Crafting Your Own Homemade Cherry Wine: A Step-by-Step Guide

by Kaia

Homemade cherry wine is a delightful beverage that combines the sweetness of cherries with the depth of a well-made wine. If you’ve ever wondered how to make this exquisite drink in the comfort of your own home, you’re in luck. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of making homemade cherry wine, from selecting the right cherries to bottling the finished product.


Selecting the Perfect Cherries

The journey to crafting homemade cherry wine begins with selecting the perfect cherries. While you can use various types of cherries for winemaking, sour cherries, such as Montmorency or Morello, are often preferred for their tart flavor profile, which adds complexity to the wine. However, sweet cherries like Bing or Rainier can also be used for a different flavor profile.


When selecting cherries, opt for ones that are ripe but still firm, without any signs of mold or bruising. Additionally, ensure that the cherries are free from pesticides or other harmful chemicals, especially if you’re sourcing them from your own garden or a local orchard. The quality of your cherries will significantly impact the final taste of your homemade cherry wine.


Preparing the Cherries

Once you’ve acquired your cherries, it’s time to prepare them for winemaking. Start by washing the cherries thoroughly under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. After washing, remove the stems and pits from the cherries. While this process can be time-consuming, it’s essential for extracting the maximum flavor from the fruit.


Some winemakers prefer to crush the cherries to release their juices fully, while others opt to leave them whole for a more subtle flavor. Choose the method that best aligns with your desired outcome. Regardless of your approach, ensure that the cherries are adequately prepared before moving on to the next step in the winemaking process.

Extracting the Juice

With your cherries prepared, it’s time to extract the juice, which will serve as the base of your homemade cherry wine. There are several methods for extracting juice from cherries, depending on the equipment you have available.

One common method is to use a fruit press or a juicer specifically designed for extracting juice from fruits. Simply feed the prepared cherries into the press or juicer and collect the resulting juice in a clean container. Alternatively, you can use a potato masher or a similar tool to crush the cherries manually, then strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to separate the juice from the pulp.

Regardless of the method you choose, aim to extract as much juice as possible from the cherries to maximize the flavor and yield of your homemade cherry wine.

Balancing the Flavor

Once you have extracted the cherry juice, it’s time to assess its flavor profile and make any necessary adjustments to achieve the perfect balance. Depending on the variety of cherries you used and their ripeness, the juice may be too sweet or too tart.

To balance the flavor of the cherry juice, you can add sugar to increase sweetness or citric acid to enhance tartness. Start by adding small amounts of sugar or citric acid, then taste the juice and adjust accordingly until you achieve the desired balance. Keep in mind that the amount of sugar or citric acid needed will vary depending on your personal preference and the characteristics of the cherries you used.

Fermentation Process

With the cherry juice balanced to your liking, it’s time to begin the fermentation process, where the magic of winemaking truly begins. Transfer the cherry juice to a clean, sterilized fermentation vessel, such as a glass carboy or food-grade plastic bucket, leaving some headspace at the top to allow for foaming during fermentation.

Next, add a packet of wine yeast to the cherry juice to kickstart the fermentation process. Wine yeast is specifically selected for its ability to ferment fruit juices into alcohol and is essential for transforming the cherry juice into wine. Follow the instructions on the yeast packet for the proper method of rehydrating and adding the yeast to the juice.

Once the yeast is added, seal the fermentation vessel with an airlock to allow carbon dioxide to escape while preventing oxygen from entering. Place the vessel in a cool, dark area with a relatively stable temperature, ideally between 60-70°F (15-21°C), to ferment undisturbed for several weeks.

Monitoring the Fermentation

During the fermentation process, it’s essential to monitor the progress of your homemade cherry wine regularly. You may notice bubbles forming in the airlock, indicating that fermentation is underway. Additionally, the cherry juice will gradually transform into wine, with the color becoming deeper and the flavor developing complexity.

Use a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity of the wine periodically. As fermentation progresses, the specific gravity will decrease, indicating the conversion of sugars into alcohol. Once the specific gravity stabilizes at or near 1.000, fermentation is likely complete, and it’s time to proceed to the next step.

Clarifying the Wine

After fermentation is complete, the homemade cherry wine will likely be cloudy due to suspended yeast and other particles. To clarify the wine and improve its appearance, you’ll need to rack it into a clean container, leaving behind any sediment at the bottom of the fermentation vessel.

Racking involves carefully siphoning the wine from one container to another, being careful not to disturb the sediment. You may need to rack the wine multiple times to achieve the desired level of clarity. Additionally, you can use fining agents such as bentonite or gelatin to help further clarify the wine.

Aging and Bottling

Once the homemade cherry wine is clarified, it’s time to age it to allow the flavors to mellow and mature. Transfer the clarified wine to clean, sterilized bottles, leaving some headspace at the top to allow for expansion. Cork the bottles securely to create a tight seal that will prevent oxygen from entering.

Store the bottled wine in a cool, dark place, such as a wine cellar or basement, where it can age gracefully over time. Depending on your preferences and the characteristics of the wine, you may choose to age it for several months to several years before enjoying the fruits of your labor.


In conclusion, making homemade cherry wine is a rewarding and enjoyable process that allows you to savor the flavors of fresh cherries in a delightful beverage. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can create your own batch of cherry wine that is sure to impress family and friends alike. So why wait? Start fermenting today and raise a glass to the joys of homemade winemaking. Cheers!



© 2023 Copyright