Dried bilberry wine recipe

Forget dried elderberries, if you are going to the effort to make a gallon of wine, then use dried bilberries instead. Dried bilberries are much more expensive than dried elderberries, but the resulting wine is superior in every aspect.

Dried bilberries used to be a little difficult to find. These days you can get them from most online homebrew shops. Look in the dried ingredient supplies section - if they do not list dried bilberries, then as, because they will be able to order them for you. If you are looking for a wintertime wine, then not much beats bilberry.

Use about 300g of dried bilberries and about 150ml of red grape juice concentrate. Add a half teaspoon of mixed acid and pectic enzyme. Chuck everything in a bucket of boiling water and leave to cool. Make up to 1080-1085 with sugar and add a decent yeast such as Gervin No 2 Red Label Wine Yeast which is perfect for this type of wine. You do need to keep a reasonable temperature for this yeast. If you house is very cold in the winter, consider a yeast better at coping with the cold such as Gervin B Wine Yeast GV9.

Stir the must twice a day and then strain after a week. Let the wine ferment out to dryness and then mature for at least 1 year in the bulk.

This wine can be very economical if you make a second wine. After straining the first wine, make another gallon of wine using the same dried fruit and another 150-200ml of red grape juice concentrate. This will be a much lighter wine. You can either drink the lighter wine, or blend it with the first one to make something in between.

You can also use a Bordeaux yeast to make this wine. Either way it benefits from the 12 months maturing and turns out a very drinkable red table wine. A lot of winemakers use dried bilberry as their "house red" and make it in bulk. I find this is quite expensive, and use fresh blackberries for my main red wine stocks - they come free!