How to Make Cherry Red Wine
This recipe is for making five gallons (about twenty bottles) of cherry red wine. It uses standard wine-making equipment and ingredients. It produces a nice, red wine that is semi-dry (final specific gravity of around 1.003) and has an alcohol content of about 13%.
Primary Fermenter (large food-grade bucket), a container for boiling 6 qts. of water, long-handled plastic or wooden spoon, racking(siphoning) tube, 2 five gallon glass carboys, hydrometer set, airlock with bung to fit the glass carboys, a mesh straining bag, and measuring spoons. You'll need a plastic sheet if you don't have a regular primary fermenter with a lid to accept an airlock.
12 - 12 oz. bags of dark, sweet frozen cherries(I use Dole)
4 - 11.5 oz. 100% grape concentrate with no preservatives (I use welch's concord)
12 lbs of sugar
4 tsp. of acid blend
6 quarts of HOT water
2 tsp. of yeast nutrient
1 1/2 tsp. of tannin powder
8 campden tablets (potassium metabisulfite)
8 quarts of COLD water
20 drops of pectic enzyme
1 packet of Cote des Blancs yeast
1. Thaw the frozen cherries and grape concentrate.
2. Start boiling 6 quarts of water.
3. Drain the cherry juice into the primary fermenter. Place the cherries into the straining bag and put the bag in the primary fermenter. Crush the cherries. I use my fists on the bottom of the fermenter.
4. When the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat and slowly stir in the sugar.
5. Carefully pour the hot, sugar water into the primary fermenter over the cherries and stir thoroughly.
6. Add the acid blend and stir.
7. Add the yeast nutrient, tannin, pectic enzyme and cold water. Stir.
8. Crush 8 campden tablets and add them to the fermenter. Stir thoroughly.
9. Check and record the SG (specific gravity).
10. Check the temperature of the must (mixture). Wait until it's about 75 degrees.
11. Add the Cote des Blancs yeast to a cup of warm water. Let it stand for ten minutes and then stir it into the must.
12. Put the lid on your primary fermenter (bucket) and add the airlock. You can cover a bucket with a plastic sheet and secure it if you don't have a conventional fermenter that accepts an airlock.
13. Check the must in 24 hours to make sure it's started to ferment. You should hear bubbles and see some foam.
14. Check the SG every other day.
15. Stir the must a couple times each day to make sure the fruit stays moist.
16. When the specific gravity reaches 1.020, lift the bag of cherries out of the primary bucket and squeeze the juice into the fermenter. discard the cherries.
17. Rack (siphon) the must (wine mixture) into a clean, five gallon glass carboy.
18. Top the carboy up with cold water and attach the fermentation lock (airlock).
19. Move the glass carboy to a cooler location, preferably a place where it's about 65 degrees.
20. After ten days, rack into a clean carboy. Top up with cold water and attack an airlock.
21. Rack (siphon) the wine into a clean carboy after about three weeks. Top up and add the fermentation lock.
22. Bulk age about three months.
23. Bottle the wine.
24. Bottle age for about nine months.
25. Drink and enjoy!
*You might also be interested in my recipe for sweet potato wine.