Deciding to do some blueberry and pomegranate wine was a snap decision and knocked the nettle wine out of contention that I did have plans for. A friend will probably brave the nettles so I may get to swap a bottle for a test drive… they might just be learning this as they are reading.
The change of mind was by chance drinking some blueberry and pomegranate fruit juice and thinking it was an ideal for a wine. That fruit juice had preservatives so was probably unsuitable to to use as a base as it would clobber the yeast into submission. I quickly went off the idea of de-seeding 12 pomegranates and crushing them to get the juice too. Tracking down some sulphite free pomegranate juice from a whole-foods shop meant that the recipe was a goer.
The blueberries were easier to source from a supermarket and they were frozen to burst the flesh and cool them down ready for a cold soak. The cold maceration/soak allows flavour and colour to be extracted from thick skins before the yeast is pitched. To do it a campden is crushed to keep the water sanitised and kill any natural yeasts on the blueberries. Enough water is used to at least cover the berries but more is beneficial. I personally boil then cool the water so it is safe but the campden should do this anyway. Cling film is then placed on the surface of the water to stop oxidation and then another to keep any nasty microbes away before it is popped into the fridge for a 3 to 5 days.
The berries were mashed and squeezed in a sparge bag to rupture them and allow as much flavour out. The sparge bag will also allow a good pressing when I rack from primary to secondary fermentation. The berries were then married up with the pomegranate juice, remaining water, some tea for tannin and the juice of lemon for extra acidity. The ratio of blueberries to pomegranate is roughly 50/50 with 1kg of the berries and a litre of juice – there is no reason that this cannot be done to any other ratio for personal taste. Using a hydrometer I adjusted the sugar to 1.09 for a planned 13%ABV. I have not make this recipe before so I have no idea if I want a sweet or dry wine at bottling time. The taste seems fruity but complex so may be able to remain totally dry.
I imagine this will be a fruity medium bodied wine that will need no longer than a year to mature, blueberry wine being the quickest of the berries. Native European blueberries are less flavourful than the American blueberry and as such if this is a success I may tinker with the recipe next year. Most of the ideas for this did come from US recipes. Pomegranates to me have a naturally smokey taste so I may or may not choose to oak this wine and I may use some sherry chips as I am yet to throw them at any wine so far.
BLUEBERRY AND POMEGRANATE WINE – 4.5 Litres
Yeast strains – Any red wine yeast like R56 or Lalvin 71B
1kg of blueberries
1 litre of pommegranate juice
1kg sugar – aiming for max 1.09 SG
1 cup of tea
Juice of a lemon
1 tsp. yeast nutrient
1. Freeze the berries then cold soak for 5 days in fridge at least with one campden and 1.5 litres of water.
2, Boil the remaining water and then leave to cool. Add then crush the berries and the pomegranate juice and leave to get to room temperature.
3, Add lemon juice, tea, sugar to 1.09SG then the yeast and nutrient.
4. Leave in primary to ferment then squeeze the berries for all the juice and filter into demijohn.
5. Rack at 5 weeks then again 10 weeks after that.
6. Age for 3 months minimum after that (5g of oak chips could be used)
One year from pitch to pop but better if left (I imagine!)