Join me in an adventure to turn rose-scented rosehips into fragrant wine. It is a delicious way to use and preserve rose hips for year-round enjoyment.
Rosehips are one of my favorite culinary ingredients to work with and forage in autumn. While rosehip jam and syrup are the most common ways of preserving them, I also reach for a powder, tea, sauce, or soup.
Since I was already making rosehips everything, I decided to experiment with making wine as well. Rosehip wine is one of the best fruit wines one can make home.
They are easy to spot among chestnuts, acorns, and nuts because of their bright red color. Moreover, their medicinal benefits are perfect for the autumn cold and flu season.
Making homemade wine has become our new passion for the last couple of years. Currently, kiwi wine is bubbling in our basement. Rose hip wine seems the perfect addition to our fruit wine cellar.
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What is rosehip wine?
Rosehip wine is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from fresh or dried rosehips. They are somewhat tart and need to be sweeter naturally, so I sweeten the wine to get a deliciously flavored wine.
The uniqueness of this wine is its ability to preserve its nutritional value through the winemaking process to the final product. Rose hips are packed with vitamins C and A; their content is lost with cooking but kept with the winemaking process.
How does it taste?
Roses and apples are part of the family, so the wine tastes like apple wine. However, rose hip wine is more delicate. You won't get the strong rose scent, but it's crisp and refreshing.
What Are Rosehips?
Rosehips, also called rose haw and rose hep, are fruits of roses with a long history of uses. Despite over 300 rosacea species, all of them are edible. I grow Rosa Rugosa which provides nice big rose hips. Our ancestors used them during cold winters and World War II. Rosehip is a valuable source of vitamin C; they replaced citrus fruits that were unavailable during that time.
How to prepare fresh rosehips to make wine
The rose hips ripen on rose bushes in late summer, and their color changes to orange and deep shades of red when they are mature. When you go to collect them wear long sleeves, trousers, closed-toe shoes, and garden gloves.
Look through the hips and remove any that look bad or are still green, including stalks and wooden parts. Wash them thoroughly.
Select those with sweet and delicious outer flesh to make a good-tasting wine. You want just ripened fruit before they turn rotten. Unriped hips are sour with insufficient sugar, while overripened ones start to rot, which is also not good for wine. If the hips are hard to break, I suggest freezing them first. Freezing will break down the structure and make it easier to ferment with wine yeast.
The fruits of roses are full of irritating seeds. However, we don't need to remove them for winemaking. In addition, they contain tannins that give the wine body.
Using Dried Rosehips
you can still make the wine with dried rosehip that you can buy online. You will need less than half of the amount of fresh rosehip.
Fermentation process to make wine
The rose hip wine is made through a biochemical process where wild yeasts convert sugar into ethanol, carbon dioxide, and other metabolic byproducts. Most fruits, as well as rose hips, contain sugars and yeast. Yeast needs sugar to grow and reproduce; thus, sweet fruits, like pears or kiwis, contain a lot of yeast, providing an ideal environment for its growth. When making this Elderflower cider I used no additional sweetener because the apples were sweet enough. However, rose hips are not as sweet as apples, so I added sweetener to kick the process.
Equipment you need for wine making
- Five gallon glass Carboy (Demi-John) - A jar with a large neck to keep the wine during the process. This is usually sold with a rubber stopper and water lock, a valve that only allows CO2 to escape but prevents anything from entering and contaminating your winemaking.
- Wine bottles ~ the good wine bottles with cork will enable the rosehip to wine to be stored longer. However, you can use beer bottles too that will work for shorter storage. Make sure they are clean and sterilized.
- Brewing Sanitizer ~ A one-step brewing sanitizer that doesn't require rinsing, cleans and sanitizes all equipment before use, preventing contamination and resulting in a more predictable wine-making experience. You can use soapy water or a dishwasher too.
- blender, food processor, or potato masher to mash them
- brew bag or siphon
Ingredients to make Rosehip Wine recipe
pectic enzyme - The pectic enzyme breaks down the fruit pectin, which helps the wine to clear. Although it is not required,I highly recommend it. Without it, you may end up with a cloudy wine or you may have to wait at least six months for the pectin to settle out.
wine yeast - It is important to choose the right yeast wine as it contributes a lot of flavor to the finished brew. I used champagne yeast Red star Premium, which contributes to a neutral taste. If you want to add strong fruity flavor to your wine, use Lavin D47. You can also make a nice rosehip wine without yeast.
Make Rose hip Wine
First step: sanitizing and sterilizing.
To avoid contamination and keep the wine-making process safe, sanitize all equipment. You can use the brewing sanitizer or Campden tablets to kill any wild yeasts. I prefer to skip the chemicals and use soapy water instead. Rinse all tools and equipment with pre-boiled water and let it dry. If you choose to use Campden tablets, add one tablet per gallon .of wine and wait 24 to 36 hours before proceeding.
Second step - Mashing.
Use a food processor or blender to break them into small pieces. If you are using frozen fruits, just defrost them first.
Third step - make a sugar syrup.
Make a sugar syrup by gently heating 2 litres of water with the sugar until it's dissolved.
Give it a quick stir and allow to cool to room temperature.
Fourth step - place it into a carboy.
Add mashed hips into a sterilized fermenting bucket and pour sweet syrup over the top of the hips. Add pectic enzyme and lemon juice. Mix it well.
Fifth step - close it with a water lock.
Close the lid with a waterlock and let enzymes destroy the cells. Stir occasionally, there will be plenty of bubbles, and you will hear some fizzing after you stir it.
Sixth step - add the yeast into demijohn.
Refer to the yeast packet for guidance. This meant dissolving the pack's contents in a small amount of lukewarm water.
I then waited 10 minutes to give the yeast time to rehydrate. Once the yeast is rehydrated, add it to the bucket and give it a quick stir. Close the lid, seal it with a rubber stopper and airlock and let it all begin. Allow the mixture to ferment at room temperature for about 7 to 10 days.
Seventh step - filter the solids.
During this first week, it should be pretty active, and lots of pectic enzymes should settle on the bottom of the vessel. Once things slow down, filter out the solids into a clean carboy. You want to leave the sediment on the bottom of the pail, so be careful not to disturb or shake the vessel.
Eighth step - second fermentation
Use a brew bag or siphon to pour this mixture into your container. Be careful not to expose it to too much oxygen in the process. Top up with white wine or filtered water until the carboy is full to the narrow neck opening (leave about 2 inches of headspace under the airlock). There must be as little oxygen in the bottle as possible.
Add a clear airlock, set it aside in a cool, dark location, and let it ferment for at least 5 weeks. Store the bottle in a cool dark place like a basement, ideally with a temperature around 50F (15 C).
Ninth step - rack it in wine bottles.
In a few weeks, you will notice that the wine has cleared.
Once the process is complete, rack the wine into sterilized wine bottles. While apple or pear wine needs a couple of weeks to age before drinking, bottled wine must age 1-2 years to mature. Aging is essential for a good wine taste, so be patient. If you are worry about making things that taste too "floral", no need to worry, as this wine is not the case.
To create mead, simply use honey instead of sugar. Honey is less digestible for yeast so the mixture will need more time in secondary fermentation. Instead of 4 to 6 weeks, I would recommend 4 to 6 months.. Other than that, the process and recipe are the same.
Rosehip Wine Variations
To bring out the rosy flavor, you can add rose petals in the primary or a small amount of rose water into the secondary.
To bring out the apple flavor from rosehips, you can add apple juice instead of wine in the second fermentation.
Vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, or lemon peels work nicely for flavoring.