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Requested Recipe:

MULBERRY WINE


"We've been making wine for several years, but our mulberry (and they're all
over the place here in New Orleans, LA) wine has come out with little body or
flavor. We're seeking a receipe to make use of this abundant crop. We have
available 5 gallons of mulberry wine at this time. Could we use it in lieu of
water for another batch or add whatever to it to improve body and/or flavor?"

Kim and George, New Orleans, Louisiana




MULBERRIES


The native American mulberry, Morus rubra, is found all over the United States, but especially in the South. In no way should it be confused with the several hybrids of fruitless mulberry, nor should it be confused with the Chinese or Asian mulberry (which have fruit approaching two inches long). The natives have smaller leaves, grow to 30 feet in height and 40 feet in spread, and naturally inhabit wet stream beds and areas with fair rainfall because of its appetite for water. The fruitless varieties have large leaves, shallow roots, and will crowd out other desirable trees as they attempt to secure all available water. If not planted near patios, driveways or parking areas, the native is a wonderful shade tree and the fruit are delicious raw, cooked into cobbler, or made into jelly or syrup.

The fruit can be messy, especially after passing through the digestive system of any numbers of birds that feed on them. Leave the upper branches for the birds and harvest the ones you can reach easily or with a step-ladder. The average tree will easily yield more than enough fruit for several gallons of wine. Like many dark berries, the wine's color will suffer if exposed to bright light. For this reason, use dark glass fermentation vessel or clear glass wrapped in brown butcher paper. Store and age bottles in a dark place.

Mulberries by themselves make a poor wine unless you go all out and use 100% juice with no water. I haven't done that yet so cannot tell you how many pounds of mulberries you'll need. Recipes like the ones below require raisins or grape juice to give the wine body. The flavor is also somewhat fleeting, and for this reason I like to top up with pure, strained mulberry juice. This tends to drag out the fermentation process and usually requires an additional racking, but the added flavor is worth it. I would not substitute a batch of thin-bodied mulberry wine for water (except for topping up) because the resulting alcohol content would be too high and you would need to use a yeast with very high alcohol tolerance to get it to ferment out at all. As for the previous batch of thin-bodied mulberry, I'd use it to top up and then blend any left over with a full-bodied grape wine.

Mulberry Wine (1)

Bring water to boil and dissolve sugar in it, stirring until completely clear. Meanwhile, wash the mulberries after removing the stems and pour into primary fermentation vessel. Add raisins, chopped or minced. Pour boiling sugar-water over fruit and allow to cool to 75-80 degrees F. Add pectic enzyme, acid blend, and yeast nutrient. Stir well, cover and set aside 12 hours. Add yeast, stir, recover, and allow to ferment four days on the pulp, stirring twice daily after punching down the cap. Strain through nylon sieve, pressing lightly to extract juice and then pour into dark secondary fermentation vessel or clear one wrapped with brown paper, topping up if necessary, and fit fermentation trap. Rack after two months and again two months later. Stabilize and set aside 2-3 weeks. Bottle, store in a dark place and taste after six months to a year. A full-bodied wine, it tastes better after two years. [Author's own recipe]

Mulberry Wine (2)

Bring water to boil and dissolve sugar in it, stirring until completely clear. Meanwhile, wash the mulberries after removing the stems and pour into primary fermentation vessel. Add thawed can of grape concentrate. Pour boiling sugar-water over fruit and allow to cool to 75-80 degrees F. Add pectic enzyme, acid blend, and yeast nutrient. Stir well, cover and set aside 12 hours. Add yeast, stir, recover, and allow to ferment four days on the pulp, stirring twice daily after punching down the cap. Strain through nylon sieve, pressing lightly to extract juice and then pour into dark secondary fermentation vessel or clear one wrapped with brown paper, topping up if necessary, and fit fermentation trap. Rack after two months and again two months later. Stabilize and set aside 2-3 weeks. Bottle, store in a dark place and taste after six months to a year. A full-bodied wine, it tastes better after two years. [Author's own recipe]

My thanks to Kim and George of New Orleans, Louisiana for their request.


This page was updated on April 2nd, 2001

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