Fruit can be expensive. Exotic fruits even more so – gooseberries, dates, and elderberries can all set you back a pretty penny. Enter jam wine. It’s exactly as it sounds – wine made from jam. Use about four pounds of jam per gallon of water. Your gravity reading may be a little bit off from all the pectin in the jam, so don’t worry about getting too scientific with this one. The fruit wine wizard Jack Keller recommends some tannin and acid for adjustments. Jam wine is a great way to wade into the waters of fruits that may be non-native to your region. Give it a try, but be patient on clarifying!
Things to note
1. Preservation hesitation
Most importantly, some commercial jams and preserves do contain preservatives. Read your manufacturer’s label carefully to avoid things like sodium benzoate that can negatively impact your yeast. Well-made jams should rely only pasteurization and sugar as their only preservatives.
2. Frustrating fluff
Jams and preserves are filled to the brim with pectin. Pectic enzyme, a naturally-derived wine additive that breaks down pectin, will be a godsend. Use it by package instructions, and if you still have trouble with some pectin haze, add a little bit more. Jam wine can sometimes take a while to clear up (though the apricot wine in our video cleared up in just a few weeks!).
3. No added sugar
Ideally, your jam wine will not require any added sugar. That’s because it’s already ridiculously sweet! Generally, you will be able to add about 3-4 pounds of jam per gallon of must and hit the perfect OG of 1.09 or so. Note that this is adding your melty jam and topping up with water to each gallon. So, for a five gallon batch, you would liquify your 20 pounds of jam in a little bit of water, pour it in the carboy, then top off with water to 4.5 gallons. Take a hydrometer reading at room temperature to confirm you hit just above the OG you are looking for, then continue filling to five gallons. If you are at or below your target gravity, you will need to add some granulated sugar to bring it up to the mark, then add the remaining water. Your hydrometer is your friend!