Why Does A Wine Recipe Call For Raisins?

making wine at homeHi,
What value, if any is there to adding raisins to a wine recipe? Because I see some wine recipes using the same fruit-some use raisins and some don’t. Thanks for your information.
Bernie C.
Hello Bernie C.
Thank you for the great question.
It’s not unusual to find wine recipes that call for raisins, especially in some of the older wine making books that are geared more towards country style wines. Books such as, First Steps In Winemaking or, Winemakers’ Recipe Handbook have several recipes that utilize raisins.
By design, country style wines are very full-bodied with a lot of fruity flavors. Most of them end up sweet as well. They can be made from anything from apricots to raspberries.
Raisins may be called for because they are an abundant source of body. They can improve the mouth-feel of the wine by increasing its viscosity. This gives the wine a heartier, overall impression. It also causes the fruit flavors to linger on the tongue longer, producing a fruitier impression.
Raisins also add a caramel element to the wine. This is an effect that is caused by the browning, oxidative effects of sun-drying the raisins. This is the same characteristic found in Ports or Sherrys. This can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on the type of wine and preference of the wine drinker. You can reduce this characteristic by using Muscat, or white raisins instead.
I hope this helps you out.
Best Wishes,
Customer Service at E. C. Kraus
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.

29 thoughts on “Why Does A Wine Recipe Call For Raisins?

  1. Just the information I was after too. But how many raisins would you add per litre of wine if you wanted to add all the carictaristics you have described?

    • I make my grandmother’s homemade country wine with fresh fruit, sugar, yeast, water, and white (golden) raisins. Her recipe calls for 4 pounds of white raisins per 3 gallons of water. I’m terrible at converting Imperial measurements to Metric, so you’ll have to do the math on this one lol. Hope it helps though.

  2. Roger, most recipes that call for raisins suggest 1 pound per U.S. gallon. This is up for experimentation, but this is the amount I would start out with. Thanks for the great question!

  3. i am making a blackberry wine, racked it for the first time & it tasted very good, thinking about adding french roasted oak chips and maybe raisins, should i add 1 pound? if so for how long? would it make it sweeter? thanks. this is my first batch using fresh fruit

  4. Roberto, it is better to add the raisins in at the beginning of fermentation, but if the wine must is still fermenting, it is okay to go ahead and add them now. How much you add is up to you. Since you are making a blackberry with a bit of body already, maybe 2 pounds to a 5 US gallon size batch?

  5. Does the addition of raisins effect the over alcohol content due to their concentrated sugars? If so, should I compensate by reducing the amount of added sugar? Thanks!

  6. Adam, you are correct in your assumption that the raisins do add fermentable sugar to the wine must, but I must say that I have never worried about this aspect. I have not seen any studies, but my guess would be a pound of raisins represents about 1/4 pound of fermentable sugar. Just a guess.

  7. How long should I keep the raisins in the carboy before racking them off? My S.G. is at 1.100.

    • Ronda, the raisins are part of the primary stage of fermentation. Once you rack the wine after 5-7 days, you will remove them along with any fruit pulp.

  8. I’m getting ready to start a mango wine, and was wondering if you think I should add raisins? I know raisins add body and mouth- feel and I’m assuming this is a good thing, is their any negatives effects to using raisins?
    Is their any other alternatives to adding body and mouth-feel to fruit wines?

  9. thanks foe info on raisins, approx 40 years ago when I used to make wine in England I frequently used raisins to impart body in a fruit/vegetable wine also over ripe bananas were used for the purpose.

    • Owen, below we have provided the link to a one-gallon raisin wine recipe. If you want to make more than one gallon, simply multiply all of the ingredients by the number of gallons that you wish to make. The only exception is the yeast. Each packet of yeast will ferment up to 5-gallons of wine.
      Raisin Wine

  10. I experimented with adding raisins to a Cabernet kit to get more body. The wine tasted UGLY. If I ever tried raisins again, it would definitely be white raisins, in hopes the taste wouldn’t be ruined.

  11. I am 44 yrs old and just began using my grandmother’s old homemade country wine recipe, which was used for generations, before her, in our family. It calls for 4 lbs. of white (golden) raisins to be added 11 days into the primary fermentation process (per 3 gallons)…the total fermentation process being 32 days. I’ve often wondered why the use of the raisins was so important, and no one in the family could give a clear explanation. I suppose it’s because over the years they’ve either forgotten or just trusted that grandma knew what she was doing, and truly she did. Her wines were excellent, no matter what fruit she used (and she used everything from any type of berry, apples, oranges, peaches, apricots, pears, plums, and even flowers). So, this has helped me tremendously in understanding the reason for the raisins and I greatly appreciate your information.

    • Susie, I had a super recipie was a friends family’s pass me down. (Brandy Wine) lost it and he has passed on. Was your recipie like 7 14 21 day intervals. I wish I could remember just how I done it it was kick ass .

  12. Susie, I have an old family recipe using fruit juices. I just found the original a couple weeks ago. It calls for two pounds of raisins/4 gallons juice added nine days into fermentation. I just added raisins to my first batch. Your post made me smile. 🙂

  13. I want to try my hand at making some sweet wine I love the way all the Dublin wines taste I’m going to out of work for a few months long enough to attempt wine making so anyone with a recipe for some thing sweet and easy please help me out thanks

  14. I use 7 Oz of white raisins per gallon of pear wine or any fruit wine I deem too light body to have a “good” feel on my tongue. I never use chemicals in my wine and every wine I make, reds, whites, fruit, dry or sweet turn out fine.
    I researched wines and if your willing to wait 12-14 months they will be Crystal clear, degassed, and chemical free. Read the poison you are using to make wine faster. People are allergic to sulfites & Chitosan (shellfish), so why use them if you learn how to make wine without poison.

  15. All the raisins/sultanas I can find on supermarket shelves use a vegetable oil to coat them, to stop them sticking together. Should I wash this off first or will it not spoil the wine. Or can you buy uncoated ones?

    • Laura, it is perfectly fine to use those type of raisins. The coating will not affect the wine.

  16. When making pomegranate wine…for every gallon of fresh uice..what would need to be added, when and how much ?

    • Bee, since most wine recipes start with pounds of fruit we cannot tell you how much of anything you need to add. However, the following article will teach you how to create your own recipe. Basically, you will be testing the acid and sugar content to know how to adjust. It will also discuss the additional ingredients needed.
      Creating Your Own Winemaking Recipe

  17. When adding raisins to a wine recipe, do you need to mash them or just throw them in whole? Also, should I freeze the raisins to help breakdown the cell walls?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Bet, it would be better to cut the raisins. Freezing them is fine. Just let them thaw before use.

  18. Do the raisins add tannins to the wine? Is that another reason why it helps with the mouthfeel of the wine? I see that tannins are made from grape skins and seeds, which leads me to believe that the raisins skin might add tannins.

    • I make chokecherry wine and when I used golden raisins it left an aftertaste, so I started crushing red seedless grapes and putting them into the wine during primary fermentation and the wine keeps the chokecherry flavor, is full bodied and has no aftertaste. I make 6 gallons of wine and use about 12 lbs of grapes and they add to the sugar level as well so I use less granulated sugar.

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