The common wineberry (Rubus phoenicolasius) is a very close cousin of the raspberry. It originated in China and Japan and has escaped into the wild in North America. It grows into a bramble, a group of usually thorny arching canes with palmate-compound leaves (three leaflets originating from the same point). The canes are reddish-brown and grow up to 8 feet tall with pointed, roundish leaflets that are white underneath. This plant should not be confused with shrubs from New Zealand bearing the same name.
Clusters of small, inconspicuous pinkish-white flowers appear in the spring, followed by large, black, juicy berries in the summer. The berries are hollow when plucked from their stems, like the raspberry. Look for wineberries in thickets, fields, edges of woods or trails, and in moist soil wherever they have naturalized.
Wineberries are juicier and more sour than raspberries, with more flavor than most of their relatives. The seeds are hard, so if you purée the berries, it’s better to strain them out.
Use only sound, ripe berries, washed and destemmed. Crush berries and put all ingredients except yeast in primary. Pour boiling water over ingredients and stir well to dissolve sugar. Cover with plastic wrap until cooled to 70-75 degrees F. Add yeast, recover, and stir daily 5-6 days. Strain out fruit pulp and press to extract juice. Transfer to secondary, top up, fit airlock, and set in dark, cooler (60-65 degrees F.) place. Rack in 3 weeks and again in 3 months. Rack again in 3 months, stabilize, sweeten to taste if desired, and set aside 1 month before bottling. Store in dark place to preserve color. Age one year. [Author's own recipe]
My thanks to Dave Martin for this request.