Chokecherry Wine Time!

It’s chokecherry harvest time in many area.

These small cherries usually ignored by humans and relished by birds ripen red or deep purple depending on the conditions and genetics of the individual small tree/sometimes shrub. Growing wild in areas relatively near a water source these astringent and not very good tasting cherries are wonderful for making chokecherry wine, mead and beer.

A great wine can be made with a ratio of 20 lbs of crushed cherries for 5 gallons along with 14 pounds of sugar. It can be aged on toasted oak chips for a few months for added complexity.

What’s also very exciting is the notion of making a batch of fruit “lambic” style beer.” It’s a chokecherry infused ale with the addition of mountain juniper branches (berries and woody fronds). This kind of beer can age quite well too. It’s not particularly strong ale but very yummy. The reddish brown color is inviting but the real come-on is the aroma of juniper wood/berry and cherry, which also carries through to the flavor. A great mealtime or anytime brew.

Look around your area for unique or even usual fruits, berries and either brew an experimental batch up yourself or connect with a homebrewer who will. You harvest it. They brew it. You both share it and perhaps next time you’ll be inspired to brew it yourself, because half a batch is simply not enough.

Happy winemaking!

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