Fig Wines, Sherries, and/or Meads

Apple, Parsnip, Banana and Fig Sweet Sherry

June 6, 2022
  • 4 lb. apples
  • 1-3/4 lb. parsnips
  • 1 lb. bananas
  • 1 lb. figs
  • 1-1/2 lb. granulated sugar
  • 1 pt. white grape concentrate
  • 1/4 oz. pectic enzyme
  • 1/4 tsp. tartaric acid
  • 1 gallon water
  • Sherry wine yeast and nutrient

Before beginning, scrub and chop parsnips, slice bananas (throw away skins), core and slice apples, and wash figs, removing stems. Dissolve sugar in 1-1/2 cups boiling water, allow to cool, and store in jar for future use. Boil the parsnips in 6 pt. for 10 minutes. Strain off pulp and boil bananas in same water for 30 minutes. Put apple slices and figs in primary fermentation vessel and strain liquid from bananas over apples and figs. Add tartaric acid, nutrient, and half the sugar syrup. Cover and allow to cool, adding pectic enzyme and activated yeast. Cover and allow to ferment five days, stirring daily. Strain liquor carefully through fine nylon sieve and add the grape concentrate. After further 10 days, add 1/2 cup sugar syrup and repeat every three days until all has been added. Add sufficient water to bring to one gallon. When fermentation is complete (additional 10-14 days), rack into large enough secondary fermentation vessel (1-1/2 to 2 gallon) to allow fair amount of air above wine. Plug opening with cotton. Normally, that is the only racking in sherry production, but if pulp particles appear in sediment, rack again after two weeks and plug again with cotton. Store secondary fermentation vessel in cool (55-60 degrees F.) place and leave undisturbed. Flor may form in 3-4 weeks or as late as 4 months. Flor should not form, but if it does, leave undisturbed until all flor has sunk to bottom. Carefully siphon off lees through double layer of fine muslin into bottles. If flor does not form, allow to sit six months, carefully siphon into clean gallon bottle, sweeten with sufficient white grape concentrate or sugar water (1/3 lb. sugar dissolved in one cup water) to top up to one gallon, and then bottle. Allow at least four years to mature. [Adapted from Bryan Acton and Peter Duncan’s Making Wines Like Those You Buy]

Fresh Fig Wine

April 5, 2001
  • 4 lbs figs
  • 7 pts water
  • 1-3/4 lbs granulated sugar
  • 3-1/2 tsp acid blend
  • 1 crushed Campden tablet
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • 1 pkg Montrachet wine yeast

Chop or feed figs through mincer. Place in large, finely woven nylon straining bag, tie top, and put in primary fermentation vessel. Stir in all other ingredients except yeast. Check S.G. (should be 1.085 to 1.100; if not, add up to 1/2 cup more sugar, stirring very well before re-checking S.G.). Cover with cloth. Add yeast after 24 hours and stir daily, pressing pulp lightly to aid extraction of juices. When liquor reaches 1.040 (3 to 5 days), hang bag over bowl to drain, lightly pressing to aid extraction (do NOT force or you will cloud the liquor). While pulp drains, siphon liquor off sediments into secondary. Add drained liquid and discard pulp. Fit airlock to secondary. Ferment to dryness (S.G. 1.000 or lower — in about 3 weeks). Rack into clean secondary, top up to 1 gallon and reattach airlock. Rack again in 2 months. Rack again and bottle when clear. This is a good dry wine. If you want it sweeter, add 1/2 tsp stabilizer per gallon after last racking (but before bottling), then add 1/4 lb dissolved sugar per gallon. Bottle. This wine can be drank young (after 3 months in bottle), but will improve immensely with age.