Homemade Watermelon Wine!
Originally published August 3, 2011, Updated on 11/4/20
What can I say, the tornado screwed with our summer brewing schedule when it turned our lives upside down!”
Blogs sure can be a weird look back on one’s own past!
Anyway, since posting this recipe, this post has gone on to be one of the most popular on our blog! Being so old, though, there’s definitely room for updating it and adding more info.
So, here we go!
This wine is easy to make, requiring 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!
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:
Just a small handful of entries, and you'll be good to go!
Watermelon Wine Ingredients
This 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.
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!
Back Sweetening Your Watermelon Wine
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.
Sometimes, you’ll find that the yeast went a bit too far with their smorgasbord, and you end up with a wine that’s not as sweet as you’d like it.
... and that’s when you back sweeten it! You can read my How to Stabilize and Back Sweeten Wine post for information on how to back sweeten it.
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.
Additionally - unlike most of our wine recipes - there really isn’t a frozen version of fresh watermelon!
With those bits of info in mind, be more wine 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... especially after a tornado, LOL. We had a TON of people to thank!
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 Home Brewing Recipes!
While you've got your current homebrew 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, cider, and mead recipes:
Banana Wine Recipe
Blackberry Wine Recipe
Blackcurrant Wine Recipe
Blueberry Wine Recipe
Cherry Wine Recipe
Cranberry Clementine Christmas Wine Recipe
Cranberry Wine Recipe
Faux Lingonberry Wine
Lychee Wine Recipe
Mango Strawberry Wine Recipe
Mango Wine Recipe
Mint Wine Recipe
Lychee Wine Recipe
Partridgeberry Wine Recipe
Passionfruit Wine Recipe
Peach Wine Recipe
Stone Fruit Wine Recipe
Strawberry Wine Recipe
Ube Wine Recipe
Cider & Miscellaneous Homebrew Recipes
Share the Love!
As you’re brewing - or serving! - your homemade wine, be sure to take some pics of your handiwork! If you instagram it, be sure to tag me - @CelebrationGenerationCA - or post it to My Facebook Page - so I can cheer you on!
Also, be sure to subscribe to my free monthly email newsletter, so you never miss out on any of my nonsense.
Well, the published nonsense, anyway!
Anyway, on to my Homemade Watermelon Wine Recipe!
How to Make Watermelon Wine
- Slice up watermelon, discarding rind. Chop watermelon flesh into 1″ cubes, placing into a large pot. Once all watermelon flesh and juice is collected in the pot, heat over medium, stirring and mashing frequently, until watermelon flesh has broken down into liquid. Remove from heat.
- Measure about 3.5 L / 14-15 cups / 120 oz of juice, reserve any remaining – you can drink it straight, or make cocktails from it! In large pot, combine measured watermelon juice (straining the seeds out as you measure!) with the sugar. Heat to almost boiling, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, cover with sanitized pot lid.
- Once mixture has cooled to room temperature, add acid blend and yeast nutrient.
- Using a sanitized funnel, transfer cooled mixture to a sanitized 2 gallon fermenting bucket.
- Using sanitized equipment, take a gravity reading. It should be in around the 1.16 area. Keep track of the number! (This is an optional step, but will allow you to calculate your final ABV %)
- Sprinkle yeast into bucket, cover with sanitized air lock. Let sit, undisturbed, overnight.
- Within 24 hours, you should notice fermentation activity – bubbles in the airlock, carbonation and /or swirling in the wine must. This means you’re good to go! Put the bucket somewhere cool (not cold!), and leave it alone for a month.
- Using sanitized equipment, rack the clarified wine off the sediment, into a clean, freshly sanitized 1 gallon carboy. Cap with sanitized airlock, leave it alone for another 2-3 months. r
- Repeat racking process. Leave wine alone for a month or two. By 6 months in, your wine should be very clear, and VERY tasty!
- When your wine has been racked a few times and shows NO more fermenting activity for a month or so (no bubbles in the airlock, no more sediment being produced, you can move on to bottling:
- Using sanitized equipment, take a gravity reading*, then rack the wine into clean, sanitized bottles. Cork.
- Enjoy.. and start planning for next year’s batch(es)!