Tips for Making Wine with Fruits other than Grapes
Most people commonly associate wines with grapes; however, it is entirely possible to make wines from fruits other than grapes. The production of wine using fruits other than grapes has become quite commonplace as the hobby of home winemaking has become more pronounced in just the last few years.
The process of making wines from various types of fruit is no more complicated than making wine from grapes. The only difference between making wine using grapes and other fruits is the fact that you may need to make some adjustments when using other fruits including sugar content and acid levels. This will mean a couple of extra steps that may not usually be necessary when making grape wine; however, winemakers who have made the decision to use different fruits report that the extra effort is well worth it as you can often produce a stellar wine.
Any number of different fruits may be used for making wine including peaches, watermelons, plums, strawberries, blackberries, boysenberries, gooseberries, pears, grapefruits, persimmons, pineapples and much more.
The first step in making wine using other types of fruit is the same as making wine using grapes. You will need to evaluate the fruit. Keep in mind that the resulting wine cannot be any better than the fruit that was used to produce it. This means that you will need to pay careful attention to the quality of the fruit that you use to make your wine.
Avoid fruit that contain excessive bruises and molds. Try to use only fruit that is completely ripe. Fruit that is not fully ripe tend to produce wine that is somewhat lacking in character. Make sure that you rinse off the fruit before the crushing.
In some cases, you may need to dilute the fruit with water in order to get a good wine. This is because certain types of fruit are too strong on their own without dilution. Other fruits have a level of acid that is too high without dilution and will result in a wine that is sharp tasting. Blueberry and gooseberries are both examples of fruit that require some dilution because of their natural acid levels. Take note that this is not the case with all fruits. Apples, for example, do not require any dilution. You may use pure apple juice with no worries.
The exact amount of fruit that you use to make your wine is dependent on a few factors. Really, there is not a single right formula when it comes to fruit amounts. If you want a dessert wine then you may wish to use more fruit in order to create a heavier, sweeter wine. On the other hand, if you want a wine that is lighter and crisper then you may wish to use less fruit.
In order to monitor and adjust the sugar levels as necessary when using fruits for your winemaking, it is necessary to use a hydrometer. The hydrometer will help you to easily determine the amount of sugar that is present in the juice and how much alcohol will be produce from the level of sugar that is present. This will aide you in understanding whether more sugar needs to be added to produce a higher alcohol content. A hydrometer is a tube of glass with a floating weight on one end. You will be able to gauge the sugar level by looking at how low or high the hydrometer floats once placed in the juice. Generally, there will be a meter on the hydrometer that indicates the alcohol potential.
You will also need to test and adjust the acidity as necessary when using fruits. This is imperative because acid levels can vary greatly among different types of fruits. There are two ways in which acid can be checked. One way is to use pH testing strips or litmus papers. This is generally a very fast and cheap way to check acid levels; however, it is not the most accurate way to check acid levels. The most accurate way to check acid levels is to use a process known as titration. A titration kit can be used to measure the acid level and how it will actually taste. If it is necessary to adjust the level of acid, you can do so using three different fruit acids. They are malic, citric and tartaric and they can be purchased either separately or in a blend known as Acid Blend. You can find these items in a home brewing store.