Strawberry Wine

Strawberry wine!? I’ve never had it before, but this year I thought it was time to try. I crushed a lot of strawberries, added some honey, and started a wild fermenting strawberry wine! I’m still waiting for the finished result, and I’m really excited. I buy strawberries in season at peak ripeness as local and seasonal fruit has the best flavor! See my Strawberry Jam Guide for more sourcing and selection information.

Below I’ve written the recipe and methods that I used to make strawberry wine, but as of this posting the wine has not yet finished its fermentation journey! See the notes sections for updates on my process.

Ingredients

  • 20 Quarts Strawberries
  • 2 cups honey
  • 2 gallons water (optional)
  • Champagne or other wine yeast (optional)

Equipment

  • 2-5 gallon food grade plastic bucket or glass carboy with an airlock
  • Wine bag

Instructions

  • Pinch off strawberry leaves. There’s no need to core the leaves out.
  • Add strawberries to colander or strainer and rinse. I put mine straight into a wine bag and washed through the bag.
  • Fill a wine bag full of fruit – enough that it can fill up your container at least half way with uncrushed fruit. I used a clean five gallon brewing bucket as my winemaking vessel.
  • Add the bag of fruit to your vessel, then crush with your hands or a potato masher. Keep pressing and working the bag until it feels like most of the fruit has been bruised or crushed. Submerge the bag into the liquid that will have risen. The bag will float, but no worries! Secure an airlocked lid on top of your vessel.
  • Remove the lid and stir once daily for 5-7 days. Do not remove the bag. Airborne yeast will find the sugars and begin to ferment them in to alcohol. Once you begin to see bubbles forming in your liquid you’ll know fermentation has begun! Alternatively, pitch a culture of Champagne or wine yeast, you can find these at your local homebrew store. However I recommend wild fermentation! The flavors are unique.
  • A yeast layer may form, but don’t be concerned. Simply stir it back in. The longer you let your wine ferment it may form a skin of yeast on top called a pellicle, this is a protective layer of yeast that seals the liquid and protects it against oxidation.
  • Remove and strain the bag. Secure lid. Leave to ferment at room temperature, tasting each month – two weeks.
  • Bottle when you like the taste, and/or when you taste that no sugar remains in the wine. If there is some sweetness it is still ok to bottle, but be aware that sugars in capped bottles will continue to ferment into alcohol and carbon dioxide, carbonating the beer and possibly creating a bottle bomb. If you do bottle a sweet wine, don’t bottle condition for more than 2-4 days, then store bottles in the refrigerator. If your wine is dry, bottle it and age until you’re ready to drink.
    • I prefer swing-top, Grolsch style bottles. These allow you to firmly seal your wine, but also “burp” it occasionally by opening the lid to check for excess pressure and even let it escape.

Notes

  • 6/5/2016: Strawberries crushed and beginning fermentation – stir once-twice each day.
  • 6/10/2016: Bag removed and strained. Added 2 cups honey, 2 gallons water, for a total of 4.5 gallons of liquid. Tastes sweet and sour, most strawberry sugars have done a quick initial fermentation. Taste in 1 month to determine if more honey is needed (up to 2 cups additional). Airlock, no additional stirring. Removed to basement (75-78° F).
  • 6/19/2016: Airlock bubbling slowly, did not remove lid but fermentation is active. Temperature remains 75-78°F
  • 8/15/2016: Tasted, flavor is good, slightly acetic bite smooths out when chilled. Bright strawberry nose and flavor, a little earthy, wonderfully dry, sour, and fruity. Would be amazing blended with a wheat beer, possibly with lavender. Ambient temperatures have been higher, 85-90°F. Added 24 oz honey for additional fermentation.
  • 8/23/2016: Bottled. Gifted 12×750 mL to a friend for a special wedding beverage! They mixed the strawberry wine with Steady Eddie wheat beer to craft shandies for guests. Reserved 10×750 mL for aging and possibly blending with a homebrewed wheat beer at a later date. Will check again in a few weeks for flavor after carbonation. Should have taken sugar/alcohol measurements…

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