Ah, Lingonberry wine. Love it!
Back home in Canada, I remember my first taste of it – though it’s called Partridgeberry Wine there. Ah, beautiful. Though I’d never been a fan of red GRAPE wines, Lingonberry wine became a fast favorite for me. Not only was it great for drinking, it was a favorite ingredient for cooking wild game. It was one of 2 secret ingredients in my moose stew. Oh, yum. It’s been far too long…
Anyway, I digress. For those not in the know – or not living near an IKEA – Lingonberries/partridgeberries are a small berry that grows in boreal and tundra areas of Canada, Europe, and Asia. Tiny, round, ruby-red berries, they taste like a cross between a cranberry and a blueberry. They make fantastic muffins, cheesecake, jams, etc… when you can get them. You know, aside from the preserved products at IKEA.
A couple of years ago, I was inspired by lingonberry fudge offered at a local retailer – and I went on a search for wholesale lingonberries. I found em, bought a 25 lb case, and made MAGIC. Together, my husband and I made a 5 gallon batch of the most amazing lingonberry wine I’ve ever tasted. Most amazing wine that either of us has had, for that matter.
Though our supply of wine was dwindling last year, we didn’t end up buying a case of lingonberries, before it was too late. This year, we planned ahead… only to have those plans thwarted by mother nature. A bad crop meant NO lingonberry wine for us this year!
Luckily, we’d been notified that this may be the case, so I started a “Plan B” – I created a “faux lingonberry” wine!
Using the “like a cranberry crossed with a blueberry” flavor profile, I experimented with proportions, and came up with a VERY passable “lingonberry” wine. The color was only slightly different from the original thing, and the flavor is SO close, it’d fool most lingonberry fans. Oh, this is good stuff! While this recipe is for a 1 gallon batch, we’re very much looking forward to making a larger, 5 or 6 gallon batch!
One especially nice thing about this recipe: Lingonberries can be tough to ferment. They seem to have some sort of natural preservative, and it was stressful to brew that first batch – for a couple weeks, we were worried we were going to lose the batch! This recipe? No worries. It ferments easily and beautifully!
If you haven’t attempted making wine before, don’t be intimidated! Check out our primer to home brewing, it starts here, with parts 2 and 3 here and here. Just a small handful of entries, and you’ll be good to go!
Faux Lingonberry Wine Recipe
12 oz frozen blueberries
10 oz frozen cranberries
3 lbs white sugar
1 can Welches white grape juice concentrate (frozen)
1 gallon spring water (will use slightly less)
1 tsp acid blend
1/4 tsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 packet Red Star “Montrachet” yeast
2 gallon pot
1 1.5 gallon fermenter bucket and lid
1 or 2 1 gallon glass carboys & stoppers
1 air lock
Siphon, siphon tubing.
Allow the blueberries and cranberries to thaw. Puree until thick but runny. Strain juice into a large pot, reserving the berry pulp. (Best to put the strainer/colander onto a plate, in the meantime.)
Add sugar and grape juice to pot, stir until well combined. Add water to just over 1 gallon of total liquid. Once you’ve added enough water, add the berry pulp back into the pot. Heat to ALMOST boiling, then simmer gently for 10 minutes. Stir in acid blend, enzyme, and nutrient.
Pour mixture into a freshly sanitized 1.5 gallon fermenting bucket. Cover with sanitized lid and air lock, allow to cool to room temperature (overnight).
The next morning, give the mixture a quick stir with a long, sanitized spoon, and – using sanitized equipment – take a gravity reading. Keep track of the number! (This is an optional step, but will allow you to calculate your final ABV %)
Sprinkle yeast into fermenter, cover with sanitized cover and air lock. Within 48 hours, you should notice fermentation activity – bubbles in the airlock, carbonation and /or swirling in the wine must. This means you’re good to go!
After a week or so, use your sanitized siphon setup to rack the must into a freshly sanitized 1 gallon carboy. Put the carboy somewhere cool (not cold!), and leave it alone for a month or so.
Using sanitized equipment, rack the lingonberry wine off the sediment, into a clean, freshly sanitized 1 gallon carboy. Cap with sanitized airlock, leave it alone for another 2-3 months.
Rack one more time, leave it for another 3 months or so.
When your wine has been racked a few times and shows NO more fermenting activity for a month or so (no bubbles in the airlock, no more sediment being produced, you can move on to bottling.
Follow the instructions on your selected type of wine stabilizer to stop fermentation. For potassium sorbate, this needs to be done 2-3 days before bottling.
Using sanitized equipment, take a gravity reading, then rack the wine into clean, sanitized bottles. Cork. (We like to use these for corking our homemade wine. Easy to use – no special equipment needed! – easy to uncork, and – should you have any wine left in your bottle after serving (pfft!), the “cork” is easily replaced for temporary storage!).