Potato Wine Recipe
A few years ago, I was walking past a used book store in town, and in the window was a copy of Step By Step Guide to Making Home Made Wine
by Judith Irwin. The cost of the 156 page hardcover book was only $14.99, and the book appeared to be brand new. Today, I see that the book is out of print and some book sellers are pricing this book at over $100.00US!
Personally, I don’t think it is worth over $100.00, but there are some used copies available on Amazon for much less. The book doesn’t have a great deal of information about winemaking however it does cover some basic steps including the subject of equipment needed for home winemaking. It is geared towards those who want to start making their own wine from a variety of fruit and vegetables in smaller one gallon batches.
The recipes and photos in the book are certainly worth more than the $14.99 I paid for it! The photography is brilliant, and the recipes and instructions are detailed. The author, Judy Irwin tried to divide the recipes up into “seasonal” sections – seasonal as far as what vegetable or fruit ingredients are available in the winter, autumn, spring and summer. However, as Jack Keller points out in his criticism of C.J.J. Berry’s book, “First Steps in Winemaking
“, there is no need today to organize recipes seasonally or by month. For example, Judith Irwin’s book has an “Autumn” recipe for “Rice and Raisin” wine. Both rice and raisins are available in my local grocery shop year round.
But that criticism aside, it does have some very interesting wine recipes that I am going to try out. Today, I’m planning on starting a potato wine. I’ve modified the ingredients to make three gallons of the wine, as Irwin writes, “The maturation period is important, as this wine improves greatly with keeping. It is interesting to compare an old bottle from an old batch with one from a recent fermentation.” In the paragraph above, she writes, “This wine needs at least eighteen months to two years to mature..”
If it takes that long to mature and is as good as she claims, I want more than five 750 ml bottles – the approximate yield of a gallon of wine.
Perhaps having 18 lbs. of leftover potato isn’t something you can deal with and you only want to make a gallon, simply divide the ingredients by three. Being a Northern Irishman, I won’t have any problems finding ways to use the potatoes after I’ve made the wine. I’m thinking an “Ulster Fry” for the next few days. And copious amounts of red wine to help reduce the cholesterol! On to the recipe:
Potato Wine Adapted from “A Step By Step Guide To Making Homemade Wine
18 lb old potatoes
9 lb. sugar (Irwin suggests demerara sugar for a golden wine with more flavour)
3 tsp. citric acid*
1 tsp. pectic enzyme*
3 tsp. Amalyse*
1 1/2 tsp. grape tannin
Wash and scrub the unpealed potatoes and thin slicely in a large pot.
Cover the potatoes with water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
Strain off any foam.
Allow the liquid to cool and strain into sanitized primary fermenter.
Make a syrup with the sugar – heat water in a pot and add the sugar so it disolves.
Add the syrup to the primary fermenter.
Top up with water to the three gallon mark on your primary fermenter
Allow the mixture to cool before adding yeast.
When the wine’s specific gravity is below 1.020 (about 7 days), rack into a three gallon carboy and attach airlock and bung.
Between days 14 and 21, rack the wine and add 1/4 teaspoon of potassium metabisulphite.
Irwin suggests that this wine be racked in another 6 months.
For my efforts to make 3 gallons, I ended up using three pots to boil and simmer the potatoes, all at once. The potatoes were completely covered with water, and when the boil began, a good amount of foam was skimmed off the top. I estimate there was just over 1.5 gallons of “potato water” that went into the fermenter. The 9 lbs of demerara sugar disolved into just under a gallon of water, heated up. I then added about a half gallon of water to bring the level up to the 3 gallon mark in my primary fermenting pail.
Using this method, the beginning Specific Gravity was 1.128. Maybe we won’t have to sweeten the wine later.
* Citric acid is an organic acid. It is available at my local winemaking supplies store so it may be available where you purchase your supplies.
Pectic enzyme is used to break down pectins which are present in many fruit and vegetables, and if not dealt with, can cause a haze in your wine.
Amalyse or amylozyme is an enzyme used to break down starches. Like pectin, if starch is not dealt with, it can cause a haze in your wine. If you want to be adventurous, you could spit into the juice (seriously, don’t though). Saliva contains amalyse for the same purpose – to break down starches in foods you eat.