Ask Wine Wizard

Chocolate Wine


Jerry —Transfer, Pennsylvania asks,

I have tried several of the new chocolate wines and I love them. I have tried with little success to make chocolate wine with my wine club friends. I have bought several books on winemaking, but cannot find a recipe for chocolate wine. Can you please help?

So you want to put some chocolate flavor, texture and aroma into your wines, eh? My approach would definitely be to use the chocolate grace-notes as an ending treatment to your wine, as opposed to a fermentative one. This is how a “friend of a friend” of mine made something similar; they trialed in additives into finished wine, then gave the concoction a sterile filtration before bottling. Cocoa beans, chocolate syrups, baking chocolate etc all contain quite a bit of fat, which does not do well in a fermentation (yeast can’t use it, it can go rancid, etc.). Cocoa beans, chocolate and even cocoa powder all have a very high pH, of 7–9, which means that you’d be throwing off the acid balance of your fermenter as well, which is not great for a healthy yeast population. Needless to say, I think you should take a good, sound base wine (maybe laced with a little brandy for body and stability) and then trial in your flavoring agents and additives. And what are those flavoring agents and additives? Well, all “chocolate
Response by Alison Crowe.