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chokecherry wine in a glass
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5 from 2 votes

How to Make A Gallon of Chokecherry Wine

Everything you need to know to make a gallon of delicious Chokecherry Wine.
Prep Time1 hr
Fermenting and Ageing90 d
Total Time90 d 1 hr
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Servings: 25 glasses
Calories: 123kcal
Author: Hilda Sterner

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs chokecherries
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 lb black raisins
  • 5 cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon acid blend
  • teaspoon yeast nutrient
  • ½ teaspoon pectic enzyme
  • 1 Campden crush
  • 1 packet wine yeast (premiere blanc)

Instructions

Day 1

  • Before beginning any fermentation process, you need to sanitize all of your equipment, work area, and hands. You can find out how here.
  • Use a large bowl of water to wash the chokecherries. Remove leaves, pits, sticks, and debris, then add chokecherries to a large stockpot. Pour four quarts (1 gallon) of water over the chokecherries, bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add raisins to a food processor and pulse until the raisins are chopped. If you prefer, chop them by hand. Add raisins to your primary fermenter (plastic bucket) and cover them with granulated sugar. 
  • Pour the pot's contents into the primary bucket. Stir until the sugar dissolves. When the chokecherry juice has cooled off, use a potato masher to mash the chokecherries to extract their juice.
  • Stir acid blend, yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme, and Campden crush into the primary fermenter. Take the initial SG reading and mark it down in a notebook or a wine journal. Cover the bucket with breathable fabric and use a rubber band to fasten it in place. Set aside for 24 hours.

Day 2

  • Using a sterilized spoon, stir the yeast packet into the must (unfermented fruit juice before it's converted to wine). Cover again and set aside.

Day 3 and Beyond

  • Stir daily and take SG reading. When you get an SG reading of 1.030 (it could take anywhere from 3 to 7 days). Strain and squeeze the juice out of the chokecherries and rack it into a one-gallon carboy. Place any extra wine in a smaller bottle and top with an airlock.
  • Fill the airlock halfway with sanitizer solution or water and place the airlock into place. Store the carboy somewhere away from heat and direct sunlight. It will begin to bubble when fermentation starts.
  • After 3 weeks, the specific gravity should be around 1.000. It's now time to rerack the wine into a clean carboy. Allow the wine to clear anywhere from one to three months.
  • Once it's done clearing, taste the wine to determine if you will bottle it as is or sweeten it. If you prefer sweet wine, add ⅓ cup of chokecherry syrup (or more or less, depending on how you like it). If you do sweeten it, dissolve ½ teaspoon of wine stabilizer into the wine to discourage refermentation.
  • Take a final SG reading and use an ABV (Alcohol By Volume) Calculator to figure out the alcohol percentage. Jot down the information in your wine journal. Add one crushed Campden tablet to the wine and stir until dissolved before bottling the wine.
  • Once the wine is bottled, label it with the type of wine, date, and alcohol %.

Notes

  • Chopping the raisins is optional but it helps to keep the raisins from floating on the surface of the bucket and also helps to extract more flavor.
  • Taking an SG reading on the first day and before bottling will allow you to calculate the % of alcohol in the finished wine. Some home winemakers are not interested in knowing the alcohol percentage so they don't use a hydrometer. Instead, they just ferment their wine long enough to ensure fermentation has stopped before bottling it.
  • The ideal fermentation temperature is somewhere between 68-86°F.
  • As you rerack the wine, you end up with less and less wine, because the lees gets discarded. The extra wine comes in handy to top off the carboy and to give you a full 5 bottles of wine.
  • Because Campden tablets kill the yeast, you never want to add them at the same time you add the yeast. Ideally, you should wait 24 hours after adding the Campden tablet to add the yeast.
  • If you don't want to soak the chokecherries with their seeds in the primary fermentor, you can extract the juice from the chokecherries using a steam juicer instead.
  • A stabilizer is only needed if you intend to back sweeten the wine (sweetening it at the end). The wine stabilizer prevents refermentation.
  • If you don't want to make chokecherry syrup, use fruit juice, simple syrup, or sweet wine to back sweeten the wine.
  • To learn how to read a hydrometer and what the numbers signify, check out this video, it's a great resource.
  • Sometimes, at the beginning of fermentation, the bung tends to pop out as the pressure builds up. To avoid this, I use a ribbon to tie it in place for the first couple of days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1glass | Calories: 123kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 0g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 15g