I was always intrigued by fruit flavored wines. Yes, I know, grapes are fruit. But, I gravitated to the cherry – preferably spiced – raspberry, or other fruit flavors that I could find at the store.
It was only natural, then, when we started making wine to make fruit wines rather than fruit-flavored grape wines. They all turned out nicely. I liked to clean, crisp flavor of the fruit wines. We fermented them dry and never had any bitterness at all.
Then I heard of dandelion wine. I remembered my father saying that he had a friend who would make wine out of dandelion. A weed! Wine from a weed! Okay, I have to admit, I loved picking dandelions as a child and making flower wreaths out of them for my hair. That was acceptable. They were weeds! My mother would never let me pick her daisies, phlox, or other flowers from the garden. But, a weed? Sure, go ahead. Just make sure you wash that gluey stuff off your hands when you’re done.
I found a recipe for dandelion wine and tried it. Absolutely delicious. I made a triple batch and shared it with some friends – they loved it. It was sweet without being sugary.
Well, if dandelion wine tastes so good, what about other flowers?
Next was lilac – another hit. The only problem with lilac wine is the time it took to get the flowers off the stems. Dandelion wine is time intensive. It takes about four hours to get enough flower petals for one gallon of wine. But, lilacs wine took 12 hours to get the right amount of petals. Yes, you read that right – 12 hours of pulling petals off the branches for one – only one gallon of wine. If I were selling it, the price would be astronomical! But the taste was exquisite!
Now I think I’m on to something – how about marigolds, sun flowers, rose petals, rose hips. Could I have a garden of wines to drink?
I did some research and found out that any flower that is not poisonous can be made into wines and started to experiment. Every flower wine that I’ve made so far is sweet – without any additional sugars. I will add that these wines do not ferment out dry either. I kept a one-gallon carboy for a year – the wine still had some residual sugar. Same thing with sunflower, rose hips, and butterfly pea.
My conclusion – if the bees love these flowers for their sweet nectar then I will love them for their sweet wine!