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.

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Crab Apple & Strawberry Wine 2020 - The Making Of...

Sunday 25th October was a day of industry. Our evening was to be spent having a virtual dinner-party via Zoom with Mary. When dining with Mary there is always a theme: we have had foods that rhyme, foods of a particular colour and food that starts with a letter in Dvorak's name. On Sunday Claire chose the theme and that theme was 'Tapas: Pride & Prejudice style'. Therefore much of my day was spent making Spanish dishes and trying to shoe-horn a way of fitting it into Pride & Prejudice. Pickled peppers stuffed with goats cheese and sprinkled with dill represented Lydia for being both cheap and easy. Patatas Bravas represented the early fiery nature of Lizzie and Darcy's relationship.

Lydia & Whickham - Tapas Style

When not making tapas, I was making Crab Apple & Strawberry wine. The 1 lb of strawberries was fished out from our freezer a couple of hours before I started in earnest. I needed 4 lbs of apples, but our crab apple tree only had 3 lbs left on it, so I bulked it out with 1 lb of apples from the tree in our back garden - thus robbing the blackbirds and squirrels of their full ration.

Apples on our tree

I mashed the strawberries, which had yet to defrost fully, in the bucket and whizzed the apples through the food processor, putting these in as well. As 6¾ pints of water boiled, I put 3 lbs sugar into the bucket and gave everything a good stir. Once the water was boiling I poured this into the mix and stirred again. Next morning I added a teaspoon each of yeast, pectolase and nutrient.

The ingredients before processing

On Wednesday evening we drank some of last year's Apple & Strawberry Wine, which was thin and boring. Therefore, I added a teaspoon of citric acid to my bucket as an experiment to avoid that fate - though I don't actually know what effect citric acid has!

The ingredients, after processing

On Saturday morning I sieved out the fruit and put the liquid into its demijohn - this time leaving a gap to avoid any overflow, and storing some wine in a separate bottle for topping up purposes. I could have reduced the water by about half a pint in the above recipe, but now I have a lovely red coloured wine bubbling away in the demijohn.

The End Result

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


  1. Hello Mr. Hardy (Ben?),

    I would like to write to you as a fellow winemaker, who also makes wine (beer, mead...) for my everyday use, about how much I enjoy your blog. Every once in a while I go and "binge" your posts, often while enjoying a glass myself.

    I find the everydayness--what was cooked, what was drank, where a walk was taken-- very appealing.

    So broadly, thank you for writing; it has brought me pleasure and reassurance.

    1. Hello Robert

      I am definitely, definitely 'Ben' rather than 'Mr Hardy'! Thank you so much for your comment, and am delighted that you are enjoying my blog. Your comment has made my day.

      If you ever follow my recipes, do remember that the UK pint is larger than a US pint - ours are 20 fluid ounces, so you will need to reduce the sugar accordingly.

      I have a 'stat counter' where I can see where viewers to this blog come from - and I have been to your home city a few times. Always to the airport, when visiting relatives in the panhandle of Nebraska. When I was 4, visiting my grandparents, apparently I loved Mount Rushmore so much that I insisted on being taken back a second time. And then I burst into tears when told that all the presidents shown on the cliff were dead.

      Have you been to the Mammoth museum in Hot Springs? Definitely worth a visit.


  2. Hi Ben!

    Glad you pointed out the pint difference; I thought the sugar was a bit high when contrasted with my recipes-- usually taken from Terry Garey's Joy of Home Winemaking, a delightful book. I must say, though, Prune and Parsnip sounds lovely. I made a sweet-potato wine (with a portion of brown sugar added) that makes me glad vegetable wines exist.

    I have been to the Mammoth museum, although it was so long ago (20+ years!) that I had to confirm with my mother I hadn't imagined it!

    1. Hello again Robert

      When putting up these recipes, I have wondered if I should say each time "UK pints", but have decided that would be clunky. I also don't think many people follow them anyway.

      I will look out Terry Garey's book. The one that I refer to most often is CJJ Berry's 'First Steps in Wine Making': that is the one that got me started.

      Prune & Parsnip is an old reliable - and tastes quite similar to sherry. Good with curries, and is the white that I will open if I don't have anything chilled.

      When I'm next in South Dakota, I'll let you know. (There is actually a possibility for next August - yes I know it will be Too Hot - but it rather depends on Covid.)