Blackberries are a staple crop at Leafhopper Farm. We pick tens of gallons throughout the season when conditions are right. This year is a very good year for berries. We got a lot of rain last winter followed by a dry and hot summer. The ripe fruit is lasting a lot longer than usual because we’ve had no rain to bring mold and rot. In one afternoon I picked about 6 gallons to make into wine.
I have a canning pot large enough to boil the berries, then adding a little sugar, I put the first pot of hot liquid right into the carboy. Before pouring it in, I strain out the fruit for a second round of boiling, then end up with enough juice to fill the 5 gallon glass. The carboy is happily bubbling away right now in a cool, dark place inside the house. How did I do this without adding yeast? Well, there is natural yeast on the fruit! With more than enough raw fruit in the recipe, I kept my fingers crossed and sure enough, the bubbling activity of fermentation began without any trouble.
There is a lot to learn about wine making, and I’ve had a few botched batches due to unwanted tastes getting into the brew. My last batch failed because I added brewer’s yeast, it was all I had on hand at the time, and it did make alcohol…
Blackberry beer is not so tasty. Hopefully this time, the berries will work out and I’ll have some terrific wine!