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By January 19, 2018 0 Comments Read More →

Making Wine out of Jam

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Sylvia Kent creates two fruit wines using home-made jam and marmalade.

Many of the nation’s winemakers – whose interests often lie more in the cosiness of a warm kitchen – have no doubt already got started in the business of creating new and imaginative variations of many favourite wines. Although in the warmer months of the year it is easy and convenient to be able to pluck fruit and berries straight from the trees or bushes, all the canny winemakers I know are perpetually at the ready ‒ even in deepest winter – to begin new and original brews from whatever ingredients they might have lying around in the kitchen cabinet. There is really no limit to the number of different alcoholic drinks you can make at home in any month of the year. As many renowned winemaking books from the last half-century tell us, practically any vegetable and fruit matter will ferment, fresh, dried or as juice extract.




Use your favourite variety of strawberry jam in this recipe. I always use my own jam, which rarely has a setting agent or preservatives: just fruit, sugar and water. If using a commercial jam, which usually has pectin added, remember to include a double dose of whatever pectin-destroying enzyme you use in your fermentation process. This wine is usually an attractive rosé-type wine and is suitable for parties and picnics. It is best served chilled.

  • 1.36kg strawberry jam (3 jars) – preferably home-made
  • 3.4 litres cooled, boiled water
  • 250g concentrated grape juice
  • 5ml tartaric acid
  • 10g pectin-destroying enzyme
  • 5g all-purpose wine yeast
  • 5g yeast nutrient
  • 5g tannin (or 5 tea bags steeped in boiling water)
  • 250g granulated sugar
  • Campden tablets (as required)


Add the yeast to a small bottle with a little sugar, then shake, cover and leave in a warm place to begin working.


1           Empty the contents of the jam jars into a clean, sterilised demijohn. Add the water, grape juice, tartaric acid and pectin-destroying enzyme, then cover and leave for at least 24 hours.

2           Pour the must into a demijohn and add the activated yeast, yeast nutrient and tannin.

3           Fit an airlock to a bored cork and use to seal the demijohn.

4           Move the demijohn to a warm place and leave to ferment for 14 days at around 20°C.

5           Remove some of the ‘must’ and gently stir in the sugar, then return the must to the demijohn, seal and shake well.

6           Replace the airlock and leave to ferment in a warm place until no more bubbles are visible.

7           Rack into a sterilised demijohn together with 1 crushed Campden tablet, then top up with cooled, boiled water and move to cooler surroundings for a few months before racking off again and eventually bottling.

This wine should be allowed to mature for some time, either in the final demijohn or bottle. 


Additional acid is required, but the recipe uses considerably less sugar than in other wines, as about 50 per cent of the jam already consists of fermentable sugar. If using a hydrometer, aim for a reading of 1.090 s.g.


If you find you have a lot of jars of home-made marmalade after the arrival of the Seville oranges, and very few fresh winemaking ingredients, this recipe could be ideal for you, and produces a pleasant enough tipple. (see also Seren’s Marmalade Gin recipe)

  • 1.36kg marmalade (3 jars) – preferably home-made (or Robertson’s thin shred) 
  • 3.4 litres cooled, boiled water
  • 250g concentrated grape juice
  • 5ml tartaric acid
  • 10g pectin-destroying enzyme
  • Sherry-style yeast
  • 5g yeast nutrient
  • 450g granulated sugar
  • Wine finings (if required – see below)

1           Dissolve the marmalade in the water, stirring well, then add the grape juice, tartaric acid and pectin-destroying enzyme. Cover and leave for at least 24 hours.

2           Pour the must into a sterilised demijohn and add the activated yeast and yeast nutrient.

3           Fit an airlock into a bored cork, use it to seal the demijohn, then leave to ferment at room temperature for 2 weeks.

4           After 2 weeks, remove some of the must, gently stir in half the sugar, then return the must to the demijohn and seal once more. Repeat the process after 1 further week, adding half the remaining sugar, and again a 1 week later, mixing in the rest.

5           Leave in a warm place to ferment, then move the demijohn to a cool place to clear. If necessary to clear the must, mix in some wine finings, which are available from any home-brew shop.

6           Rack into a sterilised demijohn, leaving some air space, then plug the neck of the jar with loose cotton wool. Leave to stand at room temperature for 6 months, then rack off into another demijohn. 

7           Bottle when clear.

This wine should be served cold as an aperitif.


Finings such as Bentonite, isinglass or other commercial fining agents can be used to remove minute particles suspended in a wine. As the finings sink to the bottom they attract the solid particles and carry them down to form sediment, from which the clear wine can be racked off. Some winemakers even use commercial filtration equipment to achieve a clear result, but if a good recipe is followed, then patience and a cold final maturing place will usually clear any unwanted haze.







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