If anybody ever tells you that there is no such thing as a dry fruity wine, then you will now know better: raspberry wine!
Raspberries are perfect for the winemaking process due to their contents.
Their sweet qualities make them able to withstand fermentation easily whilst their tartness enables them to maintain a deep flavour.
This sugar-tartness is what puts raspberry wine in a literal class of its own.
Making raspberry wine will take you around 18 months but don’t be put off with the long wait because it will be worth it when you taste its magnificent flavours and get endless compliments at your next dinner party.
This tutorial will be the perfect company when making your raspberry wine and give you top tips along the way to make the process as effortless as possible.
It will take patience on your part but you will thank yourself 18 months from now. After all, you won’t find something this amazing down your local supermarket.
Ingredients Per 1 Gallon (6 Bottles) of Raspberry Wine
Many winemakers swear that frozen raspberries are even better in the winemaking process than freshly picked ones.
This rarity can work to your advantage and save you some time.
You’ll need to purchase around 3.5 pounds of frozen raspberries but if you still prefer to pick fresh, then that’s no problem.
Never use less than 3lbs of fruit within your mix because you will have to compensate this with water and as a result, lose flavour.
By using plenty of fruit you can remove pulp from the batch to make a weaker flavoured but still tasty second batch.
Equipment You Will Need
This list is a complete inventory of what you will need to make your raspberry wine. For those experienced brewers amongst us, this can serve as your check list rather than a shopping list.
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.
If you are seriously considering making wine in the long term and maybe making it a budding hobby then you should consider buying a hydrometer.
Hydrometers are used for measuring the gravity, or more commonly known, testing your alcohol level by volume. If this wine venture is just a taster for you then do not worry, a hydrometer is not a prerequisite.
Also, we always advise to purchase a quality corker to avoid reaching for the duct tape at pivotal stages of the bottling process. Corkers can also save you money by preserving unfinished bottles over the years and are therefore a worthy investment.
Raspberries Picking Tips
Raspberries are vastly available in the wild and can be found in many woodlands and fields. They ripen in clusters on thorny branches and are not so difficult to spot.
Alternatively, with the right setting and some attention to detail they are also easy to grow yourself. The best time of the year to collect wild raspberries are June/July in Canada and the USA.
So, what should you be looking for?
Raspberries are a convenient berry to pick because they grow close together, meaning they don’t usually neighbour many other berries or flowers but usually keep to themselves.
This makes it much easier for pickers as they do not have to search as much and they can keep coming to the same source each season without the threat of the supply being ruined by other berries or even weeds.
The beginning of the season commences around April and you will start to notice greenish/white blossoms begin to appear.
Unfortunately you will be in competition with the birds. Pay close attention to your identified source in the months of April, May and June so you get there first.
Birds can get really competitive and if the raspberry bush is on your land then you should probably do something to make sure they don’t steal all your delicious raspberries.
There are a few good options to do this.
You could install a scarecrow to keep them at bay, or you could add a sprinkler to deter them – over watering your raspberries is very unlikely due to their root system.
You could also get some netting so that your raspberries still benefit from sunlight at a safe beak’s distance from pesky birds.
Raspberries are simple to pick. All you have to do is pinch the ripe berry lightly and twist gently. We recommend to pick more berries than you initially intend to because they preserve well and can be used in vinegars, jams, clear liquors, and jellies.
If you prefer to buy your raspberries then that is okay too. In fact, raspberries are one fruit that are just as good, if not better, bought from the shop with the purpose of being made into wine. Frozen berries are even cheaper and work well in this recipe, or you may want to visit your local farmer to check their stock.
Once you have your stack of raspberries you should wash them thoroughly and discard any unripened or overripe berries. Soaking them in water will allow bugs and dirt to float to the surface.
This makes it effortless to get rid of all the unwanted bits; and viola, your raspberries are now ready for the wine making stage!
Preparing Your Raspberries
- Boil water (1 gallon) in a big pan and add sugar.
- Stir it together until the sugar dissolves and then reduce the heat so the mix can cool for 30 minutes.
- Add this water to the fermentation bin with your raspberries. Leave them for 1 hour so the berries can macerate; thus allowing the fructose to release and intensifying the flavour.
- Squeezing the raspberries will accelerate this process and a potato masher will help to gently crush them perfectly.
- Add yeast nutrient and citric acid you you crushed raspberry mixture before stirring together well. Leave the mixture in the fermentation bin for 1 day
- Then add wine yeast and pectic enzyme (optional) and leave for 1 day
- Strain your mixture so you have seperated the raspberry mush from your pink liquid. Don’t forget to squeeze out your cloth to avoid wasting some valuable liquid.
- Ferment your wine for 5-7 days and stir twice daily. You will know that this step has been completed when you notice the fizzing and bubbling has stopped.
Now you will turn to your winemaking equipment. Ensure everything you used has been thoroughly sterilized and that you have also dried everything. The first task is to transfer your wine into a a glass demijohn using the funnel.
Do not worry if you can see some rogue bits floating around your wine, you can capture them in the racking stage. If you were to strain the liquid now you could compromise some of the energetic deep colours.
It is usual practice to fill any space left in your demijohn with water or sugar, but in this instance, it is best to avoid doing so as it may compromise the wine’s natural flavour and character.
Once transferred just add your bung and tap it in securely using a hammer. Follow this up by attaching the airlock and leaving the liquid in a dark and cool environment for 2 months.
Sunlight will brighten this wine’s colour so it is essential you find a place in a dark room. To be extra sure, you could always wrap it in paper for extra protection.
Two months later…
After this two month period you may notice the following:
- The airlock ceases to bubble
- The wine becomes clearer (but still has a deep colour)
- Some yeast residue and sediment has gathered on the bottom
This is a sign to begin the racking stage.
When we talk of racking, this simply means that we are transferring the contents of our demijohn into a clean second demijohn. We do this so we can separate our mixture from the sediments that have accumulated with it.
The sediments do not pose a real issue for the wine itself but can make the wine have a cloudy appearance or a chalk like aftertaste, so it is still important to eradicate it. Raspberry wine usually creates a lot of sediment so we recommend that you rack your wine multiple times.
Although you are free to rack as much as you feel necessary, you should always wait 1 or 2 months between each rack. The longer you wait the clearer your wine will become.
How To Rack Your Wine Properly?
As already mentioned, ensure your equipment is fully sterilized.
Firstly, place your full demijohn on a level surface at hip level, such as a table or stepladder.
You may want to call a friend for the next step as you will place the end of your siphon tube just above the sedimented layer at the bottom of the container.
A friend can help you do this carefully without the risk of spillages – this would be a waste of some patient work!
Place an empty second demijohn on the ground and suck the wine using the other end of the tube and let it fill the new container.
Be cautious not to allow yourself to also suck up the sediment at the bottom of the original demijohn.
Now all you have to do is put the bung and airlock onto the newly-filled demijohn, and put it back into its cool, dark place again.
The next step is to reattach the bung and airlock it. Replace the new demijohn in a dar and cool setting and let it ferment for a further 2 months. You can repeat as often as you feel necessary.
To complete the wine making process it will take around 6 months.
There is no shortcut and to get this fantastic dry but fruity raspberry wine you will need to follow our recipe and add a big dashing of your own patience and perseverance.
There is no strict rule on when you should start bottling your wine, instead, you will have to use your own judgements to determine if it is ready.
At this point you shouldn’t let your impatience creep. Are you really satisfied with the wine’s clarity and colour? Is there no (unlikely!) or little sediment remaining?
At this stage you will likely have quite a bit of racking experience so bottling is not going to cause you many headaches. Organise your bottles along the ground and using the tube you can transfer the wine from the last demijohn into your bottles separately.
It is probably best to put towels down as even the most experienced bottlers can make a bit of a mess at this stage. An added tip is to use your finger to close the flow of wine between each bottle. FInish off by sealing your bottles and add labels to tell you the date and ingredients used.
Now you are ready to… wait some more :-)…
Raspberry wine takes a minimum of 1 year to mature. This will allow it to get that sought after dry taste and truly unique quality for a fruit wine. Over this period you will need to keep your bottles in a dark and cool environment. It is really important that they are kept out of the sun’s beams or you will lose that magnificent colour.
18 months since you gathered your raspberries and you will finally be ready to drink your hard earned work. At this point you will thank yourself, your friends will thank you, your family will thank you, and you will likely have your second – and possibly third – batch fermenting away.
It is rare to come across home wine brewers who have the patience to make this crip wine. Once you have reaped the results of this amazing and truly unique wine, we do not doubt that you will be encouraging your friends to give it a try.
Normally I’d suggest that you invite some friends over and share your batch with them, but this wine is different – this is a wine to be enjoyed by best friends on a balmy porch well into the night; or on a romantic evening with your one true love; or as a well-earned indulgence while you sit in your garden on a sunny afternoon, after a morning spent tending to your raspberry bushes.
As this took a lot of effort and perseverance to make, try and save it for evenings with your closest friends and family, or even only pop the cork on special occasions to savour this its exquisite taste. Enjoy it best on a summer’s eve, sitting on your porch, while you contemplate your next fruit winemaking venture.
Raspberry wine pairs beautifully with peppery salads and gamey meats, as well as light cheese (goats cheese, ricotta, whipped feta) and sourdough bread.
If you want to make your batch last longer, add a neutral mixer such as diet soda water or sparkling spring water, and make a spritzer. Or add to glasses of champagne for a grown-up Bellini, served with a couple of fresh raspberries of course.
Raspberry wine makes the perfect complimenting drink to salads, meat dishes, or a host of different types of cheese platters. To make your stock last even longer, you can add mixers such as soda or sparkling water. Or add a drop to champagne to make a Bellini-type concoction.
Let us know how you got on with making your raspberry wine and share your tips on being patient during the process.
This is a wine you will not find anywhere else, unless you have a friend that also tried this recipe; so give it a go and you will be surprised at how fabulous and crip this fruity but dry wine really is.
If you are a savory person then we do not doubt that this wine is for you!
If you have more of a sweet palate then why not attempt one of our other fruit wine recipes?
For the sweet tooths our honey and pineapple wine maybe right up your vine. Also check out our full range of unusual but astonishing wine recipes, including those made from flowers and herbs
Feel free to let us know about your experiences with this recipe
If you have enjoyed reading our tutorial then please share it with your closest friends, and then they may understand where you have been hiding for the past months!