Cherry Wine – The Process Continues

 It’s been four weeks for the cherry wine and it’s time to rack, or siphon off, the liquid from the must (this is the fruit “by-product” which has settled to the bottom of the carboy).

I lifted the five-gallon carboy to the kitchen counter the night before so the must would have a chance to rest undisturbed, overnight, and settle once again. {You need the full vessel higher than the empty vessel to which you will transfer the wine).

Next, be sure your equipment is clean and sterile for the transfer.

Once the siphon is going, it will likely empty the carboy in one continuous, steady draw. Make sure the intake is not resting in the must. Remember, the object is to capture only “clean” wine in this rack—leave behind as many particles as possible.

You will probably see a little bubbling activity in this transfer. There will still be yeast present and the agitation will activate it.

Once the transfer is complete, get your fermentation lock on. One fruit gnat carries enough bacteria to ruin the batch (amazing, right?). Find a place for your carboy to call home for the next few months where it’ll be out of the way and the temperature will be somewhat regulated.

Bottling for this batch of cherry wine will occur close to the holidays!

Cherry Wine

I find getting a batch of wine started is one of the most difficult things to do each summer. Not because of the “how” but because of the “when.”  You want perfectly ripe fruit with which to begin—yet there are so many other things that require attention because they’re “perfectly ripe” also!

This year, I was able to set aside an afternoon to get a 5-gallon bucket started. We’ve tried many types (apple, grape, meads, peach); the cherry always does well so I was happy this was to be our choice.

I began by inspecting the cherries and measuring 24 pounds. Following a simple fruit wine recipe I found online, I then mashed the cherries by stepping into a garbage bag in the food-grade bucket full of fruit and doing my best Lucille Ball impression! 

Yeast was added the next day and allowed to ferment in this primary stage. After gentle daily stirrings, 5 days later, we carefully siphoned off the liquid from the “must.”

"Must" is juice that contains seeds, skins and stalks.

The liquid will sit in a glass carboy for 30 days before being again “racked” (or siphoned off) in another, clean carboy with a fermentation lock in place. Fermentation locks allow little, if any outside air to penetrate, gas to escape, and keeps unwanted fruit gnats OUT (the bacteria from one gnat can ruin the entire batch).

Notice the bubbles at the top of the glass carboy? That’s the yeast, going to town, converting the sugar into alcohol. After I took the photo of the yeast bubbles, we added handfuls of marbles to bring the liquid up into neck of the carboy (you want as little interaction between liquid and air as possible).

Stay tuned for an update in another three weeks or so….

A Second Batch

When you can fruits or veggies, you hope for the best…the best quality, the best “seal,” the best (and prettiest) presentation or “pack.”

Sometimes, everything comes together on the very first go-round – like the Ball recipe for Spirited Cherries I attempted for the first time yesterday.

So very delicious…and simple…and pretty…that I just had to do a second batch immediately! These will be a perfect addition to a main course or dessert, especially in the winter when you seek out those bolder flavors.

Yesterday, I was bemoaning the fact I did not have a cherry pitter. De-stoning 18 cups of cherries “by hand” with my trusty paring knife was tedious, yet it resulted in a much prettier presentation!