Homemade Watermelon Wine!
Apparently today is "National Watermelon Day". I had today's recipe all ready to publish, but I have the *perfect* recipe for watermelon day, so... Change of plans!
It's been a while since I've posted a homemade wine recipe. Homemade watermelon wine is not only tasty, it's easy to make and a unique choice for summer imbibing. Also, we're a little overdue on putting on this summer's batch.
What can I say, the tornado screwed with our summer brewing schedule when it turned our lives upside down!
Homemade Watermelon Wine is easy to make, requires very little in the way of ingredients... but does require some time.
Once you wait it out, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful, fruity wine that tastes like *summer*. It can vary in colour from a pale straw colour, to a pretty, pale pink... it just depends on the variety of watermelon.
It’s kind of fun in that you never really know what you’re going to end up with, for colour - some start out red and lose all colour - going almost yellow - and some start out pink and stay basically the same colour til the end!
Watermelon wine is a wine that is best made sweet. Dry watermelon wine... doesn’t really taste like much of anything. Like most fruit wines - especially the lighter coloured ones - you’ll definitely want to make this one at LEAST semi sweet.
The ABV on this wine comes out to around 19%, and - as is - it turns our a sweet wine, perfect for dessert.
It's lovely when served chilled on a hot summer day... just be careful, it will knock you on your butt if you're not careful. The sweetness hides its potency!
Wine Making Basics
If you haven't attempted making wine before, don't be intimidated! Check out our primer to home brewing, it starts here, with parts 2 and 3 here and here. Just a small handful of entries, and you'll be good to go!
Watermelon Wine Ingredients
This homemade watermelon wine recipe uses few ingredients, but it's important to make them the right ones. Most importantly:
First things first: You want to use fresh, ripe, juicy watermelon.
We used to recommend using only watermelons WITH seeds, but seedless watermelons have been as good - and sometimes better - in flavour than seeded watermelons lately, so we’re relaxing that stance.
I’d recommend tasting your watermelon as you cut it. If it is “meh” on flavour now, it’ll likely be kind of “meh” on flavour once fermented.
It’s always easiest to start out with flavour, rather than try to add it after the fact. Find watermelons that have a great, robust flavour, and you’ll be glad you did!
While we tend to play fast and loose with the sugar choices at times, watermelon wine has a much more narrow range of sugars that work with it:
Plain white granulated sugar is your best bet for Homemade Watermelon Wine, and it’s what we use every time, now.
It provides the most neutral flavour of all the sweeteners, which is important when the fruit being used - like watermelon - is a more subtle and easily overpowered flavour.
While we recommend exclusively using white sugar for the best results, you CAN substitute honey for all or part of the sugar.
Note: If you substitute honey for all of the sugar, you’re making a mead. More specifically, a “Melomel” - a mead made with fruit. File that one away for future trivia contests!
If you do decide to use honey with this one, use one that is lightly coloured and flavoured. Any of the darker honey varieties - such as buckwheat - or heavily flavoured ones (like wildflower) will overpower the watermelon flavour.
You may end up with something tasty, but it won’t be watermelon flavoured!
We like to use Red Star’s “Champagne” Yeast for this one. It has a high tolerance for alcohol, which allows for a high final ABV.
You can use whatever wine making yeast you like, just know how it’ll impact your final product.
The main way that your yeast choice will impact the final product is in ABV. The higher a yeast strain’s tolerance for alcohol is, the longer they’ll live as they’re fermenting your watermelon juice - and the higher the ABV you’ll end up with.
The more sugar the yeast processes into alcohol, the dryer the wine gets, as well.
If you choose a yeast that has a lower tolerance for alcohol, it will die off before the ABV gets very high - or the wine gets very dry.
Yeast brands and strains can vary wildly depending on your store and where you live, so I definitely recommend talking to your local homebrew supply store. Let them know what you’re aiming for in terms of sweetness and/or ABV, and ask which of their yeasts they’d recommend.
Just don’t use bread or all purpose yeast for brewing, though. Stick to wine yeast!
Watermelon Wine Specifics
While the earlier mentioned “Wine Making Basics” posts have a ton of great information, there are a few things specific to Homemade Watermelon Wine that aren’t addressed:
Preparing your Watermelon
Chopping the watermelon is messy business. I recommend putting a cutting board in a baking sheet (the kind with rim/short walls), and cutting it up in there. Periodically dump the accumulated juice into the pot.
This is very much a seasonal wine, and it will NOT turn out anywhere near as good if you make it with winter produce. Ake more than you think you’ll need, because you’re not going to want to start another batch in 6 months or whatever!
We made the mistake of only putting on 1 gallon the first time, and 5 next time. This year, we'll likely make 10 gallons - plan accordingly! Watermelon wine makes a great gift.
Also, as we're finding out... it makes a great tip for contractors that take care of you!
One question that we’re asked often is “But how much water do we add?”
It’s no mistake that we don’t call for water in the recipe - we don’t USE water for this. Unlike most fruit, watermelon breaks down almost completely when heated.
You start out with chunks of watermelon - and the juice that comes out as you cut it - but it quickly breaks down to a liquid.
Because the watermelon flavour is relatively subtle compared to most fruits, we don’t add any water at all, and just ferment straight watermelon flesh / juice.
More Wine Recipes
While you've got your Homemade Watermelon Wine fermenting away, why not consider putting a batch of something else on, to occupy your wait time?
Here are a few of my other wine recipes:
Homemade Banana Wine Recipe
Homemade Blackberry Recipe
Homemade Blueberry Recipe
Homemade Cherry Recipe
Homemade Clementine Mead Recipe
Homemade Cranberry Clementine Christmas Wine Recipe
Homemade Faux Lingonberry Wine Recipe
Homemade Hard Apple Cider Recipe
Homemade Mango Wine Recipe
Homemade Mint Wine Recipe
Homemade Newfoundland Partridgeberry Wine Recipe
Homemade Strawberry Wine Recipe
Anyway, on to my Homemade Watermelon Wine Recipe!
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