Nature’s candy, the sweet, succulent fig, can satisfy any sweet tooth and create various dishes, including fig butter, jam, preserves, salads, flatbread toppings, cookie fillings, and even wine.
That’s right, wine. Much like its sugary cousins, grapes, you can use figs to create the peculiar yet tasty fig wine, and it doesn’t require the intense labor that typical wine requires; you won’t have to stomp in any buckets, that’s for sure. However, it does take time to make fig wine as it does with any wine, but the end-product is worth it.
Before you get too excited about brewing up a batch of fig wine, you need to figure out a few things first. What is fig wine? Is fig wine good? Do you want to spend the time making it if you don’t like it? What do you need to make fig wine? How do you make fig wine?
To answer these questions for you, we’ve compiled the complete guide on making fresh fig wine at home. Please keep reading to understand what fig wine is, what the process of making it requires, how long it takes, and more.
How Fig Wine is Made
Before you jump into making wine from scratch, you should understand all of the requirements you need to meet concerning figs specifically. You should know what you’re getting into before you start.
Much like standard grape-based wine and other fruit wines, the brewing process requires precision, time, and fermentation. Can you ferment figs? Yes. Fermenting figs is often used when making preserves or jams from the fruit and involves Lacto-fermentation.
When dealing with alcohol, you incorporate a different kind of fermentation which involves yeast. Yeast, when fermented, produces ethanol, the critical component needed for alcoholic beverages. The yeast, concerning fig wine, is what gets fermented rather than the fruit itself.
Unlike standard wine made with grapes, figs don’t have nearly as high acidity as that fruit, meaning they require more additives to aid the fermentation process. Figs also need more work because they don’t produce as much juice as grapes do.
To compensate for the lack of juice, you should let your figs ripen up to the point of going bad so that they become as sweet and succulent as possible.
What Do You Need to Make Fig Wine?
While it’s possible and relatively easy to make fig wine at home, you need the correct equipment before starting. Since making wine requires temperature control and fermentation, you’ll need capable equipment to ensure you make the wine correctly.
Since fig wine, like all wines, requires more than just the fruit itself, you’ll also need the right ingredients. Some ingredients help improve the wine’s flavor, while others aid in the fermentation process. Without the right ingredients, your fig wine may end up too bitter or just as a sickly sweet juice rather than a fine, decadent wine.
- Stirring spoon
- Large food grade-quality bucket or crock
- 1-gallon jug or bucket
- Strainer (or mesh bag)
- Wine thermometer or another liquid thermometer
- Siphon tubing
- Empty wine bottles (or other objects to store finished product)
- Large sheet or cover
- Equipment sanitizer
Ingredients (yields 1 gallon):
- 2 ½ lbs. ripened figs
- 2 ¼ lbs. Sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1 gal. Water
- ½ tsp. Yeast nutrient
- 1 ½ tsp acid blend
- ½ tsp. Pectic enzyme powder
- A packet of wine yeast (preferably Lavlin 71B-1122)
- 1 Campden tablet
How to Make Fresh Fig Wine at Home
Now that you know what the process entails and what equipment and ingredients you need, you can begin the physical process. You must follow the instructions directly and pay close attention to the wine’s consistency throughout for the process to work correctly.
Follow the steps below closely to create fig wine correctly:
Before you get started, sanitize all of your equipment thoroughly to prevent unwanted bacteria from interfering with the process.
Mash the Ripened Figs
Take the fresh, ripe figs you have and dump them into a bowl. Mash them all together with a potato masher or other instrument until the mixture reaches a pudding-like consistency.
Add Ingredients to your Primary Fermenter.
Do not add the wine yeast, pectic enzyme, or acid blend during this step, and you’ll add that later. Add the fig mixture and the other ingredients into your primary fermenter (the large food grade-quality bucket or crock).
You may replace cane sugar with brown sugar during this step, depending on your taste preferences.
At this step, you may also place your fig reduction into a mesh bag before adding it to the primary fermenter. In doing so, you won’t need to worry about straining the mixture every time you rack it.
Add Hot Water
Bring your water to a boil. Then slowly pour it into the primary fermenter and stir until all of the ingredients dissolve. This step may take a minute or two.
Cover and Cool
- ESSENTIAL BREWING THERMOMETER - An invaluable home brew thermometer for monitoring the temperature of your fermenting home brew.
- GREAT FOR BEER AND WINE BREWING! - Our brewing thermometer is suitable for both wine and beer making!
- FANTASTIC VALUE - An inexpensive piece of kit that no home brewer should be without.
Snap the lid on your primary fermenter tightly and drape it with a large sheet or cover. Let the mixture sit until the liquid cools to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit–you can gauge with the thermometer–and add the Campden tablet. After you’ve done that, replace the cover, seal it tight, and let it sit for 24 hours.
Add the Pectic Enzyme, Yeast, and Acid Blend
After 24 hours have passed, get four cups of warm, not hot, water and add the yeast packet into it and stir until fully dissolved. Let the yeast mixture stand for 15 minutes before adding to the contents of the primary fermenter.
During this step, you must also add in the pectic enzyme and the acid blend. Vigorously stir the mixture once you add the two to ensure the ingredients blend well together.
Replace the Cover
Cover the fermenter again and let it rest in a safe, dry location for five to six days. During this time, the brewing process will begin, which you can note from the container’s bubbling activity. No need to worry when you see this happening; it’s crucial to the process.
Begin Secondary Fermentation
After five or six days, or after the initial fermentation process has subsided, rack the mixture (move it to another container) using your siphon into the secondary fermenter, your gallon jug. Make sure you strain the remaining fruit rather than adding it to the bottle. Straining it will separate the juices from the excess clumps so that the wine will maintain a smooth consistency.
If you chose to use the mesh bag instead of the filter, this is the step where you’ll remove the bag. Before removing it, make sure you squeeze out as much juice as possible into the secondary fermenter.
Wait and Rack Again
Let the secondary fermentation process work for about three weeks before you rack the mixture again. After three weeks have passed, strain the mixture again using your siphon and filter to eliminate any remaining sediment. Use the airlock and let the mixture sit for another three weeks.
After another three weeks have passed, you may rack the mixture again and let it sit again. The longer you allow the mixture to sit this time, the dryer it will become, but the minimum timeframe you must wait is three weeks for the process to work correctly.
Transfer the Resulting Liquid to the Final Bottling Process
After waiting and transferring repeatedly, the fermentation processes will have completed leaving the wine clear and consistent. If the wine is cloudy, repeat the waiting and racking processes until it’s clear.
Bottle Up the Final Product
- Case of 12 - Glass Bordeaux Shaped Rounded Top Wine Bottles - 750 ml
- The beautiful color of the wine shows through the Flint glass, works for just about any wine - red, white or rose
- Works with #8 and #9 sized corks - Use #8 corks for a hand corker and #9 for a floor corker
After you’ve siphoned the exact, finished wine into your clean, sterilized bottles, you’ve finished the complete process. To further ensure that you’ve perfected the concoction, let it sit on your shelf for a full year. The final product after a year is well worth the wait.
Related: What is Mead?
What Does Fig Wine Taste Like?
The sweetness of fresh, ripened figs leads people to believe that fig wine will also taste sweet and syrupy. However, the flavor of fig wine depends on the fermentation process. The longer the fig wine sits, the dryer it will taste, much like a standard grape-based wine. The fermentation process’s length will also alter the figs’ sweetness, leaving the resulting beverage tart or bitter.
The sugar involved with the recipe cuts the bitterness of standard wine, but you can make the mixture even sweeter during the secondary fermentation process. You can taste the result and add more sugar or sweetener, depending on your preference, to influence the final product’s flavor.
Just as figs, the solitary fruit, pair well with charcuterie and cheese boards, fig wine does too. It is also an excellent accompaniment to bitter or sour foods because its sweetness helps cut the sharpness.
You can also influence the fig wine’s flavor if you want. You can add in various fruits such as oranges, lemon juice, and raisins to achieve a new flavor. You can incorporate these at the beginning of the process when you mash up the figs.
Is Fig Wine Good?
Whether you enjoy fig wine or not really depends on, well, you. Keep in mind that the color will seem quite off-putting. Figs are brown, so the liquid they produce for the final wine product will look similar.
Figs naturally produce a heightened sugary flavor, especially if you pick ripe figs. Their natural flavor carries over to the wine. If you don’t like sugary drinks or significantly sweet things, you might not like fig wine.
That said, you should try the drink before making any rash decisions. You know the phrase ‘never judge a book by its cover,’ well, the same applies to fig wine. The color and general aspects of the product may unnerve you, but it’s better to try than never try at all.
Where to Buy Fig Wine?
Making wine is a long process that requires time and patience. If you don’t want to wait that long to make your fig wine or want to sample the final product before you exert your efforts into making it on your own, you can buy it from a store.
You may find fig wine at your local grocery store, but you may have to hunt around since it’s not a primarily or commercially produced product. You will do better to find more variety at a stand-alone liquor store or wine and spirits shop such as ABC Fine Wine and Spirits or Total Wine and More.
Your best bet to finding fig wine is straight from the source; fig farms or local stores. Fig farms reside most prominently in California, but many stand across the globe to sustain the demand. At these farms, you’ll most likely find authentic, home-brewed fig wine.
Figs, an often overlooked fruit, predominantly used as an additive to dishes or jams, surprisingly make for a unique wine. Not just any old fruit wine, but a wine that you can make in the comfort of your home. The result? A sweet, brown substance to dazzle guests with at dinner get-togethers or sip on your own over an assorted cheese platter.
Before you indulge in the long wine-making process, consider trying out different fig wine brands from other locations to gauge your opinions. The flavor is sweet, and the color is peculiar, but you’ll never know what you think of the drink until you give it a shot.
If, or when, you decide to brew your batch of fig wine, know that the process requires a lot of time, patience, and a close-eye throughout. While you can make the alcoholic beverage at home, the recipe is a bit more complicated than a standard wine because it requires more additives. Nevertheless, the result of your hard work is well worth it.
When you’re ready, go on and give our recipe a shot. Most importantly, have fun. The process is long; you can at least enjoy your time while you wait.