Our 3 year old Goumi bushes really started producing this year. Each plant was so loaded with fruit that the branches were in danger of breaking. Although the chickens beat us to a lot of the fruit we still managed to pick between 4 lbs and 5 lbs of fruit per plant!
While the fruit is tasty fresh there is no way we can eat 15 lbs of goumi berries before they spoil. We thought about making jam or jelly but after all the work required to hand pick thousands of little berries we wanted something more exciting than just another jar of jam.
I found several posts on the interwebs saying how good goumi berry wine would be but nobody seemed to have actually made it and reported back on how it turned out. Well shit, sounds like a good reason to give it a shot.
Recipe for 1 gallon batch (~5 wine bottles):
- 4.25 lbs goumi berries, stems removed*
- 1.75 lbs organic cane sugar
- 1 tsp yeast nutrient
- 2/3 tsp acid blend
- 1/8 tsp tannin
- 12 cups boiling water
- 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
- 1/2 package champagne yeast
- Wash the goumi berries really well then place them in a mesh bag (or wrap in cheese cloth) and squeeze the hell out of them over your fermenting bucket. You want to burst every berry and extract as much juice as possible.
- Add the sugar, yeast nutrient, acid blend, tannin and boiling water. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Once the mixture has cooled to 100 degrees F (or lower) add the pectic enzyme and champagne yeast.
- Now’s a good time to take a specific gravity reading with your hydrometer if you’d like to get a sense of the potential alcohol level in the finished wine (remember to correct for temperature!). The batch made with the large oval goumis read ~11%, and the small round goumis ~12%, confirming that my taste buds were correct in thinking the small berries were slightly sweeter.
- Cover your fermenting bucket well enough to keep out fruit flies but don’t worry about making it air tight.
- Place your fermenting bucket in a cool, dark place and stir once a day for about 10 days.
- After 10 days, remove the bag holding the goumis and squeeze it really good to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer all the liquid to a glass carboy trying to leave as much sediment behind in the fermenter as possible.
- Put an airlock on the carboy and move it to a cool, dark place for ~4 weeks until the liquid clears.
This is as far as I’ve gotten in the process but the next steps are to carefully rack the cleared liquid to another carboy, let that settle for a few weeks and then bottle. Based on what I’ve read about other fruit wines you will probably need to let the wine age in bottles for at least 6 months before giving it a try. I’ll report back when we open our first bottle!
*I’m not sure if you really need to remove the goumi berry stems but it seems like most other fruit wines call for this step. It was definitely a pain in the ass though so I might skip it next time