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.

Tuesday 31 March 2020

Apple & Strawberry Wine 2016 - Fifth Bottle (2), 29th November 2019

Having half a turkey remaining after Thanksgiving meant that Thanksgiving II was required. Andrew and Sooz were staying and this provided an excuse to invite Jayne. I decided to open Apple & Strawberry on the basis that it is one of my best. Sooz preferred the dregs of Clove & Ginger to this, but then she preferred this to the bottle of real wine that Jayne provided.

Thanksgiving II was more of a traditional Sunday Roast than the original had been - and none the worse for that.

Horns of Plenty - nothing to do with this post
but taken on the same day.

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.

If you want to see how this wine turned out, click here