How To Process Fruit For Fruit Wine
Winemakers have been preparing fruit to create fruit wines throughout history. While a bit more troublesome to process than the average grape wine, fruit wines are still splendid and well worth the effort.
Before you begin, make certain you have an area large enough to prepare and process your fruit. Sort and discard any under ripe or rotten fruit. Always wash and clean your fruit to rid the skins of pesticides. If there are any moldy or bruised portions remove them. You should de-stone peaches, apricots, cherries & other fruits with large pits. Once your fruit has been pitted, cored, and in some cases skinned -- grind or press the fruit into a pulp.
If you are using apples, strawberries, plums, or peaches use a pectic enzyme during the pulping process to reduce cloudiness. Adding the enzyme early will also maximize the amount of juice you extract and increase clarity in the final product. For every 2 to 3 lbs of fruit, add a ½ teaspoon of pectin. If you end up with any leftovers, freeze your fruit and save it for later.
Preparing Pulp For Fruit Wine
Place the pulp into a container and add your campden tablets. Seal the container and let it sit for a day. Use your hydrometer to measure the mixture and add sugar to the pulp as needed. Using a wine thief to collect the samples for a hydrometer reading is recommended, as it will reduce the possibility of contamination. Finally, add your yeast nutrient and seal the container.
How To Extract Juice For Fruit Wine
Sugar maceration uses the concept of osmotic pressure which will cause the fruit to squeeze out it’s own juice.
To begin, place your fruit into a primary fermenter with enough sugar to cover it, but never more than three pounds. Stir the mixture well until everything is covered and then wait a couple of days. The environment within the fermenter will become hypertonic and cause the cell membranes within the fruit to release liquid towards the sugar. This process will eventually suck the fruit dry. Once the mix has turned into a loose liquid mush it’s ready to begin primary fermentation procedures. After a primary fermentation make sure to rack the wine away from the fruit pulp.