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 10 May 2020

Mixed Flower & Nettle Wine - The Making Of...

Corona Virus may be a disaster in many ways, but it is doing wonders for my step-count. Ever since I started working from home, I have gone on a long walk before work, anywhere between seven and ten kilometres, as part of the government-sanctioned exercise. There are three standard walks I do involving Roundhay Park, Gledhow Valley Woods and Meanwood Park, but even within these I try to vary the route every time. From late March I used these walks to look out for magnolia trees, and then from mid-April my eyes were caught by different shades of lilac.

Magnolia Tree outside St Edmund's
After I had made last month's Magnolia Petal wine, I still had a bag of petals in the freezer, mostly foraged from St Edmund's Church in Roundhay and this gave me the idea to do a mixed flower wine. Dandelions are abundant in our garden and there are two nettle patches in the back, so I had a couple of sessions picking from these and freezing the results. (For the nettles, I only used the tips.)

Lilac Petals
As April reached its end, I would pluck a head of lilac flowers from trees that I passed, hanging over pavements. I found a couple of gorse bushes off Tongue Lane and plucked some petals from these. I even managed to get a couple of wallflowers.

Gorse flowers on Tongue Lane
Quantity-wise, I must remain vague. Probably two pints of magnolia petals, about the same of dandelion heads, a pint each of nettles and lilac, and only lip-service to gorse and wallflowers.

Flowers & Nettles defrosting in my pan
I started making the wine on Saturday 2nd May. I boiled the flowers and nettles, together with the thinly peeled rind of two lemons and half a grapefruit, and 2 lbs 10 oz sugar in 7 pints of water for 20 minutes. Whilst this was going on I squeezed both lemons and the whole grapefruit and put the juice (plus pips and excess flesh) into my bucket with 8 oz minced sultanas. After the 20 minutes was up I poured everything into the bucket.

The mix in the bucket
On Sunday I added a teaspoon each of yeast, nutrient, pectolase and tannin and stirred it once a day. Then on Friday 8th May, after a week's walking holiday spent in north Leeds, I put the wine into its demijohn. It is a pleasing orange colour, but I have my doubts as to how it will taste!

The end result in a bed of nettles

If you want to see how this wine turned out (surprisingly good!), click here.