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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.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Rhubarb, Mint & Elderflower Wine - The Making Of ...

Quiet weekends are a marvellous thing. Whereas last weekend was a whistle-stop tour of Newcastle and family, this weekend has had nothing specific planned. A perfect opportunity to indulge in some wine-making. And, in fact, Rhubarb, Mint & Elderflower is one of those wines which requires much of the day to be set aside. I didn't help myself by also deciding to bottle 3 demijohns of blackberry wine. Rinsing and sterilising 18 bottles is perhaps not the speediest or most interesting aspect of the wine-making process.

And elder tree in bloom
On Saturday, 9th June, early afternoon, I set out to Allerton Grange fields with plastic bag in hand. The elderflowers are a week earlier than usual and gave off more pollen than I remember seeing before as I picked them. I concentrated on the blooms with a hint of citrus yellow and only took a few per tree. This bit of the elderflower process takes no time at all and I came away with less than half a bag full.

Not quite a pint of elderflowers and rhubarb sticks
It was the next bit that was tedious in the extreme; stripping the flowers from their stalks. I did this outside so that the tiny flies could roam free (and not end up covering our windows) and it took me over an hour. Even at the start I was not particularly careful about avoiding the thinnest bit of the stalks, and by the end I cared not a jot. This produced a little less than a pint of flowers, which is Good Enough.

Spear mint from our garden
I plucked just over 3 lbs of rhubarb stalks from our garden, sliced these up - they are starting to get woody - and put these in the bucket. I added the elderflowers and a medium sized handful of mint - both pepper and spear (but not water-mint which is unpleasantly bitter) - which I shredded.

The main ingredients in the bucket
I poured in 3 lbs of sugar and 6½ pints of boiling water, gave it all a stir and left it over night. On Sunday morning I added the yeast and a teaspoon each of pectolase & nutrient.

I put this into the demijohn on my birthday (Thursday) whilst drinking pink champagne. The wine will not be suitable for vegans. It has a number of black specks, which I assume are tiny drowned flies. Still, it is a pretty pink colour.

The end result