Monday, July 16, 2012

Strawberry Honey Wine (Partial Melomel)

This wine is beautiful!
It's strawberry season, and what better way to celebrate than to make some strawberry wine! Alison and I went to a local U-Pick farm (Bella Organic Farm in Portland, OR to be exact) and picked about 10 ½ pounds of strawberries. They were out of Hood strawberries, so our haul consisted of half Seascape and half Totem strawberries. The Seascapes had a wonderful floral flavor, while the Totems had a nice balance of sweet and pucker, which I thought would add a nice character to the wine. I wanted to make a melomel, which is a mead that is fermented with fruit, but I only had about half of the honey that I needed. Instead of buying more honey, I just supplemented the rest of the honey with white sugar. That's why I'm calling this wine a "partial melomel." Below is the recipe, process, and pictures:

*This recipe is for one gallon of wine*
O.G. - 1.106
Bella Organic U-Pick Farm
F.G. - 0.992

15.2% ABV


  • ~4 lbs. of strawberries (half Seascape and half Totem)
  • 1 ½ lbs. of honey (I used local, raw carrot honey as it has a wonderfully floral aroma and flavor).
  • 1 ½ lbs. white sugar
  • 1 package Lalvin 71B-1122 wine yeast
  • ½ tsp. grape tannin
  • 1 tsp. yeast nutrient
  • 1 tsp. acid blend
  • 1 tsp. pectic enzyme
  • Freshly picked strawberries! Yum!
  • 1 Campden tablet

  1. Wash and hull the strawberries.
  2. Slice the strawberries into small pieces
  3. Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil, then remove from heat. Add honey to the hot water, stirring constantly until the honey is dissolved.
  4. Add the sugar to the hot water/honey mixture. Stir until completely dissolved.
  5. Allow sugar/honey/water mixture to cool to around 100*F, or cooler. Add the grape tannin, yeast nutrient, acid blend, and pectic enzyme. Still until dissolved (note: sometimes the tannin clumps a little bit. This is okay; just try to get it as dissolved as much as possible).
  6. Place strawberries in a mesh bag and place bag in primary fermentation bucket. You don't have to use a mesh bag, but I find it makes it much easier to remove the fruit when racking to your secondary fermenter.
  7. Pour cooled sugar/honey/water mixture over strawberries.
  8. Crush the Campden tablet and add to the mixture. Stir.
  9. Add enough water to the fermenter to make one gallon.
  10. Cover the fermenter bucket tightly and let it sit for 24 hours. During this time, stir the mixture around 3 times, at intervals, with a sanitized spoon.
  11. Hydrate the yeast in 2-3 oz. of 104-109*F water, let it sit for about 25 minutes. Add to the must.
  12. Let ferment for 7-14 days, depending on how fast your fermentation is. Be sure to not open the lid ad rack the wine until the airlock bubbles only about once a minute!
  13. Once fermentation has slowed, siphon the wine into a 1-gallon (3.8 L) air-locked fermentation vessel. If needed, top off with preservative-free apple or orange juice concentrate (you can also use boiled, and then cooled, sugar water that is the same gravity as the wine). Let ferment for 2 months. *** If you see that the fruit has molded, don't worry - your wine has not spoiled! Just make sure to not stir the mold into the must when you are siphoning the wine into your next fermentation vessel.
  14. Rack the wine off of the sediment into another 1-gallon air-locked fermentation vessel. Continue to rack as needed to clear the wine. If you used raw honey, the wine may never completely clear. If this is the case, just continue to rack until no sediment appears at the bottom of your fermentation vessel after 3 months of sitting there.
  15. Stabilize, bottle, and then cellar the wine. Wait for at least six months before trying your wine.
The strawberries are
washed and hulled
Chop the strawberries into
small pieces
The strawberries are in the mesh bag
and the honey/water/sugar mixture
is added to the bucket
The must is all prepared and
ready to go! Now we wait 7-14 days!
The wine has been racked from
the brew bucket to a 1-gallon
jug and fitted with an airlock.
The wine has cleared. Its beautiful!