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.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Orange Wine 2013 - The Making Of ...

Street oranges
March is forever the month in which I make orange wine, so I spent much of February keeping my eyes open to source the raw ingredients. Last week I had a rare trip to the dentist, prompted by a throbbing gum around my remaining wisdom tooth, and on the walk home I noticed boxes of oranges outside a shop looking ripe and healthy and pleasing. On Saturday I returned to the shop and asked how much they were. Hearing "Twelve for a pound", my inner Yorkshire miser did pirouettes of joy. In fact, when I inspected them closely, I saw that they were: a) small; and b) a bit manky. However, with careful selection I managed to choose 24 oranges which passed muster.

Horse poo for the garden
I started the wine on Sunday, 3rd March, which was a day full of tasks. I had to write myself a list and tick them off as I went. So Claire and I went to the tip, bought a compost bin (that just cried out for a Dalek photo opportunity, which I indulged - complete with sink plunger, egg whisk and sieve on the head; for that photo click here), and went to the local stables to collect horse poo for the garden.
Back at home I thinly peeled twelve of the oranges, doing my best to avoid the pith, put the peel in our large stainless steel pan, and covered this with four pints of boiling water. Next I squeezed all the oranges, putting their juice and whatever fleshy parts that came loose into the bucket. I added seven pints of cold water, five and a half pounds of sugar, the yeast and a teaspoon each of nutrient and pectolase and gave it all a lengthy stir. This all sounds simple enough, but the whole process (including breaks to avoid stiff shoulders) took over three hours.

Orange peel in the pan, awaiting water.
On Monday morning I poured the water that had covered the peel into the bucket, discarding the peel. I transferred all the liquid into its demijohns on Friday night, 8th March. This was a quick process, which is a good job seeing as I did not start until after ten. I am currently struggling to keep my eyes open. There was not quite enough water added this year, and this must be down to the diminutiveness of the oranges. I think at least another pint would have been right. The yellow colour is not as vibrant as in past years.
Orange wine, which could be yellower

If you want to see how this wine turned out, click here

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