Recipes

Here at Hermit Woods our mission is multifaceted and includes disseminating information on wine and how to make it.  Below are some of our favorite recipes and hope you get a chance to try your hand at making your own if so inclined.  Ken, our winemaker, is a lover of fermentation and always interested in talking/helping the process, so please do not hesitate to contact him if you have any questions.  Ken@HermitWoods.com

In addition to what is posted below, recipes for specific wines you may have had at Hermit Woods can be found on the pages describing each wine: Please visit our 2012 Releases for a description of each wine.

There are numerous books and online sources for good information regarding the basics of making wine.  We highly recommend Techniques in Home Winemaking by Daniel Pambianchi for a great ‘how to’ book on wine making.  For recipes on making wine from just about everything and anything, try the web site by Jack Keller:  http://winemaking.jackkeller.net

At Hermit Woods we use the whole fruit, keep the fermentation temperature cool, taste daily to check on progress and to know when to remove the fruit (after time, bitter components emerge) … stay strictly sterile through the process and if possible and appropriate to the style, keep all transfers/activities under CO2 gas to minimize oxidation and maximize retention of fruit aromas.  Use a very healthy and large yeast addition and provide tons of oxygen at the time of pitching.  Consider using a yeast nutrient, especially with meads, to provide for a happy fermentation.

Blackberry Wine
As with all the wines we make at Hermit Woods, we seek out the freshest, local fruit, and with blackberries this is very important.  They turn black before they’’re ripe…only pick and use those that start to burst in your fingers as you gently pick them. They should fall off into your hand, if they have any resistance to being picked, they’’re not yet ready to be wine.  Pick the berries directly into a clean freezer bag and freeze them.  Return to the berry patch every day for the newest, ripest fruit and graze for the few that are ready.  Repeat until you have enough.

For dark berry wines, I like 4-8 pounds of fruit for every gallon of finished wine.  I will often add about 1.7 to 1.9 pounds of corn sugar for every gallon of finished wine to bring the alcohol level up to 12-13%.  These two components then require about .6 gallons of water be used for every gallon of finished wine.  For the very important yeast, I like to use 3-4x the recommended 1g/gallon and generally use 1g/liter of dry yeast properly hydrated and pitched into heavily oxygenated must – a healthy happy yeast is the key to great wine!  For dark berry wines try Lalvin’’s 2056, D254, or GRE.

For a 19L (5 gallon) batch:
25 pounds of berries
8.5 to 9.5 lb cane or corn sugar
3 gallons of clean water
20g of dry yeast
9.5g of yeast nutrient added at yeast pitch and 3-days later
strain out berries just before bitter components appear in the wine, generally after about 4-6 days of maceration
ferment at 60-65F if yeast will allow
rack 2-3 times to clarify and, if possible, keep the wine under CO2 at all times after fermentation is complete
will drink well after 6 months and age/continue to improve for 1-3 years depending on maceration time and/or use of oak/tannin additions

Tomato Wine
… Yes, tomato wine.  This is not a cooking wine.  As made here at Hermit Woods, and described below, this is a fine white wine with a unique aroma.  Finished dry, it is like a Sauvignon blanc.  Heirloom tomatoes picked at peak ripeness are very important to the quality of the wine, but any flavorful tomato will do.  A mix of tomatoes also works very well, adding depth and longer flavor profile to the finished wine.  Standard store bought tomatoes will not do (nor are they that great for eating either … grow your own or buy local and fresh!).

For our tomato wine I like 4 pounds of fruit for every gallon of finished wine.  I will often add about 1.6-1.7 pounds of corn sugar for every gallon of finished wine to bring the alcohol level up to 11-12%.  These two components then require about 0.6 gallons of water be used for every gallon of finished wine.  For the very important yeast, I like to use 3-4x the recommended 1g/gallon and generally use 1g/liter of dry yeast properly hydrated and pitched into heavily oxygenated must – a healthy happy yeast is the key to great wine!  For tomato wines try Lalvin’s KV-1116 or EC-1118 or one of my favorite yeasts for whites: Lalvin CY3079.

For a 19L (5 gallon) batch:
20 pounds of tomatoes
4 lb corn sugar initially and the remaining 4-5 lb about 3 days after fermentation starts
4 gallons of clean water
20g of dry yeast
9.5g of yeast nutrient added at yeast pitch and 3-days later
after about 4-6 days of maceration, remove the fruit by either racking off or straining (a straining bag to hold the fruit works OK too)
ferment at 60-70F
rack 2-3 times to clarify and, if possible, keep the wine under CO2 at all times after fermentation is complete
will drink well after 9 months, serve chilled and it pairs well with many foods.

Rose Hip Wine

Rose Hips from the Rosa Rugosa plant are fantastic for wine – they act a bit like a Chardonnay grape! Two things to remember for a high-quality wine from this fruit: one, they need to be picked at peak ripeness – that is slightly soft, fully red, and very tasty. They will turn red, but still have some green and be hard before they’re actually ripe. I pick them over the span of a month every few days to obtain only ripe fruit. The fruit should be frozen. Two, all the green parts, stem and petals, should be removed.

For vinification, I like to use 4 pounds of rose hips per gallon of wine, along with 1.7 pounds sugar. Ferment on the whole rose hips for 6-8 days from beginning of thaw, which may be only 3-4 days of active fermentation. The fruit will fall apart somewhat during fermentation, yielding numerous white seeds. Pressing can be at high pressure, but I like to taste the press wine as pressure is increased to insure I do not get too much bitterness. Much sediment tends to be produced with this fruit and I like to rack twice during the first few weeks: a few days after press and then a week or so later. Additional rackings will likely be needed and these should be done under CO2 if possible.

Although delightful on its own, I like to blend this wine with others made from peaches, rhubarb, quince, and autumn berry which results in a white blend (aka Lakehouse White at Hermit Woods).

Petite Blue – Blueberry Wine

The ingredients for a 1000L batch:
1590 pounds of wild, low-bush blueberries (frozen),
430 pounds of corn sugar,
100 gallons of fresh, clean (bacteria-free), non-chlorinated water
1000g of Lalvin D254 dry yeast,
1000g of Fermax or other yeast nutrient
13tsp liquid pectic enzyme
Single package of Barrel Mill’s Burgundy blend French oak spirals.

Crafting steps:
Put the partially thawed berries into two 1000 L fermenting vessels, ideally moderately wide and shallow. Cap with CO2.
After the berries reach a temperature of 40 to 50°F, add 50 gallons of hot water to each fermenter along with 34g of KMS.
After 12 to 24 hours, with the must around 60°F, add the pectic enzyme and half the Fermax (6.5tsp pectic and 250g fermax to each fermenter), and the oak spirals.
Properly rehydrate 500 g of yeast and add to each fermenter.
After 24 hours, aerate the must and add 65 pounds of sugar to each fermentor.
Punch down the cap twice daily and record temperature and pH. Target a peak fermentation temperature of around 70°F.
After two days after inoculation, add an additional 100 pounds of sugar and 250g Fermax to each.
Press one of the fermenters running the wine into a stainless steel or comparable tank. Transfer the French oak spirals to the fermenter suspended on sterilized fishing line. (total time until first press should be eight days after berries began to thaw, even if fermentation just started). Full pressure can be used during the press, and after pressing the pomace should be added to the other fermenter, doubling the skins there. Continue to punch that down twice daily.
After two more days, add last 50 pounds sugar to both fermenters.
One day later, press the second fermenter discarding the pomace, blending the wines together. Transfer the French oak spirals to the fermenter suspended on fishing line. Maintain a temperature in the fermenter of about 65 to 70°F. Record temperature, specific gravity, pH daily.
One day later, splash rack the wine to a fermenter and transfer the French oak spirals.
Repeat racking one week later and again two weeks after that. Final gravity should be reached by now, typically 0.995. Add 68g KMS and 250g hydrated bentonite. Prevent MLF.
Taste the wine weekly and pull out the French oak spirals at desired impact level, generally 1-2 months total contact time.
Rack again in a few months. Can bottle 10 months after fermentation but will reach peak after 2-3 years.

 

Apple wine, hard cider, crabapple wine

Apples grow in abundance in New England and there are many wonderful types of apples.  For wine or cider, a blend is often best (unless you have a particularly distinctive variety, such as the heirloom Dolgo crabapple or Kingston Black).  Seek out the apples with sharp or bitter or tannic characteristics as opposed to those that are very sweet and pleasant for eating.  Eat the Macs and ferment the crabs.

There are three general approaches to making apple wines, I have used all three but prefer the later two.  Use none or up to a couple pounds of sugar per gallon of wine to affect the ABV.

  1. grind and press the apples to create a cider and then ferment that as is;
  2. grind and press most of the apples to create a cider, then add remaining apples chopped up into the cider and ferment the combination;
  3. chop up the apples and add sugar and a small amount of water and ferment the blend.

In the later two approaches, the amount of apples used relative to the cider or water/sugar will decide the intensity of the wine.

Here are two recipes based on the later two approaches.

Heirloom Dolgo Crabapple Wine (ABV about 12%; approach #3)

For a five gallon batch, collect 22lbs of fresh, thoroughly ripe Dolgo crabapples and chop these into the fermenter.  Add 4lbs of sugar and 3gal of water, thoroughly mix in 1.6g potassium metabisulfite and let stand 12-24 hours, ideally under a blanket of CO2 gas.  Aerate the blend, then pitch 19g of hydrated yeast, 0.3 tsp liquid pectic enzyme, and 9g yeast nutrient.  My favorite yeast with these apples is Lalvin D21. After 12 hours, aerate the blend and continue to punch down twice daily.  After 3 days, add 4lbs sugar and another 9g yeast nutrient.  After a total of 6 days strain out the fruit but do not press it, let it drip drain.  After all fermentation is complete, rack and add 1.6g KMS for elevage.  Rack again in a few months.  A few months after that, pull small samples for sugar addition trials.  I like around 3% residual sugar with these highly acidic apples.  Rack the wine a final time and blend in sugar, sorbate and KMS in preparation for bottling.  I have found that this wine can form flakes and sediment a few months after bottling if it has not been filtered.  As with most apple wines (highly pectic), a step-wise approach, from coarse to progressively finer filter pads, works best.

Hard Cider (ABV about 7%; approach #2)

For a five gallon batch, collect enough apples to make about 4 gallons of cider (roughly 100lbs) and an additional 10-20lbs.  Do not hesitate to include crabapples and or pears in the mix!  Grind and press enough fruit for the 4 gallons of cider.  Crush the remaining fruit and add it to the fermenter.  If you are going to inoculate with a yeast, mix in 1.6g potassium metabisulfite and let stand overnight, ideally under a blanket of CO2 gas.  If not (and I highly recommend to let native yeast produce the cider), add a small amount of yeast nutrient (or not), 0.3 tsp liquid pectic enzyme, and put the fermenter in a 70F location.  Aerate after 12 hours and punch down daily to submerge fruit in the cider.  I like to taste the fruit and cider daily to see how the flavors change as the yeast do their magic.  After a few days to a couple weeks, remove the fruit with a strainer.  Shorter contact time will typically result in more fruit flavors and longer times with more bitter and tannic bite to the cider.  Once fermentation is complete, add 1.6g KMS and rack.  Rack again a few months later in preparation for bottling.