"Do you have a recipe for highbush Blueberry wine?"
Blueberries, like cranberries, bilberries, whortleberries, farkleberries, grouseberries, deerberries, mayberries, cowberries, and huckleberries, belong to the genus Vaccinium (although most botanists break huckleberries out into a seperate subgenus--Gaylussacia). There are dozens of species and varieties of blueberries in the United States and Canada ranging from the Atlantic to the Pacific and the Gulf Coast to the Hudson Bay, but basically there are four groupings of wild blueberries--the dwarf, low (lowbush), high (highbush) and bog (or swamp) blueberry. Their plants can vary from a sprawling groundcover a few inches high (dwarf) to three feet in height (lowbush) to large bushes 12 feet high (highbush) or to near-trees as large as 15 feet tall (bog).
The fruit of the highbush blueberry varies in color among species from black to powder blue; their size varies from 1/4 to an inch in diameter. The most common and important of the highbush is the blue Vaccinium corymbosum, the species from which most commercial varieties were derived.
Ripe blueberries can be crushed fresh for fermentation or dried for later chopping or mincing before being added to a must. They are usually sweet and aromatic but may retain some astringency until they have weathered a frost. They are rich in vitamins A, C and rutin, rich in iron and moderately rich in several other minerals, contain a fair amount of tannin and pectin, and contain malic, citric, tartaric, and benzoic acids. Their sugar content is moderate and they contain several glucosides. The oft-cited caution that they contain sorbic acid and will not ferment is completely untrue. It is their richness in chemistry, but especially their benzoic acid, that sometimes makes them difficult to actively inoculate with yeast, but this same richness makes for complex and varied wines once fermentation has run its course. Indeed, in a recent survey of favorite non-grape wines, blueberry was second only to blackberry in popularity.
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Bring water to boil, then set aside. Wash and crush blueberries and put in primary fermentation vessel with all ingredients except yeast. Add hot water and stir to dissolve sugar. Cover well and allow to cool to 70-75 degrees F., then add an activated yeast starter. Stir daily for 5-6 days or until specific gravity is below 1.030. Strain out fruit pulp and press. Siphon into secondary fermentation vessel and fit fermentation trap. Rack and sulfite in three weeks and again in two months. When wine is clear, rack and stablize. Sweeten to taste, set aside 30 days, and bottle. Allow a year to mature. Improves with age. [Author's own recipe]
Wash and crush blueberries in nylon straining bag and strain juice into primary fermentation vessel. Tie top of nylon bag and place in primary fermentation vessel. Stir in all other ingredients except yeast, Campden and red grape concentrate. Stir well to dissolve sugar, cover well, and set aside for 12 hours. Add crushed and dissolved Campden tablet and set aside another 12 hours. Add yeast, cover, and daily stir ingredients and press pulp in nylon bag to extract flavor. When specific gravity is below 1.030 (about 5 days), strain juice from bag, stir, and transfer liquid into glass secondary fermentation vessel. Attach airlock and place in warm place. Rack in three weeks and again in two months. When wine is clear rack again, stabilize and add red grape concentrate. Wait 30 days and bottle. Allow a year to mature. [Author's own recipe]
My thanks to Steve Williams, location unknown, for requesting this recipe.