dandelion wine - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 05-18-2003, 08:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I couldn't decide whether this should go in crafts, because it feels like a craft to me, or healthy eating, because it is something we put in our bodies, or even talk amongst ourselves because it doesn't quite fit in either of the others. Moderator, feel free to move it if you like!

Anyway, I'm making some now, and I'm having so much fun with it.

My daughters and I spent about an hour picking dandelion heads on Friday, then I made a "tea" out of them. Now I have to go strain the dandelions out and add wine yeast and sugar and let it sit for another several days before I siphon it into a carboy, where it will brew for at least three months before we try it.

My neighbor made it last year and is helping me with this first batch of mine. We have a "homebrew emporium" relatively nearby where I bought wine yeast, carboy, syphon, and fermentation lock and got lots of friendly advice.

If this works out, I think my next attempt will be either strawberry wine or mead (honey wine). I will definitely try rootbeer and/or other non-alcoholic brews in the future.

One thing that excites me about this new "craft" is the gift possibilities. I am imagining handing the relatives six-packs of various homemade brews with labels beautifully decorated by my daughters.

Has anyone else done this or any other sort of wine? Or beermaking?
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#2 of 13 Old 05-19-2003, 09:23 AM
 
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Wow- that sounds like such fun!

I made mead with a friend several years ago. We used an apple juice jug, a plastic tube and a balloon. The recipe called for honey, water, and spices. We let it sit for a month or so and broke it out for a party.

Let me tell you, I could not drink a full glass. It was a racous party and I do believe the extremely strong Mead had something to do with that!

We belonged to a CSA at an apple farm last year and they made the yummiest apple wine. One was apple rhubarb and it was delicious.

Let us know how the dandelion turns out- I'd love to give it a try some day.

-jeanie
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#3 of 13 Old 05-19-2003, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If this dandelion wine turns out, I will see if I can save you a bottle.

I tried my neighbor's dandelion wine last year, and it was very good, but it definitely didn't make us raucous like your mead! I can't wait to see how this turns out.

Apple wine sounds yummy. Maybe I'll have to try that one this fall. Someone told me he'd made strawberry-rhubarb wine, which is also appealing.

This is the first craft I've done that my dh has gotten so excited over. :
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#4 of 13 Old 05-19-2003, 03:26 PM
 
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O Hydrangea - I've always wanted to try dandelion wine.

I used to brew a lot, but then stopped when I got a little bored and it got too expensive (I started making lots of high octane, many-years-in-the-bottle brews). I also made several meads back then. I never made it to all grain mashing - too much work!

But last year, after a few years off, I returned to brewing again, making only hard apple ciders. I wanted to make something that reflected my specific locale. Hard ciders are easy to brew, inexpensive, and easy to vary the flavors. So far we made the following varieties: black raspberry, a red raspberry, holiday spiced, ginger, and a high octane winelike one. This year, I hope to contract with a cidery and get 25 gallons of cider made from one type of apple and ferment this as a varietal.

Keep us posted as to how it turns out...
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#5 of 13 Old 05-19-2003, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Bamboogrrrl, where are you? I'm in Chatham in Columbia County.

That's great that you have done this and are using local harvests. I also want to do this. I definitely want to try doing hard ciders! I think my mother would be in heaven,
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#6 of 13 Old 05-19-2003, 08:40 PM
 
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One year my step dad and i made Elderberry wine.It was some STRONG stuff, and came out more like a brandy than a wine.

Since then I have wanted to do it again, but have not had the time or money for it.I would love to make some home made wine another time. It was a grat experiance..and one of the reasons I about drove myself crazy trying to find elderberry bushes in the PNW!!

Now I have two bushes and when they bllom I will have berries, although this year we will just eat them I think.

I also planted two grapes, but not the right type for wine. Maybe next year we will add to them?

Dandelion wine...what does it look like when it is finished? what doe sit taste like? I am really curious now!!
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#7 of 13 Old 05-19-2003, 08:44 PM
 
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My mother tried to make dandelion wine once when we were kids and it was the WORST tasting stuff we had ever had A couple years later, my step-dad tried his hand at blackberry wine and it was pretty good. Some of it tasted like liqueor and some ended up more like wine and a few came out vineger.

I have no advice, but let us know how it goes and turns out...

Mama to three small people; wife to one big person; pet-person to cats and dogs..."Be the change you want to see in the world"-- Gandhi
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#8 of 13 Old 05-19-2003, 09:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's sort of tea colored.

I tried my neighbor's last year, and it was kind of mellow and tasted a little more like beer than wine.

About 15 years ago I tried some in France, and it tasted more like a sweet sherry, with an herbal feeling to it.

I am not worried too much about how good it is, as long as it's drinkable. This is my first foray into homebrewing, and I just want it to work. If it works, then I can start experimenting.

Oh, the owner of the homebrewing store gave me a taste of his apricot wine on Saturday. It was very good. I think he had combined it with a little mead.

They make a lot of different wines and beers there. One of the guys says he's going to make maple wine this winter. He will use unrefined maple sap for the fruit and maple syrup for the sugar.
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#9 of 13 Old 05-20-2003, 09:57 AM
 
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Hydrangea: Hi neighbor! I'm in Ulster County outside of New Paltz - how cool is that?

Dh's best friend made dandelion wine when they were younger, and dh's memory of it was more like your French memories. Sweet, thick, golden...

Have to organize a community tasting sometime!
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#10 of 13 Old 05-20-2003, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That is cool. over there! Last night I was curious so I did a quick search on your name and didn't find out where you lived, but did see that you live in and are renovating an 1860s farmhouse. Same here! Ours was built in 1860. We bought it last year and are also trying to renovate it, but money is very tight, so we are just doing what we can, little by little.

I have a feeling my wine is going to come out more like my neighbor's, since I used his recipe and champagne yeast as opposed to wine yeast (according to the guys at the store champagne yeast makes a dryer wine). But I will certainly have to try in the future to make it more like that sweet golden stuff. Now that I am thinking of it, I am feeling nostalgic.
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#11 of 13 Old 05-21-2003, 05:00 AM
 
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I'd so love to get into wine making, but not the grape variety. Dh made some wine off the grapes on our vine last year but it tasted really icky. I don't think they were wine grapes It appeals to me a lot to make wine from local wild plants. We've got lots of gorse in flower in the hills right now & blackberries & elderberries. Not to mention we have these wild apple trees on the coast road by the beach down the road with lots of fruit on too. So there are lots of wild ingredients lurking around. I'm just a bit dubious about how to start.

I'm buying some cider apple trees this year too to make cider from eventually.

Any tips or web sites with info anyone know ?
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#12 of 13 Old 05-21-2003, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oceanmomma, I got all my help from my neighbors and the guys at the homebrew store. The store also has a lot of books on winemaking that look very interesting, but I don't have the names of any. I figured if this works I might invest a little more in it.

But I have been bookmarking a few winemaking sites that look interesting:

http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/index.asp
This one looks like the best to me. There's a huge amount here, and if you scroll way down, there's a whole section on blackberry wines.

http://www.joyofwine.net/

http://www.pioneerthinking.com/winemaking.html

If you know anyone IRL who does this, talk to them. I've discovered that people who make wine have a passion for it and love to talk about it and help out.
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#13 of 13 Old 05-24-2003, 11:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just wanted to say that I siphoned my wine into the carboy on Thursday evening, and it will stay in there for about three months, although I could leave it much longer.

Siphoning was more difficult than I had expected. I kept getting air bubbles in the tube, which stopped the liquid from going through. I have to figure out what that was about. Even with that problem, though, it took less than 20 minutes.

Waiting all those months is going to be difficult. I am going to need to start some more wines to keep me busy. Strawberry season will be starting soon...
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