Maturing home made wines

How long do I need to wait before drinking wines I have made?

This depends on how quickly the wine has cleared. The quicker it clears, the faster it will mature. Some of the quickest-clearing wines which are not too high in tannin are blackberry and cherry or blends of the two. Wine made from black cherries, once it has been placed in a jar, often clear in about a month. These are quite drinkable at this stage, though they may continue to improve for a couple of years. They get less fruity and more vinous with time.

Elderberry wine which has not been boiled during its preparation may also clear rapidly, but on drinking it early, you will notice a very harsh and unpleasant taste of tannin. Elderberry wine is generally not fit to drink for at least a year, during which time, much of the tannin will be precipitated. It will continue to improve for up to five years.

Wine it made from mulberries often takes a long time to clear; the same is true when citrus fruit are used as an ingredient because they are very high in pectin. It is far from rare for such wines to take two or even three years to become reasonably clear, if you use a chemical - free method of preparation. Wines which have been kept as long as this in a cloudy state will never taste very fruity. They may have an excellent flavour eventually, but they tend to resemble sherries.

Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

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