Question, is it better to make wine with fruit that has been frozen?
Thanks for the great question and bringing up a great wine making subject. Freezing wine making fruit is a great tactic for the home winemaker. It’s one of the wine making tips I share with people quite often.
Just like you said, freezing the fruit breaks down the fiber that is holding it together. When it comes time to actually use the wine making fruit, just thaw it out and process as you normally would. You will find that the color and flavors will release from the fruit into the wine must more readily. This means you are getting more out of your wine making fruit.
Not only does freezing the wine making fruit have this subtle advantage, but there are a couple of more-obvious advantages as well. Freezing the fruit affords you the luxury of being able to make the wine when you are ready to make the wine. If the strawberries are ready, but your not… freeze ’em!
Another advantage is sometimes you don’t have enough fruit to make an entire batch of of a particular fruit wine recipe. Not all fruits come in evenly. The solution is to freeze the fruit as it comes in. Freezing the wine making fruit allows you to hoard until you do have enough to make a full batch of wine.
There’s really not much to know about freezing the fruit. Its okay to chop up your larger fruit. But for berries, you are better off leaving them whole. I strongly suggest sanitizing all wine making fruits in a bath of sodium metabisulfite and water solution before freezing. Drain the fruit thoroughly. Also, common sense would dictate that the “bad ones” be pick out and discarded.
If you plan on freezing the fruit for a longer period of time, say six months or more, you may want to consider packing the fruit in sugar syrup. This will help to eliminate any negative effects from freezer-burn. Just like it sounds, you use just enough sugar syrup to cover/submerge the fruit before freezing.
If you do decide to pack your fruits in sugar syrup you will want to add less sugar then your wine recipes calls for. This is to allow for the additional sugar that will be incorporated into the wine must along with the fruit.
A simple way of handling this adjustment is to rely on your wine hydrometer. Use the hydrometer to tell you how much sugar is needed in the recipe instead of adding the amount called for in the wine recipe. Just add sugar until the desired alcohol level is reached the the hydrometer’s potential alcohol scale.
Freezing wine making fruit is not a necessity to making wine. You can make incredible wines without freezing the fruit at all. Freezing fruit is just one more method you can use to help the fruit keep while waiting from more.
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.
I started freezing fruit because when it comes in season there is just so much of it. By freezing the fruit, I can start new wines all winter long.
I have a pinot grigio that was place into two seperate containers one large 100ml ,one smaller . The small one is fine, the larger one is slightly sweeter and has a little fizz . Does it need more time?
Phil, your suspicions are correct. The fermentation needs more time to complete. You may want to take a look at the article, "Top 10 Reasons For Fermentation Failure" and see if any of them apply: http://www.eckraus.com/wine-making-failure/
We make a large supply of rhubarb wine each year – it is our favorite white wine – some years ago we had masses of rhubarb and no time to use it; So we put it into the freezer. When we did thaw it and make it we found the freezing had released masses of acid, so much that the wine was pretty much undrinkable.
I used Bentonite (a natural, clay-like volcanic silt) from Montana into a large batch of rhubarb must, the malic acid and oxalic acids dropped out, and probably caused a beneficial ionization environment. I cannot explain how AWESOME that filtered juice tasted! I loved it so, I saturated with sugar and canned a whole bunch. That was about 3 years ago, and the syrup still tastes AWESOME. I like it so much, I don’t want to ferment it, but I am confident that it would work well, but surely needs a hydrometer reading.
In addition to freezing fruit (I like to rupture the cells in the fruit when making wine) I have also used grocery store fruit juices. As long as the juice does not have any preservatives in it you are good to go. Two of my very best wines have been Watermelon and Blueberry, made from grocery store bought juice. I have two recipes for juice wine: 3 gallons juice + 2 gallons sugar water or simply 5 gallons juice. I’ve had people who do not like wine ask me for bottles of my Blueberry wine. 🙂
Best way to break up or crush fruit is to freeze the berries. Freezing the berries will help to release the berries flavor during fermentation..
I would like to make some wine with nanking cherries by extracting the juice using the freezing method, but am not sure its a good thing to do. Can stone fruits be frozen without removing the stone? Or would there be a chance of the stone cracking and releasing bitter stone flavors? We have a lot of nanking cherries, which are very small cherries. It would be a big chore to remove the stones for even a small batch. Would like to make some wine with the cherries by extracting the juice using the freezing method, but am not sure its a good thing to do. Any thoughts on that? Has anyone had experience with freezing stone fruits without removing the stone first?
John, out of caution we would recommend removing the stones prior to freezing. As you mention, I would not want to take the chance of having the stones break while frozen.
I agree with what everyone said, but it has been my experience that freezing musicadine grapes before crushing makes it more difficult too get the wine too clear. I made four five gallon baches of Red Musicadine wine and had no problem with the clearing process except the one where the grapes were frozen. I used egg white and Bennite and it still has a haze. I am going to try filtering it and see what happens. Maurice H Oliver
John, I have a batch of cherry wine in a 6 gallon carboy made with fruit I froze with the pits in. I started to pit them but it was such a task and I thought they make red wine with the seeds in the must. Why not cherries. I did not notice any broken pits in when I process the thawed cherries but it will be at least another 6 months to a year before we taste the wine so the jury is still out.
Great to see you start sending your weekend comments again. Missed this while you were closed. Stay safe and glad to have you back!
How many pounds of blueberries or blackberries per one bottle of wine?
Mary, it would be somewhere around .60 lbs. (9.6 oz.) per every 750 mL bottle of wine.
Just a remark in consideration for using fruit containing pits. It is wise to check with your State Agricultural Dept., University Ag School, or Agricultural Extension Service for information regarding arsenic content in the pits (seeds) of certain plants. I have made a beverage using Loquats incorporating the infusion method.The seeds in the pits contained arsenic and had to be removed prior to use. By the way, the cordial turned out extremely well and safe to consume.
Is the arsenic proven to be at dangerous level on any particular fruit ?
I’ve read in a few places that the amounts are as nature intended and in organic form that is not toxic.
What is the correct amount of sugar water to grape juice for small batches?
Gary, unfortunately, since each fruit has different levels of natural sugar, we cannot tell you how much sugar to add. You can learn how to create your own wine recipe by reading the article posted below.
Creating Your Own wine Recipe
Can the red grapes from a harvest be frozen with the stems? I am planning on multiple harvest then put them all together as the grapes mature at different times. Do I need to destem and crush before freezing or can the whole clusters be frozen and processed later?
Can I use frozen rhubarb successfully for wine making, and if so , do I put it straight into the bucket to make my must?
Normally, you would crush the rhubarb with a rolling pin or something similar. Save all the juice that comes out during this process. Then put it all in the fermenter.