Between Julia, Claire and I, we picked 9 lbs 5 oz of gooseberries on Friday 24th June. This was enough for a batch and a half of gooseberry wine, or (pleasingly) a single batch of Gooseberry and a single batch of Gooseberry & Elderflower. Claire suggested some time ago that I try this flavour, and Brian Leverett provides a recipe on page 94 of his book, so I thought I would give it a go.
I was worried that it would be too late for elderflowers - afterall, it was three weeks earlier that I had made my neat elderflower wine. And if I could not find enough elderflowers I would not have been able to bulk up the gooseberries with those from our garden as they are not yet ripe. Happily, the fields across Stonegate Road had a tree just in flower. It was definitely past its first flush of youth - in that many flowers were brown in tinge and there were already prototype berries. However, there was sufficient bloom to make this wine possible.
The recipe calls for four flower heads, but all the bunches I picked were small, so I probably over-compensated. I ended up (after at least a half hour stripping session) with half a pint of flowers. These were added to 3 lbs 5 oz crushed gooseberries and 8 oz minced sultanas. According to the recipe, the elderflowers and sultanas should have been put in a muslin bag and then removed after 72 hours, but I don't have one of those, so they can stay in situ.
I poured over two pints of boiling water and added 2 lbs 12 oz sugar, and stirred it all up. I then added a further two pints of cold water, and I am sure it will need more when going into the demijohn. The same evening, though after a curry and several beers with Rachel and Duncan, I added the yeast and a teaspoon each of nutrient and pectolase.
I sieved out the fruit, flowers and sultanas on Sunday morning, 3rd July, and the liquid went into its demijohn. I was right - it needed another two pints of tap water. Berry wines usually need six pints of water in total. The colour is an unattractive biege - which must be the sultanas,