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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.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Orange Wine - The Making Of ...

March has come round quickly again, and with it my annual double batch of orange wine. Often, when making this flavour, everything around me suggests spring: the sun shines, birds chirp merrily and daffodils turn their head to the light. Today, 4th March, when it was not raining it was sleeting. We had 'Winter - the Return'. And rather than deciding to say snugly indoors bemoaning the weather, Claire and I went out in the worst of it to shovel horse manure into plastic bags for future gardening purposes. It was during this escapade that I was reminded my gardening shoes were demoted to such because one of them lets in water. This was not a jolly experience. Claire told me it could have been worse. Granted, we were not attacked by wolves and did not fall down a disused mineshaft, but other than that I am not sure how.

Anyway, safely back at home I started the orange wine. The first task was to thinly peel 12 of the 24 oranges, avoiding as much pith as possible. This was a tedious task and took a little less than an hour and a half.

Oranges freshly shorn of their peel
I covered the resultant peel with four pints of boiling water, to be left to one side for about a day.
The orange peel, before being covered with water
I then squeezed all 24 oranges, which is a sticky process, and put the juice in my bucket. As usual, attempting to avoid painfully stiff shoulders the next day, I swapped hands every two oranges and had a long break half way through. During the second half of this process I caught most of an excellent Radio 4 dramatisation of The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monserrat.

I poured seven-and-a-half pints of cold water into the bucket together with five-and-a-half pounds of sugar, the yeast and a teaspoon each of nutrient and pectolase. This is half a pound of sugar less than used on previous occasions, entirely because the bottle of orange wine drunk on 3rd March was just a little bit too sweet.
The orange juice, water and sugar in the bucket
I poured the water from the orange peel into the bucket once home from work on Monday 5th March. After leaving the mixture for another four days, though stirring it every morning and evening, I put it all into its two demijohns on Friday night, 9th March. The amount of water was very nearly exact - another quarter of a pint would have been just too much - and it is a glorious sunshine yellow.

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If you want to see how this batch tastes, you can click here

The wine in its demijohns