MUSCADINE OR OTHER WILD BERRY WINE
Prep Time: 6 months
Yeilds: 4 gallons
Although most often this recipe is made using the wild fruits of the bayous such as blackberries, cherries, persimmons, loquats or muscadines, you may wish to try it using any fresh fruit in season. I most often place the contents in a ceramic crock topped with a double layer of cheesecloth for the six weeks of fermentation. However, feel free to use a 5-gallon glass or plastic water bottle.
1 ½ gallons muscadines or other fruit
10 pounds of sugar
In a 2-gallon stockpot, mix sugar with 2 gallons of hot tap water. Over medium heat bring to a low simmer, stirring constantly with a wire whisk to dissolve sugar completely. Remove and set aside to cool. This may be done 1 day in advance. In a crock or 5-gallon water bottle, place fruit that has been mashed slightly to break the skin from the juice. This should be done over a large container to ensure capturing all of the juice and pulp. It is not necessary to crush the fruit totally. Once the fruit has been placed in the bottle, cover with the diluted sugar water and 2 additional gallons of cold tap water. Shake or stir the contents well to incorporate fruit and sugar water. If using a water bottle, purchase a rubber or cork stopper with a small hole drilled in the center. Insert a monometer into the stopper. A monometer may be purchased from any wine or beer hobbyist store. Place 1 inch of water into the monometer to keep air from reaching the contents. Set aside in a cool, dark place for 6 weeks. The contents should be vigorously shaken or stirred once a week. At the end of the six-week period, remove the stopper and siphon the liquid into a second 5-gallon bottle through a cheesecloth-lined funnel. Allow the wine to sit undisturbed for 2-3 hours and siphon from the 5-gallon container into approximately 17 fifth-sized bottles. During this filling process, one should be careful to keep the siphon tube approximately 1 inch off of the bottom to keep the resting sediment from entering the bottles. Place a screw cap or cork on the bottles and store in the refrigerator or cool, dark place six months prior to serving.