Red Raspberries

The red-fruited raspberry is one of about a dozen or so varieties of the raspberry species native to the United States and Canada. Raspberries belong to the rubus genus, of which there are 300-400 species in the temperate regions of the world. The botanical name is Rubus strigosus, but it's commonly called the red raspberry. It is found throughout the U.S. Rocky Mountain states, the midwest and New England, and throughout Canada south of the Artic circle. It can most often be found along the margins of woodlands, streambeds, clearings, roadsides, and abandoned fields. The plant forms a subshrub to 2 meters high, with canes spreading to trailing along the ground. New canes often have a whitish cast, and all are armed with unusually numerous prickles and stiff hairs. The berries form from white to greenish-white flowers that grow in clusters of 2-5 along the upper reaches of the canes in June and July. The berries are globular in shape--or nearly so--and a half-inch to nearly an inch in size and turn from light green to rose, then bright red, ripening from July to September. When ripe, the berries are juicy, separate easily from their stalk, and are very popular among birds and other wildlife.

Red raspberries make a fragrant, subtle wine. It should be made dry so that a subtle hint of tartness carries its distinctive flavor to the sides of the tongue as it is sipped, chilled. The recipes below make one gallon each. If you make two, you can combine the pressed pulp and make a "second" wine which, although weaker, will still be acceptable.


Pick only ripe berries. Combine water and sugar and put on to boil, stirring occasionally. Wash and destem berries. Put in nylon straining bag, tie, put in botton of primary, and crush berries in bag. Pour boiling sugar-water over berries to set the color and extract the flavorful juice. Add acid blend, tannin and yeast nutrient. Allow to cool to 70 degrees F. and add crushed Campden tablet. Cover primary with plastic wrap secured with a large rubber band. Add pectic enzyme after 12 hours and wine yeast after additional 12 hours, resecuring plastic wrap each time. Stir daily for a week, replacing plastic wrap if it looks like it needs it. Remove nylon bag and allow to drip drain about an hour, keeping primary covered as before. Do not squeeze bag. Return drippings to primary and use bag of pulp for "second" wine if you made a double recipe (combine bags, but only make one gallon of "second" wine). Continue fermentation in primary another week, stirring daily. Rack to secondary, top up with water and fit airlock. Use a dark secondary or wrap with brown paper (from paper bag) to preserve color. Ferment additional 2 months, then rack into clean secondary. Refit airlock and rack after additional 2 months. Wait another 2 months, rack again and bottle into dark glass. Drink after one year. This is an excellent dry wine, but don't rush it! You must ferment the full 6 months and age another year. Serve chilled. The "second" wine uses the same recipe, but without the Campden tablet or pectic enzyme--and the sugar water MUST be cooled before pouring over fruit or you will kill the yeast still in the fruit. [Adapted from Terry Garey's The Joy of Home Winemaking]


Use only sound ripe berries. Wash and destem berries. Crush berries and put all ingredients except yeast in primary. Pour boiling water over ingredients and stir well to dissolve sugar. Cover with plastic wrap until cooled to 70-75 degrees F. Add yeast, recover, and stir daily 5-6 days or until S.G. drops to 1.040. Strain out fruit pulp and press to extract juice. If you make a double recipe, the pressed pulp can be used to make a "second" wine (use pulp from two batches, but only make 1 gal. "second" wine). Siphon off sediments into secondary, top up, fit airlock, and set in dark, cooler (60-65 degrees F.) place. Rack in 3 weeks and agin in 3 months. Rack again and bottle when clear. Store in dark place to preserve color. Age one year. For "second" wine, use pulp form 2 batches and rest of recipe above, but without the Campden tablet or pectic enzyme--and the sugar water MUST be cooled before pouring over fruit or you will kill the yeast still in the fruit. Also age "second" wine one year. [Adapted from Stanley F. Anderson and Raymond Hull's The Art of Making Wine]

Last update was November 2nd, 2000.

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