Rachel is a soap-making, wine-brewing small farmer in Minnesota. She runs One23 Farm with her husband, a dozen sheep, and a blue heeler dog.
I just started a batch of this the other day. I picked my raspberries right from the woods where I live. If you can get raspberries from a pick-your-own farm or a farmer’s market, I would recommend it. Otherwise, fresh or frozen store-bought raspberries will work just fine.
Ingredients for Raspberry Wine
- 2 pounds raspberries
- 6 pints water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 packet wine yeast
Directions for Raspberry Wine
- Put your raspberries in a plastic bag or two. Squeeze and squish them. Your goal is to get as much juice out as possible.
- Set a collander in a bowl large enough to contain the raspberries and the sugar-water. Dump your raspberry juice and raspberry pulp into the collander.
- Take out a spoonful of raspberry juice and put it in a separate container (a glass or cup will work well). Mix a little warm (not hot!) water with it. Add your yeast. This will make a yeast starter.
- Bring water to a boil. Add 1 cup sugar and stir until dissolved. Pour the boiling sugar-water over the raspberries. Using a large spoon, the bottom of a clean cup or bowl, or whatever else you can find, squeeze the raspberries into the collander, getting out as much juice as you can.
- Select a primary fermentation vessel. This could be a glass carboy, a glass or food-grade plastic bottle, or a plastic bucket. Whatever you use, makes sure it’s clean. The best way to ensure proper sanitation is to wash the bottle or bucket with soap and water, rinse away all of the soap, and then rinse it with a weak bleach solution (one cap full of bleach for one gallon of water). When using bleach, make sure you rinse it well. Usually if it still smells of bleach, you need to keep rinsing with cold water.
- By now, your yeast starter should be looking frothy and active! Pour the raspberry juice and sugar-water mixture into your (clean) primary fermentation vessel. This sweet, unfermented mixture is called the “must.”
- Make sure that your must is not too hot. Much over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and you will kill your yeast! I don’t run around my kitchen with a thermometer, so I tend to do the “feel test.” It’s also simpler this way, and I love simple. If it feels hot, it is hot, so wait; it if feels warm, wait a little longer just to be sure.
- Now, add your yeast!
- The next step is up to you: You have your raspberry pulp in the collander, right? You could add that to the must as well. I do! You could choose to add some or all of it. You could also put the pulp in a nylon bag and add that to your must, so that the pulp will be available to the yeast but will be kept separate from the juice. Your choice! Either way, the next steps should ensure that there is no pulp in your final product.
- Affix an airlock to your fermentation container. If you don’t have an airlock, you can use a rubber glove or just some plastic wrap fit tight with a rubber band. If using the rubber glove method (I’ve done this!), it can be really fun to watch the fingers of the glove inflate as the carbon dioxide is released during fermentation. Just be sure to release the pressure by briefly removing the glove, otherwise it’ll blow off!
- Over the next 5-7 days, fermentation will take place. If you’d like, you can stir. I usually stir for the first day or two, mainly out of curiosity, and my insatiable desire to smell it. If you’re using an airlock, you’ll probably stop seeing bubbles in about a week. Rubber glove users, you’ll notice after 5-7 days that you don’t need to “let the air out” of the glove as often.
Racking and Aging
Now you should rack the young wine into another clean container. Racking involves using plastic tubing to siphon the liquid off of the solid sediments that have settled at the bottom of the container.
I’d like to note that, while some wine and cider makers don’t recommend sucking on the end of the siphon tube to get it started, this has always worked just fine for me—just be careful! But you know, I really do love simple. Maybe you don’t have plastic tubes laying around, and don’t feel like going to buy them. In that case, you can basically achieve the same effect by pouring the whole concoction through cheesecloth. A little more crude, but it’ll work in a pinch.
This second bottle is for secondary fermentation. Now let the wine be! You should see more sediment collect at the bottom, but maybe not as much as in the primary fermentation process. After 3-4 weeks, give or take, you should rack the wine into yet another bottle.
At this point, you should sample some! Love it? Then skip the aging process. Want to age your wine? One year is recommended, but I’ll be surprised if it ever lasts that long. Typically, I taste-test every month or so and end up deciding it’s perfect somewhere between 3 and 5 months after I started. But I always try to set aside at least a small portion of every batch to attempt to age for one year.
During the first few months (if you didn’t drink it all yet!) you may need to rack it one or more times, until it “clears” (isn’t cloudy anymore).
And there you have it. Raspberry wine, here you come!
Questions & Answers
Question: I notice you don't use any acid blend, pectic enzyme, or campden tablets. Did I miss something or is this correct?
Answer: That's right! I rely on a strong yeast start and correct headspace to get ahead of wild fermenters.
Question: Is air a problem in the final fermentation of raspberry wine? Commercial wine turns to vinegar if left open.
Answer: It can't ferment to vinegar as it has already fermented to wine (different critters facilitating fermentation). However, leaving wine open to the air is never recommended.
Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on June 07, 2020:
It's been a while but I think it makes a gallon - so, depends on what size bottles you're using.
Roxy on November 03, 2019:
In fact, the process of making raspberry vinegar from scratch requires the making of raspberry wine first. The bacteria that produces the acetic acid converts the alcohol in the wine to make vinegar. I have a batch on the counter now and it is delicious!
Thomas on July 22, 2019:
Giving your simple (my style too) recipe a try. I also have wild blackberries and suggest to remove the seeds and just go with the juice to avoid a high tannic acid taste.
Madge on June 19, 2019:
I hope it tastes better after aging cuz this was awful.
Rick Scoles on March 22, 2019:
How many bottles of wine does this recipe make ? Thanks , Rick
pugmanian on May 22, 2016:
Planning to make some raspberry wine from this recipe, however much wine will it make?
TY & Regards!
SEXYLADYDEE from Upstate NY on September 25, 2014:
Another great HUB. I have my first batch of wine sitting in second fermentation. I used a concentrate but your directions make this seem easy enough to try. Do you cork your wine at the end? I don't eat raspberries but I will try this. Thanks for sharing.
Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on August 11, 2012:
Rick - thanks for the endorsement! It's nice to hear from a fellow fruit wine maker :)
Ripplemaker - thanks for dropping by and sharing the voting link. You can't grow raspberries?! I didn't know that about the Philippines... bummer! Maybe you can buy them?
Donnah - It's kind of weird that you picked my article for your vote, because I picked yours, too! Cool :) Thanks for stopping by, commenting, and voting, and good luck with the Hubnuggets!
Donna Hilbrandt from Upstate New York on August 11, 2012:
Congratulations on the Hubnugget nomination. I got one this week too in the auto category for my article about selling my car on Craigslist. You have my vote :)
Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on August 11, 2012:
Imagine what you can do if you just know how....looks yummy! Now if only raspberries will grow in our country... heheh
Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. This way please to read and vote https://hubpages.com/literature/August-2012-Olympi... Bring your raspberry wine to celebrate. Blessings!
rick combe from USA on August 11, 2012:
Where I live we have wild blackberries instead of rasberries, and using a recipe very similar to this I made my best wine ever. I highly recommend that readers try this, using rasberries or blackberries. It's fun, green, educational, and it will give you a buzz!
Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on July 15, 2012:
DaisyChain - sounds good, hope you'll try to make some wine with them!
LGrey - it's fun, AND simple! Have at it, and let me know how it goes if you get a chance :)
LGrey from Alabama on July 15, 2012:
This looks really fun to try. I think I am going to have to make my own raspberry wine!
DaisyChain from France on July 15, 2012:
This looks wonderful. I'll be planting more rasps for next year.
Tonette Fornillos from The City of Generals on July 13, 2012:
You bet I'll be telling you so much about my first wine, lol. I'm excited. Thanks once again.
Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on July 13, 2012:
Hi Tonipet! I'm really glad you enjoyed the recipe, and I hope you'll try it. It really is easy to ferment fruit juices, but the idea of it can be intimidating at first. Good luck and let me know how it goes when you try it!
Tonette Fornillos from The City of Generals on July 12, 2012:
Hello Farmer Rachel. What a very nice challenge, it's going to be my first wine if ever I'll make it, lol. My father used to make wine from coconut when I was around 10 and I love the taste. I think with your only 4 ingredients, he's going to be proud of me making wine from berry. Thanks for sharing, I'm bookmarking and sharing! Best of all.
Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on July 12, 2012:
Hi Radcliff. Glad you enjoyed the recipe, and feel free to send any questions my way! I'll do my best to answer them :)
Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on July 12, 2012:
Hi Dirt Farmer! Thanks for commenting, and double thanks for sharing. Hubpages seems like a great community, glad I joined!
Liz Davis from Hudson, FL on July 12, 2012:
Oh, my. This looks amazing! I am dying to try it. Get ready for questions when I do. LOL
Jill Spencer from United States on July 12, 2012:
Hi Farmer Rachel. Raspberry wine sounds like a fun project--a tasty change of pace from the usual preserves & cobblers. Great hub, especially for a first one.