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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.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Elderflower Wine 2012 - The Making Of ...

June is already proving to be a busy month, and today - Saturday 9th June - was really the only day I could dedicate to making elderflower wine. It is early in the season but next weekend is packed with concerts and the weekend after that could well be too late. I also need to fit 'Gooseberry wine' in somewhere.

Generally I go to Harewood to forage for my elderflowers. This year, however, to save both time and petrol, I thought I should check out the local playing fields on Stonegate Road. It was a good idea; this had elder trees flowering in abundance. Whilst going to Harewood makes elderflower gathering more of an event, there are definite attractions in picking them a five minute walk away.

I collected elderflowers from several trees and met virtually no-one whilst doing so. A large German Shepherd came sniffing around and I said "Good Dog", hoping that it was, rather than being the sort that would leap at my throat with a snarl. It trotted off again after its owner, and I continued with my foraging.

Picking elderflowers is the fun part of making this wine. Stripping them is not. I needed two pints for a double batch and my work rate is just less than a pint an hour. The last half-pint felt like it took forever. I helped things along by listening to Radio 4 comedy on i-player. John Finnemore's Cabin Pressure is very good.

Two pints of elderflowers and half a glass of sloe wine

I broke the stripping up by going to Sainsbury's to buy sugar and an extra litre of grape juice, but had to make do with 'Grape & Peach Juice Drink'. So, I put 2 pints of elderflowers in my bucket, then 5 lbs sugar, 1 litre of 'Grape Juice', 1 litre of the aforementioned 'Grape & Peach Juice Drink', 12 pints of cold water, one-and-a-half teaspoons of tannin, 1 teaspoon of pectolase, two crushed vitamin B tablets and two crushed camden tablets. I added the yeast and between a teaspoon and two of nutrient 12 hours later on Sunday morning.

Elderflowers in bucket
It all went into its two demijohns on Thursday evening, my 42nd birthday, when I should really have been revising for my first Accountancy exam tomorrow. It was a fast process, and Claire kept me company in the kitchen, mostly in friendly silence.

If you want to see how the first bottle of this turned out, click here