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, 3 July 2011

Gooseberry Wine - the Making of ...

Julia has been telling me that her gooseberries are ready for picking for some time. But the first evening I have been free was Friday, 24th June. Life has been pretty frantic recently, what with working full time and being in the middle of concert season. But it was important that I did not miss out on Gooseberry Wine this year as it has, at its best, been exquisite in the past. So, Claire and I  turned up to Julia's allotment on Friday evening armed with plastic bags and set to work.

The fruit was thinner on the ground than previous years, but an appropriate amount of crouching and stretching resulted in successs. Julia's bushes are dense and invaded by knot weed. This, apparently, is a suitable nesting place for robins, and Julia disturbed one whilst picking. She was upset about this as robins are nervous creatures, so I avoided this area and picked elsewhere.

My arms still bear the marks of Friday evening's activity, looking like I have been playing with a bad-tempered cat. This is a small price to pay.

I was going to make the wine on Friday evening, 24th June, but we did not finish eating until quarter past nine, so I left it until Sunday 26th June instead. I washed the gooseberries, thought did not bother to top and tail them, and crushed them in the bucket. Most of the six pounds were picked by me, though 4 oz came from Julia and Claire's bag. The gooseberries crushed more easily than in previous years, and therefore were probably riper. I suspect there will be a large deposit.

One pound of gooseberries
I poured six pints of boiling water over the crushed fruit and it sat around in the kitchen for about five hours before I added a teaspoon of pectolase.

On Wednesday night, after a satisfying WYSO rehearsal, I sieved the liquid into a demijohn.  Much of this was the colour and consistency of a stew made up mostly of broadbeans, and so this process took longer than deal and made me irritable. I added the sugar to the (freshly washed and sterilised) bucket - 2lbs and 10 oz of it - and poured the liquid back. After stirring it all up, I put in the yeast (Bordeaux variety) and one teaspoon of nutrient. I put it into its demijohn on the morning of 3 July whilst listening to Rodeo on Radio 3 - an exciting piece of music that WYSO will be playing next term. The wine is an attractive pale green.


  1. I was hoping for some gooseberry action this year but it wasn't to be. We didn't get a single berry. Think my dad got a few but not enough to do anything more than a crumble.

  2. Do you have trouble with sawfly? Our gooseberry bushes are infested, and I spent most of April plucking them off and squashing them. Apparently, sawfly is a common reason for poor crops of gooseberries.