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 February 2013

Prune & Parsnip Wine 2013 - The Making Of ...

The raw ingredients
On the strength of one bottle of Prune & Parsnip 2012, this flavour has been promoted to an annual. This could be a mistake, if I take "Gooseberry & Elderflower" as an example. The single batch of that which I made in 2011 was wonderful. I have just bottled 2012's vintage and it is a disaster. Knowing what I did wrong would be useful.

I was in two minds about starting this wine today, 3rd February, because it has been a busy afternoon. Claire and I spent it with WYSO at Wakefield Girls' School, where the heating was firmly switched to 'Off', playing Beethoven's violin concerto to sixth formers. This is my favourite of violin concertos, amongst stiff competition, mostly because it has such a good bassoon part. And the highlight of the afternoon was discovering Sarah is pregnant - due date 14th September, which is the day she had already booked to get married. One day she will see this as an anecdote, and as a reason to cancel a wedding it is one of the best. She has yet to tell her family.

Anyway, once home and having done the washing up, I chopped up four pounds (ish - I didn't measure very carefully) of parsnips into small pieces and put them into our largest pan. These were covered with seven pints of water and put on the hob to boil. I chopped just over a pound of prunes and put these in my bucket with six pounds of sugar.

After having bottled and corked 12 bottles of wine (see above), I drained the parsnips into the bucket, discarding the vegetable (actually, some of it is in the freezer). I worry that I did not boil it for long enough. The pieces of parsnip were soft, but still tasted distinctly of parsnip. I then boiled another seven pints of water and poured this into the bucket too. This was all left overnight and on Monday morning, 4th February, I put in the yeast and nutrient, amylase and pectolase (approximately one teaspoon of each). The amylase is now finished, but had a 'Best Before Date' of September 2007.

I put the liquid into its two demijohns on Friday evening, 8th February. It is fermenting aggressively, and therefore probably just as well that I could have added an extra pint and a half of water in the initial stages.
Aggressive Fermentation
If you want to see how this wine turned out (and it was good), click here


  1. Hi Ben

    I started the pineapple wine, but after approximately 2 weeks it stopped fermenting. I moved the demi-john to a warmer location within the house, and gave it a bit of a swill, but to no avail. I then made a yeast starter as recommended in a book my Dad gave me. This worked for about another week until it yet again stopped. It smells quite nice, and doesnt taste of vinegar so that was promising I thought. The owner of the junk shop from where I buy my demi-johns cheaply told me to try adding sugar. I've added 3 tablespoons which has certainly kicked fermentation off again, this time vigourously. my question is do you know if this will make it unbearably sweet? Thanks for any advice. Am loving your blog by the way.


  2. Hello Stephanie

    It sounds like the pineapple wine is fine, and can be left until you need to rack it. What I often find is that the wine starts off with a very active fermentation, and this happens for about a fortnight. Then it quietens down massively, and the wine starts to clear. So, the fermentation is still going on, but very much slower, and it is difficult to spot. If you are using air traps similar to mine, the levels of the water (very much higher on the 'air' side than the 'demijohn' side) will indicate that there is still some fermentation going on.

    The extra 3 tablespoons won't make the wine unbearably sweet - probably. My recipe has 8 oz less sugar than the C J J Berry recipe, so you should be fine. Taste the wine when you rack it, to see if it needs any more sugar or not.

    Incidentally, it has taken an age for my pineapple wine to show any signs of clearing, though it is now looking like it will eventually.

    Thanks for enjoying my blog!

    Let me know how it all goes.


  3. It seems like you did a lot of work in making your own prune parsnip wine. I wonder how it tastes like? I hope that you were able to succeed in getting the taste that you wanted.

    Rob Feckler

  4. Hello Rob. I also hope I will succeed in getting the taste I want. It seems relatively likely, though not certain- which is one of the joys of home made wine. By clicking on your name, I see that you want to advertise Liquid Filling Machines. Which is nice. But not very useful to my blog. Are you a Monty Python fan?