Cherry Wine and Mead

30June2014_300_2027

A picture of Misty drinking coffee during our morning garden tour.

I decided that it was time to make my cherry wine and mead from the sweet (black) cherries that we picked recently. Nothing fancy going into these two batches, just simple and hopefully, tasty.

I also made a Pinot Noir and a Cabernet Sauvignon (Wine Expert) today.  There are nice kits that I have made before, and compete favorably with a couple of the local wines. 

I am impatiently waiting for my Pinot Noir and Cabernet grapes to grow.  With one exception, all of my grape vines are doing well.  I think I lost one of my Cabernet vines.  Only a couple of years to go!

In the mean time, here is a picture of one of our table grapes:29June2014_300_2036

The Mead:

I decided to use Costco Clover Honey.  I have used it in mead before and it was quite good.  The local honey is very nice to eat, but it is also very strong tasting with a lot of thistle, sage, and other flavors that may not compliment the cherries.  I also did not boil the honey as I see absolutely no benefit, and the losses of flavor and honey components is not worth the small chance of preventing some (rare) type of infection.  That is what Campden is for, and besides, the raw fruit is full of “stuff”.

The cherries were frozen at negative 5 F for about a week to allow for fuller juice extraction.  The cherries are sitting in a 5 gallon nylon paint straining bag, along with all other ingredients save the yeast.

I may add some additional honey to the secondary to increase the ABV a bit.  Thinking another 21 to 23%’er!

The Wine:

Just cherries processed as above and table sugar.

The Yeast(s): 

For both the mead and Wine, I have decided to use Lalvin 71B-1122.  I chose this yeast for its ability to metabolize the malic acid present in the cherries.  If I need acid, I will add it later.  Since the mead is going to be in the 20% range, I may re-pitch with Lalvin 1118 after the 71B reaches its potential, which is about 14% ABV.  I have had it go way above 14% before, and with care it may take care of the mead on its own.  1118 is excellent for restarting a stuck fermentation, and also great in the secondary.  I have used it in my 23% ABV Blueberry Mead in the past, and I like it. 

The wine is going to be 16.57% ABV, so I am sure that the 71B will run through that with no issue, leaving the right amount of residual sugars to making a nice wine with little or not back sweetening.  If not, I have more yeast and 100 pounds of sugar to deal with any problems.

1July2014_DSC2095Additional Information:

For both the wine and mead, I will be adding 48 fluid ounces of Cherry Wine Base from Vintners Harvest in the secondary.  I have had a 96 ounce bucket of the base sitting at home for the past 4 years, and now I have an excuse to use it. 

The cherries registered a Brix of 23.35, which is a bit above what I had initially thought.  Actually, my go-to calculator had a pre-determined Brix of 16.  Don’t know where that figure came from, but it is being changed.  Nice to have a refractometer – finally!

All ingredients, with the exception of the yeast, is sitting in the primaries with Campden.  I will pitch yeast tomorrow night at 1600.  Wine will be in the primary for 7 days, and probably the same for the mead.  Secondary until they are in a place I want them, then bulk aging for 6 months for the wine, and a year or two for the mead.  I figure the wine will be done in 7 months to a year, and the mead in 2 years as something to drink, and 3 to 4 (and longer) for something to enjoy, depending on final ABV.

The recipes:

Cherry Melomel:

Batch Size: 6. gallons
Potential %AVB:  20.64

Sugars:

20 lbs. – Clover Honey – Costco  
25 lbs. – Sweet Black Cherries 
48 fl. oz. – Cherry Wine Base (Vintners Harvest)  *added in secondary

Additions:

6 ea. – Campden
3 tsp. – Pectic Enzyme
1 tsp. – Tannin FT Rouge
6 tsp. – Yeast Nutrient  – added at start and again at 1/3 sugar break
1 tsp. – Yeast Energizer

Yeast:

Lalvin 71B-1122 rehydrated in yeast energizer
Possible addition of Lalvin 1118 for secondary fermentation


Cherry Wine:

Batch Size: 6. gallons
Potential %AVB:  16.57

Sugars:

11 lbs. – Table Sugar
25 lbs. – Sweet Black Cherries 
48 fl. oz. – Cherry Wine Base (Vintners Harvest)  *add in secondary

Additions:

6 ea. – Campden
3 tsp. – Pectic Enzyme
1 tsp. – Tannin FT Rouge
6 tsp. – Yeast Nutrient  – added at start and again at 1/3 sugar break
1 tsp. – Yeast Energizer

Yeast:

Lalvin 71B-1122 rehydrated in yeast energizer

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