Katherine Show's top drop

SECRET LEVEL: Steven Rose stirs his mango wine three times a day to ensure it is at its best for this year's Katherine Show.

SECRET LEVEL: Steven Rose stirs his mango wine three times a day to ensure it is at its best for this year's Katherine Show.

Alderman Steven Rose and his buddy Danny Murphy are pouring out the tricks of the trade when it comes to home brewing for this year’s Katherine Show. 

The pair will be entering a delicious mango, dragon fruit and Rosella wine in the S03 division of the Katherine Show home brew competition.

 “I have had a french wine maker show me how to do it, and I am working off a recipe they left me,” Mr Rose said. 

“We do everything totally different to what it says on the home brew packet.

“For instance we activate the yeast before it goes in, like hours before to let it grow, but on the packet it will tell you to just sprinkle the yeast on top. 

“You also need lots and lots of mangoes, it is about twice as much as what it says on a mango wine kit,” he said. 

In its infancy, mango wine is vibrant, thick, pulpy and looks nothing like wine.

As the pulp and yeast slowly settle over time you are left with a pale, clear, delicious wine that goes down a little too well. 

“It is not a sweet wine, it is more acidic so it isn’t like a traditional fruit wine,” Mr Rose said. 

“First you need to mull down the fruit to make it smooth, then you have to get the pH level right,

“I have a secret level. 

“You can use citric acid to do that but I use Rosella, that is my secret ingredient to bring the pH down,” he said. 

“Oxidization is really bad so you need to make sure it is kept air tight. 

“Then you need to sift out all the pulp, that is the most intense part,” he said.

Making mango wine is a labour of love and needs constant attention and care.

HOME BREW: Steven Rose wants to see a special class in the Katherine Show, just for mango wine makers.

HOME BREW: Steven Rose wants to see a special class in the Katherine Show, just for mango wine makers.

“At this stage I need to stir it three times a day,” Mr Rose said. 

“It is five per cent alcohol at the moment, the last lot I made was fifteen per cent but I think I am going to make it a bit less than that this time. 

“The wine is made from predominately mangoes, I was going to use more dragon fruit but they weren’t fresh enough so I could only put a few in,” he said. 

With just two months until the gates open for the 52nd Katherine Show,  it is time to get your do-it-yourself drinks brewing away. 

Honorary life member of the show, Peter Farnden will be judging all of the home brew entries this year, from beers to mango wines.

It is $2 to enter a bottle of your finest drop with entries closing on June 30. 

“The hardest part of the show is that you are competing against fortified wines,” Mr Rose said. 

“We are the mango capital of Australia, we produce the best mangoes in the world, they should have a whole mango class in the show for mango wines and chutneys and things. 

“It isn’t fair to be judged alongside fortified wines, they just distill sugar and add essence, where is the skill in that?

“How can fortified distilled wine be home brew?

“We really do need a section just for mango wines,” he said. 

According to the Show Society’s rules “if there are enough entries in any class another class will be created”.

Although home brewing mango wine may seem like a great way to save a few bucks, it is not as cheap as you may think. 

PRICEY FRUIT: Making mango wine can be an expensive hobby if you don't have the fruit growing in your backyard.

PRICEY FRUIT: Making mango wine can be an expensive hobby if you don't have the fruit growing in your backyard.

“It is very expensive if you have to buy fifty kilograms of mangoes to go into it,” Mr Rose said.

“About a kilo of mangoes goes into each bottle, it is not cheap wine.”

Other popular fruit wines

Plum 

Plum wine is popular in Japan, Korea, and China and is normally made with distilled liquor and soaked with plum. The alcohol level is higher than typical fruit wine, which is fermented with just fruits.

Pineapple

Popular across South East Asia, pineapple wine is often made using traditional practices and thus is not often commercially available. Fermentation of the pineapple juice takes place in temperature-controlled vats and is stopped at near-dryness. The result is a soft, dry, fruit wine with a strong pineapple bouquet. 

Dandelion

Dandelion wine is made from dandelion petals and sugar, usually combined with an acid and has a moderate alcohol content. It is commonly made at home and only a handful of wineries commercially produce Dandelion wine in the United States.

Lychee

Lychee wine is a rich, sweet tasting Chinese dessert wine . It is served ice cold and usually with shellfish. 

Banana

Popular in Tanzania, banana wine is made  by fermenting peeled, mashed, ripe bananas. Water, wine yeast and sugar is added to the "banana mash".  The Philippines government has sought to expand a local banana wine industry while India has produced both award-winning banana wines and research into expanding production.

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