Accidentally Cooking

Documenting my mistakes in the garden, kitchen and pantry

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Tart Cherry Wine: Bottled

My Tart Cherry Wine was all done bulk aging, so I stabilized, back-sweetened, and put it into bottles.



(Yes, that one bottle on the left uses a regular cork and no, I still don’t own a corker. I found a good synthetic cork from our collection of old corks, sterilized it, and jammed it in there by hand. I’ll drink that one up first.)


  • Pitched: 30 June 2014
  • Secondary:  13 July 2014
  • Tertiary: 12 August 2014
  • Stabilized and degas: 21 November 2014
  • Backsweetened and Bottled: 28 Nov 2014

Stabilizing and Backsweetening

I stabilized this batch with a campden tablet and potassium sorbate, as recommended on the respective packages.

To backsweeten, I took 2/3 cup sugar and 2/3 cup water and brought to a boil to make a simple syrup. I stirred in the syrup until it got to a sweetness and taste that was to my liking (just about all of it).

Final Tasting Results

I tasted it before backsweetening, and surprisingly it tasted quite a lot like a dry red wine like you might buy at a store. The level of tannin and dryness struck me as very similar to something like a merlot. However, what I could not taste much of was the cherries. I decided to sweeten the wine to both decrease the dryness (which I typically do not enjoy) and try to bring out the cherry flavor.

With the sugar syrup added it is much sweeter, and does taste more like cherries. Also, the syrup seems to have improved the mouthfeel of the final product considerably.

Overall now, the color of the wine is a shade darker than you might see in a White Zinfindel, just about as sweet, and has a subtle but unmistakable flavor of cherries. There are no off-flavors or any unpleasantness. This is probably the first wine I’ve made so far that I would be perfectly happy sitting down and just sipping on a glass of it through the day.

Notes for Next Time

  • Use more cherries. The cherry flavor in this one is good. It could stand to be more pronounced.
  • Try to improve mouthfeel. Adding a few handfuls of raisins should help this.
  • Acidity seems decent, but some citric acid might brighten it up a bit.

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Orange Pomegranate Wine

A quick google search for the term “Orange Pomegranate Wine” returns no relevant results. This means one of two things:

  1. I’m terrible at using Google
  2. I’m the only person in the world stupid enough to try it.

Whatever, I never let my crushing incompetence stop me from trying new things before, why would this be any different?

At the grocery store both Pomegranates and Valencia juice oranges were on sale, so I picked up a few of the poms and a big bag of the oranges. I found a recipe online that called for 10 pomegrantes for a gallon of pomegranate wine. I found another recipe that called for about the same number of oranges for a gallon of orange wine. Combining recipes and cutting in half (because I only have a half gallon jug to use) gives me this recipe:

Orange Pomegranate Wine

  • 3 Pomegranates
  • 2 cups fresh squeezed oranges
  • Zest of half an orange (with all pith painstakingly removed)
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • White Sugar [1]
  • 1/2 tsp Yeast Nutrient
  • 1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme
  • 1/2 Campden Tablet
  • Yeast [2]

Juice the oranges and add the juice to a stockpot. Cut open the pomegranates and remove the arils, discarding the white membranes. Add the arils to the orange juice in the stock pot, crushing as best as possible. Add the honey and zest, and bring the mixture to a boil. Let cool to room temperature.

Add the pectic enzyme, yeast nutrient and campden tablet, crushed. Stir, cover with a towel, and let sit overnight.

Uncover the bucket, fan off the fumes, and pitch the yeast. Allow to ferment until the bubbles stop. Transfer to secondary for long-term aging.


After taking this picture, I juiced the oranges and pomegranate you see in this picture, brought the juice to a boil (to sterilize), cooled it again, and used it to top off the jug. Less air in there is better, and the extra juice should improve flavor.


  1. I added about 2.5 cups of white sugar to bring the SG up to 1.090. I thought about going higher to 1.100, but decided to just stay where I was at.
  2. I used a leftover packet of Cotes Des Blancs. It seemed a little sluggish in the starter, but looks like it picked up over time.