Category Archives: Flower Wines

How To Make Flower Wines

In previous articles on this subject I have recommended the use of a synthetic must in flower wines as a basic fermentable medium and one which improved these wines a good deal. This is not now available. It is a fact that flowers themselves do not produce good fermentation although we add tannin in the form of tea and acid in the form of citric — two essentials of a good fermentation and of a well-balanced wine. Yeast will of course ferment the sugar, but more than just sugar, acid and tannin are needed for a good wine. Because the synthetic must is no longer available we must revert to an old stand-by that gives the yeast ‘something to get its teeth into’ and which improves the wines very greatly: raisins or sultanas. Raisins however give their flavour into the wine and in these delicately aromatic wines raisin flavour would be out of place. We must settle for sultanas which give the yeast what it needs and the wine some character and fullness without any flavour, so that the delicate flavours of the flowers come to the fore.

These wines, like wines made from vegetables, are unique in that their like cannot be found anywhere except where they are made.

How To Make Flower Wines Reminders

When measuring the amount of flowers required put them in a measuring jug and gently bump the jug on a wooden surface to settle the flowers, petals or florets. Do-not press down by hand, otherwise too much may be used; in the case of elderflowers and hawthorn blossom the result would be wines with an overpowering flavour.

The amount of citric acid, together with the citric acid contained in the oranges, has been found to be sufficient for flower wines. However tastes vary and if you feel that a little more is needed, you may always use it.

DANDELION WINES

Gather the flowers on a sunny day, without picking the tiniest piece of stalk. The stalk contains a bitter ‘milk’ which could find its way into the wine and make it bitter. When gathered, the heads close up, so all you need do is to hold the green calix in one hand and pull off all the petals with the other. This can be done when you get home.

DRY

3 qt dandelion petals (about 1 gall heads); 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 675 g (1 ½ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 2 oranges; good wine yeast and nutrient; few drops Pektolase; water as in method MEDIUM

3 qt dandelion petals (about 1 gall heads); 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) sugar; 3 di (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 2 oianges; good wine yeast and nutrient; few drops Pektolase; water as in method SWEET

4 qt dandelion petals (about 5 qt heads); 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 1.125 kg (2 ½ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 2 oranges; good wine yeast and nutrient; few drops Pektolase; water as in method

METHOD

Put the flowers in the fermenting vessel with the chopped sultanas, tea, sugar and citric acid and pour on about 4 1 (7 pt) of boiling water. Stir well to dissolve the sugar, cover closely and leave to cool to about 18°C (65°F) — lukewarm. Then stir in the yeast nutrient and Pektolase. Grate the orange rind over the mixture. Then halve the oranges, press out the juice, strain it and stir the strained juice into the mixture. Cover with sheet polythene (or fit the lid), tie down tightly with strong string and put the mixture in the warm to ferment for eight or nine days, stirring daily.

The next step is to strain out the solids through three or four thicknesses of muslin and to press as dry as you can. Clean the fermenting pail and return the strained wine to this. Cover as before and leave in the warm to continue fermenting for a further five or six days, or a little longer if fermentation still appears fairly vigorous.

Having done this, pour very carefully into a 5 ltr (1 gall) jar leaving as much deposit in the pail as you can. Fill the jar to where the neck begins. If not filled to this level, top up with boiled water, then fit a fermentation lock and leave until all fermentation has ceased.

GORSE WINES

Pale golden beauties.

DRY

3 qt gorse flowers; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 775 g (1 ¾ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 2 oranges; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

MEDIUM

3 ½ qt gorse flowers; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 1.125 kg (2 ½ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 2 oranges; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeaSt and nutrient; water as in method

SWEET

1 gall gorse flowers; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 1.225 g (2 ¾ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 3 oranges; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

METHOD

Proceed as for dandelion wine.

ROSE-PETAL WINES

This wine varies considerably with the varieties of rose-petals used. Try to use as many fragrant sorts as possible. Colour is not important, but the more red varieties used the more attractive the wine will be. If you cannot obtain enough petals at the start, add more during fermentation. The petals should be collected as they are almost ready to drop. Do not make this wine sweet, unless

you insist, in which case follow the recipe for medium, but use 1.125 kg (2 ½ lb) sugar.

DRY

6 pt rose petals; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 775 g (1 ¾ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 2 oranges; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

MEDIUM

6-8 pt rose petals; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 1.450 g (3 ¼ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea; 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 2 oranges; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

METHOD

Proceed as for dandelion wines.

If you have to add petals to make up the total during fermentation, extend the fermentation period in the pail a few days longer, but take off or strain out the first lot of petals after eight or nine days.

ELDERFLOWER WINES

Delightfully pungent flavour, but quite strong so few florets are needed. Do not make a sweet elderflower wine unless you insist, in which case use ½ pt more florets and 1.125 kg (2 ½ lb) sugar. However you may find that a sweet wine lacks flavour; using more florets is not the answer because the pungency of flavour may be a little too strong.

DRY

1 pt elderflowers; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 775 g (1 ¾ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea (or pinch grape tannin if you want a white wine); 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 2 oranges; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

MEDIUM

As above, but use 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) sugar.

METHOD

Proceed as for dandelion wine.

If you use grape tannin instead of tea, add when you would the tea.

HAWTHORN BLOSSOM WINES

Another pungently flavoured white wine which is whiter if a pinch of grape tannin is used instead of the tea. Hawthorn blossom wine is not the best when sweet because the sweetness reduces the flavour. Using more blossom produces a rather too strong a flavour. But you can try it if you like using 2 pints blossom and 1.125 kg (2 ½ lb) sugar.

DRY

1 ½ pt hawthorn blossom; 450 g (1 lb) sultanas; 775 g (1 ¾ lb) sugar; 3 dl (½ pt) freshly made strong tea (or pinch grape tannin); 1 level 5 ml spoonful citric acid; 2 oranges; few drops Pektolase; good wine yeast and nutrient; water as in method

MEDIUM

Follow the above recipe, using 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) sugar.

METHOD

Proceed as for dandelion wine, adding the tannin when you would the tea.

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