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, 13 October 2012

Crab Apple Wine 2012 - The Making Of ...

Our crab apples in the sunshine
Everyone has been complaining about how dreadful this year has been for fruit from trees. Apparently you can't get a plum for love nor money and Julia tells me her apple crop is pathetic. However, the crab apple tree in our back garden is as bountiful as ever. Small red apples are dripping off its branches in pleasing clusters. Picking twelve pounds for a triple batch of crab apple wine took little time, even though I tried to be selective in my fruit selection - making a real effort to go for the shiniest, reddest ones. Some of these, of course, had been invaded by grubs and I thought it best to leave those. On the whole insect larvae in wine is not the greatest of flavours.

I picked the apples on Saturday afternoon, 6th October and did the first proper stage of the wine on Sunday 7th October. This involved washing the apples - more accurately leaving them in a basin of water until I needed them - and then whizzing them through the 'slice' attachment on the food processor. I put them in the bucket and added 8 lbs 10 oz sugar - it was meant to be 9 lbs but I ran out - and 3 lbs of minced sultanas. Again I used the food processor for mincing. It is one of the more useful kitchen gadgets. I poured over 21 pints of boiling water and left it over night, adding the yeast and two teaspoons each of nutrient, pectolase and citric acid the next morning.

The bucket is one of the many items in the kitchen causing obstruction. Another is our fridge-freezer. This has been replaced by a shiny new larger one. Except the new one doesn't work and is actually an electric cupboard. I think it gets replaced tomorrow.

It didn't. Eight days on from having the new fridge delivered, we still have two fridge shaped objects in our kitchen. One day I will look back on this and laugh.

On Saturday 13th October I put the liquid into its three demijohns. My first task was removing the apple bits floating at the top. I did this by dredging the surface with a plastic collander. It was an effective method and cut down the time I usually spend at this point in making crab apple wine. Once the apple numbers were manageable I employed the usual technique of dipping and filling my plastic jug and pouring the contents through a nylon sieve and funnel into the demijohn.

I probably could have used another pint of water in the initial stages. However, the wine is currently a pleasing pink and fermenting aggressively.


  1. Hi Ben,

    How long does it take to build up a wine cellar and which is your favourite home made wine?

    I have started making wine and real ale and I am really enjoying it.

  2. My wine cellar (which is actually my hall way, by the side of the sofa and a little bit in the bedroom) didn't take long to build up at all. About a year. And the marvellous thing is that it keeps on replenishing itself.

    I think my favourite homemade wine is blackberry. Or possibly gooseberry. Actually strawberry is lovely. And how could I forget blackcurrant. Crab apple isn't bad either. Hang on, I haven't mentioned elderberry. Too difficult a question.

  3. what are those distiller things on top o the bottles?
    where do you get those and the bottles? are they reused apple juice bottles?
    I wonder if I could make wine from more tropical fruits like starfruit, citrus, surinam cherries, lychees... etc not sure about the citrus but that's what I will have most of when my trees begin fruiting.
    have you tried making mead?
    do you have directions somewhere on this blog?

    1. Hello - and give my regards to Hawaii (where I would love to visit some day).

      The distiller things are air traps - they are made of plastic, and are essentially a U shaped tube. I half fill them with water, and they allow the carbon dioxide from the yeast to come out of the wine, and they prevent any oxygen from the air going into the wine. Louis Pasteur used a similar contraption when proving germ theory.

      The bottles are demijohns - though that is their name in England. In the US they are called Carboys. I suspect the only place to get them will be from homebrew shops - or ask around to see if any friends or colleagues used to brew wine.

      You could certainly make wine from tropical fruits. My most recent wine is kiwi fruit wine, and I have just blogged about how I made it. Have a look at the labels to the right of the screen and you will find this, pineapple, and 'exotic tinned fruit' as my most exotic wines. In Northern England most exotic fruit comes in tins, whereas I suspect in Hawaii it is hanging off the trees and bushes. Also click on the label 'making wine', as those are the blog entries where there are instructions for all the wines I have made. Or buy my book!

      I haven't tried making mead, but would love to. You might find instructions for this on 'Beekeeping and Homebrewing', which is a blog I follow - and again a link is on the right hand side of the screen.

      Best of luck with it all and let me know how it goes.


  4. Do I have to remove be grubs or not, I know that sounds disgusting, but some alcohol like tequila has a grub.. seems to be a waste of apples to leave out grubby ones