The Joy of Loganberry Fruit Wine

I love loganberry wines! Loganberry wines have been made commercially in British Columbia and Washington State and have a following of fruit wine lovers. Hoodsport Winery in Washington State is one of the better know fruit wineries that produces an excellent loganberry wine.

If you are lucky enough to have access to a source of loganberries, this is a great fruit wine to make. People have described it as a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry. A joy to drink, the rich and intense flavour of this fruit makes it one of the most cherished fruit wines to have.

Technically speaking, loganberry wine is a great wine in respect to acidity and has been made from juice diluted with one gallon of water to each two gallons of single strength juice. In the past, winemakers have, in some cases, diluted the juice so greatly that the wine was very pale pink in color and of very dilute flavor, also of very poor keeping quality. This did not give loganberry a good reputation but this practice is now very little used anymore except by inexperienced home winemakers following outdated wine recipes.

The wines have been made by fermentation of the sugared, diluted juice or by fortification of the partially fermented sweetened juice. Both straight fermentation and sugared fermentation have been used commercially with success depending on the style of wine preferred.

Wine by “Straight” Fermentation

The berries may be crushed in a continuous juicer, in a hammer mill type apple crusher or in an apple grater with the rotor and stationary knives set close together.

Typically, to the crushed berries the dilution ratio is one gallon of water to two of juice. About 80 p.p.m. of S02, regular wine enzymes,diammonium phosphate and a 2 to 3 per cent starter of wine yeast is added (“71-B” works best on this fruit).

The crushed berries ferment rapidly and a cap of pomace forms. This should be punched down twice a day. After 2 to 3 days, the free run wine is drawn off and the pomace is pressed in a basket or rack and cloth press, and the press wine and free run are combined.

To this wine is added sufficient sugar to give, when the fermentation is complete up to about 16 to 17 per cent alcohol and 2 to 5 per cent sugar, determined chemically. This will be about 23 to 25 per cent of added sugar or about 330 lb. of sugar per 100 gal., if a sweet wine is desired. If a dry table wine of 12 to 13 per cent alcohol is desired, add much less sugar, namely about 185 lb. per 100 gal.

Conduct the fermentation to completion in covered tanks or in casks, using a fermentation bung during the final stages of fermentation.

If a wine of rich color and flavor and fairly high acidity is desired, do not add any water to the crushed berries.

Another method consists in heating the crushed berries in a continuous tomato juice heater to 160° to 175° F., pressing hot, and cooling the juice in a heat exchanger, adding sugar, S02, and pure yeast, and fermenting as above. The water may be omitted also is a richer, more full bodied wine is being aimed for.

Sugared Fermentation

Crush. Add one gallon of water to two of berries. Ferment. Press the berries as described above.

Add sugar (dextrose or cane sugar) to raise the juice to 20-21° Brix. Allow fermentation to proceed to about 1° to 3° Brix. Add 5 per cent of sugar by weight. Allow fermentation to proceed again to 1° to 3° Balling and again add sugar. Repeat this cycle until fermentation ceases, usually at about 17 to 18 per cent alcohol. The wine may then be sweetened to the desired degree, if not sufficiently sweet.

This wine is then handled as any typical wines in regards to settling, racking, filtering, aging, etc.

Fortified Wine

For a fortified wine, the crushed berries may be diluted, fermented, and pressed, as previously described. To this wine, sugar is added to bring the fermented juice to about 20-22°Brix. It is fermented to about 10° to 14° Brix and is fortified to 18 to 20 per cent alcohol with a neutral grain or fruit alcohol. It is then allowed to settle, then racked, filtered and aged. A fortified wine may need longer aging time to smooth out the alcohol and have in more properly ingrained into the finished before a smooth taste is developed. Oak aging the fortified wine will add to its complexity.

Role of S02

While S02 at high concentrations causes bleaching of loganberry wines, a moderate concentration should be maintained to protect the color, which tends to become brown with age. An amount of about 50 p.p.mFSO2 is about the proper concentration.

Wines from Heated Berries

Loganberry wines has been made successfully from juice extracted by heating and pressing the heated berries. The color of juice processed this way is more stable than of the unheated, since heating destroys oxidizing enzymes.

The berries are crushed, heated to 175° to 180° F., pressed hot, the juice is cooled, diluted with about one gallon of water to two of juice, sugar is added to give about 23° to 24°Brix, 80 p.p.m. of S02 is added and the juice is fermented to 1° to 3° Brix at which point about 5 per cent of sugar is added and fermentation proceeds again to 1° to 3° Brix. Sugar is again added and the cycle repeated until fermentation ceases at 17 to 19 per cent alcohol and about 3° to 5° Brix. Of course a dry wine can be made by fermenting a juice free of sugar (bone dry), after sweetening to 22° to 23° Brix prior to the start of fermentation.

Loganberry wine is a relatively easy wine to make well and its intense and rich flavor will be a memorable one that will make you come back to it over and over again. Start some wine now and you may be able to savor great loganberry wine by the winter holidays…it will go great with that turkey or ham!

Let me know your fruit wine making stories, successes (or failures), I would love to hear from you.

Happy Fruit Winemaking!

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