Canadian Food Experience Project: Newfoundland Partridgeberry Wine Recipe

A month ago, I joined the Canadian Food Experience Project, writing about my memories of a uniquely Canadian food experience.

The Canadian Food Experience Project began on June 7 2013. Per the project:

“As we share our collective stories across the vastness of our Canadian landscape through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity through the cadence of our concerted Canadian voice. Please join us.”

This month’s topic is “A Regional Canadian Food”.

My mind immediately went to the years I spent living in Newfoundland. Newfoundland has a unique culture – even within the Atlantic Canadian provinces alone! – and that really comes through in their food. I was spoiled on some of the best seafood ANYWHERE, and was always trying new things.. rabbit stew. Flipper pie. Every manner of deep fried seafood imaginable. Unique preparations of fish and shellfish, and the most wonderful game meats.

St. John’s … this was home!

I love moose stew, and I’m proud to say that I make the most insanely amazing moose stew ever. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get my hands on any moose in the past 7 years… and I’d be afraid to admit to just what depravity I’d agree to, just to get some at this point!

Part of what makes my moose stew insane is the inclusion of partridgeberry wine – a unique wine that is locally produced and readily available in Newfoundland. The tart, bright flavours of the wine work so beautifully with the gamey flavor of the meat… oh, it’s a work of art. I really, really need to get some moose meat soon. (Sorry, I mean.. “Gotta get me moose, b’y!”).

Yum. These guys are EVERYWHERE, back home. So tasty.


Partridgeberries are indigenous to Newfoundland, as well as Scandinavia. They’re tart little red berries that taste like a cross between a cranberry and a blueberry… you may know them as “lingonberries”, if you’re a fan of IKEA!

They are one of a few amazing berries that grow wild in Newfoundland, and they’re very popular in Newfoundland cuisine, appearing in jams, sauces, in candies, on cheesecake… and in wine. You can buy partridgeberry wine in local wine stores back home, as there are several Newfoundland wineries that specialize in it.

Unfortunately, you can’t buy partridgeberry wine here in Minnesota, anywhere I’ve seen. Homesick desperation is one of the mothers of invention in my kitchen, and a few years ago I created a recipe for partridgeberry wine. We were able to buy a case of the berries from a local wholesaler!

This makes a very full bodied, gorgeous wine. It’s a fairly sweet wine, with a great mouth feel .. very delicious, and very luxurious. Definitely worth the effort of finding a case of partridgeberries!

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!

Unable to get your hands on partridgeberries? I actually designed a “faux partridgeberry” wine recipe a while back, click here to go there!

Partridgeberry Wine
Makes about 5 gallons

15 pounds frozen partridgeberries
13 pounds granulated sugar
5 gallons water
2.5 teaspoon acid blend
2.5 teaspoon pectic enzyme
1 teaspoon nutrients
5 pounds golden raisins
1.25 teaspoon tannin
1 package Red Star Montrechet wine yeast

Allow the partridgeberries to partially thaw, then coarsely chop them (A food processor comes in handy!).

Place berries and sugar into a large (7+ gallon) pot, stir until well combined. Add water, stir well to dissolve sugar. Heat to ALMOST boiling – stirring constantly – then simmer gently for 10 minutes. Stir in acid blend, enzyme, nutrient, and raisins.

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 6- 6.5 gallon carboy. Put the carboy somewhere cool (not cold!), and leave it alone for a month or so.

Using sanitized equipment, rack the partridgeberry wine off the sediment, into a clean, freshly sanitized 5 or 6 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!).

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes will be included.

The Kickstarter for “More Than Poutine is live, here. Please consider backing, and sharing the campaign with your friends!

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3 thoughts on “Canadian Food Experience Project: Newfoundland Partridgeberry Wine Recipe

  1. I really enjoyed this post. The first time I had Moose was on New Year’s Eve at a winter camp in Manitoba and I loved it. I can only imagine how incredible your stew must be with that wine.

  2. You are definitely going to have to get you some moose to make the stew with this wine on one of our posts. I had never heard of this berry and love foraging and learning about Canadian berries, so had a good time reading all about them… really appreciate that you wrote about something so personal, so regional, yet novel to me… which is exactly what regional food is… new to the rest of us, usually. Brilliant, but can’t get any partridge berries anywhere around here.

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