I have choke cherries on the bushes right now that are ripening. This is the
first year that I am going to try to make wine with them. Could any
experienced choke cherrie wine makers give me tips please? Everything from
picking and processing, to the actual winemaking process would be helpful.
Pick them, set down and go through them, sorting out the ones that are too
green, those they are mummified, and any other trash that got into your pan.
Then fill the pan with water, slosh them around and drain the water off. Do
this several times to be sure you got the white stuff off of the berries.
Then you can freeze them until you get an answer to your wine making
question, or you can put enough water into the pan to come up to the top of
the berries. Put the pan on the fire until the water starts boiling. Turn
the heat down and simmer for about 30 minutes. Dip the berries into a
colander and squeeze the juice all out.
Then you should get a jelly strainer at Wal-Mart, and run the juice through
it several times until you get most of the pulp out. Then put it into
sterile quart jars and hot water bath it for 15 to 25 minutes, depending
upon your altitude. Then you have it canned until you are ready to make
wine or jelly (I just finished putting up 14 quarts).
My only recipe calls for putting a gallon of berries into a jug with 3 cups
of sugar and 1 1/2 tblsp. yeast. Then put a balloon on top until it quits
building pressure. Then it says strain out all the waste, filter, and
bottle. It doesn't sound like it is right, but I got it from a man who made
a couple of batches each year that way.
Let me know how you do. We will hopefully have several people give us some
help/advice on this now.