100% Merlot – not wine but jelly…

By Katharina Woitczyk

During the past few weeks it was harvest time in Bordeaux and most other French appellations, too. Every visit at a winery offered a similar kind of scene: machine or manually harvested, in small plastic crates or in huge containers on tractors, freshly picked grapes were transported from the vineyards into the cellars. There the grapes were sorted and according to their colour pressed or not pressed, before being transferred into their fermentation containers.

Many of my Facebook, Linkedin and other social network connections kept posting gorgeous harvest photos on the net. As the wine lover that I am, this inspired me. Lacking the suitable equipment and experience to make wine in my kitchen I decided to transform the Merlot grapes which I had harvested together with a friend in her family’s vineyards (thank you Céline!) into 100% Merlot jelly.


Merlot Jelly


3 kg (6.6 pounds) of freshly harvested Merlot grapes

2.5 -3 kg (5.5 – 6.6 pound) jellifying sugar

- 8 Marmalade glasses



- Delicately de-stem the berries by hand, sort them thoroughly and only select perfectly healthy ones.

- Heat the Merlot berries in a big jelly pot until juice, pips and skins get to a boil. Leave the blend boil for 15 min.

- Set aside.

- Sterilize the marmalade glasses and the lids with boiling water. Leave them to dry.

-Heat the Merlot juice, including pips and skins once more. With the help of a metal potato masher punch-down the berries, this will extract the colour and aromas from the skins. Be careful not to destroy the pips. Repeat this action several times.

- Now, put a fine strainer atop a second big jelly pot. Run of the juice from the first pot into the second through the strainer. Press the cap and try to extract a maximum of juice by pressing with the potato masher through the fine strainer. You can now blend the free-run and the press juices without being afraid of eventual bitterness – (after all this is only jelly we’re cooking here.

- Sugar the juice with the jellifying sugar. Depending on the weight of the juice ( you must weigh the juice – as there exists a rule of 1kg (2.2 pounds) jellifying sugar for 1kg (2.2 pounds) of juice) leave the blend to a boil until it starts showing syrupy, stir regularly.

- As soon as the juice gets a syrupy consistency take the pot off the stove and fill the Merlot jelly into the marmalade jars. Close the jars and stock them in a cool and dry place.