Homemade Blackberry Wine

homemade blackberry wine

I made blackberry wine! It took two months to get it ready to bottle. Two months of sanitizing things, smashing berries, measuring sugar levels with a hydrometer, watching yeast bubble, stirring, adding mysterious ingredients, siphoning, and wondering if I was doing everything right. It was all very science-y.

homemade blackberry wine

I bottled my wine earlier this week, and it took every ounce of my strength to get the corks into the bottles. After corking I realized I hadn’t even tasted it, so I poured some of the overflow into a glass and sniffed it like a fancy wine tasting person. It smelled like… farts.

As you can imagine, I was bummed that my 2 months of work had yielded fart wine. I figured I’d never drink it, although it did taste better than it smelled. I’d been dreaming up my wine bottle packaging all summer, so I went ahead and designed labels just to cheer myself up.

homemade blackberry wine

After stepping away for a day and letting my frustration fade, I did some more sniffing and googling. I realized the smell was actually sulfur. Hydrogen sulfide is produced during the fermenting process naturally, but if something is a little off you can end up with sulfur scented wine. I read that decanting the wine could cause the sulfur smell to fade and make it taste better. I figured it was worth a try, so I set a glass of wine out on the counter and kept sniffing it every hour or so. Roughly 5 hours later it smelled like wine and tasted decent too. Even Daniel approved. Whew!

homemade blackberry wine

As I made my wine I jotted down the process, but I’m not going to share the instructions since it didn’t turn out as well as I hoped. I mean, when have you ever bought a bottle of wine that needed to air out for 5 hours so the fart smell could dissipate? I’m guessing never.

homemade blackberry wine

I will say that I started with this kit to make 1 gallon of wine. The kit came with booklet of recipes to make a bunch of different fruit wines, but the instructions are incredibly vague. I had to piece together the process from YouTube videos, blogs, and winemaking forums. So, maybe I should just be happy my wine turned out as well as it did!

homemade blackberry wine

Have you ever made wine or beer… or moonshine? ;) I don’t know if I’ll try it again, but I like having a better understanding of the process and an appreciation for how much work goes into a bottle of wine. Now that it’s all said and done, designing the label was absolutely my favorite part!

27 comments

  1. robyn

    I haven’t ever made wine but when I was little I helped my dad brew his own beer. That pretty much ruined me for being a drinker as an adult. Of course I’d beg and beg, “I promise, I’ll like it” and then he let me have the tiniest sip and well, nope.
    Your process reminded me of earlier this year when my sister and I tapped maple trees in my yard and made our very own maple syrup. We did the same thing, where we got all the way to the end and realized we hadn’t tasted it all. Before filtering, it looked like the most revolting, thick, mud water. And after slaving all day to keep a fire stoked as high as possible and multiple pots boiling non stop (probably the most exhausting thing I’ve done in my life) I would have have been so upset if my syrup tasted like butt. Fortunately it actually tasted like Maple Syrup, hoorah! I also made a label :D http://www.robayre.com/news/2014/04/25/maple-syrup-tree-tapping-part-2/

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      It’s so awesome that you made maple syrup! I’m glad it was a success after all that work you put in. I had no idea the sap was clear and watery when it came out of the tree—or that it came out that quickly! I guess I kind of just thought it came right out as maple syrup. ;) I will make sure to savor my maple syrup from now on and think about all the trouble it took someone to make it. Thanks for sharing your post!

      (By the way, I tried to comment on your blog post, but the captcha wasn’t showing an image so I couldn’t post it.)

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Thanks! :) I just printed on an 8.5″ x 11″ Avery adhesive shipping label and then cut it down to size.

  2. Deanna

    I love the labels you designed!

    I’ve made my own hard apple cider. It was pretty easy for the most part. I got so excited when it was time to bottle my cider that I kept forgetting how important the serialization process was. My friend kept having to be to voice of reason and slow my pace to make sure I didn’t ruin anything. After it was all bottled it tasted pretty good. There’s definitely room for improvement. Thankfully, I didn’t get any fart smells :) Hopefully your next batch will have a more pleasing aroma!

  3. kate

    My mom makes her own moonshine every year from fruits she buys at local farmers’ markets and mixes them in giant canning jars with various cheap (and I mean CHEAP) alcohols. They’re more like cordials, but she calls it moonshine. She lets them age 2 years, and let me tell you, they are tasty but they will mess you up. Everyone loves it. Makes perfect gifts. Tons of recipes online. My favorite is the coffee one. Amazing over vanilla ice cream.

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Oh my, that sounds amazing! I’ll look into it—sounds more foolproof than making wine. ;) Thanks Kate!

  4. Lydia

    I love wine and am reading along and laughed out loud when you said it smelled like farts. Im sorry this happened but believe it or not, we will decanter wine for a few hours sometimes because of some similar things. My least favorite smell with wine is bandaids. Yuck. However farts are on the top of the list now. Keep up the hard work, I appreciate seeing an reading about the results. :-)

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Haha, it makes me feel better that weird wine smells happen to other people too. Eww, bandaids?!

  5. Debra Boyer

    We also make BlackBerry wine. Yummy! Just wondering if your wine was run through a filtering process. It takes much of this out of the wine. We let ours settle for months, filter and then bottle. LOVE your labels! Enjoy.

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Over the course of several months I racked the wine several times—siphoning the wine off leaving the sediment at the bottom until it was perfectly clear. Is that what you mean by filtering?

  6. Simon

    Great project! By the way, the smell you noted — hydrogen sulphide — is due to the yeast being under stress during fermentation. If you try this again, there are a couple of things you can do to avoid the problem completely!
    1) Use a winemaker’s yeast suitable for fruit wines like Lalvin EC-1118 – – never use bread yeast.
    2) Use about a tsp of yeast nutrient at the start of fermentation and a little more when about 2/3 of the sugar has been used.
    You can get both of these at any winemaking store…

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Thanks for the tips Simon! I used wine specific yeast, and I added yeast nutrient at the beginning of the fermentation, but I didn’t add any more after that. Maybe that’s the problem! I’ll use your advice if I get the courage to try making wine again. ;)

  7. Jessica

    Hey,

    I’m in the process of making stone fruit wine (peaches, apricots and plums).

    Hint for you, split your water with grape juice, ferment until your hydrometer reads 1.010 and then add your fruit purée for a secondary fermentation to 1.000 or less. That way you get your berry taste and alcohol. It also allows for the wine to fully finish fermenting. My dad use to make wine when I was young and he had bottled “fart wine”. But found out by the corks popping because of further fermentation.

    Don’t give up!!!!

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