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Making Berry Good Wines

Relative to grape wine, “berry wine” is a diverse category, encompassing anything from strawberries to blueberries to uncommon local berries few have heard of. The general idea is the same as making red wine: Crush and ferment berries, press or strain, rack and age, bottle, voila! But where grapes, if variety is well matched to site, often may need no other ingredients beyond the fruit itself and sulfites, with berry wines, ingredients like water, sugar, and acid may be critical to success.  However, when crafting a berry wine, that’s just the tip of the iceberg for what you may want to do in the winemaking process. There are many factors, styles, options, tips, and tricks to consider. I spoke with some gold medal winners from recent WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competitions in the berry wine category who were generous enough to share their award-winning recipes with us, as well as their best pointers. Let’s look at some of the major factors to consider in berry winemaking and then see what these folks had to say. Fruit Options A major consideration