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.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Making Elderflower Wine ...

I began making elderflower wine on 5th June, and that is a good two weeks earlier than previous years. Our hottest ever April and the driest spring for a century will have something to do with the elders' early flowering. Also, I could have left making this wine for a week, but I suspect not much longer.

I headed out to the Harewood Estate at shortly past ten - without Claire this year. She wanted to use her time pottering in the garden. As I was alone, I did not immediately trespass into a farmer's field. Instead I walked along a public bridleway, picking what flowers I could. This was all done to a sound track of birdsong and the distant roar of expensive sports cars at some Sunday rally. Every so often I heard the muffled voice of a tannoy announcer reading out timings.

The elderflowers along the bridleway were sparse. I picked about half that needed for a double batch - but there, tempting me in a field to which there was no right of way, were flowering eldertrees in abundance. Of course I hopped over the fence and filled my plastic bag. And, as last year, no irate farmer chased me away.

Back at home it took me about three hours to strip two pints of flowers and again I was grateful for both Radios 3 and 4. I followed the instructions in my Home Farmer article, so covered the flowers with 5 lbs sugar, 13 pints tap-water and 2 litres of grape juice. I added 2 crushed B1 and Campden tablets, about 1 1/2 teaspoons of tannin (thus emptying the container) and a teaspoon of pectolase. I added the yeast and one teaspoon of nutrient 24 hours later. The flowers will be sieved out and the liquid will go into the demijohns on Saturday - Friday would be ideal, but I am out playing quintets in Harrogate that night.