puzzlejunky
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Do any of you make your own wine?

I'm interested in wine-making. I get tons of dandelions that I use for teas and jelly, and I've never had dandelion wine, I'd like to try it. I also have blackberries that are too tart to eat right of the bush...something else besides jam would be nice.
I'm planting grapes...which I'm hopeful in a few years there will be enough for wine.

Do any of you use your bounty for wine-making? Is it hard? Do I need special equipment? Any recipes?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Do any of you make your own wine?

We've had a few wine makers around here over the years. Here's one sample:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... ng#p309774

I tried one time making lilac wine, but I tried to do it on the cheap, without all the expensive equipment usually used, using the balloon method:

https://www.easy-wine.net/homemade-balloon-wine.htm

It sounds simple and easy, but didn't work very well for me. I think I left it too long, but my balloon never really expanded very much, so something wasn't working right. Maybe I'll try it again some time. Probably not this year, since I'm way busy trying to get my house ready to sell and move out of state.
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sweetiepie
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Re: Do any of you make your own wine?

My husband has tried making wine with apple juice from apples I made apple butter with. He believes he may not of been careful enough with his sterilizing. It tasted like apple vinegar.

Since I can't drink, due to alcohol instantly makes me ill, I didn't pay much attention to him except to show him around the kitchen. Sorry, I do know he wants to try again, and has been researching so maybe next winter. Right now he wants to make a smoke house and I have a honey do list a mile long.

puzzlejunky
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Re: Do any of you make your own wine?

Your balloon link does sound easy....but it's discouraging that neither of you had any luck. I think i'll visit my library and pick up a book or two about it before I make any attempts.

Thanks!

puzzlejunky
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Re: Do any of you make your own wine?

This was on farmers almanacs feed this morning and shows an easy way to make dandelion wine:


https://farmersalmanac.com/home-garden/2 ... Almanac%29

I'm also reading From Vines to Wines by Jeff Cox which makes pruning grapes seem really complicated. It's an ok book..but I haven't gotten to the wine making part yet.

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sweetiepie
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Re: Do any of you make your own wine?

Pruning grapes makes since in the book but when I get to my plants they don't look anything like the book and they didn't come looking like the book either. They have three main trunks or vines coming out of the ground for one plant. I have been working on pruning them to book shape but just leery of doing it wrong.

So, yes, complicated. Please let us know if you find a recipe that works.

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applestar
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Re: Do any of you make your own wine?

Raising hand as one more that wants to LEARN.

For now, I just make liquor which just involves white liquor, vodka, or rum poured over the fruits and sugar and stored for a few months.

I 've also made sugar extracted juice/syrup for the kids which are strained out and boiled BEFORE they start to ferment, and I dehydrated the remaining fruits into soft dried fruits -- I did this with plums and apples a few years ago and my kids still talk about "Mama's Prunes" and how good they were.
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Gary350
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Re: Do any of you make your own wine?

I have been making wine for 45 years. Fruit makes good wine because it has good flavor. Flowers smell good but makes terrible wine. Blackberries make excellent wine but needs to age 4 years to be good. I win Best of Show and First Place with my Blackberry wine and Raspberry wine. Go to a wine supply store to get supplies you need to get started. Get used wine bottles from recycle dumpsters. 5 gallons of wine makes 28 bottles. I like to buy wine kits, I buy only the GOLD first place winner kits they are less work than fruit. I don't much wine these days from scratch. Squeeze juice from blackberries you need 4 gallons of juice, no seeds. no skins, to make 5 gallons of good wine. This is equal to $50 and $75 per bottle wine not $5 wine. Some wines only need to age 2 years to be good enough to drink. I keep about 200 bottles of wine aging all the time that way I don't need to make more than 28 to 56 bottles each year.

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applestar
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Re: Do any of you make your own wine?

I still haven’t started trying to make wine although I have tentatively started collecting the necessary equipment and the additive ingredients.

But in the meantime, I was wondering about something — I sort of suspect my question has nothing to do with wine-making, but I figured this might be a good thread to latch onto....

I was reading about distilled spirits, and read that the initial liquid must be discarded because it contains toxic substances, but after that, the harvested liquid are mostly free of these substances.

Then I read that some fruit liqueurs made by steeping fruits and sugar in 80+ proof liquor (vodka, rum, brandy) can contain higher % of this same toxic substance than others, which can lead to headaches and other reactions. I think this might explain why some of the liqueurs I’ve made inherent past were “strong” or in other ways unpleasant? (Unfortunately apple brandy liqueur made with a rather expensive brandy was one of them....)

Is there a way to eliminate these substances from the liqueurs other than distilling? I thought maybe this problem occurs in wine-making, too?
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Vanisle_BC
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Re: Do any of you make your own wine?

Applestar, you started this thrread in 2013? and STILL haven't made any wine? Shame on you!

Anyway to address your comments: I haven't heard of toxic substances left in the original part of a drinkable wine from which spirit has been (illegally :)) distilled. Maybe the reference you saw was to dodgy recipes for home made 'bathtub' spirits. (Shades of Bob Dylan; "Get you a copper kettle" ...)

It's not all that uncommon (haha) for folks who've drunk too much, to say there must have been something toxic in the booze. There was - alcohol!

Anyway my wife & I have been making wine for decades (without very sophisticated equipment) both from kits and from harvested produce - also make vodka-based liqueurs - with very few absolute failures (some of those resulted in flavorful vinegars which got bottled for Xmas gifts.) We've made 'country' wine from many things including dandelions, peapods, rose hips, just about anything we could grow or scavenge. Country wines, lacking high-sugar grapes, nearly always need a lot of sugar in the recipe; 2.5 to 3lb per pound of 'fruit.' Our favorites nowadays are a faux saké made with rice, raisins & sugar; and a rhubarb and ginger wine which also uses sugar. Ah there's also 'Grandma's Sherry' at Xmas, made with oranges, raisins, potatoes, and of course sugar.

We enjoy making liqueurs - the main one using blackberries and sugar in Vodka. We strain off the finished liquid and freeze the alcoholic berries as 'Adult Blackberries' for use in trifles and other desserts. We've always used vodka as the spirit base. I can imagine that brandy and the like might over-complicate the flavor.

By the way you mentioned distilling liqueurs. I wonder if that would even be possible; the alcohol content may alrready be as high as you could get it (or would want?)

C'mon, get started in making wine !!
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Gary350
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Re: Do any of you make your own wine?

Wine Making 101

Best thing to do is go to local wine making store, buy a wine making supply kit and a wine juice kit. The supply kit will have a 7 gallon bucket, hydrometer, stir, siphon, hose, air lock, everything you need to make wine expect the juice. Buy a Winexpert kit, 1 that says Gold metal winner or best of show. If you know a wine that you like buy a kit to make that wine. Step by step instructions come with the kit there are only 4 sets to making wine, 1 primary fermentation, 2 secondary fermentation, 3 stabilizing & clearing, 4 bottling. Once you see how easy it is then you can make wine from scratch with your own fruit & berries. Keep your wine kit instructions for making more wine from fruit & berries you grow or buy at farmers market.

The TN wine store sells supply kits for $50. A 6 gallon glass jug is $30. A low cost Island Mist kit is $60. It is Christmas buy yourself a gift think of how much fun you will have making wine.

I think there are also supply kits that contain the glass jug too they are more expensive about $90 to $100 total.

I already have my supply kit i use it over and over for all my wine. All I have to do to make more wine is buy another juice kit. I reuse my bottles over and over. If I am careful I can reuse my corks several times.

If you buy a 5 gallon wine juice kit then your need a 5 gallon glass jug. You can't make a 6 gallon kit with a 5 gallon jug. Buy a juice kit first then buy a jug for it.

This $7 wine recipe book has 100 recipes.

Go to wine making forum read about making wine its free you don't have to buy a book.

https://winemaking.jackkeller.net/index.asp
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Vanisle_BC
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Re: Do any of you make your own wine?

I second Gary's recommendaion about that wine recipe handbbok. I have it and it's useful. I'll also note that (at least hereabouts) there's plenty of used wine making equipment for sale cheap. Primary fermenters, glass carboys, fermentation traps. With one of each of those you're ready to go. Sometimes you can get them all together, and more besides, as a package at garage sales.

For bottles I suggest screw tops. Corks are more of a nuisance item, for both sealing the bottles and opening them. Arguably they're less eco-friendly than reusable metal tops. We've built up a supply of screw-top bottles that get continuously reused.
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!potatoes!
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Re: Do any of you make your own wine?

i don't think i've ever seen this thread before!

i've been making mead pretty regularly since 2011. lots of fruits, flowers, teas, herbs, etc, and lots of foraged ingredients. DW can't do cane sugar so honey is by far our fermentable of choice. i've always only used wild yeasts, to keep my wizard credentials buffed up. lots of small batches for experiment's sake with occasional big batches of proven recipes or ideas.

my process is fairly long (9-ish months from start to bottle), which is part of why i've done as much as i have - keep the pipeline full so there's something to do regularly. it's an entertaining hobby that makes great gifts!

a few favorites that have seen a few repeats are a mugwort/rooibos one, variations on lapsang souchong, bochets (made with caramelized honey), and the seasonal ones made when one fruit or another is in abundance (serviceberry, wild blueberry, pawpaw, etc)...dandelion mead was one of the first i ever made and it's outstanding, but i haven't invested a day in collecting and then cleaning (read: removing all green bits) that much dandelion since. but i ought to.

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Gary350
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Re: Do any of you make your own wine?

!potatoes! wrote:
I've been making mead pretty regularly since 2011. lots of fruits, flowers, teas, herbs, etc, and lots of foraged ingredients. DW can't do cane sugar so honey is by far our fermentable of choice.. dandelion mead .
I made mead wine 1 time it is very good wine. I bought a 1 quart jar of honey we used it a few times. One day I notice honey jar looks like it is full of coffee grounds it turned out to be 1000s of dead ants. Wife wanted to throw honey in the trash but I said, NO way I paid about $30 for that. I ate some honey on pancakes and peanut & honey sandwich ants had no noticeable flavor. Wife kept telling me, don't eat that. I said, why not people in other countries eat bugs it is good protein. I knew she would throw it in trash when I was not looking so I make mead wine. Mead wine cost me $10 per bottle to make. I prefer a good red wine.

I made wine with flowers & dandelions once it over dosed my allergies with pollen and put me in the hospital emergency room. A few minutes after drinking dandelion wine I got dizzy & passed out then woke up in the hospital 18 hours later. I am not making anymore pollen wine. Flowers have good smell but no flavor. I won't put flowers in tea or food either.

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!potatoes!
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Re: Do any of you make your own wine?

$30 for a quart jar is exorbitant! i wouldn't have thrown it away either (but i probably wouldn't have bought it at that price in the first place). i've made mead with ant-infiltrated honey before as well. the formic acid gave a nice little bite. i think it costs me maybe 7 or 8 dollars per bottle (plus a bunch of labor if I'm foraging ingredients). i make enough mead that i buy honey in bulk, though.

regarding pollen, definitely take care of yourself in regards to your allergies, but if the wine was really clear and racked off it's trub, there shouldn't have been any pollen in what you were drinking. maybe you rushed things?

i have to disagree with you about flowers not contributing flavor, but it is mild and takes a lot of flowers. my dandelion mead takes a gallon of cleaned petals to make a gallon of mead. for your safety i won't send to some to try :)

just noticed you said 'flowers and dandelions' - what other flowers did you use?

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Re: Do any of you make your own wine?

I only ever made mead once, from honey with (I think) no other flavoring. Didn't care for it much but we drank ityoung, so not a fair test. We have our own label with the motto "Some we bottle, some we just drink."

Cleaning the petals off dandelions is a major pain. Makes me think of those poor women in (?)India plucking the fragile saffron bits out of Crocus flowers. No wonder it's expensive even though they're probably poorly paid.
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applestar
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Re: Do any of you make your own wine?

When my DD’s were little, I occasionally made dandelion flower cordial for their "tea parties" (sweetened flower extract — basically precursor to making wine), but in very small batches. One time I picked about a gallon of flowers for the purpose, but something happened (can’t remember now what it was) and I couldn’t get around to processing them. The flowers had closed by the end of the day, and the next day, or the day after, all the flowers had turned into seedheads and puffed out of the bucket.....
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Re: Do any of you make your own wine?

applestar wrote:.... The flowers had closed by the end of the day, and the next day, or the day after, all the flowers had turned into seedheads and puffed out of the bucket.....
Reminds me of the time, staying with my granny, I brought home a jar of tadpoles & hid them under the bathroom sink. soon they developed legs and were found jumping all over the house.
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