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Chocolate Wine

TroubleShooting

Jerry —Transfer, Pennsylvania asks,
Q

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?

A
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.