This blog is a record of the wine that I make and drink. Each flavour made and each bottle drunk will appear here. You may come to the conclusion that, on the whole, I should be drinking less.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Inca Berry & Raisin Wine - The Making Of...

An Inca Berry (or Physallis) (or Cape Gooseberry)
Back in April last year, at the Extended Family Do, I was complaining that it was difficult to find a fruit that began with the letter 'I' for my wine alphabet. Adam, being a modern-day technologically connected teenager, pulled out his phone, did a quick search and discovered both Inca Berries and a place that sold their seeds. Now, I know this fruit as 'Physallis' and others call it 'Cape Gooseberry'. However, that the seed packet said 'Inca Berry' is good enough for me to tick the letter 'I', leaving only 'J' and 'Z' to go.

Inca Berry seedlings - taken to Cornwall

We planted the seeds in mid-April, sending a pack to St Albans for Lou and Adam to fail to grow, and took the seedlings with us to Cornwall for a week's holiday in May.

Inca Berry Plants in Summer
By July the plants were putting out flowers - an attractive yellow and brown mix, and by September these had turned into green lanterns surrounding the nascent fruit. This is really where it started to go wrong. Our summer was not hot enough and the autumn not dry enough for the lanterns to turn brown, crack open and reveal a small yellow globe. Some did, but on the whole the lanterns and their fruit inside stayed resolutely green.
Over time Claire and I harvested what we could - even bringing three of the plants inside (this helped) and this weekend, 15th January, I harvested everything that had not gone rotten. Overall, this produced only 1 lb 8 oz of fruit in various stages of ripeness. This is not enough for a batch of wine, but I couldn't waste what had grown, so I have made do with 'Inca Berry and Raisin Wine'.

I mashed the Inca Berries in my bucket (and they made a satisfying 'pop' as I crushed them) and added 1 lb 8 oz of minced raisins. Raisins have their own sweetness, so I added 2 lbs 8 oz sugar (which is half a pound less than I usually add to a wine) and poured in six and a half pints of boiling water. The Inca Berries are perfumed, which gives me hope that this won't be the blandest wine ever made (I think Ya Ya Pear may get that particular prize).

I left the mixture over night and added the yeast and a teaspoon each of nutrient, pectolase and tannin on Monday 16th January. I had earmarked Friday to put the wine into its demijohn, but by the time I returned from practising bassoon pieces with David on the piano, Claire had started a fire, downloaded an episode of QI and opened a bottle of wine, so I left it until this morning, 21st January.

The wine is exceptionally brown, and Claire says it suggests a bad attack of cholera. Yum!

If you want to see how this wine turned out, click here.

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