Watermelon wine is a sweet and light “wine” drink made from fermented watermelon. This dish is best made in watermelon season, between late spring and early summer because this is when you can get the most ripe and juicy watermelons. This wine is made by cooking watermelon, then fermenting it and storing the juice. Watermelon wine is fairly easy to make at home if you have the right equipment, has a light and refreshing taste and is perfect for enjoying on warm summer evenings.
- 1 large ripe watermelon
- 450 grams of sugar
- 1 teaspoon acid blend powder (or tamarind powder)
- 1 teaspoon inactive yeast powder (nutritional yeast)
- 1 pack of champagne/wine yeast
Part 1 of 3: Taking Watermelon Juice
Step 1. Choose the right watermelon
Make sure you choose a watermelon that is large and ripe. To check for doneness, tap the outside of the watermelon. If you hear a sound that is quite "loud", the watermelon is not ripe. On the other hand, if you hear a slightly resonant (and deeper) sound, the watermelon is ripe.
Make sure the watermelon is round, normal in size, and feels heavy. If the fruit feels heavy enough for its size, it contains a lot of water and is ripe
Step 2. Remove the watermelon rind
Wash the fruit, then place it on a cutting board. Use a large knife to peel the top and bottom skin of the fruit. After that, place the fruit in an upright position and cut the surface downwards to remove the skin.
- Make sure you keep your fingers away from the surface of the watermelon when cutting the fruit. Also, use a sharp knife that doesn't require you to use more force when cutting fruit to avoid the risk of slicing your fingers.
- After removing the skin, peel off the remaining white layer on the fruit until you get the red part of the fruit.
Step 3. Cut the watermelon into small cubes
After removing the skin, cut the red flesh into small cubes measuring 2.5 centimeters. You don't have to cut to an exact size, as the fruit will eventually cook. However, make sure the pieces of fruit are relatively small.
Step 4. Put the watermelon in a large pot and cook the fruit
Place the watermelon pieces and juice in a large saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Cook the watermelon until it melts and turns into wine.
Step 5. Stir and mash the watermelon until it melts
While heating, the watermelon pieces will crumble. You can speed up this process by crushing the fruit with a large spoon and stirring occasionally. You can stop stirring once most of the watermelon chunks have disintegrated (about half an hour), then remove the pan from the heat.
Step 6. Strain the juice
Carefully pour 3.5 liters of watermelon juice over a screen sieve to keep out the seeds or large pieces of fruit.
If there's still juice left after you've filtered the 3.5 liters of juice, you can store it to chill or use in cocktails. Store leftover juice in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days
Part 2 of 3: Preparing Watermelon Juice for Fermentation
Step 1. Add sugar to the watermelon juice
After straining from the seeds, pour 3.5 liters of watermelon juice into a large saucepan. Add sugar and heat the juice until it boils. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved. After that, remove the pot from the stove.
Step 2. Add sour powder (acid blend) and inactive yeast (nutrient yeast)
Wait for the watermelon juice and sugar mixture to come to room temperature, then add the sour powder and inactivated yeast. Beat with egg beater until dissolved. This process takes about 30 seconds.
Step 3. Transfer the juice to the fermenting container and close the lid
Carefully pour the watermelon juice into a 3.7 liter carb or other large fermented bottle. After that, cover the bottle with a cloth and let it sit for 24 hours.
- You can use a tightly sealed plastic container, a glass or plastic carbine, and a stainless steel barrel or container for the fermentation. The important thing is that the fermentation vessel can be closed and tightly sealed so that no oxygen enters.
- Before use, clean containers or other fermenting equipment by soaking them in a mixture of water and bleach (ratio of 1 tablespoon bleach to 3.5 liters of water) for at least 20 minutes.
Step 4. Add yeast and close the container
After the watermelon juice has left for 24 hours, add the champagne yeast by sprinkling the yeast powder over the juice. After that, use an airtight seal to seal the fermentation container. Leave the watermelon juice on overnight.
Part 3 of 3: Storing and Fermenting Wine
Step 1. Squeeze the grapes and let sit for three months after the fermentation begins
After setting the grapes aside for a day, you should see air bubbles and foam on the surface of the juice. Air bubbles also form at the bottom of the container seal. This means that the juice begins to ferment into wine.
- To squeeze the wine, insert one end of the siphon hose into the fermentation vessel (about 2.5 centimeters from the bottom of the container). After that, suck the other end of the hose to start the suction process. The wine will flow through the hose once the process has started. Place the previously smoked end of the hose in the other fermenting container, then attach the seal once all the wine has been removed.
- You can see the grape deposits left at the bottom of the first fermentation vessel.
- Once air bubbles and foam appear, “squeeze” the wine and transfer it to another 3.7-liter fermenting container to remove any wine deposits.
- Put the lid back on the container and let the wine sit for 2 months.
Step 2. Squeeze the grapes again after two months
After three months have passed, repeat the wine-squeezing process and place in a new fermenting container. Put the seal back on the container and let the wine sit for 2 months.
Step 3. Squeeze the grapes a third time
After two months have passed, squeeze the grapes again for the third time. At this stage, let the wine sit for about a month. After being fermented for 6 months, the wine will appear quite clear.
Step 4. Transfer the wine to the bottle
After six months, no more air bubbles had formed at the bottom of the airtight seal and the wine seemed clearer. This means that the fermentation process has ended. Squeeze the wine one last time, but at this point, transfer the wine into several cleaned wine bottles. Fill the bottle until the liquid level reaches about 2.5 centimeters below the position of the cork.
Step 5. Plug the bottle with a cork
Once the watermelon wine is transferred to the bottle, soak the cork in warm distilled water for 20 minutes. After that, insert the bottle into the manual corker (hand corker). Attach the cork stopper to the bottle opening. Firmly insert the cork into the bottle using the stopper.
- If you are unsure about using the cork fixer, read the instructions for use that came in the package of the appliance purchase.
- Make sure you use a cork that is about 5 centimeters long.
Step 6. Save or enjoy the watermelon wine
Once the bottle is corked, the wine is ready to be enjoyed! If you want a more "colourful" taste, store the wine bottles in a cool, dark place for six months to a year. Otherwise, you can open a bottle and enjoy it on a hot summer evening and drink it chilled or at room temperature.
- Add other fruits like peaches or strawberries when melting/crushing the watermelon to add extra flavor to the wine.
- If desired, perform a gravity test on the wine before and after fermentation for a more accurate reading of the alcohol level.