Dragon fruit wine is a light, fruity, refreshing wine that can also be used as a great sweet dessert wine. You might want to give it a try.
To make red dragon fruit wine, you only need a few simple ingredients.
- 1.5 kg red dragon fruit
- 1L water
- 300 gram sugar
- 10 gram salt
A Few Notes On the Equipment & Ingredients
Prepare a dark-color wine bottle to hold our mix during the fermenting process. If you have a clear color bottle, you can use aluminum foil to wrap around it to provide shade.
Here you see we don't use any additional yeast or yeast activator. But we'll be harnessing the microbes that are already existing on the dragon fruits and the air around.
You can choose ripe or slightly over-ripe dragon fruits for best results. When cutting open the fruits, the aroma just fills the air. It's really awesome.
As an extra touch, you could use brown sugar or mineral salt. As they have not been highly processed, they still contain some minerals which are good food sources for the microbes.
A clean, chlorine-free soft water source will also help make a great-tasting wine at the end.
Let's see first how we can prep the dragon fruits:
Cut, Blend Or Juice the Dragon Fruits
One way of prepping the dragon fruit is to cut it into pieces. If we cut the dragon fruit into pieces and throw them into our mix, wine can still be made. However, one possible downside to cutting into pieces is the goodness in the center of the piece may not get all extracted out (for bigger pieces with little surface area).
The other way we can do is to blend the fruit. If we blend the fruits using a blender, wine again can still be made. However, a lot of pulp will remain in our end product. It may not be big problem though as you can totally filter it out later.
Or we can juice the dragon fruits. If you use a juicer machine, although it requires some electricity, it helps separates out the juice and pulp.
With the pulp collected, you could mix it into yogurt or with a banana (for extra sweetness as the pulp itself with the juice pressed out tastes quite bland). So nothing goes to waste.
With about 1.5 kg of dragon fruits, you'll get about 800 ml of juice.
For me, I don't have a juicer machine so I do it manually:
Quite some work, you see, but you'll get some nice bicep workout. And with that, we've just finished step 1 of our process, that is making the juice!
When you have the juice ready, we can move on to step 2 which is:
Step 2: Boil Water, Salt & Sugar
Pour 1L water into a cooking pot and put it to a boil. Then mix in the salt and sugar that we've prepared. After it is well dissolved and as the mixture is still on boil, you can pour the dragon fruit juice in.
Here in this step, we're just going to pasteurize the mixture real quick. So as you pour the dragon fruit juice in, stir it well (with a wooden spoon) one or two rounds, and then lift the pot off the stove immediately.
In mixture now, if you see some bubbles around the edges you can scope them them out. Off stove, stir the mixture a few more times so everything is well incorporated.
Then the final step is to:
Step 3: Bottle & Cap
It's time to bottle and cap it! When you bottle it, don't pour in too full. Leave some headspace so the microbes can breathe or bubble out in their first few days.
When you touch the bottle now, it will feel very hot. When you place your cheek near it (not recommended at this point), it may feel like burn a little bit.
We will not cap the bottle when it is still hot. Wait for it to cool down a bit. Then when you place a side of your cheek near it and you feel it's just warm, then it is good for capping.
You can use the cap that comes with the bottle. Under the cap, there is a little rubber film to keep the air in. So it is very airtight and won't create any problems when we shake our solution.
With corks, during the first period it is not recommended to use this type of cap. Because during the first period, we'll need to shake our bottle. And when shaking like this, the liquid may come into contact with the cork, making it wet and thus creating a risk of mold developing in it and our final product.
Although the type of wood they usually use for cork is oak, which has some natural mold-resistant properties, it is not recommended for our fermentation process. If you use cork cap, you can wrap some cling wrap around it just to be sure.
If the bottle has no cap at all, you can use cling wrap to wrap tightly around the mouth. It will be fine.
And with that, we're basically done with the prepping steps.
What Will Happen Next: The Fermenting Stages
Our fermentation process will go through a few stages.
1. Adaptation (24 Hours)
In this first stage, the microbes will need some time to adapt to the new environment we've just made for them.
So for the first 24 hours after bottling, just leave the bottle sit still as is and we don't do anything with it.
After 24 hours, we move on to the next stage:
2. Multiplication (7-10 Days)
After adaptation, the yeast will come to the maximal growth period. This is when they'll grow a lot in number and need oxygen for multiplication.
So during this 7-10 day time frame, you can shake the bottle lightly once a day (for about 30 sec) to give them the oxygen they need.
Before shaking, open the cap and let the bottle sit in a still environment (no strong winds around) so the air movement can slow down a bit. Then close the cap and shake.
After the shaking/stirring, we come to:
3. Stabilization (3-5 Weeks)
The next stage we come to is stabilization. At this stage, we don't need to shake the bottle any more. Just let the bottle sit still with cap close. Alcohol fermentation needs no oxygen at this point.
Here, the microbes will gradually consume the sugar & salt that we have provided for them. There will be a crowded number of microbes at this point and you may see little bubbles floating up through the glass bottle while they're eating.
This eating period can last for about 3-5 weeks. When the microbes have consumed all of the sugar & salt inside, they will gradually die off.
Alcohol (ethanol) is now starting to be created more. As more ethanol is being created, together with the alcohol tolerance of each yeast, if alcohol level inside the mix passes the yeast tolerance, they may also die off. You may see a layer of yeast settles at the bottom of the bottle. The aroma is also slowly developed. What will be left for us is amazing wine and some bio-activators juiced out by the yeast.
When you take the bottle out and have a look after 3-5 weeks, you'll see the liquid inside is very clear. There is little to no bubbling going on. And a small layer of sediments at the bottom. The layer of sediment is some left-over pulp of the dragon fruit we put in & the dead yeast bodies.
This is a sign our main fermentation stages have come to an end. You could take the wine out and taste it at this point. But it won't taste as good as it could yet, we'll need a little final step to kick things up a notch:
Extracting the Wine & Aging It
Extract the clear liquid to another dark color bottle and cap it. We can now begin counting the age of the wine. The more aged it is, the better the taste. The end product alcohol level could hover around 10-15% ABV.
You could bury the bottle under ground where it's a bit moist and cool (around the 20C / 68F). On some occasions, take some out and treat your friends our special loved ones. It will taste absolutely incredible. Sweet, fruity, light and very refreshing.
3 Tips to Avoid Unwanted Contamination
- Pasteurize or steam sterilize your tools before making
- Don't make too much at once (longer for the yeast to eat / longer to get done). Divide into smaller batches to reduce the open time span, thus lessens risk of contamination
- Make sure the space where you make the wine is dry and clean. Remove any potential contam agents.
It was fun learning how to make wine with you folks. Hope you'll have a great end product & Enjoy!
If you'd like a look:
And Here Is The Result
This is the wine I've made from this batch. It's a young one aged at only 2 months (from May 21 - Jul 17).
From observation, the color of the wine now has turned more reddish (quite beautiful). It's less of that purple/magenta color from the beginning. The liquid has also turned more clear.
The smell is light, I can definitely smell the dragon fruit there. Regarding the taste, if I recall correctly, I feel like there's some light alcohol in it and the liquid is slightly sour.
Unfortunately though, one of my bottles got contaminated. During the shaking period, I got lazy one day and the air pressure or something inside the bottle popped through the cling wrap, creating an open hole inviting molds to come in. They happily accepted. It was not much just one or two green/white mold, but for safety I threw that one out early. If you let the mold age along with the wine, there might be some weird smell fuming out as you uncork the bottle.
For the next batch, I think I'll try:
- Sterilize the bottle a bit more
- Let the wine sit in a less warm place
- Possibly try adding some wine yeast (although folks have had good success without it) and...
- Shake/stir the bottle less vigorously (not sure about this but I guess too much stirring could activate other bac like the lactic ones)
Anyway, it's okay. Things like this happen. For the first batch, I am happy with this. We're learning as we go along.
Hope you have fun making this!
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