Remove the stones and crush the Blackberries into a pre-sanitised fermenting bucket. Pour the cold water over the contents together with the rest of the ingredients. Stir thoroughly. Cover the bucket with a cloth and leave to ferment in a warm place for 5 days. Stir the contents of the bucket daily. Then strain into a 1-gallon demijohn through a muslin or nylon straining bag fitted into a funnel. Press to retrieve as much juice as possible then discard the pulp. It may be necessary to top up with cooled boiled water to 4½litres. Fit a bung and airlock and leave in a warm place to continue to ferment out completely.
Fermentation should be complete in 2-4 weeks. It should then be checked with a hydrometer. The hydrometer will indicate the remaining sugar level. You should aim to ferment the wine to a final gravity of 0.996 which will indicate that the fermentation is complete. A further indication that the fermentation is complete will be no bubbles emerging from the airlock.
After clearing your wine you may like to add Glycerine or Wine Sweetener to adjust the sweetness to your preferred taste. These are non-fermentable so will not cause any post-fermentation, which could happen if sweetened with sugar. Finishing gravity levels to aim for are:
- DRY = 0.990 – 0.996
- MEDIUM = 0.996 – 1.009
- SWEET = 1.009 – 1.018
Finishing the Wine
At the end of fermentation add 1 crushed Campden tablet and half a teaspoon of potassium sorbate per gallon. Leave in a warm place for 3 days to kill off the yeast. Then the wine should be left to clear in a cool place (15C) before siphoning from the sediment.
Country wines may not clear on their own and the addition of finings is recommended. Harris Winefine finings are very effective. When clear you should pass the wine through a Vinbrite filter to obtain a professional finish before bottling.
The wine should now be bottled and stored in a cool dark place to mature for at least 6 months. During this time any rough tastes will be smoothed out and the wine will improve in bouquet and flavour. Blackberry wine is the quintessential rich red English country wine.
The ingredients can be scaled up to make a 5-gallon (23 litres) batch of wine if preferred.