Making and Drinking Pumpkin Wine

Karen Frazier
Pumpkins, candles, and wine

If you're a home winemaker and gardener with a surplus of pumpkin in your yard, then you might want to try your hand at making pumpkin wine. If you're not either of those things, but you can't get your fill of pumpkin spiced everything in the autumn months, then there are also pumpkin wines you can try from a few wineries. Either way, it's an interesting take on both pumpkin and wine.

Pumpkin Wine Recipe

Just as you would with any other homemade fruit wine, you can make a wine with fresh pumpkins. You'll use the flesh of the pumpkin - that is, the inside part of the pumpkin that's not the outer orange part or the seeds and stringy membrane that contains them. To begin, you'll need the equipment listed for making homemade wine. This recipe yields about a gallon of wine, or about four 750 mL bottles.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups of grated pumpkin flesh
  • 1 pound golden raisins
  • 1 gallon boiling water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon peeled ginger root
  • 6 cloves
  • 5 cups super-fine sugar
  • 3 teaspoons acid blend
  • 1 crushed campden tablet
  • 1 packet sweet wine yeast

Instructions

  1. Place the pumpkin, raisins, boiling water, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves into the primary fermenter. Allow to sit overnight.
  2. Add the sugar, acid blend, and campden tablet. Stir well.
  3. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture. Stir. Sit for three days, stirring every day.
  4. Strain the liquid from the solids, squeezing as much liquid out as possible.
  5. Add the liquid to the secondary fermenter, adding water as needed to get one gallon.
  6. Seal with an airlock.
  7. After three weeks, rack the wine (siphon it to another container to remove sediment) and add water if needed to maintain 1 gallon. Air lock.
  8. Continue to rack and add water if needed every three months for one year. After one year, bottle the wine.

Sweet Variation

The recipe above is for a dry wine. You can also make a sweetened wine. To do this:

  1. Follow the recipe above through step six.
  2. At three weeks, rack the wine. Dissolve 1/2 cup of sugar in one cup of a dry white wine, such as Chardonnay or Riesling. Add to the wine in the fermenter. Airlock.
  3. Repeat step 2 every six weeks until adding the sugar no longer causes the wine to bubble and ferment, two or three times.
  4. Continue racking every three months for the remainder of the year (so the wine will be ready to bottle one year from when you started).

Buying Pumpkin Wine

There are a few wineries that make pumpkin wine, and these wines may be available for purchase and shipping to your state depending on the state's liquor laws.

Storing Serving Pumpkin Wine

Store your pumpkin wine on its side in a cool location. This wine won't benefit from bottle age after a year, so plan on drinking it right away or for up to three or four years after it's made. Treat pumpkin wine like any white wine; it should be served chilled in stemmed wine glasses. Depending on the level of sweetness in the wine, you can try pairing it with traditional Thanksgiving food, or with desserts such as pumpkin pie or pumpkin crème brûlée. You can also try it with butternut squash soup or pumpkin risotto.

An Unusual Wine

Pumpkin wine is unusual to say the least. If you like unique and interesting wines, it may be worth trying. Whether you make it yourself or find a special run from a nearby winery, give it a taste and see what you think.

Making and Drinking Pumpkin Wine