Homemade Strawberry Wine Making

Making Homemade Strawberry Wine - 2006


This is our third year of making homemade wine.  The first year we made cherry wine (Click here to visit the cherry wine pages), the second year we made blackberry wine (Click here to visit the blackberry wine pages) and this year we are going to try our hands at making strawberry wine.  If you have ever considered making your own homemade wine, feel free to check out our web pages for information.  Be sure to drop us a line and let us know how your wine turns out!

Over 59 pounds of strawberries in the back of my Suburban

On June 20, 2006, Vesper and I set out for Baggenstos Farms  to pick strawberries for this year's wine.  My initial goal was thirty-five pounds, but the berries we picked weighed in at over 59 pounds.  Here they are filling the whole rear cargo compartment of my Suburban.
Some of the berries in two of the three buckets

Michael emptied four of the boxes of berries into these two buckets, but it quickly became apparent that we would need another bucket.  He zipped off to a local sub sandwich shop (Monkey's Subs - incredible subs!) where the owners generously gave him a five gallon pickle bucket (pictured in photos below).
The book we loosely follow to make our wine each year

This is the reference book that Michael and I use to make all of our wine.  I figured that I should start giving these two guys some credit for the wine that we make loosely following their guidelines.  I did a Google search and found the book here (Click on that word).

Dry Wine Yeast

This is the active dry wine yeast that we used both last year and this year.

I had to save some for shortcake

I had to set aside a few of those berries for some homemade strawberry shortcake.  Who could resist?
Getting the "yeast starter" ready

Michael usually has me pick up pure (not from concentrate) orange juice that we then boil and let cool to room temperature.  However, this year he bought some generic juice from concentrate, and just set it on the counter for a while to obtain room temperature.  When I asked him why he wasn't going to the usual effort, he said, "I like to live on the wild side."  Uh, okay...
Lemons for citric acid

This strawberry wine recipe calls for citric acid, so I'll be using my juicer to squeeze out the juice.

The two seven gallon buckets with strawberries

The two biggest buckets with their strawberries (before crushing).

All three of the buckets

Michael begins smashing the strawberries

Michael began smashing the strawberries with an empty sake bottle.

More mashing

Smooshing, and mooshing, smushing and mushing.  Do people really like to do this with their feet?

When we were done smashing the berries, each of the large buckets registered at the two and three-quarters gallons mark.

Dissolving sugar in water on the stove

These pots are full of sugar water.  The sugar has to be completely dissolved before being added to the buckets of berries.  We had a total of thirty-five pounds of sugar that we dissolved over the course of the evening.

The lemon juice that I squeezed from the lemons

I managed to get this much lemon juice to use as our citric acid.  We poured 2/3 of a cup into each of the large buckets, and 1/3 of a cup into the smaller (green) bucket.
Pouring the sugar-water into the buckets of berries

Here Michael is pouring some of the boiling sugar water into one of the buckets of berries.

Dissolving more sugar

Each of the large buckets took about 13 pounds of sugar dissolved in water.  We brought the overall levels up to seven and a half gallons (from the original 2 and 3/4 gallons of mashed berries).

The smaller bucket took about nine pounds of sugar-water.

Pouring the lemon juice into the buckets

Here we are pouring in the citric acid (fresh-squeezed lemon juice).  As I mentioned above, 2/3 of a cup went into each of the big buckets and 1/3 of a cup went into the small bucket.
Trying to get a hydrometer reading

The strawberries were so pulpy that it was difficult to get an accurate potential alcohol reading on the hydrometer.  We finally decided that we had 10.5 on Bucket #1 (big), and 11 on both Bucket #2 (big) and Bucket #3 (small).
The three buckets of strawberry mixture

Bucket #1, Bucket #2 and Bucket #3, respectively.

Campden Tablets Package

Because I'd forgotten to mention to Michael that I planned to go strawberry picking, we didn't have all of our wine-making supplies on hand.  We only had enough Campden Tablets left to put four in each bucket.  Campden tablets will help to kill any bacteria or native yeasts on the strawberries.  I'll pick up more at Main Street Homebrew tomorrow.

Diammonium Phosphate
Diammonium Phosphate is a yeast nutrient.

Bucket 'o Berries

Adding the diammonium phosphate

To each of the larger buckets, we added 2 1/2 teaspoons of Diammonium Phosphate.  We added just 2 teaspoons to the smaller bucket.

Adding the dry yeast to the orange juice

Once the orange juice had warmed up (it had been refrigerated) on the counter for a while, we went ahead and sprinkled the yeast onto the top.

That looks delicious

No stirring.  The yeast is just supposed to sit on top of the juice.  We leave it undisturbed on the countertop for about eighteen to twenty-four hours.

Numbering the buckets

All of the buckets have received their numbers and pads (onto which we record the dates we add or do anything to the wine).
Checking potential alcohol levels

Lots of wine potential here!

I bought some wine making supplies

On June 21st, I made a trip into Hillsboro to Main Street Homebrew for the list of supplies that Michael left for me.  Here are some of the things I picked up:   additional airlock stoppers, acid blend, pectic enzyme, campden tablets, potassium meta-bisulfate and diammonium phosphate.