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Chokecherry Wine

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 June 2016 at 23:32
That's very possible, Mike - I hadn't thought of that before, but when you mentioned it, it was like a light bulb going off. 

I'm set to bottle one of my beers tomorrow night (Bruxelles Black - an Abbey-Style Belgian Ale). I'll look the mini-siphon and the tubing over very carefully. If the tubing is compromised, it will be a relatively easy fix. If it's the mini-siphon, things will grind to a halt until I get another one! Shocked
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 September 2016 at 16:05
Well, bad news - this wine was going along really well, when disaster struck.

I was literally a week from bottling this one - put it in the fridge for its final clearing - and went on a mini-vacation. Meanwhile, my 20-something-year-old son got into it while I was gone, drank a fair portion of it (maybe a third?) and replaced what he drank with....water.

So now I have some wonderful-tasting-yet-watered-down- chokecherry wine.

I'll get it bottled and put up and use it for topping off, I guess, when I start my next batch.

Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 October 2016 at 09:05
I began a new batch of chokecherry wine last night, 3 October 2016.

The recipe that I used was very close to the same that I used in my previous batch; I modified it just slightly, but not by much:

3 pounds chokecherries
2.5 pounds sugar
1 cup chopped golden raisins (intended to add body to the wine)
1 teaspoon acid blend
1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
Scant 1/4 teaspoon tannin
1 crushed Campden tablet
1/2 teaspoon pectic enzyme
1 package Montrachet yeast
7 pints Big Spring Water from Lewistown, Montana

As I mentioned, there are a couple of small differences with this batch, compared to my previous batch. I never used any tannin with the first batch, so I am trying it this time, for comparison. The amount of chokecherries and sugar is slightly higher this time, but not by much, simply because that's what I had. My goal is a fruit-forward, strong-ish wine, so I'm not too worried in this department and we'll see how things turn out.

However, I am wondering if I should have left the acid blend at 3/4 teaspoon; Yooper's original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon, but I only used 3/4 teaspoon in my first batch. On one hand, I think I robbed the wine of some flavor by doing this, so I wanted to try Yooper's recommended amount; but on the other hand, the previous batch that I made (with 3/4 of a teaspoon) seemed a little acidic when I was sampling it. Having said that, it never had the chance to age and mellow out, so I am going to try it the way that it was meant to be. Once again, we'll see how it shakes out; I am sure that in the end, these small differences won't matter a heck of a lot, and my wine will be just fine.

I am supposed to add the pectic enzyme this morning at about 10:00 AM, as per the recipe, but since I will be at work, 25 miles from home, I'll have to do it when I get home. Tomorrow morning, 12 hours after adding the pectic enzyme, I'll add the yeast and we'll hopefully get this batch moving along.

More as it happens, etc. & c....

Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 October 2016 at 15:43
Originally posted by Percebes Percebes wrote:

I have been very drawn to the picture of your wine after racking.

I was unsure why until this very moment.

It has spoken to me and commanded me to make some Chokecherry Port next fall


I would achieve this by adding toasted Oak cubes in the primary and later adding Brandy and Wojapi with a pop of Sorbate to the secondary on the second racking


I somehow missed this the first time around, but you've got the right idea with the Wojapi!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2016 at 09:26
Yesterday when we got home from work, I added 1/2 teaspoon of pectic enzyme - which helps break down the fruit. This morning, I added 1 package of Montrachet yeast.

Now the fun begins; for the next 6 or 7 days, I will squeeze the bag of chokecherries and stir the must at least once per day, hopefully twice.

So far, everything is normal, as far as I know.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 October 2016 at 08:41
Things appear to be going well along with this batch of chokecherry wine. By some fortunate alignment of the planets, I am able to stir the must and press the mesh bag of chokecherries a bit both in the morning and in the evening, which is the best recommended way to tend the wine during this primary fermentation stage.

I'll continue this routine until Sunday evening, at which time I will move the must over to a glass fermenter to finish in "secondary," racking it off the lees once or twice over the next 5 or 6 months until it is ready to bottle.

More as it happens, etc. & c....

Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 October 2016 at 10:21
Is chokecherry wine a Montana thing?

Long ago, when there were wolves in Wales and snakes in Ireland, we were stranded in Big Timber for several days---at the time a top contender for friendliest town in America.

Among other things, we were gifted with a 2-quart Mason jar of chokecherry wine.

Other than your mentions of it, Ron, that's the only time I've ever seen it.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 October 2016 at 10:41
If I had to guess, I'd say that it is mainly a tradition in Montana, the Dakotas, Alberta and Saskatchewan; possibly any states or provinces bordering those, as well.

Having said that, I suppose it could be something that is done anywhere throughout the distribution of Prunus virginiana; the original recipe that I base mine from came from a lady in Michigan, and she says that it is a common wine there.

The question is, was it good wine?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 October 2016 at 20:11
I really can't say. We had it kicking around the cabinets for a couple of years, and it was kind of on the vinegary side. I assume it turned, rather than starting out that way.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 October 2016 at 11:50
Usually, it is just hitting its stride at a year or two, depending on the recipe, but it is possible that it turned. Considering the vessel, I am guessing that it may have oxidized, which would start the downward spiral....

I went to stir my chokecherry must last night, and the room was filled with the smell of chokecherries - nice! :)

As I stirred and gently pressed the mesh bag of chokecherries, I noticed a bit of an acidic smell coming up directly from the must; I seem to recall this last time, so I'm not to concerned about it. Fermentation is proceeding well and the few drops of must that I tried tasted like a bit of Heaven, so I won't worry about it.

Of course, if anyone knows otherwise, let me know!

I'm still on schedule to rack this over to secondary this coming Sunday evening - possibly Monday morning. Until then....   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 October 2016 at 17:13
I've been keeping with the stirring/squeezing schedule; one thing I've noticed is that the aforementioned "acidic" smell is gone, replaced with a very pleasant, rich, almost "spicy" aroma of chokecherries. A tiny taste reveal pretty much the same as before, only more "advanced" in nature.

Will most likely rack to secondary tomorrow night; possibly Monday.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 October 2016 at 14:36
I transfered my chokecherry must over to secondary today. All went well, and I had even had a little left over for topping up after the next racking or two. The "extra" is in a small container with no headspace to speak of, and will be used when needed.

It looks like things are going nicely; The must smells wonderful, with prominent chokecherry character and a hint of spiciness that I can't put my finger on, but really enjoy. The little taste that I managed to get promises some really nice things.

We'll see how it goes, but I am cautiously optimistic, so far.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2017 at 12:34
Well, a late update on this -

Since my last posting, I racked this off the lees once or twice, then put it away to bulk-age. For a month or so, I told myself to forget about it, and after a while, I did!

Somewhere in that time, I re-filled the air-lock a couple of times, and finally, a month or so ago, I put a 38-mm cap on the fermenter and put it in the refrigerator, hoping that it would pull down any vestigial sediment etc. Normally, one would add a fining agent, but I did not do that at this time, since it didn't seem to need it. There was just the tiniest bit of sediment on the bottom; but otherwise, the wine seemed wonderfully clear and had a beautiful colour.

Last night, I bottled this wine, and I am thinking that I really have something nice. The normal, "proper" procedure would be to add a crushed campden tablet (dissolved in a bit of warm water) and a half-teaspoon of sorbate. I did not do that this time, for my own reasons, but intend to do so in the future; therefore, I am putting down this procedure so that I won't forget.

Anyway, proceeding with the bottling, I washed and sanitised all equipment, then got down to doing it. It was quite easy, thanks to my mini auto-siphon and bottling wand (thanks for the recommendation on that, PitRow!) - in fact, it was even easier than bottling beer. One thing I was eager to try was this handy gadget, which turned out to be very easy to use and made corking a breeze:

http://a.co/9P7ZAVw

The are currently unavailable at Amazon, it seems, but can be found here, also:

http://mastervintner.com/master-vintner-mini-corker/

I was expecting to get 4 bottles from the batch, plus a partial fifth bottle; however, I was happily surprised with 5 full bottles. I had just enough left over for a small sample, and it sure was good. The chokecherry came through very well, and I was quite happy to see that it still had the slight, zippy "spiciness" to that I referred to in my post above.

The bottles of chokecherry wine are currently sitting upright, in the dark, while the pressure equalizes and the corks settle in. In a few days, I will store my wine horizontally and leave it alone for a few weeks while the "bottle shock" wears off. I am guessing that when the time comes to sample it, I'll be quite pleased with it. I plan to see how this wine matures over the next year or so, and am hoping for really nice things.

For now, this second recipe that I made looks to be the one to use. I don't see any need for changing it, but will try to improve my methods and practices a bit in the future, including attempting to use some of the additives that can make a good wine even better. I have enough chokecherries in the freezer to start another batch of wine, and will get it started as soon as I can.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 October 2017 at 14:33
Here is the label that I created for this wine:

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 November 2017 at 09:49

After having had a chance to try this now, I will say that it is excellent. It is very clear, with wonderful colour (I''ll try to get a photo, next time) and has a very pleasant...aroma? bouquet? Whatever.... There is an amazing flavor overall, but it also has a really nice character that I cannot describe; something that is unique and very enjoyable. It's a tiny bit zippy - in a good way - and I could swear that there is a hint of a spiced vanilla-like quality to it; that's the best description I can give, but I can't account for it because I used nothing for this wine except the chokecherries, along with the usual pectic enzyme, acid blend etc.

The only fly in the soup is that it is just a tad watered down; not nearly as bad as the first batch, but a bit. I don't know if this is from excessive topping off (it shouldn't be, because I didn't top very much off), or if it is from a little bit of surreptitious sampling by my son (it could be, as he has a history of this), but the wine isn't as "full" as it could be.

I'm starting my third batch tonight or tomorrow, and will lock it up if necessary. I'll also be able to top it up (if needed) with actual chokecherry wine, which might also help a bit. I intend to follow my "second" recipe exactly as I did the first time, since the results were so good; I had considered experimenting a bit, using Côte des Blancs yeast, rather than Montrachet; however, since I only have enough chokecherries right now for one 1-gallon batch, I'll stick with a yeast that is tried, true and a proven good performer.
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