well as desserts.
But for me, the best way to enjoy a glass of homemade blueberry wine is in the great outdoors, on a picnic blanket, along with a punnet of late-season blueberries fresh from the bush.
You can’t help but be reminded of the journey you took from berry-picking to wine-drinking, and it will make all of the effort, the spills and the torturous waiting feel completely worthwhile.
Why not take a bottle on a summer’s eve to a perfect picnic spot? Bring your closest friends and toast a glass with a side of fresh blueberries so you can reminisce of your long but worthwhile journey – and also contemplate your next winemaking venture!
Blueberry wine can be for anyone; it is one of the easier wines to make, and arguably one of the best tasting. It makes for a great entry-level wine for those that are new to home brewing.
One of the positives of making this wine is that you do not need vast amounts of equipment, and the equipment you do purchase can be used to make different types of wine for years to come.
Speaking of which, now that you have impressed your friends with a unique tasting fruit wine, you have an array of other options to try out.
On our website, we stock a selection of tutorials and recipes alike this one, so you are ready for your next wine making feat..
Please comment in the section below and tell us about your own experience and share any additional tips. You can share this awesome recipe with your closest friends – now they will know where you have been hiding over the past few months! 🙂