The same goes for prefermentation sulfite additions and bentonite additions. Bentonite has to be hydrated in hot water before addition unless you have an especially soluble preparation that suspends instantly. Mix it outside of the tank before

addition (100 mg/L of bentonite is a good rule of thumb). Similarly, potassium metabisulfite (KMS) is will help to keep spoilage contaminants under control and retain fruit -100 mg/L of KMS per litre is a light dose (releases about 50 mg/L of sulfur dioxide).

Fermentation temperature is very important to retain fruit character. If you can keep the temperature in the 15 to 18 degree range, the volatiles will condense inside the tank instead of being exhausted through the vent, and the fermentation should proceed at a moderate rate. A large cross- section tank will ferment more rapidly because the centre will be warmer than the cooled perimeter. Some fruits such as raspberries and blackberries have a good tannin content and will develop good mouth feel.

Fruits with low tannin such as blueberries and strawberries can benefit from either tannin addition or blending with other fruits. Spent grape skins, either from red or white grapes, can be a useful addition to provide tannin. The skins can be macerated with juice and pressed prior to fermentation or the skins can be left in contact during fermentation and pressed later. Soft fruits may be difficult to press.

They can benefit from pectinase to break down the pulp, but you may also require a press aid such as rice hulls or cellulose. Check with your pectinase supplier

for a pressing protocol before tackling winemaking from soft fruits such as peach or apricot. Stone fruits will also require pit removal, preferably before fermentation. The stones contain cyanogens and can contribute an almond flavour and/or bitterness. Fruit wines can be finished as with

grape wines, dry or with residual sweetness. The sweetness can be contributed either from fresh juice or from added sugar. Don’t forget to

calculate the reduction in alcohol that will result from sweetening. Also remember that low-alcohol products with residual sugar require extra care to retain stability. Carbonation helps, just as it does with soft drinks. It may be tricky, but there is no

reason that good products can’t be produced from almost any fruit. — Gary Strachan is a longtime consultant to the BC wine industry and a former scientist at the Summerland agricultural research centre.

British Columbia Berry Grower • Fall-Winter 2017 11

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