This Week’s Recipe: Pumpkin Wine

Please Note: This pumpkin wine recipe is not for beginning winemakers!

Forget decorating, use those pumpkins to make some pumpkin wine!It’s pumpkin season so grab a few extras and make pumpkin wine. Seem early? Nope. This recipe should sit for at least a year so making a batch now means you’ll be able to serve it at next year’s Halloween party!

How To Make Pumpkin Wine

Pumpkin wine is labor intensive but totally worth it. This recipe yields one gallon of dry pumpkin wine and takes two days to start. Pumpkins can be intimidating so I’ve included pumpkin-related (and other) tips at the end to make you feel like a pro before you even start.

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs grated pumpkin flesh
  • 2 lbs sugar
  • 1 tspn. pectic enzyme
  • 1/2 oz. citric acid (or 2 oz. cream of tartar)
  • 1 1/2 tspn. yeast nutrient
  • 1/4 tspn. yeast energizer
  • 1 finely crushed Campden tablets dissolved in about 2 tblspns water (you’ll need another about a month in if you’re bottling)
  • 13 cups of water
  • Lalvin K1V-1116 or Lalvin EC-1118 wine yeast

Procedure

  1. Put the grated pumpkin in your primary.
  2. Boil the water.
  3. Add the sugar. Stir constantly until completely dissolved.
  4. Immediately pour the water into your primary.
  5. Allow mixture to cool to room temp (no need for an ice bath or wort chiller) and then add crushed, dissolved Campden tablet.
  6. Cover the top of your primary with stretched out panty hose and a rubber band or other very thin cloth. It needs to breathe, but you want to keep things like dust and flies out. Leave for 8-10 hours
  7. Add pectic enzyme and allow to sit 8 hours.
  8. Add citric acid (or cream of tartar), yeast nutrient, yeast energizer and pitch your yeast.
  9. Cover primary and allow to sit for 5 days. Give it a good shake every day.
  10. On the sixth day, strain the mixture and get as much liquid from the grated pumpkin as possible by placing in a nylon bag or cheesecloth and squeezing, squeezing, squeezing. You can also allow to drip but I, for one, am far too impatient.
  11. Transfer liquid to your secondary vessel and pop on the airlock.
  12. Rack at 14 and 30 days adding liquid as necessary.
  13. Rack every 3 months.
  14. If bottling, add another crushed/dissolved Campden tablet at 3 weeks and rack into bottles. Otherwise, rack every 3 months and enjoy after 1 year.

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Tips To Make Pumpkins Less Of A Pain In The Neck

Pumpkins are a pain to cook with, so here’s everything you didn’t know you wanted to know about them.

Selecting And Transporting And Storing Pumpkins

  • Small baking pumpkins are the easiest to use because they are manageable and small. They usually weigh between 4-8 pounds. Do not just buy one 5 lb pumpkin or you’ll be short.
  • You should not pick up pumpkins by the stem. Pick them up from the bottom or the sides. If the stem breaks the pumpkin will start to go bad.

Grating Pumpkin

Full disclosure: this process is a pain in the ass. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! I find the following process to be the easiest but yeah, it’s still a nightmare.

  1. Cut around the stem and remove.
  2. Scrape out the guts
  3. Cut the pumpkin into handful sized chunks.
  4. Hold a chunk and grate. I recommend drinking while doing this. Just don’t grate your fingers.
  5. Feel free to Tweet, email, Instagram, Facebook or comment below at me with your woe and misery. I even have an image (NSFW!) you should feel free to send me.

Shortcuts At Your Own Risk

Grating maximizes the surface area of pumpkin coming into contact with the sugar water and really does give you the best end product. Some people use a food processor to get smallish pieces. Others use puree. I don’t recommend either of these but if you do it and love your wine, please let me know!

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

While my book focuses on quick brew alcoholic beverages there are some slow brews, like this one, that are totally worth it.

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