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Using Concentrated Fruit Juice in Homemade Wine

Add concentrated fruit juice to your homemade wine ingredients to give your wine a plum or kiwi taste.

November 2014

By Lori Stahl

Making Your Own Wine at Home

Making your own wine can be easier than you think. In Making Your Own Wine at Home (Fox Chapel Publishing, 2014), author Lori Stahl provides friendly, easy-to follow instructions for making homemade wine. She starts novice winemakers off with tips for using a kit and helps open their eyes to a vast world of different flavored wines. This excerpt, which helps new winemakers to learn how to add different kinds of concentrated fruit juice to their homemade wine recipes, is from Chapter 2, “Step-By-Step Winemaking.”

Buy this book from the GRIT store: Making Your Own Wine at Home.

Making Wine From Concentrated Fruit Juice

Special winemaking concentrates are just that: concentrated fruit juice that you can use to make fruit wine. Many types of concentrates are available to home winemakers. I tend to like a heartier, more robust wine, so I often will add a bit of fruit beyond what the can of concentrate contains. Let’s take a look at two examples.

Winemaking from Concentrates

Most concentrates for winemaking have handy recipes right on the can.

Add Fresh Kiwis to Homemade Wine
Fresh Plums for Winemaking
You can easily add fresh fruit to a concentrate recipe to jazz it up.

Making Wine from Concentrate: Plum Wine

In this example, you’ll learn to make a plum wine from concentrate with some fresh plums added to enhance flavor. Often the concentrates will include a recipe within or on the packaging itself that makes either 3 or 5 gallons (11.4 or 18.9L); make only 3 gallons (11.4L) if you want a denser wine with a fuller fruit flavor and body.

Heat Water Before Making Wine From Concentrates
Unbruised Plums for Winemaking

For this plum wine, start with the fresh fruit one day ahead. Heat up water.

Choose ripe, unbruised fruit.

Remove the Pits from Plums
Plums in Primary Fermenter
Plums in Primary Fermenter

Remove the pits gently.

Put the fruit in the primary.

Add the warm water and the campden tablet, then partially cover the primary and let it sit at room temperature. The following day, add the concentrate to the primary and continue by following the label instructions.

Creative Winemaking: Experimenting with Fruit Additions

Making wine from a concentrate can be a very simple process, yet, me being me, I carried out a bit of an experiment with the next example. I’d read that using the skin of a kiwi was recommended, and then I’d read that using the skin of a kiwi was not recommended. I had intended to make this batch of kiwi wine straight from the concentrate can, but alas, my curiosity about the “taint factor” of kiwi skins and whether a concentrate augmented with fruit was a vast improvement over a straight concentrate got the better of me. Follow my steps below to carry out the experiment for yourself.

Kiwi Concentrate for Winemaking

Start with a kiwi concentrate, following the concentrate directions on the can to create a 3-1/2-gallon (13.2L) batch using a little less sugar to compensate for the fruit.

Add Kiwi Concentrate to Fermenter
Adding Yeast to Fermenter

Pour the concentrate into the primary fermenter.

Add the yeast to start the fermentation.

Wash and Prepare Kiwis

Skins on Kiwis

After fermentation has started, wash and prepare the kiwis.

Leave the skins on for one batch.

Peeled Kiwis
Two Primaries With Kiwi

Peel the kiwi for the other batch.

Rack 1 gallon (3.8L) onto the fruit without skins, 1 gallon (3.8L) onto the fruit with skins, 1 gallon (3.8L) into a jug, and the remaining liquid into a 1/2-gallon (2L) jug, so that you have two primaries: one with skins, and one without.

Separate Containers for Fermenting
Let Kiwi Wine Ferment

When it is time according to the instructions, rack the wine out of the primary into separate containers.

Let the wine ferment. In one glass container is kiwi with skins; in the second container is kiwi without skins. Both were treated with a Campden tablet. Rack the other gallon (3.8L) (the one with no fruit) into a 1 gallon (3.8L) jug and add a small amount of sugar to it to balance out the lack of fruit. Rack the balance into a 1/2-gallon (2L) jug, and save it to use for topping up when racking the wines off of the fruit. Finish the wines according to concentrate instructions.

When all was said and done with my experiment, all three kiwi wines were delicious. The one made straight from the concentrate was not as interesting as the ones made from fruit. The one with the skins removed was my clear favorite, but the one with the skins on was certainly not objectionably tainted. See if your results are similar.

I’ve shared this inexact process with you in hopes of showing how you too can be creative in your winemaking. If you are making a batch and curious to know if it will be good with oak or without, divide it and try it both ways. Play. You do have to plan ahead to be certain that you have equipment that will work out nicely with the volumes involved. You also want to remember that high alcohol wines are not very tasty, so do not overdo fruit or sugar additions. You will learn lots by experimenting.

Not experienced enough to be making wine from concentrate yet? Read Making Wine From a Kit at Home to get started.

This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from Making Your Own Wine at Home, by Lori Stahl and published by Fox Chapel Publishing, 2014. Buy this book from our store: Making Your Own Wine at Home.

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