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Cherry and berry wines - the alternative to red wines

Many countries and regions have close cultural and culinary associations with individual types of fruit. It is hardly surprising, then, that some fruit wines are held in particular esteem and attract special attention that is no less than that accorded grape wine. It is important for the focus to be on achievement of a premium product throughout the production process. Juice can be extracted from coloured fruit, for example, using mash heating or mash fermentation. It is possible to avoid or carefully manage oxidation; maturation of young and still rough fruit wines can also be controlled. If “harmonisation” was achieved years ago with simple sweetening, nowadays experienced fruit winemakers create a balanced, mature product which is far from being a dessert wine.

Cherry wines
Individual producers of high-quality cherry and sour cherry wines (generally referred to as cherry wines) are found mainly in the Lake Michigan region of the United States.  Mash heating is a good extraction method for this wine, but much more full-bodied wines can be achieved through mash fermentation using Oenoferm® Rouge F3. Heating should be omitted if more than 10% sweet cherries are added and colour and tannins released through fermentation. Sweet cherries contain a unique pectin, which is best degraded using Trenolin® FastFlow DF during a three-day mash.
Malolactic fermentation can be considered for sour cherry wines. It is important that the fruit wine has not been fortified with too much alcohol, as pH values are below those of grape wines. A robust bacteria strain, such as
Bi-Start® Fresh SK 55 can be added during main fermentation. It should be ensured beforehand, though, whether complete acid conversion is desirable. These wines also benefit from extended maturation on the fine lees. Oenoferm® Klosterneuburg F3 has proved beneficial for this wine style (see Fig. 1).

Generally, maturation in wooden barrels, possibly aided by the robust characteristics of e.Bois® oak chips, is a real feature of cherry wine.

Full-bodied red berry wines
Aronia, elderberry, blackberries and blueberries are superfruits not only for health reasons, they also have the potential to produce very rich and flavourful red wines. Mash fermentation is clearly the better choice here, as this is the only way to extract the full flavour and potential tannins. If using Oenoferm® Freddo F3, a very strongly fermenting and resistant yeast is recommended. Known to be a reliable cold fermentation yeast, the flavour characteristics are dependent on the fermentation temperature. From around 25 °C, Oenoferm® Freddo F3 fully brings out the fruit flavour and produces richly flavoured and distinctive fruit wines.
Classic red wine yeast Oenoferm® Icone F3 utilises the berry fruit’s tannin potential to the full, allowing the production of fruit wines capable of being stored and with maturation potential (see Fig. 2).


Aromatic red berry wines
Blackcurrant or cassis is a classic prominent aroma in certain wine styles. The desired aroma can be best extracted naturally from the original raw material. Once again, this can be achieved through mash fermentation for several days using Oenoferm® Rouge F3. As a blackcurrant syrup is frequently used for fermentation, it is recommended that fermentation takes place using Oenoferm® X-Thiol F3 (see Fig. 3). This specialised yeast strain is able to fully hone the reserve of thiol esters as the most important basis for the blackcurrant flavour.   This is very important because the high acid content means it is necessary for blackcurrant wines to be produced by blending with sweeter fruit wines or dilution with water. Strict acidity management must be applied from the start for blackcurrant wines. An initial acid content of 30 g/L is not uncommon and not at all drinkable after fermentation.

White fruit berry wines
Gooseberries are the poor relation in fruit wine production. One of the reasons could be the frequent occurrence of pungent off notes after fermentation. The maturation potential of gooseberries, expressed by a superb ratio of sugar to acidity and multi-faceted flavours, is very close to that of familiar white wine varieties. Oenoferm® PinoType F3 has proved its value many times here. This yeast strain gives gooseberry wines a marked impression of tropical fruit and pear drops. Alternatively, the much more “slender” citrus flavour profile of Oenoferm® Freddo F3 represents a popular option (see Fig. 4).


In addition to choice of raw material and yeast, yeast nutrition is an important component in successful fruit wine production. As well as familiar yeast nutrients from the Vitamon® and VitaFerm® range, OenoRed® is an innovative yeast autolysate for rounding off the flavour and stabilising the colour of red fruit wines.