You will find many purists among wine drinkers and winemakers who believe grapes are the only fruit suitable for homemade wine.
Here at Slow Wine Magazine, we respect the opinions of purists, but we are also open to experimenting with a wider variety of alcoholic beverages than red, whites, and champagnes.
Strawberry wine is a rewarding drink that’s straightforward to make at home. You won’t need too much equipment, either.
If you have a surplus of fresh strawberries and you want to try preservation methods other than making jam from your berries, why should you consider making strawberry wine?
Strawberry Wine 101
Like all types of wine, strawberry wine involves the fermentation of fruit juice.
As you would expect, strawberry wine is extremely sweet. Many strawberry wine recipes call for lots of added sugar, too.
The core ingredients for homemade strawberry wine are basic:
- Boiling water
- Lemon juice
- Hulled strawberries
If you’re not sure how to hull or core your strawberries, check out this handy guide.
The process is as simple as the recipe. You just mash the berries then pour in the lemon juice, sugar, and boiling water. Stir for a few minutes and set the mixture aside for a week (stirring daily).
Next, you’ll need to drain the mixture, discard all the strawberry pulp. Mix in some sugar to kickstart the fermentation process. Leave the mixture for a week before transferring it into large, loosely corked wine bottles. After three months or so in a cool and dark place, the bubbling should stop, allowing you to decant the mixture into individual bottles.
Now for the worst part: you’ll need to wait a year before you can drink your wine.
Choosing Strawberries for Homemade Strawberry Wine
You can make homemade strawberry wine using both fresh and frozen strawberries.
When you’re shopping for strawberries for winemaking, the riper the better. If you purchase strawberries from a grocery store or supermarket, these will typically already be 75% to 85% ripe because fully ripe strawberries have a very short shelf-life. As soon as strawberries are picked, though, they do not further ripen. They may change color, but they will not ripen or get sweeter once picked.
If you try making homemade strawberry wine with 85% ripe berries and find they fail to deliver as expected, you can always consider picking your own berries. If you visit a strawberry farm, this will allow you to pick strawberries that are fully ripened. You can also exercise complete quality control over all the berries destined for your homemade wine.
Beyond this, you could experiment with some frozen strawberries. Frozen strawberries are typically picked when riper and then frozen shortly after picking to minimize degradation on the shelf. Additionally, most frozen strawberries have the green parts removed, and they’re also cheaper than fresh strawberries.
OK, with that loose framework in place, it’s time for a step-by-step guide to homemade strawberry wine at its best.
How to Make Great Homemade Strawberry Wine
First, you should assemble this equipment:
Equipment You Need
- Bucket for fermenting
- 1-gallon demijohn
- Nylon bag for straining
- Potato masher
- 3 pounds frozen strawberries
- 2 ½ pounds cane sugar
- Yeast (Red Star Premier Blanc)
- Non-chlorinated water
- 1 tsp acid blend or 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon wine tannin or 1 cup strong black tea
- 1/2 teaspoon pectic enzyme – optional
All you need to do now is follow these simple instructions to get some great homemade wine on the go.
What You Need to Do
The homemade strawberry wine process unfolds over the following five phases:
- Making strawberry wine
- Fermentation (primary)
- Fermentation (secondary)
- Bottling and aging
- First, wash and sterilize all the winemaking equipment. You should keep hygiene uppermost for the duration of the winemaking process
2) Making strawberry wine
- Add the strawberries and cane sugar to a bucket or jar. You should add the pectic enzyme at this point if you are including this optional extra.
- Cover the bucket and set it aside. Wait until all the strawberries are defrosted and the mixture is juicy. You will need to wait for anything from 4 hours to 24 hours.
- Smash the strawberries up using a potato masher. Alternatively, crush the berries with your hands. All you need to do is break the berries down rather than achieve a smooth paste.
- Combine the yeast with a cup of water. Set this aside for it to start awakening. This should take around 10 minutes.
- Add the wine tannin or black tea and the acidic agent – acid blend or lemon juice.
- Top up with water until the overall volume is about 1 ½ gallons.
- Add the yeast solution. Stir thoroughly.
- Close the lid of the container. Apply an airlock.
3) Fermentation (primary)
- Place the container away from direct sunlight and leave it for 10 days.
- Stir the mixture once each day.
- The fermentation process should start after one to three days. You should keep on stirring the mixture throughout the primary fermentation stage.
- On the tenth day of primary fermentation, you will see the bubbles slowing down in the airlock. It’s now time for the next phase of fermentation.
4) Fermentation (secondary)
- Take a carboy and insert a funnel and sieve into the neck. A brewing funnel with strainer makes a suitable substitute.
- Scoop put all the fruit, whole and mashed, then pour it through the sieve.
- Press the mixture hard to maximize yield.
- Discard all this waste mixture. Repeat this process until you have removed almost all of the fruit.
- Pour the remainder of the mixture through the funnel and sieve. The wine needs to reach just under the neck of the carboy.
- Fit an airlock to the carboy and store it away from direct light.
- Secondary fermentation will be complete when the wine is still and all carbonation has stopped. The wine will clear. Do not bottle the wine until carbonation has stopped.
5) Bottling and aging
- Shift your strawberry wine from the carboy to the bottling bucket with a siphon.
- Insert a bottle filler onto the spigot of the bottling container.
- Fill some sanitized glass wine bottles with your homemade strawberry wine.
- Close the bottles. Cork them.
- Label the wine bottles.
- Store all bottles in a cool and dark place.
- You should age strawberry wine for a minimum of one month, but ideally for between six months and one year for best results and maximum flavor.
How to Enjoy Homemade Strawberry Wine
Strawberry wine is a superb choice for a dessert wine. The wine could even replace a dessert if you’re on a diet.
Beyond this, strawberry wine also works well drizzles over some ice cream. Try macerating some fruit with strawberry wine and popping it onto a pound cake.
This wine responds favorably to serving either chilled or at room temperature to taste.
Make some spritzers using a mixture of strawberry wine and sparkling wine or slip some strawberry wine into a party punch.
Strawberry wine can also impart an extra fruitiness. Add a splash of wine either before cooking or just after cooking.
Homemade strawberry wine also works well in vinaigrette dressing.
If you’re drinking your strawberry wine, serve it with some chocolate on the side.
Can You Buy Strawberry Wine?
Maybe the above recipe appears too time-consuming or perhaps you can’t face the thought of waiting a whole year for your wine.
Either way, you have plenty of options if you want to buy some lip-smacking strawberry wine. Always ensure that the wine is made from 100% strawberries rather than attenuated with apple juice or grape juice.
Here are two of our favorite places to get strawberry wine:
Baldwin Vineyards in New York state is perhaps the most renowned maker of strawberry wine. Their strawberry wine has won multiple gold medals and is consistently named the best New York fruit wine.
In Washington State, Bainbridge Winery makes all their strawberry wine from the bumper annual crop in-state. You’ll need to sign up to order these wines, available once each year.
If you’re looking to ring the changes this summer and make some homemade wine with a sweet and special twist, we hope today’s guide has given you plenty of inspiration.
Making this wine is the easy part, but the waiting period can be painful. If you’re too impatient for the main event, try either of the options above and buy some to tide you over until the fermentation and aging processes are complete.
We have a very busy content calendar for the coming months, so we recommend that you bookmark our blog. We’ll be adding fresh content daily on all aspects of wine collection, helping you to get the most from your wine. See you soon!