Some winemakers consider black chokeberry (also known as Aronia) a useless plant which can’t be used in winemaking. But it’s about time to dispel this myth, and best way to do this is to start with the best black chokeberry wine recipe, which has been tested out numerous times. The winemaking process is not complex but aside from berries, water and sugar you’ll also require patience.
First, you need to thoroughly pick out berries and get rid of unripe, spoilt, and moldy ones. The taste of your homemade black chokeberry wine depends on how thorough the picking out process is. You shouldn’t let a single spoilt berry to get in your wine.
Any vessels used should be sterilized with boiling water and wiped dry, especially if they were in contact with other products like milk. Otherwise, there’s a great risk of infecting the wine and spoiling it.
- Ripe black chokeberries – 5 kilos
- Sugar – 1 kilo
- Unwashed raisins – 50 grams (optional)
- Water – 1 liter
Black Chokeberry Wine Recipe
- Preparing the chokeberries.Mash 5-6 kilos of black chokeberries by clean hands. Each berry should be crushed.
Don’t wash the chokeberries because there’s wild yeast on their surface which enables the fermentation process of juice. Any mud will gravitate to the bottom and will get filtered out later.
- Mixing of ingredients.Put the mashed chokeberries into a 10-liter non-metallic vessel (plastic, glass or enamel).
Add 500 grams of sugar. Making black chokeberry wine without sugar is not recommended because it’s very low on sugar (less than 9%). Due to this the wine without sugar will be light (5.4% ABV max) and have short shelf life. To make sure that fermentation has started I recommend adding a handful of unwashed raisins to the wine as it also has wild yeast on its surface. This won’t affect drink’s quality. After adding sugar stir the must until it’s homogenous. Cover the neck of the vessel with cheesecloth to protect it from insects. Leave it for a week in a warm place (18-25°C). Stir the juice with pulp 3-4 times a day to prevent molding.
- Juicing.After 3-7 days chokeberries will swell and ascend to the surface. Dipping your hand into the must will cause foaming and that means that it’s time to extract juice. To do this you need to collect the pulp with your hands and squeeze the juice out. You can use a press but avoid using a juicer, as it will become cluttered very fast. Keep the squeezed pulp as you’ll need it later. Filter the obtained juice through a simple colander or cheesecloth. Never mind the small particles, we’ll remove them later. Pour the purified juice into a container, filling it up to 40% max. We need to leave enough space for the new portion of juice, foam and carbon dioxide, which will be produced during fermentation.
- Working with the pulp.Add 0.5 kilo of sugar and 1 liter of warm water (25-30°C) to the pulp and stir to drown the pulp. Cover with a lid and leave for 5 days in a dark place with room temperature. You’ll have to stir the pulp every day once again, drowning the berries. Otherwise, the wine will become moldy.
- Installing an air lock.Install an air lock of any design on a bottle with the obtained juice. You can use a medical glove with one needle-punctured finger. Then leave it in a dark place with a temperature of 18-27°C for fermentation.
Wine fermenting under an air lock
Medical glove used as an air lock
- Obtaining new portion of juice.After letting the pulp sit for a week gently strain it through a colander. Don’t push it down, you’ll only need high-quality pulpless juice. You can bow throw out the pulp and husks as there are no useful substances left in them.
- Juice mixing.Remove the air lock from the bottle containing the first portion of juice. Remove any foam with a spoon and then add the previously obtained juice to it. Finally, install the air lock once again.
- Fermentation.This process lasts 25-50 days. You can tell that the fermentation process has stopped when the air lock is no longer emitting gas (or the glove is deflated), there’s a layer of sediment at the bottom, and the wine becomes lighter. After that, you’ll have a young black chokeberry wine with a harsh taste. Aging is required to improve its organoleptic features. Gently decant the fermented wine into another container. You can also sweeten the taste and increase ABV by adding vodka or alcohol (40-45%) in amounts of 2-15% of the wine volume. Increasing the ABV prolongs storage life but makes the taste harsher.
- Aging.Fill the aging vessels with the wine to the brim and seal them tightly. If you added sugar during the previous step keep the vessels under air locks for the first 7-10 days in case of repeated fermentation. Transfer the vessels for aging to a fridge or cellar with a temperature of 8-16°C. Leave them for 3-6 months. Decant once every 30-45 days if there’s a layer sediment. Aging significantly improves the taste.
Bottle the black chokeberry wine and seal it. Its shelf life in a fridge is up to 3-5 years. 10-12% ABV.