"Do you have a recipe for Cantaloupe Wine alone (not melon wine)?"
Johnathan Jones, Jacksonville, Florida
Like most melons, the orange-fleshed cantaloupe Cucumis melo cantalupensis, makes unforgiving wine. If you do one thing wrong, the wine quickly heads south. Even if you do nothing wrong, cantaloupes can make poor wine. It is the quality of the fruit that matters then. Quality fruit make delicous wine. Inferior fruit are better eaten.
Vine-ripened melons are required for any melon wine, but especially cantaloupe wine. The tantalizing muskiness of the melon is easily lost if not fermented quickly. Follow this recipe exactly and use no substitutes. You will start with more than a gallon of must and squeeze this down to slightly more than a gallon of juice. When the quantity dips below one gallon, raise the level of the wine by dropping sterilized glass marbles into secondary. Do not dilute by topping up.
Peel the cantaloupes down to orange flesh. Cut in half over primary to save juice, then continue cutting into small chunks. Both seeds and flesh go in nylon straining bag along with lemon slices and chopped or minced raisins. Tie the bag closed and mash fruit with hands. Meanwhile, bring one quart water to boil and stir in sugar until dissolved. Add to primary. Add remaining water and yeast nutrient. Add activated yeast. Cover and squeeze bag daily with hands for one week. Squeeze well to extract all juice and discard seeds and pulp. Recover and stir daily for additional week. Rack, into secondary and fit airlock. Rack every 30 days until wine is clear and no longer throwing sediment. Stabilize and bottle. Drink after six months. [Author's own recipe]
My thanks to Johnathan Jones of Jacksonville, Florida for his request.