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, 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 and never more later.  Consider using a yeast nutrient  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 ripest into a bag and freeze it.  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 5 pounds of fruit for every gallon of finished wine.  I will often add about 1.7 to 1.9 pounds of cane sugar for every gallon of finished wine to bring the alcohol level up to 11-12%.  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 KV-1116, 2056, D254, or 71B.

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 60F 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 2 pounds of corn or cane sugar for every gallon of finished wine to bring the alcohol level up to 11-12%.  These two components then require about 0.8 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.

For a 19L (5 gallon) batch:
20 pounds of tomatoes
5 lb cane or corn sugar initially and the remaining 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.