Nectar of the gods


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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!

KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Rose Township, Michigan and is in the process of acquiring the required licenses to become a small wine maker.
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Wine Gone Country


HeavenlyPeach r

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!

KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Rose Township, Michigan and is in the process of acquiring the required licenses to become a small wine maker.