You can make excellent homemade wines from wild blueberries (Bilberry) reminiscent of grape wines. But bilberries ferment really tough, even the smallest mistake can ruin everything. That’s why I recommend you to follow the instructions and take care of keeping everything sterile. Pathogens must not enter the must.
Only fresh ripe berries which were picked for no longer than 24 hours ago are good for winemaking. it is preferable to choose the juicy ones. First, you should sort out the berries and remove the ones that are too small, tainted, moldy or overripe. Then you should wash the bilberries and let the water drain away.
Usually I advise not to wash berries in order to save wild yeasts on their surface. But in the case of bilberries it is necessary; otherwise the wine will have an unpleasant taste. The washed away wild yeasts can be replaced with a simple wine broth, raisins (if you are sure in its quality) or store-bought wine yeasts. The last option is the best one, but usually in home conditions ferment is usually used, which is prepared 3-5 days prior to making the must.
Before you start you should wash all of the containers squeaky clean and wipe them dry. There should be no off-odors. You can start making the must only by clean hands in order not to contaminate it.
- Billberries – 8.8 lb / 4 kg
- Water – 0.5 gal / 2 liters
- Sugar – 2.2 lb / 1 kg
- Raisins – 3.5 oz / 100 gr (or wine yeasts)
Bilberry Wine Recipe
- Crush the washed berries until smooth and put them into a container with a wide bottleneck.
- Add raisins (ferment or wine yeasts) and 10.5 oz / 300 grams of sugar, stir it up. Tie up the bottleneck with gauze and cover with a cloth, and then leave the container in a dark place with a temperature of 65-77F° / 18-25°C. Once a day stir the berry mass by clean hands or with a wooden spoon, knocking down “the hat” from peels and pulp on the surface.
- After 3-4 days when there are signs of fermentation (foaming, hissing, sour smell), squeeze the must through gauze. Pour the liquid part into a fermentation container; remaining pulp mix with a regular water of a room temperature. Allow it infuse for 15-20 minutes, and then squeeze it through gauze again. Mix this obtained liquid with the fermented juice. You can throw away the husks, if you don’t need them anymore.
- Add 10.5 oz / 300 grams of sugar to the must, install the water lock (a medical glove with a small hole in one of the holes) and leave it in a dark place with a temperature of 65-77F° / 18-25°C.
- After 5 days add the remaining portion of sugar (10.5 oz / 300 grams). For this you’ll have to pour 0.52 qt / 0.5 liters of the fermented juice, dissolve sugar in it, and pour the obtained syrup back. After this install the air lock again.
- After 25-40 days the fermentation will stop: air lock will stop bubbling, the bilberry wine will get brighter, and there will be sediment at the bottom. It’s now time to separate the wine from the sediment through a narrow tube into another clean container without touching the sediment at the bottom. Seal tightly.
- Leave the beverage in a dark cool (50-61F° / 10-16°C) place for at least 2-3 months of aging. From now on you’ll have to store it at the same temperature.
- Separate the wine from the sediment once again, bottle it for storing and hermetically seal with corks. Its shelf-life is up to 3 years.