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.

Sunday 10 September 2017

Blackberry Wine 2017 - The Making Of...

I heard rumours of ripe blackberries as July became August. For the last few weeks I have been aware of bramble clusters turning black and juicy. Blackberry, though, is a September wine so I have resisted foraging until today, Sunday 3rd September. This has also allowed me to spend time with my parents, who are only just returned from Mexico.

Mom and Claire foraging

As always, I went picking blackberries in York Victorian Cemetery, taking Mom and Claire with me. Usually we split up when picking and meet back at the car at a prearranged time. Today we picked together - I wanted to hear all about Mom's time in Nebraska, how the uncles were and whether Keith and family had a good time over there. Picking blackberries was the ideal time to hear all the news and it made ninety minutes pass quickly. At the end of this our hands were sticky with blackberry juice, our arms were covered in nettle stings and bramble scratches, and between us we had picked 13 lbs 3 oz (Claire, as always, was the winner).

I made sure some fruit came from Thomas Douthwaite's grave, and otherwise I made a note of Albert Dowsett, John Hardy Ellis (all good family names), Fred Dealtry and the delightfully named Vera Higginbottom. I will raise a glass to all when the time comes.

Our haul
Back at home I measured 12 lbs blackberries, putting the excess into the freezer, and mashed these in my bucket. This was a quick and easy job because the fruit was so ripe. I added 7 lbs 12 oz sugar (it may need more on racking) and 15 pints of boiling water (I should have added at least 16 - see below). The yeast, two teaspoons of nutrient and what was left in my tub of pectolase (more than a teaspoon) went in on Monday morning.

The blackberry pulp floating at the top of the wine
On Friday evening, 8th September, it was Book Group (The Trouble with Sheep and Goats, which got mixed reviews) so I did my best to be efficient in getting the wine into its three demijohns. Including sterilising everything, it took me somewhat less than an hour. Taking out the bulk of the floating fruit detritus with a colander helped. I stored the discarded pulp in a large plastic bowl (also sterilised) and this was a Good Thing. There was at least a pint too little liquid, and I pressed the pulp to extract all additional wine I could. The demijohns are still not full, but it is close, and they are all bubbling away enthusiastically.

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

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