Blackberries make wine with a deep, gorgeous purple color. They are a unique alternative to using grapes, and they are high in antioxidants, which translates to a healthier wine to drink, with many benefits.
What is Blackberry Wine?
There are over 122 species of blackberries in the United States and over 200 claimed for North America alone. There is no denying that many types and varieties of wine can be made using blackberry, although you certainly don’t see as much of it as you do wine made from grapes.
Blackberry bushes grow in thickets or surrounded by thorns and are referred to as caning shrubs. They grow naturally along fence lines and gravel road ditches. Removing blackberries from their prickly homes can be cumbersome, but the benefits are worth it. Vintage Blackberry wine is made only from blackberries, so in its purest form, it lacks other fruits and is simply delicious.
Any type of fruit can be fermented and made into wine, and flowers and herbs have also become increasingly popular. Each has its own distinct benefits, so let’s observe some of our favorite blackberry wine qualities.
The Benefits of Blackberry Wine
In the early 19th century, grape wines were not yet widely imported to the United States, and there was not a lot of grape cultivation either. Blackberry wine was a popular alternative because blackberry leaves and roots were commonly consumed as a cure for daily sickness. Today, a glass of blackberry wine could help alleviate the symptoms of bowel diseases such as IBS and diarrhea.
Herbal tinctures are one way to maintain your body’s optimal health but drinking herbal wines are another. While herbal wines have the upper hand as far as cost and lower alcohol content, blackberry wine in moderation produces benefits that you won’t want to miss.
Dark colored fruits like blackberries contain flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties that reduce the risk of various types of cancer. In women, it can reduce the risk of breast and cervical cancer. In men, it can help prevent colon or prostate cancer. Flavonoids protect the body and decrease the chance of having hemorrhoids or edema.
Nonflavonoids are antioxidants that are in many different types of wines, including blackberry wine as well as wines made from grapes and other fruits. Resveratrol is considered a top-notch nonflavonoid and has the most benefits, including its ability to lower cholesterol and prevent blood vessel damage in your body. Resveratrol also has the ability to fight against obesity and diabetes. It can reduce the risk of strokes caused by blood clots by up to fifty percent.
Like many wines, blackberry wine contains the compound procyanidin, which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. People who drink blackberry wine are thirty percent less likely to experience a heart condition than those who don’t enjoy wine at all. Procyanidins also encourage good cholesterol and can protect against artery damage.
Salicylate, which is a natural pain reliever, is found in blackberry wine. Drink up when fighting those migraines, cramps, or other aches and pains.
Cholesterol and Cataracts
Blackberry wine not only possess the ability to lower cholesterol and fight heart disease, but it also lowers the risk of developing cataracts. It posses the most benefit to older wine drinkers. Red wine drinkers are slower to experience brain decline than those who do not partake. The 2007 Journals of Gerontology wrote that blackberry wine or red wine lowers mortality rate of a casual blackberry wine drinker by thirty-four percent over those who drink other spirits or beer.
The University of Illinois found that specific compounds in blackberry wine helped control the absorption of carbohydrates. This compound could ultimately help provide a treatment that is effective for diabetes and other chronic illnesses such as autoimmune disorders that are triggered or made worse by certain types of food consumption.
Having the occasional glass of blackberry wine offers a potential boost in health, but just like red wine, overdoing it will have the reverse effect. Heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure can occur when drinking any alcohol in excess. There is no need to start uncorking wine bottles to get healthy. Unaltered blackberries themselves host the same benefits as blackberry wine. A 5-ounce glass is a maximum per day for wine lovers.
How to Make Homemade Blackberry Wine
Along with the health benefits, blackberry wine is cheaper than most other wines made with grapes. The other great thing about blackberry wine is that it’s fairly simple to make at home. It doesn’t require an experienced vintner or someone who has been experimenting with cultivation methods for generations. Up for it? Here’s a recipe that you can follow to ensure a great batch.
- 1 gallon of blackberries
- 1 quart of boiling water
- 2 pounds of sugar
- 1 tsp wine yeast
- Add 1 quart of boiling water to 1 gallon of blackberries.
- Let the mixture stand for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Press the mixture through a cheesecloth.
- Dissolve 2 pounds of sugar in the gallon of liquid.
- Warm mixture no higher than 103 degrees. Use a candy thermometer.
- Ease a teaspoon of wine yeast on top.
- Cover with a clean towel and store in a warm place for fermenting. Leave it there for a couple of months to allow the fermentation to occur.
- Strain through a finer cheesecloth.
- Pour into bottles, cork the bottles, and let them sit for a year before enjoying.
Waiting is the hardest part, and knowing when the bottle is ready to be corked can be difficult. An easy way to tell is poking a small pinhole in a latex balloon and securing it to the lip of the bottle. The balloon will inflate with escaping the gas. When it deflates on its own, the fermentation is near complete. Tightly cork bottle and enjoy a year later.
This recipe can be used for any berry or fruit, and if you’re up for experimenting, it can be fun. You can even make homemade wine using herbs and leaves. Just follow the recipe above and dissolve three pounds of sugar in your leaves and herbs instead of two.
Food Pairing With Blackberry Wine
Blackberry wine is traditionally a sweet dessert wine. While most in the wine community turn their noses up at super sweet wines, the occasional drink is a known practice for some. Sweet wines belong with sweet things, hence the name ‘dessert wine.’
Taking blackberry wine out of the dessert category is a bold choice but will have a tremendous pay-off. There is a secret to pairing a blackberry wine with savory foods so you will have a cheaper alternative to your duck confit. Here are five tips and tricks that can make your blackberry wine experience extend beyond a special occasion and into the everyday.
Let’s Compare, Shall We?
Acidity matters when pairing a sweet wine with food. Like any good vinaigrette, no two are made the same, but balance is the key when finding the perfect pairing. The acidity will help cut through the richness of some foods and withstand the tartness of others, making it a great choice to experiment with.
You either compare to match the flavors and acidity of the dish or you contrast them. Contrasting means pairing your wine with food so it adds what the dish is missing when it comes to aromas and flavors. Conversely, you can pour blackberry wine over vanilla ice cream or cheesecake to enhance and compound the sweetness.
Sugar and Spice
Savor foods are full-bodied, but they pair well with sweet sauces. Plenty of savory meats have sweet honey glazes and go great with sweet wines. Dry wines with sweet sauces can overpower the senses, but sweet-on-sweet is delicious. However, sweet also goes great with spicy. Remember the old saying, “sugar and spice makes everything nice?” That rings true with wine and food, too. Choosing a low-alcohol blackberry wine will cool your palate when enjoying an intensely spicy dish.
Sweet and Salty
Sweet and salty go together like peanut butter and jelly. It’s a guilty pleasure snack for many people. Pair your sweet blackberry wine with sea salt edamame for a healthy alternative, or jalapeno peppers in a sweet white sauce for something salty and spicy.
Do Your Own Thing
When making homemade wines, the longer they sit the better. Sweet wines, in general, can be some of the most delicious around. They can preserve beautifully and be integrated easily with other wines for delicious blends.
However, making your own can create an abundance and have you scrambling for ways to use it all. Cooking with it is a fun way to use all of that homemade wine you have sitting in the attic. If you want to get started easy, pork tenderloin in blackberry wine sauce is a good beginner dish. Pork tenderloin is tender and lean, pairing well with fruit of any kind. Make a sauce of blackberry wine, blackberry jam, and balsamic vinegar to add flavor to an otherwise bland cut of meat.
If you don’t feel confident enough to make your own blackberry wine, you can purchase a bottle to experiment with, and it’s a fun alternative to something more expensive like Syrah. A good rule of thumb is never to cook with a wine you aren’t willing to drink.
If you’re intimidated by the idea of making the main course with blackberry wine, then stick to appetizers, desserts, and light snacks. Blue cheese and nuts, cheesecake, and grilled eggplant or pineapple are perfect choices.
Blackberry wine varies in density and acidity just like wine made from any other type of fruit. Highly acidic wines pair well with salads and entrees while sweet wines work better with desserts and appetizers. Another great option for blackberry wines that are overpoweringly sweet is to add a bit of seltzer soda to make a refreshing spritzer.
Blackberry Wine Recommendations
Blackberry wine isn’t as prevalent as wine made with grapes, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great varieties out there you should try.
Smith-Berry Winery Blackberry Wine
Smith-Berry Winery tucked away in Kentucky, has been awarded the best fruit wine at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition in both 2014 and 2016. Beginning in 1981, this winery has been perfecting its farming and winemaking for more than 25 years. You can attend the winery’s tasting rooms or head out to the local Louisville stores and purchase Smith-Berry Blackberry Wine. With robust flavors bursting on your palate, and subtle tannins seeping in, it is no wonder this deep-hued succulent wine makes an excellent choice when sipping or paired with delicious cheeses.
Talon Winery Blackberry Wine
Talon Winery in Shelbyville, Tennessee holds the top spot for fruit wines. This beautiful five-acre vineyard and a tasting house that was built in the 1790s. Talon has spent years perfecting their wines and has won accolades at many competitions including International Eastern Wine Competition and the Wines of the South. Talons blackberry wine received the gold medal in 2014 during the Kentucky Derby wine competition. You can purchase a bottle from their online store or make the trip to savor it.
Purple Toad Winery Blackberry Wine
Purple Toad Winery in Paducah, Kentucky makes Lauren’s Blackberry wine, made with Kentucky blackberries. Purple Toad doesn’t hold the same sweetness that Talons blackberry wine has, because Kentucky berries have more bite to them. This winery was founded in 2009 but has been growing the world’s best blackberries for many years. This is the largest and most award-winning winery in Kentucky. Purple Toad can only be found in Kentucky and surrounding states, so you’ll have to make the trip to try it.
Fruits Used to Make Wine and Other Drinks
There are a lot of different fruits used to make wine. In fact, mead, cider, and perry are all made from fruit, even though they are all excluded from the wine category. It all boils down to how the beverage is produced, the type of yeast used, and whether it was fermented or pressed.
Fruits such as chokeberry, dandelions, and strawberries are a few non-grape variants that can be used to make wine, mead, cider, and perry. Even bananas are popular in Africa, the Philippines, and India. As we’ve already discussed, wine can be made from leaves and herbs as well.
Types of Blackberry Wine
Blackberry wine made with its own fermented juices is far superior to blends with which it may be combined. It’s sweeter and has less alcohol content than many others, which allows you to savor the flavors more without worrying about enjoying too much at once. However, here are some wines you may have already heard of that contain blackberries or blackberry wine variants.
Cabernet Sauvignon has a wide range of fruit infused flavors. Blackberries with a touch of black pepper and tobacco create big tannings and are a sure-fire win for any table. California is the best place to find Cabernet Sauvignon infused with blackberries.
Touriga Nacional is a dry wine that exhibits earthy and rustic flavors melded with blackberries. It is dark wine that is found in Portugal. You may rarely find it close to home, but you’ll most likely have to travel to taste this exotic variety.
Mostly found in Argentina, Bonarda exhibits a darker color than Malbec, which is often used to blend this blackberry infused wine. With its deep tannins and earthy flavor, this was a must add to our list of the best blackberry wine varieties.
Known as one of the lightest blackberry infused wines, Dolcetto is dark flavored but finished with a refreshing bitterness. The high acidity in grapes gives this wine a blackberry aroma with a very tart bite.
Giving Blackberry Wine a Try
Blackberry wine isn’t as common as wine made with grapes, but it’s worth a taste. It’s unique and features a wide variety of flavors and textures. It’s relatively easy to make, so that means you don’t need to rush to the local liquor store to get it, although that would be faster. All you need is patience and a lot of blackberries. Blackberry wine is something that every blackberry lover and wine lover should take a chance on.