Home Winemaking

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Jack B. Keller, Jr. lived in Pleasanton, Texas, a half-hour south of San Antonio. Winemaking was his passion, and for decades he made wine from just about anything fermentable and nontoxic. Jack developed scores of recipes and tended to gravitate to the exotic or unusual, having once won first place with jalapeno wine, second place with sand burr wine, and third with Bermuda grass clippings wine. After settling permanently in Texas, Jack was six times elected President of the San Antonio Regional Wine Guild, became a certified home wine judge, periodic contributor to WineMaker Magazine, and creator and author of The Winemaking Home Pagethe largest home winemaking website in the world. Jack's WineBlog was the first winemaking blog on the internet. Jack married his high school sweetheart, Donna, and was an avid fly fisherman. He was mentor to thousands of amateur winemakers. Daniel Pambianchi is a well-known winemaking author, lecturer, consultant, and seasoned winemaker. He owned and operated a small commercial winery in Niagara Wine Country in Ontario, Canada. His bestselling book, Techniques in Home Winemaking, has become the go-to reference textbook by advanced amateurs and small-winery operators alike. His area of expertise is wine chemistry, in which he performs extensive studies in his wine analysis lab. He is a member of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture, the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology, and the American Wine Society. Daniel lives in Montreal, Quebec (Canada).


Learn to make wine at home with this introduction to winemaking by the legendary Jack B. Keller, Jr., complete with 65 diverse recipes.


Simple Instructions and Superb Recipes from a Winemaking Legend

With local breweries and wineries popping up everywhere, learning how to make wine is on everyone's to do list. Utilize the guidance of home-winemaking legend Jack B. Keller, Jr. In the 1990s, Jack started one of the first (if not the first) wine blogs on the internet. His expertise, along with that of wine chemistry guru Daniel Pambianchi, is shared with you in Home Winemaking. It takes a fun, practical, step-by-step approach to making your own wine.

The book begins with an introduction to winemaking, including basic principles, equipment needed, and exactly what to do. After the fundamentals are covered, you're given a variety of tested, proven, delicious recipes. More than just grape wines, you'll learn how to make wine out of everything from juices and concentrates to foraged ingredients such as berries and roots. There are even recipes that utilize dandelions and other unexpected ingredients. With 65 options, you can expand your winemaking season indefinitely!

Jack's simple approach to the subject is perfect for beginners, but winemakers of every skill level will appreciate the wealth of information. So get this essential winemaking book, and get started. You'll be sipping to your success in no time.


Blackberry Wine Recipe

Wine Is Ready In: 19 months

You'll Need: 6 pounds of fully ripe blackberries per gallon of wine

Equipment: 1-gallon Ziploc bags, nylon straining bag, 3- to 5-gallon primary

Makes: 1 gallon, but can be scaled up


  • 6 lbs fully ripe blackberries
  • 1 lb 10 oz very fine granulated sugar
  • Water to bring volume to 1 gal
  • 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
  • 1/3 tsp powdered grape tannin
  • Calcium carbonate to bring acid to pH 3.2 or above
  • Potassium metabisulfite, as needed
  • 1/2 tsp potassium sorbate
  • 1 tsp (3 g) yeast nutrient
  • 1 g Fermaid-K
  • Lalvin 71B yeast (5 g)

Prepare must: Place berries in 1-gal Ziploc bags and freeze for at least five days to break down cell walls and liberate juice before starting wine. Thaw berries completely (1-2 days). Working inside your primary or in a sanitized plastic bucket, transfer berries into a small-mesh nylon straining bag and tie the bag closed. Mash and squeeze berries to liberate juice. Leave the bag in primary. Add water and sugar to make 1-gallon total volume, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved (about 5 minutes). Add 1 gram of calcium carbonate, wait 2-3 hours and add second gram. Wait 4 hours and add 0.55 mg/L potassium metabisulfite and stir well. Cover the primary and wait 12 hours. Add pectic enzyme and yeast nutrient, stirring until completely dissolved. Set aside 12 hours.

Add yeast: To 1 cup warm water (not to exceed 102 degrees F.) add a pinch of yeast nutrient and stir to dissolve. Add yeast to water, stir, and cover mixture for 30 minutes. Add mixture to primary, stir well, and cover primary.

Fermentation: Squeeze nylon straining bag 4-6 times a day. Check SG daily. When SG drops to 1.060, remove nylon straining bag and press or squeeze thoroughly to expel juice. Discard blackberry pulp. Dissolve 1 gram of Fermaid-K in 2 cups juice and stir well to thoroughly dissolve. Add to primary and stir again. Continue checking SG daily and when at 1.020, or lower if the fermentation is still vigorous, gently transfer to secondary, then affix airlock. In 30 days carefully rack.

Post-fermentation: Move wine to a dark, cool place for 60 days and carefully rack. Return to dark for six months, checking airlock periodically, add 0.49 mg/L potassium metabisulfite, 1/2 tsp dissolved potassium sorbate, and stir well. Polish clarity with an additional 1/2 teaspoon pectic enzyme if needed. Sweeten to off-dry (sg 1.002) or to balance. If sweetened, wait 30 days to ensure no renewed fermentation and carefully rack into bottles. Allow nine months or more in bottles before tasting.

Options: To add body, add one or two very ripe bananas, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices, before pitching yeast. For ease of removal, place it in a separate straining bag.

Sweeten at the end with purified honey or demerara sugar to add complexity.

This wine responds to oak very well. One cup of oak cubes in the wine for 6-8 weeks during maturation is usually enough. Let taste be your guide, but don't over-do it.

Similar berries: The following berries can be substituted for blackberries in this recipe. Acidity and sugar will not be the same. Dewberries, Boysenberries, Loganberries, Marionberries, Ollalieberries, Tayberries, Youngberries.



Chapter 1: Essential Concepts

Chapter 2: Equipment, Additives, and Supplies

Chapter 3: Putting It All Together

Chapter 4: Grape Wine Recipes

Chapter 5: Soft Fruit and Berry Wine Recipes

Chapter 6: Hard Fruit Wine Recipes

Chapter 7: Root Wine Recipes

Chapter 8: Flowers, Herbs, and Forage Wine Recipes

Chapter 9: Wine Recipes for Concentrates

Chapter 10: Juice Wine Recipes



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