Justin Tadlock

Blackberry wine: Getting started

Over the past few years, I’ve been studying and attempting to implement various permaculture designs into the home and garden. One of the ideas behind permaculture is to stop fighting nature so much and work with it.

Bill Mollison once said, “You don’t have a slug problem; you have a duck deficiency.”

I’ve always loved this quote. Modern agricultural methods would look toward some type of spray to kill off slugs. Permaculture attempts to find a more natural solution to the problem.

My problem is not slugs. It’s blackberries. What, 1,000s upon 1,000s of blackberries are a problem? Yes. They are a highly invasive native plant that will take over everything if not kept in check.

One solution to the blackberry issue would likely be hogs, but I’m not prepared to start raising meat animals just yet. So, I’m attempting to keep the blackberries at bay by training them up trellises and letting egg-laying chickens clear off other places when it’s not being planted.

This year, I’m reaping some of the rewards of training those berries up trellises. Instead of having a complete tangled mess that I wouldn’t dare step through (snakes will hide in them), I’ve only got a semi-tangled mess.

Starting the wine

I ended up harvesting about a gallon of berries in the end, which I’ll use to make about a gallon of wine (5 bottles). Here’s a few pics of the process:

I’m not actually using most of the wine-making kit at this point. I was just organizing it today and decided to throw in the picture.

At the end of next week, I’ll strain what’s left of the berries from the must into a carboy, where the wine will continue fermenting for a few months.