Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Making and Bottling Perry (Sparkling Pear Cider)!!

Today we had our first experience bottling wine!  We started our Perry (sparkling pear cider) on September 24th when we gleaned pears from a neighborhood lot that was for sale.  I used a juicer to extract the juice and used the pulp for pear butter.

Perry recipe:
1 gallon pear juice (12-14 pounds)
sugar to 1.060 Specific Gravity (S.G.)    (~1/4 cup/gallon)
1/2 tsp. Pectic Enzyme
3/4 tsp. Energizer
1 Campden, crushed
1 pkg. Champ. yeast
  • In a food grade bucket, add campden to juice to prevent spoilage and browning.  Stir in all other ingredients except yeast.  Cover.  
  • After 24 hours, add yeast.  Cover.
  • Stir daily, check S.G..  When ferment reaches S.G. 1.040 (3-5 days), syphon off wine into a carboy (leave sediment behind).  Attach airlock.
  • When ferment reaches 1.000 (about 3 weeks), syphon off sediment into another carboy.  Reattach airlock.
  • To aid clearing, syphon again in 2 months and again if necessary before bottling.
When ferment is complete, gently stir in 1/4 cup dissolved sugar per gallon.  Bottle in champagne or returnable pop bottles.  Age for 3 months.  Cool and enjoy!

I included some pictures of the process below.  I also included a video of the bottling process: 

Make sure your pears are firm and ripe.  We used Bartlett pears. 

This is what the carboys looked like after sitting for 2 months.  Sediment and dead yeast is at the bottom.  

This is what the jar looks like after syphoning off the wine.

This is how you check for specific gravity (S.G.).

Bottles given to us from our friends.  It's amazing what a simple email brings someone.  We are eternally grateful that we didn't have to purchase bottles.  To remove labels, soak in warm water and use a razor blade.

We invested in this carboy lifter.  These carboys get very heavy and can be difficult to hold.  The clear/white thing is an airlock.  It lets carbon dioxide out but doesn't let anything in.

Before bottling, all supplies need to be sanitized, including the bucket and spigot.  We use a Star San sanitizer solution.

This is the syphoning process.  The wine flows through the plastic tubing from the carboy to the bucket.  When syphoning, you have to be careful that you don't suck up any of the sediment on the want a clear wine. 

We added 3/4 cups granulated sugar to our 3.5 gallons of Perry.  The sugar was dissolved before bottling. 

Fill the bottles with wine leaving about a 2 inch head space.  The bottle is dark green so it's hard to see it in the picture. 

The cork is being inserted into the bottle with the help of a floor corker.  We used #9 corks and don't know if they are the correct size for what we bottled.

This is the floor corker we purchased at Portland U-Brew & Pub for ~$60.00.  We chose this corker because it's metal and very sturdy.  Many people recommend a floor corker because it's less cumbersome than the hand corkers.  

3.5 gallons yielded 16 bottles and 2 grolsch bottles. 

This is our first year making wine and we have a few questions.  If you have advice, please submit in the comments section, thanks!

Question 1: How do you know when to cork vs. cap the bottles?  Does it matter?  
Question 2: Is it safe to reuse bottles from the grocery store or does it depend on what you're bottling?
Question 3: How do you know what size cork to use?
Question 4: Can wine ever really spoil?  I've always been told that wine gets better with age, but isn't there a chance that the cork could fail and potentially leach bacteria in the bottle?  
Question 5: How do you get bottles dry inside?  I washed the bottles with warm soapy water and after 4 days, some of the bottles were still full of condensation.  I don't have a wine rack dryer---would that do the trick?  Some bottles dried really quickly and others never completely dried.  I noticed the bottles with thicker glass tended not to dry.


jenn merfee-t January 18, 2012 at 4:01 PM  

Thank you for the clear step-by-step view of the bottling process with descriptive photos. I appreciate how you try new things, ask questions of others, and share your learning and blunders and homesteading journeys with we readers. Your sparkling pear cider looks delicious!

Anonymous May 16, 2013 at 11:41 AM  

i was wondering the same question, How do you know when to cork vs. cap the bottles? Does it matter?

Storage Solution

art fan May 22, 2013 at 12:42 PM  

In france, this is very famous and called "poiré". To make the perfect pear cider, you must have clean bottles/carboys.
I've buyed a machine on this website :
And now I'm making the best poiré of the Québec !!! :D


Ora Wilcox November 5, 2013 at 7:11 AM  

Thanks for posting the pics and video of the bottling process. It gives a clearer idea on how to do it. I'm happy your first batch of perry went quite well. For first-timers, you sure did great. And it helps to invest in certain equipment as you've said, such as a floor corker and carboy lifter. Maybe in the future when you branch out in your wine making skills and produce more wine, you might want to have a filling machine as well.

Dabrico, Inc.

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A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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