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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.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Strawberry Wine 2018 - The Making Of...


On Monday 2nd July, rather than being at work, I spent my day eating breakfast at Crathorne Hall, drinking coffee in Yarm, investigating a Norman church just off the A19 and picking strawberries in Horsforth. It had been our twentieth wedding anniversary the day before and a suitable day for a holiday. Glorious weather too - though it has been glorious for two months now. I cannot remember a summer like this one.

Strawberry plants at the Pick Your Own
I went to pick strawberries by myself, which turned out to be a Good Thing. When I arrived at last year's Pick Your Own field, there was a large sign saying it had moved, with a corresponding post-code but no further address. Happily Claire was at home and googled the post-code for me, thus avoiding a frustrating and fruitless trip.

The Pick Your Own was not particularly busy and the strawberries (Florence variety) were abundant. Most the other people there were mothers with pre-school children having an afternoon out and trying to convince their charges to pick rather than eat the fruit. I wanted 5 lbs of strawberries - four for this batch and one for a mixed fruit wine later in the year, and came home with nearly six.

My haul of strawberries
I washed and hulled the four pounds I needed for strawberry wine (freezing the remainder) and mashed them in the bucket - turning them into a pink offal-like consistency. I poured over four pints of boiling water and then left it all until the following day, Tuesday 3rd July.

Strawberries in the bucket, pre-mashing


On Tuesday I took the pulp from the liquid, firstly using a colander and putting the pulp in a plastic bowl and then pouring the liquid into a demijohn through my nylon sieve and funnel, again retaining the pulp. I poured two pints of cold water over the pulp and swirled it round a bit. This sat infusing while I cleaned and sterilised my bucket. I then separated the pulp from the new liquid, putting the liquid in the bucket and discarding the pulp, and poured the strawberry juice in the demijohn back into the bucket.

Strawberries in pureed form
I added 3 lbs of sugar, the yeast and a teaspoon each of tannin, pectolase and nutrient. This frothed away to itself over the next four days and I stirred it occasionally.

I poured the liquid into its demijohn on Saturday 7th July, leaving sufficient space at the top to avoid any overspill during its most active fermentation, keeping some back in a bottle for topping up. Its colour is more pink and less post-box red than I think is usual.