This blog is a record of the wine that I make and drink. Each flavour made and each bottle drunk will appear here. You may come to the conclusion that, on the whole, I should be drinking less.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Rose Petal Wine - First Bottle (B3), 20th July 2017

We have been invaded by visitors. Rachel has a meeting in Leeds and no longer has a house, so she is staying in the large front bedroom. Adam, my 16 year-old first-cousin-once-removed, has come to paint walls, so we have put him in the attic. Our first bottle on Thursday evening (I fear I am a Bad Influence for the teenager) was Rose Petal, and this batch has turned out nicely. The colour is an attractive light red and it has a dry, substantial taste dominated by rose. Claire thinks this may be the best rose petal I have made - and if it is, I think that is down to using sultanas rather than grape juice.

If you want to see how I made this wine, click here

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Crab Apple Wine - Nineteenth Bottle (D3), 16th July 2017

Drinking the entire bottle tonight may have been a mistake. I have work tomorrow and we started this evening with two glasses of real wine at David and Liz's. Because real wine is a rarity, I now find it surprising when the last glass of wine from a bottle is as clear as the first. The suspicion that drinking the whole bottle was an error was exacerbated by our lateness of eating. Our meal was not ready until 9:15. Whilst alcohol has plenty of calories, a bottle of wine on an empty stomach does not make one full, only pissed*. Still, it was a good wine - full of crisp apple flavour - and is not as if I am flat-out at work.

*This has a different meaning in the UK (drunk) to the USA (angry), and I know quite a lot of my readers are from the USA. I don't get angry when drunk - I'm a genial inebriate.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Christmas Tutti Fruti - Sixth Bottle (A1), 15th July 2017

I have discovered how to improve this wine: chill it, and stop thinking of it as a bottle of red. Despite its colour, this Christmas Tutti Fruti is a rosé and chilling it removes the accusation of thinness. Full bodied red - Begone! Welcome to a crisp pink.

The day has been lovely, if lazy. I did an hour's bassoon practice (the Mozart continues to improve), visited an Open Garden (lots of potential, not realised) and finished The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Carson - a lovely book set in 1976 about growing up and the dangers of community and 'belonging'.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Prune & Parsnip Wine - Sixth Bottle (A4), 14th July 2017

This was a quiet Friday evening bottle, in which nothing remarkable happened and I was asleep by 10:30. There actually isn't that much else to say about it. We drank the wine to a risotto and then to an episode of QI, and commented on its golden colour.

This has to be the dullest entry ever, and so I will write no more. Let us never speak of this again.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Orange Wine - Fifth Bottle (B4), 12th-13th July 2017

Shortly after I opened this bottle, Claire gave her second shriek in as many days. Nothing to do with the wine and everything to do with invertebrates in the kitchen. On Tuesday there was a wolf-spider in our lesser used pan drawer and on Wednesday it was a slug on a pan lid. Orange wine was required to calm frayed nerves. And judging by how little was left for Thursday, they required considerable calming.

On Thursday, there was cause for celebration. Claire has a new job in immunology and it is a huge relief. A quarter of a bottle of orange wine was not a sufficient celebration, so we had a bottle of Prosecco as well.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Rhubarb Wine - Fourth Bottle (B5), 9th July 2017

The last Sunday night of a holiday is never great. Anticipation of what is waiting for you at work is at the front of your thoughts. I tried to move it back a place or two with the aid of rhubarb wine. I have said it before, and I will say it several more times, but this wine is excellent - what one wants in a bottle of white.

We spent much of the day in Skipton, watching the Sedbergh Orchestra play in the Somme 100 concert that we played in a week ago. It was a good experience, seeing how film and music fit together, and a wonderful project for the Arts Council to have funded.

A blurry photo of the concert we attended

Friday, 14 July 2017

Rose Petal Wine and Rose Petal & Orange Wine - The Making Of...

When Claire and I were married, 19 years ago, Betty Rumsby gave us rose vouchers as a wedding present. We bought two, both white. One was a rambler which produced a fine array of blousy roses and it was with sadness that we had to leave this when we moved house. The other was a bush. We planted this in the front garden that had no sunlight and dreadful soil. It put out the occasional rose but mostly sat and sulked. We took this with us and finally it is happy. This year it produced several white roses with a scent of sherbet and as they faded I collected the petals for my wine.

Our Rose

This and the photo on the top
left are two of my mother's roses
Meanwhile, Mom was also busy snipping roses from her garden - a mix of pink and red - freezing them and handing them over when our lives coincided. By Wednesday 5th July I had enough for my wine making plans.

That day I measured out 8 pints of rose petals, the amount required for a double batch, and put them in my bucket with 1 lb of minced sultanas, the juice from two oranges and 5½ lbs of sugar. I poured over 15 pints of boiling water (releasing a fabulous perfume), left it over night and added the yeast and a teaspoon each of nutrient, pectolase and tannin.

This year, at Claire's suggestion (and she is Always Right), I have also experimented by making a Rose Petal & Orange wine single batch. On Saturday 8th July - a day on which I have done little but enjoy the summer weather - I thinly peeled three oranges, avoiding the pith, and covered their peel with a pint of boiling water. I measured out 4 pints of rose petals and put these in the bucket with the juice from six oranges (nearly a pint of liquid) and 3 lbs sugar (so no sultanas this time, hence the increased sugar ratio). I poured over 5½ pints of boiling water and left it over night. Next morning I added the water covering the peel (though not the peel itself, which was discarded), the yeast and a teaspoon of each of the chemicals.

I put the Rose Petal Wine into its demijohns on Monday 10th July and the Rose Petal and Orange into its demijohn on Thursday 13th July, fishing out a dead beetle before I did so. The overall colour of both wines is a pinky-orange, but the Rose Petal & Orange has a lighter house-brick colour and is the more attractive.

The Rose Petal & Orange is on the left - but
it is difficult to discern the colour difference.