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Usually a white wine, gooseberry wine is a type of sweet, fruity wine made from gooseberries. Similar to currant, gooseberries are often found wild and are also used in a variety of fruit dishes, such as jam and berry pies. This wine is often made by amateur, as well as professional, wine makers.
Gooseberries grow on hardy plants with spiny leaves. They do well in low temperatures and shady areas. Therefore, they are good fruit-producing shrubs to grow in places other fruits cannot flourish. Although they can be eaten fresh, these berries work well in many fruit based recipes, including wine.
Making gooseberry wine requires not only gooseberries but several different ingredients to aid with the fermenting process as well. Sugar is also an essential element. Additional ingredients, such as grape juice concentrate, bananas, or tannin may be added to increase the flavor or fullness of the wine.
Campden tablets, pectic enzyme, wine yeast, and yeast nutrient are all essential for making gooseberry wine. Basically potassium metabisulfite, Campden tablets help to eliminate unwanted bacteria and yeast production from the fermenting wine. The pectic enzyme is designed to help break down the berries on a cellular level, while the yeast works to ferment the liquid. Yeast nutrient, designed to boost the yeast's growth, is not normally present in grape wines because grapes naturally have the elements which aid the yeast.
Gooseberry wine is created in slow steps. Normally using a fermenter, which may not be much more than a tightly lidded bucket, the gooseberries are crushed by hand into a pulpy liquid. The sugar is boiled in water to dissolve then is combined with the berries. Afterward, the campden tablet and yeast nutrient are generally added. Then the mixture is covered and allowed to rest for 12 hours.
After resting, the yeast enzyme is added and the mixture is allowed to rest for another 12 hours before the active yeast is included. Depending on the recipe, the addition of the ingredients may vary. The 12 hour intervals between additions is generally consistent across most recipes. The yeast addition, however, may have more variation and the mixture might be allowed to rest for up to three days before the active yeast is added.
Once all the additions are complete, the gooseberry wine mixture is allowed to ferment for about six months before it is racked. Racking simply transfers the wine into a new container while eliminating the accumulated sediment. Some versions, however, will not rack the wine. Generally, gooseberry wine is aged for at least a year before drinking.