In the East they call dates “the bread of the desert” for their high energy value. Only few know that it is possible to make homemade date wine with a unique flavor from these regular sweets. The recipe and technology can be seen below.
Dates of all varieties and sizes are fit for winemaking. It’s important that they are not tainted or molded. All of the containers should be squeaky clean and dry.
- Dates – 6.6 lb / 3 kg
- Sugar – 3.3 lb / 1.5 kg
- Citric acid – 1.8 oz / 50 gr
- Water – 2 gal / 8 liters
- Unwashed raisins – 3.5 oz / 100 gr (or broth/Wine yeast)
Citric acid stabilizes the acidity, otherwise fermentation will be slow and the wine will be unsavory and have a short shelf-life. After steaming dates in boiling water they will have no wild yeasts, that’s why you have to take care of a wine broth in few days prior to making the must. Alternatively you can add unwashed raisins at the 5th stage, but there’s no guarantee that it will ferment.
Date Wine Recipe
- Remove the seeds from the dates.
- Pour boiling water on the pulp, hold it for 60 minutes.
- Pour broth into a separate container. Mince the steamed dates.
- Mix obtained brew with broth of a room temperature.
- Add the first portion of sugar (0.8 lb / 400 grams), citric acid, ferment (raisins). Stir thoroughly.
- Leave the container in a dark room with a temperature of 65-77F° / 18-25°C. Tie up the bottleneck with gauze. After 2-3 days there should be foaming on the surface, a hissing sound and a sour smell. This means that the fermentation has begun.
- Leave the must from 7-9 days (since mixing the ingredients) until the pulp floats to the top. Once a day stir it with clean hands. During the fermentation you’ll notice a leaven smell. That’s normal, we’ll get rid of it on the 14th stage.
- Filter the wine material through several layers of gauze, thoroughly squeeze the solid part. You don’t need the husks anymore.
- Add the second portion of sugar (1.3 lb / 600 grams) to the must, stir it and then pour into the fermentation container (fill it up to 2/3 of its volume). Install a water lock (or a medical glove with a small hole in the finger) on the bottleneck in order to get rid of carbon dioxide. Leave it in a dark place with a temperature of 65-77F° / 18-25°C.
- After 3 days add the last portion of sugar (1.1 lb / 500 grams). In order to do that pour the must into a separate container, dissolve sugar in it and pour it back in. Don’t forget to install the water lock again.
- Active fermentation lasts for 35-60 days. After that the water lock stops giving up gas (the glove deflates), there’s a layer of sediment at the bottom, and the new date wine becomes much brighter.
- Carefully pour the wine from the sediment through a tube into another container. Give it a taste. Optionally add sugar and stir it well.
- Hermetically seal the container with the poured wine (if you’re not sure that the fermentation has fully stopped, install the water lock) and leave it for aging in a dark place with a temperature of 50-61F° / 10-16°C. A basement would fit perfectly. As a last resort – a fridge.
- Age the wine for at least 3-4 months. The sediment will gradually appear at the bottom. At least once every 2-3 weeks you’ll have to remove it by pouring the date wine through a tube into another container. Thanks to this transfer you’ll get rid of the leaven smell, and the beverage will get brighter.
- Bottle the matured wine for storing, hermetically seal it with corks. Shelf-life is 2-3 years. You’ll end up with around 1.5 gal / 6 liters.