Hawthorn Berry Wine – Andy Hamilton

Andy Hamilton
Andy Hamilton

There are always hawthorn berries all over the place in the Autumn and this year I decided that I would make the most of them and drink them.

Last year I wrote “There are probally a few hawthorn berry wine recipes out there that are tried and tested, if you are reading this near or in September 2008 then I can’t tell you if this recipe is any better than any of the others. If you are reading it in or after the spring of 2009 then there might be an update and so you should look for it to find the taste”.

Well I can update you now and say that this does make a great tasting wine. It has been drunk by members of the Bristol WI and people who go on our foraging courses who all agree that it tastes ok. I would not say that it is the greatest tasting wine in fact pear or elderberry (see our book) are the best I have made so far, but hawthorn berry wine it is worth making.


  • Four pints(2 litres) of Hawberries (fill a pint glass four times with them)
  • 1 lb (500g) of chopped raisins (don’t go looking to buy them ready chopped do it yourself lazy tyke)
  • 2.5 lb (1.25 kg) Sugar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 15g yeast and 10g yeast nutrient.


Take out the stalks and all the bits of twigs. Rinse the Haw berries with cold water. Pour six pints of water over the top of them and leave loosely covered for a couple of hours.  Now it is crushing time, squeeze every last berry with your hands so that you get right messy (make sure you have washed your hands).

Add the raisins and lemon juice leave for 24 hours in a fermentation bin if you have one, otherwise a steralized bucket covered in a tea towel.

After the 24 hours is up stir in the sugar when you are sure it has dissolved add the yeast and yeast nutrient. Keep covered in a warm place for 5-7 days for me this is depending on how busy I am it is sometimes longer.

Strain into a demi-john fit an airlock and leave for about 3 months, rack* then bottle after a month. Storing the bottles on their side. Ensure that the wine has stopped fermenting before putting into bottles. This is very important and they can blow up. Basically when the water in the airlock on the bottle is level and there are no more bubbles being formed it has stopped fermenting.

*Siphon into another demi-john leaving the sediment.

This wine cost roughly £2 to make and you will get 5 bottles of wine from it, that 40p per bottle for local and organic wine!

5 Comments on Hawthorn Berry Wine – Andy Hamilton

    • You remove the berries and raisins after the 5-7 days, straining them out before putting the liquid into a demi-john. Hope that helps.

      • Thanks that’s great. My demijohn of Hawthorn wine is bubbling away nicely. I also have Elderberry port and elderberry & blackberry wine bubbling away. I was inspired to get back to wine making after reading your wonderful book (Booze for Free).

  1. Yum, haw berry wine is my favourite hedgerow wine, totally delicious like sherry! I’m surprised it’s not more popular. I have haws sitting in the freezer ready to go, I really must get on with it. I found freezing doesn’t seem to make any difference in the making, if that helps.

  2. £2 – Really? The winemakers yeast alone costs £2.59 from my local Tesco. Lets be a bit more realistic, Yeast: £2.59, sugar: £1.09 , yeast nutrient: £1.89, corks: £0.99 for 5, total: £6.59. Its still cheap but quite a bit more than is claimed here. I’m guessing prices were a lot cheaper in 2008 when it was first published.

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