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.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Apple Wine 2016 - Final Bottle (6), 22nd February 2020

Apple wine and roast gammon with mustard - a winning combination. Claire described this wine as akin to apple-y sherry and the further I got down the bottle, the better it became. Saturday began in York - where I won at Scrabble - and ended slumped in front of the stove not really concentrating on a Midsomer Murders.

Nothing to do with the wine, but I took this photo the following day.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Magnolia Petal Wine - First Bottle (3), 21st March 2020

Whilst 'Magnolia Petal Wine' sounds like it should be poisonous, it is in fact rather good. There is an unusual herby taste to it and it is quite different to any other wine that I have made. Behind that herb, you can taste the lemon. There is a sweetness to it - not at dessert wine level, but if you want something bone dry this is not the wine for you.

I opened the bottle in York, where we went to visit my parents despite government instructions not to. Mom is very clear that she will not be put into lockdown. However, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot continue to visit for the time being. I hate it and had a small weep as I left them today (Sunday). Probably their health will stay constant. Probably we will all come through this unscathed. Probably.

If you want to see how I made this wine, click here.

Blackberry Wine 2016 - Final Bottle (C6), 20th-23rd December 2019

This bottle was therapy more than anything else. On both nights I came home from work feeling out of sorts. I have not been a fan of Christmas since aged about 30, but working at my house-building firm has made it so much worse. And I'm going in today (Christmas Eve) in the vain attempt to rescue a half-million pound house sale. Bah and, indeed, Humbug. So lashings of blackberry wine on each night (plus other wine besides) has been used to improve my mood. It helped, but not to the extent that I went to bed jolly or with great joy to all mankind.


Obviously, I have got rather behind with my blog (though I have kept up with my diary). What I will try and do - until ennui gets the better of me - is to continue to post in diary (rather than date) order. So from now on, things will jump around rather. However, the next one I do will be an exception: my first bottle of Magnolia Petal Wine, because people are interested in that.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Orange Wine 2020 - The Making Of...

Saturday 7th March turned into a busy day. I had plans only for orange wine making, but at 11 a.m. I found myself at the gates to Roundhay Park waiting for a poet to arrive.

Sitting in a bandstand, discussing poetry
It has been the second ever Leeds Literature Festival with all kinds of literary events around the city, and one of these was a walk through Roundhay Park with Lydia Kennaway as she read, and her audience discussed, her poems about walking. Not having discussed poetry since A Level English Literature 32 years ago, this was a novel and somewhat daunting experience. Thoroughly worthwhile, though, and maybe I should read more poetry.

This all left the afternoon to buy wine making supplies (where I came away with a tub of tannin rather than the yeast that I had expected) and oranges, and to transform these into wine. I needed 24 oranges for a double batch, so bought two packs of 10 small and one pack of 4 large oranges.

At home I thinly sliced the peel off 10 of the small oranges, which as ever is the very worst thing about making orange wine. It takes such a long time and is mind-numbingly dull. I covered the peel in two pints of boiling water and left that for 24 hours before tipping the water into my bucket and putting the peel on the compost.

In the meantime, I squeezed all 24 oranges (swapping hands every three) and measured the juice - 3.75 pints. I poured this into my bucket with 9 pints of cold water and 5.5 lbs of sugar. This (plus the 2 pints of water covering the peel) was exactly the right amount of liquid. I stirred everything around to dissolve the sugar and added teaspoons of yeast, pectolase and nutrient (slightly more of the last two).

On Thursday 12th March I transferred all this to its demijohns. There was little to sieve out and this was a quick job. The wine is as vibrant and yellow as ever.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Getting Back On The Horse...

If you are anything other than an one-off visitor, you will have noticed that I have basically stopped blogging. There is a reason for this. In November last year, I was issued with a bill for breach of copyright, for using photos that were not mine. I actually think this is fair enough and don't defend my use of pictures (you may notice that there are very many fewer pictures illustrating my blog posts than previously - it took me 8 hours to get rid of them). However, I have been shaken by this: in total (including legal fees) this cost me just under £3,000. It has been a miserable experience and one I do not wish to repeat. Any pictures I now use will be taken by me (or a friend), but I don't quite feel ready to start over again. If you do happen to spot a blog post with a picture that looks like I may not have taken it, please draw it to my attention. I think I have got them all, but I'm not absolutely sure.

I hope that in the not too distant future, normal service will be resumed.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Mint, Elderflower & Rhubarb - Fifth Bottle (5), 9th November 2019

I opened this bottle for my 2019 Wine Party, where I decided that I would serve some of my best wine. My expectations were that this wine would come second only to Damson. In fact it came fourth, with blackberry and blackcurrant above it. Aaron, who I had never met before (who came with Laura, who I had only met once) described this wine as 'Exceptionally Drinkable'. He can come again.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Blackcurrant - Fourth Bottle (A5), 9th November 2019

Blackcurrant took the bronze at the Wine Party, getting a very respectable 3.81 out of 5. Mark said it was "Dangerously drinkable" and like 'Grown-up Ribena'. In fact, two other people noted 'Ribena' within their comments. Duncan was less impressed, giving the wine its lowest score of the evening (a 2) and calling it "Drier than a gerbil's cage on a summer day in the Kalahari".

The Wine Party was smaller than it often is, with 15 people making it (including me and Claire), and five of those only attended for a small proportion. We still managed to do a lot of damage to twelve bottles of wine.