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.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Rhubarb Wine - The Making Of ...

I was planning on starting my rhubarb wine next weekend, but Julia rang today, 2nd May, to say that all her rhubarb plants were flowering and therefore next Saturday would be too late to harvest the stalks. As I had just put a bottle of Rhubarb 2010 in the fridge, this fitted in nicely. I made arrangements to meet Julia at her allotment gates at around four, and continued with my afternoon. This mostly consisted of continuing with 'The Lacuna' by Barbara Kingsolver. The more I read, the better it gets, which is what one wants in a book of 670 pages. It is extremely good at relating historical events from a personal point of view: Trotsky's assassination was brilliantly written and remarkably tense, even though I knew that this was his fate (but virtually nothing else at all about him). The rest of the afternoon was spent on the internet, reading and watching the news about Bin Laden's capture and death. Obama's address to the nation (and therefore the world) struck me as measured, intelligent and pleasingly free of triumphalism.

Anyway, plucking 6 lbs of rhubarb from Julia's allotment was quick work, and we spent most our time putting fleece over her strawberry plants in anticipation of Tuesday's predicted frost. Claire dug up some horseradish, which currently sits in our fridge awaiting culinary transformation.

Once at home I washed the rhubarb and cut the stalks up into slices of about half an inch, making sure that we got some from both Claire's grandmother's plant and the one given to us by Shirley. I put this into the bucket and pured over 13 pints of boiling water. The next morning, I added six pounds of sugar, a sachet of yeast (Champagne variety) and one and a half teaspoons of nutrient, though no pectolase.

I put this all into its two demijohns on Saturday, 7th May after a day of playing Wind Quintets in Kirkgate market (I'm now on YouTube !) followed by gentle pottering. Sieving out the rhubarb took longer than expected, even after trying to take out most the rhubarb floating on top of the liquid using the sieve as a scoop - a method suggested in a blog I am following on the blogosphere (Beekeeping and Homebrewing). I should have added an additional pint of water (at least) in the beginning stages. Demijohn A is dark glass, and I have wrapped demijohn B in silver foil.


  1. Please post the link to You Tube.

  2. Do you catch any flak for liking fruit wines? After all, they're not exactly fashionable. I once had a bottle of pineapple wine that tasted like a good Sauterne. My experience with dandelion wine, however, was not so agreeable. Of course, dandelion isn't a fruit. Come to think of it, I don't believe rhubarb is, either. I'll shut up now.

  3. The YouTube link is and I'm the one with a Y chromosone. We sounded better in real life - honest!

    I don't get too much flak, though I do get some fairly damning reviews for some of the wines at my annual wine parties. Orange is inexplicably unpopular. I agree with you about dandelion - I really only made it this year because I write a monthly article for Home Farmer Magazine, and for the April edition wrote about dandelions as the better of the two ingredients out there (the other one being nettle). I have done pineapple wine once, and I think it was the most alcoholic one I have ever made. It had a strange, cloying, yet somehow acceptable, flavour. And rhubarb is officially a vegetable.

    By the way, I loved your most recent post, but thought it would be a bit sycophantic just to leave a comment saying "I loved this".