Raspberries are the perfect fruit to make homemade summer wine. Their sweetness allows them to ferment perfectly, while that wonderful tartness and tang in raspberries will give the brew a deep and fragrant flavor. You can use a wine chart to measure the sweetness and dryness of wines. Luckily, wine enthusiasts can fine-tune their homebrews to their exact taste.
Raspberries make great wine, if you want to brew up some fresh fruit then this raspberry wine recipe is an excellent choice. However, this one isn’t for impatient winemakers. The best raspberry wines take at least 18 months to brew, but the delicious result is so worth the wait! We’ll walk you through each step of the process, from foraging to bottling. Follow our simple instructions to turn a crop of fresh raspberries into a delicious fruity homemade wine.
Step 1: Finding your ingredients for homemade raspberry wine
When it comes to the fruit, most wines are best made with a fresh crop. However, frozen raspberries are actually very well-suited to the winemaking process. This means you can save yourself a lot of time and energy by buying frozen raspberries, a rare easy alternative for wine enthusiasts. Of course, you can still use fresh red raspberries if you prefer.
Another advantage to this is that you can forage for as much fresh fruit as you want when the raspberries are in season, and then freeze them until you’re ready to brew. You’ll need to freeze your raspberries within 2 days of picking, after which the fruit will easily last a year in the freezer.
This homemade raspberry uses white wine yeast to ferment the fruit, and a yeast nutrient to assist the fermentation process. The yeast nutrient will accelerate the fermentation from fruit sugars into alcohol, making the process more effective and faster overall. Fermentation is the most important part of how wine is made, when the flavors, and of course, alcohol is formed. Another optional addition is citric acid or organic lemon juice. You can use this to increase the amount of acid in your wine, which can be flat tasting otherwise. Adding citric acid or lemon juice to your raspberry wine brew can help bring out the fruity flavors, and make a great wine even better.
When brewing homemade fruit wine, some enthusiasts use a pectic enzyme. Pectins help hold together the structure of the fruit, so using a pectic enzyme will help break down your raspberries into a liquid. By helping eliminate the solid pieces of fruit, adding pectic enzymes also makes straining easier later in the process.
It’s important to always use properly sterilized equipment when winemaking. Your brew needs to stay clean for safety reasons, but not only that. If any of your equipment isn’t sterile, even a small fault could ruin your efforts. To ensure your homemade wine is successful, clean your equipment before every use. Campden tablets are one option you have to clean your equipment, they’re convenient and effective. Just crush a single tablet in water, and leave your equipment to soak.
Here’s the comprehensive ingredients list for this homemade fruit wine:
- 3.5 pounds of ripe raspberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 pound of granulated white sugar
- White wine yeast
- 1 tsp yeast nutrient
- ½ tsp citric acid or 1 tsp fresh lemon juice (optional)
- ½ tsp pectic enzyme (optional)
- 1 Campden tablet (optional)
- Clean filtered water, to make up to one gallon
Step 2: Winemaking equipment you’ll need
If you’re a novice winemaker, you might need to check you have all the needed equipment. This raspberry wine recipe just uses basic winemaking items, so any experienced brewer will have all the proper gear. Once you collect all the basic winemaking equipment, a whole world of brewing opportunities opens up.
You don’t need a specialized primary fermenter to brew this wine recipe, so no need to invest in a new one. Any large bin or container with a minimum capacity of one gallon (although we recommend 5 gallons for mixing room) can work if it meets a few requirements. Your brewing bin needs to be clean and made from food-grade materials, so a plastic storage container works just fine. Of course, a proper fermenting bin is ideal, but a sterilized plastic bucket can produce equally delicious raspberry wine.
Glass demijohns, along with your airlock and bung, are fairly basic items that most winemakers own, and you’ll need a vinyl tube to siphon your fruit wine between containers. You’ll need a decent-sized kitchen pot, and a few other household items, it’s not necessary to have all the specialized wine-making gear. The most important thing to remember is that everything you use, from your brewing bin to your potato masher, must be sterilized before every use. If you don’t properly clean all your equipment, you could affect the fermentation process of your homemade wine, losing hard-earned flavor. You can use any method of sterilization, but we recommend Campden tablets just because they’re so convenient.
This is everything you’ll need to brew this raspberry wine recipe:
- Food-grade sterile fermenting container
- 2 glass demijohns (or carboys), at least 1-gallon capacity
- Simply fitted airlock and bung
- Straining bag or cloth
- Vinyl siphon tube, minimum of a 3-foot length
- Glass wine bottles with twist tops or corker
- Large plastic funnel
Step 3: Preparing and brewing fresh raspberries into fruit wine
Once you’ve gathered all your ingredients, freshly foraged or frozen, and sterilized all the equipment you need, it’s time to start putting together this delicious recipe. To begin with, you’ll need a large saucepan filled with a gallon of water, and one pound of granulated sugar. Your raspberries need to be clean and ready to use at this point; for those not using convenient store-bought frozen berries, foraged fruit must be carefully prepared before you start.
First, bring your pan of water to a boil, and stir in the pound of granulated sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved and the mixture boils once more, turn down the heat on your stovetop to low. Allow this sugar solution to cool on the minimum heat for 30 minutes, and then combine it with all 3.5 pounds of raspberries in your fermenting container. We recommend that you never use less than 3 pounds of fruit in a gallon of wine, as the final result could taste watery otherwise.
You’ll need to leave this mixture in your fermenting bin for one hour, so the raspberries can macerate. In this process, your fruit begins to naturally break down and release the all-important fructose. These fruit sugars will later be fermented into alcohol, and beginning this process now will intensify your flavors. To help along this process, you can squeeze or crush your raspberries slightly. A potato masher works perfectly for this, or you can just use a spoon to press the berries against the side of the container.
Once your raspberry mixture has an even consistency, it’s time to add in ingredients to begin the next step of the process. If you’re using citric acid or lemon juice to boost your homemade wine’s acidity, mix it in now. It’s also time to stir in a teaspoon of yeast nutrient, before covering up your fermentation bin for the next 24 hours.
After waiting a day, it’s time to add in your white wine yeast and start the fermentation process. Check your brand’s instructions for the amount, generally, one packet of white wine yeast makes a gallon of wine, but you can compare common yeast strains here. If you’re using a pectic enzyme, you should also add half a teaspoon, and stir in both ingredients well. Now the fermentation process of your homemade fruit wine truly begins.
The wine yeast, assisted by the yeast nutrient if you added it earlier, will begin converting raspberry fruit sugars into alcohol, and carbon dioxide. Optionally, the pectic enzyme will help break down the raspberries to release more sugars, and so your fruit wine starts fermenting into alcohol. Allow your mixture to sit in the fermenting bin, covered, for a final 24 hours.
Step 4: Straining your raspberry brew mixture for further fermentation
At 48 hours into the winemaking process, it’s time to strain out any remaining raspberry fruit solids. The contents of your fermenting container should be mostly liquefied, ready to be filtered. Take your time with the straining process, it’s a simple task but taking extra care will give you a more pleasing final product. To strain your brew, you’ll need a muslin cloth or nylon straining bag, remember even this needs sterilizing before use. A large kitchen pot works best to strain the liquid into, or a plastic bucket works.
Stretch your straining bag over your chosen sterile container, and carefully pour in the raspberry wine liquid. Take care not to spill any of your precious brews; you can use a spatula to scrape out every last bit of raspberry so you don’t waste a drop. When most of the liquid has drained through, pick up the straining bag and firmly squeeze the contents. You’ll now have a nice bag of raspberry mush, once you’re satisfied all the liquid has passed through.
Feel free to repeat the straining process until you’re satisfied with the clarity of your homemade wine. This will help to filter out any seeds or plant matter that might have slipped through the first time. The more effective this process is, the less sediment you’ll have at the end. Keep in mind that every extra step you take when fermenting homemade wine leads to a more refined final product, one that you can be proud of. This delicious raspberry wine is perfect to show off at your next wine-themed party, so it’s worth making an effort to optimize the process.
When you’ve removed all the solids from your raspberry wine, you can return the liquid to your fermentation container. The leftover raspberry mush actually still has more wine-making potential! You can use the same fruit to make a second batch of wine, just half the other ingredients in the sugar water mixture. The raspberry mush has already absorbed yeast and citric acid at this point, so it isn’t even necessary to use more. A second homemade brew made from the same raspberries will likely be lighter in color, due to reduced tannins in the mix. However, it can make an equally delicious fruit wine. Just don’t forget to label all your winemaking produce with the date and contents, so nothing gets mixed up.
The raspberry wine now needs to ferment for a further 5-7 days, so cover your container and store it somewhere safe. You’ll need to stir the mixture once or twice a day, during which you’ll see your fermenting wine bubble and fizz. After this period, once the wine has stopped fizzing, it’s time to move on to the next step of our raspberry wine recipe.
Step 5: Further fermenting your homemade wine in a demijohn
This step of the process will require your clean and sterile equipment, including a demijohn, large funnel, airlock, and bung. You might need a friend to help hold the funnel, so you can pour your raspberry wine into a one-gallon glass demijohn. For the majority of homemade wines, we would recommend topping up your demijohn if it isn’t quite filled. However, adding water and sugar would weaken the flavor of this wine recipe, so skip this step this time.
You might see some sediment in the wine at this stage, but don’t be tempted to step backward to the straining process. Filtering your brew now could lessen the fantastic vibrant color of raspberry wine, so ignore any visible sediment for now. Later on, racking the wine will eliminate unwanted sediment.
Place the bung in your filled demijohn, tapping it in gently with a hammer to secure. Once the airlock is securely in place and your homemade wine is sealed, it’s time to stash it away for a few long months of waiting. Unlike earlier, your homemade wine now needs to be stored in a cool and dark environment. Any sunlight could once again lessen the brilliant pigment, so make sure it’s well protected and leave your demijohn of raspberry wine in a dark cupboard for two months.
Step 6: Racking your raspberry wine
After an excruciating waiting period, you might notice that the airlock on your demijohn stops bubbling. Your homemade wine will now be a much clearer liquid, as yeast residue and sediment have dropped to the bottom of the bottle. Once you reach this stage, it’s time to move on to racking. You’ll need a second sterile demijohn as well as a clean siphoning tube.
Racking your homemade wine from one demijohn to another removes sediment, and can be done as many times as you choose. The sediment doesn’t pose much of a threat to the taste of your brew, but it can leave to a cloudy wine with a chalky aftertaste. Complete the racking process as you would with any homemade wine, waiting 1-2 months between each rack. Once it’s been transferred to a new demijohn, put your fruit wine back in the same cool, dark storage place for another two months.
Step 7: Bottling your homemade raspberry wine
By the time you reach bottling, you’ll be at least 6 months into the process of brewing raspberry wine. It’s a definite commitment to make this wine recipe at home, but the deliciously dry but fruity result is so worth it. It’s up to you when to start bottling the wine, depending on how patiently you can wait. Once you’re satisfied with your homemade wine’s color and clarity, you can rack it into wine bottles.
Use a clean siphon to fill up from your demijohn; a gallon of raspberry wine should fill six bottles. Once filled, seal the bottles of wine with either cork and a corker, or screw tops. Clearly label your hard work, and store it in your wine cellar. Raspberry wine takes at least one year to mature, so you’ll have to wait a while before cracking open the first bottle. In this time, the dry taste and fruity flavors will develop. Make sure your bottles of raspberry wine are still stored in a dark place; you wouldn’t want to ruin all your hard work now.
After an 18 month long process, you’ll finally be able to break out this delicious homemade raspberry wine. Your labor and commitment will have produced a raspberry wine to be proud of, as not many winemakers take the time to complete this process. This homemade raspberry wine recipe is a long-term project without a doubt, but such a treat is worth the hard work.
Enjoy your homemade raspberry wine on its own, or make your homemade brew last longer by turning it into a refreshing spritzer. This mouth-watering fruit wine can be enjoyed for many years, so why not gather some raspberries and make a start today.
Bonus tip: Check out this video for some tips on straining and filtering your homemade raspberry wine!