I had a large quantity of feijoas that I didn’t want to waste and decided to try making feijoa wine using a simple recipe.
A friend dropped a big bag of feijoas on my doorstep hoping I could do something with them so that they didn’t go to waste. I had just been making some wine from surplus eating grapes from my garden, so thought that I’d try making some feijoa wine. The recipe I had from makewine.co.nz is suitable for all fruit wines and I blended this with another recipe I found.
Juice Extraction (3 days)
Start with about 2kg feijoas. Freeze the feijoas, thaw them and then scoop out the flesh. This process helps to break down the cell walls and allows the fruit to release more flavour during the fermentation process.
Place the feijoa flesh into a large sterilised food grade plastic bucket. Use a potato masher to mash the fruit – helping to further break down the fruit and free the juice.
Pour over a jug of boiling water, cover and leave to cool to room temperature.
Add 1 tsp of 10% potassium metabisulphite (helps to kill bacteria and kill any wild yeasts) and 5g of pectolase (breaks down cell walls).
Put the lid on and leave for three days, stirring morning and evening.
Primary Fermentation (3 days)
Add 6g of GO-FERM Protect and 5g wine-making yeast to 50mls of filtered or cooled boiled water and leave to rehydrate for 20 minutes.
Dissolve 800g white sugar, 5g citric acid and 1/4 tsp tannin in 1.5 litres of boiling water and add to the fruit mixture (known as ‘must’). Cool to room temperature.
Add the rehydrated yeast mixture (don’t worry if it is still a little lumpy). Stir the must and put the lid on.
Stir again in about 12 hours. By this time the must should be showing signs of fermentation: bubbling and the pulp will be pushed to the top of the liquid as a ‘fruit cap’.
Stir twice daily for three days using a sterilised spoon and keeping the lid on between times.
Secondary Fermentation (1-4 weeks)
Sterilise all equipment using Potassium Metabisulphite.
Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or straining bag into a clean bucket. Don’t squeeze the bag – just leave it to hang for an hour or more and stir the pulp around gently to drain the juice. Squeezing the bag may result in cloudy wine.
Aerate the strained must (the juice) by pouring from container to container or shaking the container.
Put the must into a 5 litre carboy. Top up with cooled boiled water if needed, leaving a gap of about 10cm between the wine and the bung to give some ‘headroom’ if the fermentation causes much foam. Once the fermentation has calmed down, top the must up so that there is no more than a 3cm gap between the must and the bung.
Put a small amount of potassium metabisulphite solution in the airlock. Put the airlock in the carboy, ensuring the levels of solution are uneven (this indicates air tightness).
Within 24 hours you should start to see bubbles coming through the airlock. If you don’t see bubbles then the ferment is finished or stuck (see more detail on makewine.co.nz).
Within 1-4 weeks the bubbles will stop.
Racking, Bottling and Maturing
Once the bubbling has stopped, your wine should be clear or clearing. If it isn’t, you can try using finings (see makewine.co.nz).
‘Rack’ the wine by siphoning it into another carboy (don’t forget to sterilise everything), leaving the lees or sediment behind. Add 1 tsp of 10% potassium metabisulphite solution before racking to help protect the wine from oxidisation.
Top it up with cooled boiled water after racking so that your wine is no more than 2cm below the bung.
Leave the wine in a cool dark place for it to continue clearing (I left mine for a month while I was away travelling).
Once the wine is clear, siphon it off the lees into sterilised bottles. This should give you 6 x 750ml bottles of wine. The level in each bottle should be about 2.5cm from the lid (top up with a little cooled boiled water if necessary).
It is up to you how long you leave it after that.
Makewine.co.nz says “all the books say leave it for months, here at makewine.co.nz, we don’t have much patience so we’re usually drinking it in 1-4 weeks’ time. Some wines will improve and mellow with age.”
I left mine for a week before trying it and it was pretty good!! It was very definitely feijoa flavoured, fresh and clean, and certainly drinkable. I’m going to leave the other bottles for varying lengths of time to see how it develops.
And this is another recipe to try from Kumeu gardener Linda Isbister, who shared it with NZ Gardener a few years ago. This is done on a larger scale and needs large 20 litre buckets with airlocks (my lid blew off because the pressure built up too much).
You need: 5kg of feijoas (scoop out the flesh, freeze, thaw then squash it), 6 litres of boiling water and 2 camden tablets (from home brewing stores). Place in a big bucket with a lid and stir twice a day for three days. Then strain into another bucket (cover it with cheesecloth to keep the bugs out) or a large fermenting bin (fitted with an airlock if possible) and add one sachet of wine yeast and 2 teaspoons of yeast nutrients (both from home brewing stores), plus 4kg(!!?) of sugar and another 2 litres of water. Leave until it stops bubbling… which could be a month, or several. Then bottle. Yum!