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Dragon Blood Wine

Dragon Blood Wine

Hello, I am Carlos Ocampo, chemical engineer, doctor of engineering, and the founder of one of the most active communities in winemaking for beginners since 2009. Today I will teach you how to make Dragon Blood Wine.

Just as it could have happened to you, I started in the world of wines out of curiosity, and since then it has been one of my most passionate hobbies. That same passion led me to create a community on Facebook and this blog where I want to document lessons learned to improve home winemaking from a scientific and practical approach.

One of the recipes that I have been requested the most is Dragon Blood Wine. There are some famous publications on the internet about it, for example, the famous recipe prepared by Danger Dave in 2013; I set out to review them, prepare some wines with them and propose some improvements that I would like to share with you below.

I invite you to experiment and have fun making wine. Something very important is that you keep a record of all the steps so that later you can carry out traceability or return to an improvement. Also, remember to always work with all your vessels and implements clean and sanitized.

Dragon Blood Wine
Dragon Blood Wine

The Dragon Blood Wine is made from raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Additionally, you could add a lemon twist. A characteristic of this wine is its translucent and bright red color, which is very pleasing to the eye. Its fermentation is generally fast, which allows you to enjoy it in a couple of weeks, with fruity flavors, and an aroma that you fall in love with.

Here are the steps I suggest to make six (6) gallons of a Dragon Blood Wine. Follow them carefully.

Step 1: Select a container of seven to eight gallons capacity, clean and sanitized, to which you are going to add the following ingredients in the strict order:

  • 1 bottle (48 oz or 1.4 Liters) 100% Lemon Juice I suggest the ReaLemon brand, although any other could be used. This additive lowers the pH and improves fermentation. If you want a less acidic wine, you can decrease the addition a little or eliminate it completely.
  • Water to about four gallons.
  • 4 kilograms (8.8 lb) of white granulated sugar and stir until completely dissolved. 
  • 1 tsp. tannin, and stir until homogenized.
  • 3 tsp. yeast nutrient, and stir until homogenized.
  • 1 tsp. yeast energizer, and stir until homogenized
  • 3 tsp. pectic enzyme, and stir until homogenized
  • Topwater to six (6) gallons and stir for one minute more, and measure the SG. The idea is to get an SG of around 1.079 after filling to 6 gallons and start the fermentation process.
  • 2.7 kilograms (6 lbs.) of Triple Berry Blend (composed of raspberry/blackberry/blueberry). Place the fruits in a fine mesh nylon bag, tie them tightly, then immerse them in the fermentation vessel. The idea is not to add them directly, to facilitate the separation process at the end, since this fruit releases short and solid fibers.
  • Cover the vessel with a towel or fabric, and adjust it. Important: Due to the generation of carbon dioxide it is not advisable to cover it hermetically. It could inflate or explode, an airlock is also not recommended, to prevent it from collapsing.
  • Keep at room temperature and undisturbed for exactly 26 hours (I ran a set of experiments and it was the optimal).

Step 2: Primary fermentation of the Dragon Blood Wine.

  • Add 1 packet of EC-1118 Yeast into one cup of warm water and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. It helps the yeast for hydration. 
  • Drain the hydrated yeast to the fermenter vessel and stir.

Step 3: Fermentation monitoring:

  • Let the fermentation take place, monitoring every day and recording the temperature, the SG, and keeping a photographic record of the color in a notebook.
  • Keep the fruit submerged and check that the nylon bag is not floating due to carbon dioxide. Some people suggest to remove it, but I found that continous contact improves the taste. And do not squeeze the bag!
  • Stir vigorously once a day to oxygenate and homogenize the yeasts.

Step 4: Primary fermentation stop signals:

  • When the SG drops to <1.000 it’s time to stop the primary fermentation. 
  • Remove the nylon bag, and discard the fruit. I recommend waiting for three days in order to get the SG to stabilize, closing the fermentation vessel with a cap and an airlock.

Step 5. Racking:

  • Using a siphon, drain the wine into a cleaned and sanitized six-gallon carboy
  • Add 1/4 tsp. Potassium Metabisulfite and 3 tsp. Potassium Sorbate, therefore stir
  • Add a clearing agent, stir for 2 minutes.
  • Make sure the carboy is filled to about two inches from the top, and install an airlock plug. In this way, it better preserves the wine.
  • Allow clearing undisturbed for no less than 1 week.

Step 6: Dragon Blood Wine Clarification:

  • Carefully rack off the wine into a cleaned and sanitized container (For more information about Cleaning a Carboy, click here).
  • Add 2-6 cups of white granulated sugar according to your taste, and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. You must wait a few minutes before tasting it because the dissolution of sucrose is slow.
  • Replace bung and airlock
  • Allow wine to sit quietly for another week.

Later, you can drain it into the bottles, and enjoy a wine with an unforgettable color and flavor.