Monday, April 17, 2006

Berry, berry good wine

Doug and I had a project this weekend that we have wanted to do for a year – making strawberry wine. We hope will turn out delicious, although it will be several months before we know for sure. We are experimenting with six different variations to see what works and what doesn’t.

The project started Friday morning with a trip to Poteet, a town two hours to the south. Poteet is known as the strawberry capital of Texas and the strawberries from that area are super sweet. The wineries we’ve talked to in central Texas that make strawberry wine say they get their fruit from Poteet, so we decided that was the place to start. For those not familiar with the process for making fruit wine, it is very important that we get fruit that doesn’t have preservatives. It is also important that we get fruit that is freshly picked – grocery stores just won’t work. The fruit in grocery stores are picked early and ripen on the way to the market. This means that the strawberries won’t have the same sugar content (very important for wine) as berries we can get from farmers.

After arriving in Poteet (blink and you’ll miss the town), we stopped at a roadside fruit stand where the berries were gorgeous. We bought two flats, or 24 pints of strawberries and headed back to Austin.

Saturday morning we woke and headed to the market to pick up a few things we needed for the wine. Some of the batches are going to have raisins and/or dates. Once we got home, we started on the process. Each of the six 1-gallon batches called for three pounds of strawberries – and I was the one who hulled the berries – all 24 pints of them. We then crushed the berries in our juicer and poured the strawberry juice into 1 gallon jugs. Doug added the other ingredients and started the yeast. This morning he added the yeast to the fruit. I noticed this afternoon that some of the wine is already starting to ferment.

Last spring we missed the strawberry season and didn’t get to make wine. It’s a good thing we got the strawberries over the weekend as the guy at the fruit stand told us that it was starting to get too hot for strawberries (it’s been a short season this year and I doubt that the crop can survive this 100-degree weather). As it was, after the trip home in the trunk of the car and overnight on our kitchen counter, the berries were already starting to get mushy. That’s okay for wine and tells us that they were definitely not picked too early.

Now we are just waiting for blackberry season to make blackberry wine. Of course, we’ll make another batch of peach wine this summer.

1 comment:

John Musser said...

Doug, go to www.winepress.us and register to use the site and look at the fruit wine section. Lots of good recipes on there.