So we get this conversation goes on almost every time we say we make wine and are planning on opening a winery –
Us: Would you like to try one of the wines we made this year?
Person: You make wine? Where are your grape vines?
Us: Wine doesn’t have to be made with grapes.
Person: Really, but I thought…
And that’s what everyone, well, almost everyone thinks until they try our Dandelion, Apple Rhubarb, Pineapple, or Watermelon wine that doesn’t have a drop of grape in it.
It’s called country wine. Why country? When you grow fruit or have a neighbor who does, and there’s an overabundance, you have a few choices – can, freeze, make more jam/jelly, pies, or turn the surplus into fruit!
But country wine doesn’t stop with fruit! We’ve made carrot wine and, that apple rhubarb wine that I mentioned, rhubarb is technically a vegetable.
Even flowers, like dandelions, lilacs, and roses can be fermented into wine. Yes, we’ve done dandelion and lilac – both were quite good – and plan to try rose later this year.
Like any food based process, the outcome will only be as good as the produce you are using. So, only use fresh, firm fruit or vegetables. If they look like they are about to spoil they are not a good choice. Flowers should be in their prime. I like to gather my dandelions when they are in full bloom. It they haven’t really opened, they aren’t ready for the bucket. Likewise, if the petals are ready to drop, their sugar level and flavor has probably dropped as well. And it goes without saying, no herbicides or other chemicals should have been sprayed on this produce.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead, open up a bottle of country wine, kick back, and enjoy!