(Written By Amber D. Rounseville for the Winemaker's Journal)
As a novice wino in the winemaking field, I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about fruit wines. Here in the Ozarks of Missouri, we are very simple people with very simple tastes. There are some advances in the grape growing industry here in the Show-Me-State. Now, I am not a winesnob but I have run into them in Missouri. In a discussion with a manager at a local wine shop in Branson, he is anti-Missouri grapes and wine. He will not touch anything from this state, only the eloquent wines of California satisfy his taste. I would love for someday to explore the vineyards of California but for now, I explore the small micro wineries of Missouri.
So starts my journey of fruit wines. It mainly started as experimental in learning how to make wine. My first batch was Raspberry. I bottled it back in August and it turned out to be a semi-dry light red wine. With some sampling among friends, most were pleasantly surprised by the lightly sweet, yet dry taste. The assumption was that it was going to be very sweet but it is not. My neighbors really enjoyed it and I took some on a camping trip this past weekend. Grandpa Bob had some for breakfast yesterday around the campfire and then took the rest home! This is what we do in the Ozarks, drink wine around the campfire!
The next batch I experimented with was Pomegranate and Blueberry. This wine turned out very successful. I lightly sweetened it before bottling and it's a hit. My friend Stephanie and her husband told me that they are addicted to that wine and is the best they have ever had. I have had other people comment that it is a very good wine.
This is what I have learned about fruit wines so far. For people who do not have a real taste for wine, I will start them on a fruit wine and slowly introduce them to the grape wines. Start with the blushes and move forward. It becomes a gradual process to acclimate the palate. I know fruit wines are not as prestigious as traditional Pinots, Merlots, Chardonnays, etc but I am more interested in developing a person’s taste for wine and moving them forward. In the process I am having fun with the native fruits and opportunities in the Ozarks. So, as I develop my style to make Pinots and other traditional wines, there will probably always be a fruit wine in the background to help a new wino develop a taste for wine!
Here are some pics of my wine work room: As you can see, I have the merlot, blackberry concord, and reliance waiting to be bottled. Also included Jake, the winemaster taste-tester. I am hoping to grow out of the room in 2009 and into an actual building!
Here's The Recipe:
For raspberry wine: 8 lbs of raspberries 12 lbs of sugar 6 tsp acid blend 4 tsp yeast nutrient 2 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme 5 campden tablets red star premier cuvee wine yeast *this makes 5 gallons of wine. You need to add 4.5 gallons of water. Please note, the first thing I do is dissolve the sugar into the water by heating the water, then put it in the fermenter. Do not try to dump the sugar into the fermenter without dissolving. You will have trouble. Then add your raspberries. I smashed them into a cheese cloth and let it ferment in the primary.