Homemade Black Currant Wine or Raisin Wine Recipe

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So as an East Indian, it’s pretty normal for almost everyone I know to have their own recipe for how to make the traditional currant wine. And so do we!

Of course, over time, we’ve modified it a bit, replacing ingredients to make our homemade sweet port wine more flavorful, and wink wink strong!

I’ve had complaints from the cousins that my raisin wine makes them sleepy, lethargic, drowsy, aamlela, and so on. But that hasn’t stopped them from drinking it! 😉

Did you know that raisin wine or currant wine is also called straw wine? It’s because the raisins or currants are dried on straw mats in the sun for days till they get all wrinked up. These dried fruit are then used to make wine, and hence the name straw wine. Why do we make wine from dried currants or dried raisins? Because in warmer climates like Mumbai where we live, it’s not always feasible to make wine from fresh grapes, though we still do.

Note: I say currant wine or raisin wine interchangeably because we use the same recipe for both these sweet wines. So whether you have access to raisins or sultanas or kismis or currants, either will work, and your wine will turn out like a sweet port wine.

If you want the recipe for a fruit wine, we’ve got the pineapple wine recipe up on the blog too. Or if you want something spicy, try our ginger wine recipe. Or if you want something cheaper, click through to this homemade fresh grape wine recipe.

What does currant wine taste like? What does raisin wine taste like? Currant wine or raisin wine tastes like a sweet or very sweet port wine.

Before we start with the recipe though, please note that here in Mumbai, we’re allowed to make wine or beer at home as long as it’s for personal consumption. Just remember to check the legal requirement in your state or country before attempting to make wine at home.

Ingredients for the Currant Wine or Raisin Wine

1 kg currants or raisins
*1.25 kgs sugar
120 grams whole wheat grains
*25 grams active dry yeast
4.5 litres water
3 or 4 cinnamon sticks – Optional
2 orange skins – Optional
Half teaspoon Baking Soda

Notes here:
*The traditional recipe uses 2 kgs of sugar for a kg of currants. But we don’t like too much sugar. So we use just 1.25 kgs. Of course, if you love a glass of super-sweet wine, feel free to stick to the 2 kgs of sugar.
*If you’re using Indian yeast, you’ll need 25 grams, but if you’re using foreign yeast such as Saf Levure or DCL, just 15 grams is good. Those little beasties are a lot stronger.


  • Barni (Traditional Ceramic Jar)
  • Demijohn
  • Fermentation bucket
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Sieve
  • Muslin Cloth
  • Pestle and Mortar
  • Stainless steel pot

Steps to make the Currant Wine or Raisin Wine at home

Start by sterilising your wooden spoon, wine bucket or demijohn. Here in Bombay, we use these old ceramic jars that we call barnis. One barni, many barnis. We still have some from ages time.

So basically you’re washing your spoon, wine bucket or barni with hot water to make sure it’s super clean. We use a wooden spoon, but you’re also okay with a steel or tough food-proof plastic spoon.

We also don’t use a hydrometer, but my friend says the alcohol content in our wines should be about 10 to 15%. That’s probably why the cousins feel sleepy. I plan on getting a hydrometer once the stores actually open up over here, but after years of making wine without measuring specific gravity, I wonder if I really need to.

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If you plan on using a hydrometer, take your specific gravity readings just before you add in the yeast, and again after a week, and then at a few more intervals depending on how strong the wine is.

Fill your barni with the water you'll be using for the wine
Fill your barni with the water you’ll be using for the wine

Start by adding 4.4 litres of water to your demijohn or bucket or barni. (Leave 100 ml out for proofing the yeast.) Also add in the 1 kg of currants or raisins, and 120 grams of whole wheat grains.

Measure out 2 kgs of sugar for this traditional currant wine
Measure out 2 kgs of sugar

Measure out your 1.25 kgs of sugar and add most of it to the barni, leaving a few teaspoons aside for proofing the yeast.

The yeast starts to bubble as soon as you add it to the water and sugar
The yeast starts to bubble as soon as you add it to the water and sugar

Mix the teaspoonfuls of sugar with water and add the yeast to it. Stir and leave for 10 minutes. As soon as you add the yeast, it starts to bubble. This pic is from the beginning. After 10 minutes, the yeast is bubbling like crazy. I just forgot to take a pic. Will add it the next time we make wine. Once it’s bubbling, add the yeast to the barni or wine bucket and stir.

Now add in a few sticks of cinnamon and 2 orange skins, and leave it be. The cinnamon and orange skins are optional, but I like that hint of flavor that they add to the wine.

Cover loosely with a lid and leave alone till the next day. One of my readers closed the lid tight and had a fun time cleaning up the kitchen. So I’m specifying here, it needs to be covered loosely with a lid so that the excess gases escape. If you’re using a barni, the lid is shaped in such a way that the gases escape. Demijohns too. If you’re using any other decanter, just place a lid on top so that it prevents flies, ants or insects from going inside. But it should not be closed tight!

Currant wine on the second day - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate.
Currant wine on the second day

This is what the wine must looks like on the second day just before stirring. The raisins start to float because of the density of the must.

On the third day the currants are pushed more to the top - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate.
On the third day the currants are pushed more to the top

On the third day, more of the raisins have risen to the top.

Day 7 of soaking the raisins - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate.
Day 7 of soaking the raisins

On day 7, they’re losing color. And I love how the smell has started to get heady. Taste a bit of the wine and check if you need to add more sugar to make it stronger. Keep stirring daily for one more week.

Barni or wine jars resting.

After two weeks, there are quite a few things to do.
1. Strain the wine using a sieve or muslin cloth into a stainless steel vessel, and throw away all the solid waste.
2. If you don’t have an extra ceramic jar or barni or wine bucket, leave the wine in the stainless steel vessel/pot while you, wash out the wine bucket or demijohn or barni.

3. Taste a wee bit of the wine, or maybe a lot of it! (It’s safe to drink now.)
4. Pour the rest of the strained wine back into the demijohn or ceramic jar aka barni. You’re wine is good to bottle and drink right here if you wish.

If you want to take it a step further and clarify the wine, and sterilize it, do this.
5. Add in half a teaspoon of baking soda and leave it alone for 1 to 2 weeks. The baking soda reduces the acidity, sterilizes the wine, kills off any remaining yeast, and also helps the dregs to settle. (The modern method is to use Campden tablets, but we don’t want to use chemicals. )

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6. If you’re not worried about acidity and only want to settle the dregs and clarify the wine, your alternative options are using 1/4th of an egg white, or one gelatin sheet, eggshells, or a few drops of milk. (While adding the egg white, first take out a bit of the wine in a mug, stir in the 1/4th egg white here, and then add this wine back to the ceramic jar where you can leave it for 2 more weeks.)
7. After 2 weeks, bottle and serve to drink.

Currant wine is ready to drink - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate.
Currant wine is ready to drink
Serve the Currant Wine - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate
Serve the Currant Wine

Well, technically, you should keep the bottles for a few weeks at least, till all the dregs have settled and the wine has clarified. At this stage, you change bottles and rack the wine again. But if you’re in a hurry, you can just drink it after step 4. Or share it with your friends and family for Christmas or Easter.

And that’s it! Strong currant wine is ready to drink. Like every East Indian, now comes the time to say Sukhala! Cheers to happiness!

Currant wine is ready to drink - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate

Homemade Currant Wine or Raisin Wine

A traditional homemade currant wine made for Christmas, Easter and other festivities. Here's the recipe with a few personal tweaks.
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Click the stars to add your rating! Left you don’t like it, right you love it!

Prep Time 1 hour
Fermenting Time 14 days
Total Time 14 days 1 hour
Course Drinks
Cuisine East Indian
Servings 40 Glasses (40 glasses of 150 ml or 6 litres)
Calories 84 kcal
Dairy free icon on Abbysplate website.
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  • 1 Kilogram Currants (or Raisins)
  • 1.25 Kilogram Sugar
  • 120 g Whole Wheat Grains (If you want the wine to be gluten free, use whole rice grains.)
  • 25 g Active Dry Yeast (25 g Indian yeast, 15 g foreign yeast. See notes.)
  • 4.5 Litre Water
  • 4 Cinnamon Sticks (Dalchini) Optional
  • 2 Orange skins Optional

For Clarifying and Sterilizing

  • .5 teaspoon Baking Soda Optional


Prepare Your Equipment

  • Sterilize your jars, buckets or demijohns and spoons by washing with boiling water.

Proof The Yeast

  • Warm about 100 ml of water and stir in 2 teaspoons of sugar. (Take this sugar out of your main sugar.)
  • Add in the yeast and leave it aside for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, the yeast will be bubbling wildly and is ready to add to your wine bucket or ceramic jar.

Prepare The Wine Must

  • While the yeast is proofing, you can put together the rest of the wine ingredients to prepare the wine must.
  • Put 4.4 litres of water into the ceramic jar or barni or wine bucket.
  • Add in the sugar and whole wheat or whole rice grains and stir well.
  • Once the yeast has finished proofing, add it to this mixture and stir again.
  • Lastly add in the cinnamon sticks and orange skins and stir gently.
  • Cover loosely with a lid and leave overnight. (Do not tighten!)
  • For the next 6 days, stir daily every morning.
  • On the 7th day, test a bit of the wine and check if you need to add a bit more sugar to make it stronger.
  • Continue stirring for 7 more days. (Total 14 so far.)

Decant and Rack the Wine

  • On the 14th or 15th day, use a sieve or muslin cloth to strain the wine into another bucket or demijohn. (If you're using a ceramic jar, strain it into a stainless steel vessel, the wash out the ceramic jar and add the wine back to it.) This is what we do if we have multiple wines fermenting at a time and are running short of ceramic jars.
  • Add half a teaspoon of baking soda to the wine mix and leave it be for another 14 days. (The baking soda is optional. We sometims use it while decanting the wine if we want it to be clarified quicker.)
  • After this second slot of 14 days (so that's 28 days in total), you can bottle and rack the wine.
  • Of course, if you can't wait the extra 14 days for the dregs to settle, you can easily drink and serve the wine on the first Day 14 itself. Cheers! Or as we East Indians say, Sukhaka!

Please click to rate the recipe! Left you don’t like it, right you love it!


*To make the wine gluten free, either skip the whole wheat grains or substitute with whole rice grains. (That is rice with the husk on.)
*If you’re using Indian yeast brands such as Blue Bird or Crown, you’ll need 25 grams, but if you’re using foreign yeast such as Saf Levure or DCL, just 15 grams is good. Those little beasties are a lot stronger.

Stuff You Might Want to Use

2 Ceramic Jar or Barni
Wooden Spoon
Stainless Steel Spoon
King Arthur Baking - Heat Resistant Spoon
Muslin Cloth (Cheese Cloth)
Fermentation Bucket
DCL yeast
SAF yeast
Active Dried Yeast

Nutrition (Per Serving)

Calories: 84kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 22mg | Potassium: 232mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 22IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Nutrition Information per serving is estimated by a third party software based on the ingredients used, and is for informational purposes only. It will vary from product to product, based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients. Please consult the package labels of the ingredients you use, or chat with your dietician for specific details.

This printable recipe card is for home use only. For more recipes head over to AbbysPlate.com

If you want our traditional East Indian recipes on hand, the Abby's Plate Cookbook Series books are available online or in-store in most countries.

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31 thoughts on “Homemade Black Currant Wine or Raisin Wine Recipe”

  1. For one reason or another. My wine was left sitting in a demi John for a few months.
    I bottled it at the weekend.
    Wow. What a flavour. I’m not a wine lover but I love Port. It almost tastes like a pale golden Port. It’s absolutely delicious.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe 5 stars

  2. I like the recipee ..Very much what I prepare …except I don’t add baking soda…..how does it help when adding this ingredient. Do I add it right in the beginning.?..Thanks for all ur tips5 stars

    • Hi Mrs Saldanha,
      The baking soda is only used to clarify the wine at the end. We use it replace the traditional egg shells that the oldies used. It works a bit faster if you want the wine in a hurry, but can easily be skipped if you don’t want it.
      Do let me know if you have any more questions.

  3. Just prepared my batch of Currant Wine. Last week followed your recipe for Gingerwine too. Now it’s on Day 7. Sooooo thrilled to have come upon your site/ blog. Awesome recipes and can’t thank you enough for your generosity. And how you respond each question/query from all your readers with such patience and clarity! Mucho Gracias!
    Been wanting to make homemade wine for a while. A friend makes homemade wine regularly. I have requested the recipe a few times, but all I got was “oh, I just followed some recipe on Youtube, I don’t even remember which one…” – Well, I am glad I didn’t get hers, as now I got a feeling mine with your recipe will turn out much much better. ;). Shall report back in 2 weeks. Abby, sincere Thank You! You are awesome.5 stars

    • Hi Darleen,
      Whole wheat grains are grains of wheat that still have the husk on. The help the yeast to multiply faster. But if you don’t find them, it’s okay to skip them.

  4. Hi. I tried the recipe but the results were hilarious. I tightened the lid and hoped everything was okay. At 2 am a large sound of tree branch snapping and swishing down jolted us out of sleep…there was strong beerlike smell…I half expected the scene and turned on the lights….the wine or whatever was left of the ingredients was splattered in the crockery cabinet on every article inside….. I think the lid needs to be left Open

    • Hi Mangesh,
      The lid is not meant to be tightened. The gases need an escape route which traditional ceramic barnis or demijohns provide with the way their lids are shaped. Hopefully, the storage cabinet wasn’t too much of a mess. If you try the recipe again, please only cover the jar loosely with the lid!

  5. Hi Abby, can you please share the recipe for wine with fresh grapes. Here in Bangalore we get the Bangalore Blue grapes famous for wine and I want to try our East Indian wine with these grapes.

    • Hi Sheryl,
      This is a recipe that we sometimes use. https://abbysplate.com/fresh-black-or-green-grape-wine/ It’s a mix of my aunt’s and granny’s recipe, both from different sides of the family. This wine is not as strong as the currant wine, so it’s not as popular with our friends. But please give it a try, and let us know how it goes. 🙂
      It only makes about 2.5 litres, so you might want to double all the ingredients.

    • When it says ” whole wheat grains”. Can I use any type of wheat grain i.e. For beer or for bread? Does it matter what kind?
      Thanks. Andy

      • Hi Andy,
        These recipes follow the old ways our grannies made wine. So at that time, it would have been the regular grain used for cooking. It doesn’t matter which grains of wheat you use, as long as they have their outer layer.
        It’s also okay to skip the grains of wheat. They’re just a fermentation aid.

        • Thanks for the reply Abby
          Sorry for all the questions. But I have another lol.
          I’ve just mixed everything in the fermenting vessel. Does it taste quite strong of orange using the peel of 2 oranges? I like the taste of oranges but don’t want it to be a strong, dominant flavour.
          I’ve only used the peel of 1 orange for now.
          Thanks. Andy

          • Hi Andy,
            No, it’s not that strong. But the peel is optional. So adding just one is fine or adding none is fine too.
            Happy to help,

  6. Made it for Christmas 2020
    Fragrance is amazing
    Tastes after 14 days…. Can’t wait to finish the whole lot

    Super recipe!!!!5 stars

  7. Very helpful and detailed recipe. Looking forward to how mine will turn out. Most recipes call for crushing the grapes slightly before mixing with water and other ingredients. Will that step make any difference?5 stars

  8. Mine is in the jar for the last week. I thought it smelt funny at first, but one more week to go and it smells good now. Can’t wait to try it.5 stars


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