The Wine Pages: Homebrew winemaking
I think Pear wine is one of my all time favourite wines. Not only does it taste fine, it holds a special place for me as it has twice been the first wine that I made.
How did I manage that? Well, I started making wine in around 1995, and I still have notes from those days which tells me that the first country wine I attempted was pear wine. I guess I found some cheap pears and decided that they’d make a good homebrew winemaking ingredient.
After taking a short break from winemaking, I returned to it in 2007. In my garden is a small pear tree. In late September 2007 most of the pears had fallen off, but I rescued enough pears to make a couple of gallons of wine.
This year I have planned ahead a bit more with my winemaking. As the pears fell off the tree, I saved them in the freezer, and when I finally harvested all the pears off the pear tree in mid September, I had enough for over 5 gallons of homemade homebrew wine.
My method for making pear wine involves boiling. I have a couple of very large 3 gallon pans which I use for this. The pears from my tree are a very hard variety. The first thing I do is chop them quite finely (or find more poor sod to do it for you) and then I put 6lb of chopped pairs in the large pan with 1 gallon of water, and bring it to the boil. Once it is boiling then I keep it there for at least 10 minutes, but not much longer.
This process is repeated for each gallon of wine you are making. The must is then strained to remove the pairs. It is important to limit the boiling time otherwise you will get a lot of pectin in the wine and it might be hazy or difficult to clear.
This was all done on the 25th August 2008. I added grape juice concentrate and sugar to raise the gravity to about 1085 and then pitched a Gervin No. 1 winemaking yeast. I added the usual nutrients and a bit of tannin.
Fermentation had ceased on the 16th September, so I racked the wine and added 5 campden tablets.Acid was at about 5ppt.
20th September I added some Bentonite.
2nd October 2008 - racked again, and added 2 campden tablets and some 2 part finings.
12th October 2008 - now looking very clear.
June 2009 - Alas, somewhere along the line I've added too much sulfite and the whole thing tastes horrid.