"I have about 12 gallons of wild assorted berries I have been gathering
from all over Washington since the beginning of the season. I would like
to combine all these berries into a wild Washington berry wine. I have
huckleberries (2 gal), salmon berries (2 gal), raspberries (1 gal), thimbleberries
(not many), and the remainder are blackberries. I would appreciate it if
you could help me with a recipe...." Michelle Jackson, Washington state
An assortment of wild berries such as Michelle describes can form the base for a really good and unique wine. The key is not to contain so many of the tart varieties (raspberries particularly, but also salmonberries and to a lesser extent thimblberries). But, a heavy volume of blackberries (or dewberries) and huckleberries (or blueberries) will go a long way toward balancing the tartness and rounding out the various flavors.
The following recipe makes three gallon of wine, which is what I would make with 12 pounds of assorted berries. I would not attempt five gallons with this amount, but if the total could be increaded to 15 pounds (adding blackberries, blueberries or other non-tart berries) it might be stretched to five.
Put 1½ gallons of water on high heat. Add sugar and stir well to dissolve. As soon as sugar is dissolved, remove water from heat. Meanwhile, clean the berries and discard any that are unripe as they will make the wine astringent. Put berries in two or three nylon straining bags (if possible, put raspberries, salmonberries and thimbleberries in one bag and remaining berries in others), tie closed and put in primary. Crush berries well and pour sugar-water onto them. Add acid blend and yeast nutrient stir well. Add another gallon of water and cover primary. When cool, stir in crushed Campden, recover and set aside 12 hours. Stir in pectic enzyme, recover and set aside additional 12 hours. Add activated yeast and recover primary. Squeeze bags twice daily to extract juice. If berries were divided into tart and others, remove tart berries after 3 days and remainder after 7 days total. Otherwise, remove all berries after 5 days. Drip drain bags squeezing gently to firmly (but not hard enough to drive pulp through mesh) to coax additional juice from bag. Add drained juice to primary and allow to settle overnight. Rack into secondary and fit airlock without topping up. After 7 days top up and refit airlock. Rack after one month, top up and refit airlock. Wait two months and rack, top up and refit airlock. Set aside for three months of aging. Rack, top up and refit airlock. After additional three months, if no sediments at bottom of secondary, stabilize, sweeten to taste, wait 10 days, and rack into bottles. If sediment, rack, stabilize, sweeten to taste, wait 10 days, and bottle. [Author's own recipe]
My thanks to Michelle Jackson of Washington state for requesting this recipe.