Got an abundance of damson fruits that you don’t know what to do with? Try making our simple Damson Wine Recipe and enjoy a delicious homemade brew in no time at all.
Damson fruits are a close relative to the plum and the trees can be found across the UK in gardens and the wilderness where they are perfect for foraging. Once the fruits start ripening in around the autumn, there’s usually plenty of them to go around!
Unlike our sweet plum trees, damsons are rarely eaten fresh from the tree and if you’ve ever tasted one you know what we’re talking about. The high level of tannins and acidic flavouring makes eating them less than pleasurable, however, this is what makes damson fruit perfect for winemaking.
The readily available tannins in the fruits mean that you won’t need to make any additions like when brewing a variety of other fruit wines. The tannin level is also a blessing as it makes damson wine age so well, while it may be bitter in the first 12 months of fermentation, just give it time and you will be pleasantly surprised as it starts to mellow in flavour.
How to Make Damson Wine
Gareth the founder of Tree2mydoor said:
“The Damson tree is a very special tree for me, it conjures up really early memories for me of picking damsons in my grandad’s garden... balanced precariously up a ladder, looking back at my grandad to check if I was safe (which I probably wasn’t haha), then getting back into the house with tonnes of freshly picked damsons to help my grandma make huge batches of damson jam and damson wine.”
There’s something great about homemade wine and damson wine in particular. The fruits are very close to a grape and it’s not too difficult to make either. Obviously, it depends on what recipe you follow, but it can be really powerful, like rocket fuel if you are not careful. So if you want to make a delicious batch of home-brewed damson wine follow our recipe below.
Ingredients for the Damson Wine Recipe:
Here’s what you will need to make some tasty Damson Wine of your very own.
- 3 lb Ripe Damsons
- 3 lb Granulated Sugar
- 1 Gallon Boiling Water (8 Pints)
- 1 tsp Wine Yeast
- Yeast Nutrient
- Pectic Enzyme
Directions for Making Damson Wine:
Choose Damsons that are ripe – if they aren’t ripe the wine won’t be the best. You can even pick them to the point of them growing a tad mouldy – but not too mouldy.
Prepare your damsons beforehand by soaking or washing them in cold water. This will remove any creepy crawlies or dirt that may remain on the fruit.
Next, cut the damsons in half ready to remove the stones. Leaving the stones in the mixture can result in a bitter tasting wine.
- Start by placing your halved and de-stoned fruits into a large pan and pour in one gallon of cold water.
- Next, bring the water to the boil before lowering the temperature and simmering the mixture until the damsons start to feel tender (avoid letting them become too squishy or easily mashed).
- Once tender, place a muslin sheet over a container and start to strain your mixture, separating the large lumps of fruit from the liquid.
- At this point, start to add your sugar, yeast, nutrient and enzyme. Stir the mixture until everything is combined and dissolved.
- When the mixture becomes cool to the touch it can be transferred into a fermentation jar.
- Once the jars are filled, rack and allow the mixture to become clear before bottling.
- Your damson wine should be ready to drink in 6 months time but many people like to leave it for up to a year or longer before sampling.
The damson wine may still seem quite bitter if tried before the 12-month mark but when left long enough it will mellow out over time and continue to age beautifully.
If you haven’t seen it already, we have launched our new Gardeners Club range of trees and plants which contains some fantastic varieties of damson including Merryweather, Shropshire Prune and many other gage and plum trees for sale.