November 25, 2011

Into wine

When we were little, my father would send us kids outside with a bucket to gather dandelion flowers. Since all the lawns near us would be covered with the bright yellow flowers, it wouldn’t take long to fill a bucket and bring it back to the basement, where my father would make dandelion wine.

He’s recently revived his interest in wine-making, and this summer, he once again made dandelion wine, which he keeps offering to anyone who comes to the house. I think all the grandchildren have had a taste by now of the homemade wine. About a month ago, he said he wanted to make apple wine again, but that it might be difficult because the cider that is sold nowadays often contains preservatives.

“I know where you can get cider that’s got nothing in it,” I said to him. I was thinking of the monastery I visit for retreats. A couple of years ago, the state told the monks they could no longer sell their cider because it’s not pasteurized. Their solution was to put up a sign informing visitors that the cider was free, and they could make a donation if they liked.

So when I went on retreat a few weeks ago, I stopped in the bookstore to chat with Brother Tractor about the cider they were selling. “Nope, we don’t add any chemicals,” he said. “It’s just cider.”

When I brought a few gallons of the cider home, With-a-Why pointed to the monastery label. It said: “Ingredients: apples.”

Yesterday, when I was at my parents’ house for Thanksgiving, my father brought me down into the basement to show me what he’d done with the cider I’d brought home from the monastery. There it was, in two glass bottles, bubbles rising as I watched. “It’s working,” my father said. “Soon we’ll have wine.”



Val said...

My dad and grandfather have always made dandelion wine too.

BrightenedBoy said...

Now what did dandelion wine taste like? I've never heard of such a thing.

henniemavis said...

Mmm, I'd volunteer to try your Dad's apple wine!

Ken just bottled homemade hard cider. We have a small cider press & make our own unpasteurized cider, because yes, commercial pasteurization & preservatives wipe out helpful bacteria one needs for proper fermentation.

It was GREAT seeing you, btw! Really fun to reconnect in person :-)

Jeff said...

What a "fruitful" pastime. :) Seriously, this sounds delicious.
I am thinking of trying to brew my own beer but never thought about making one's own wine. Interesting!

Magpie said...

Cool. Can't wait to hear what it's like.

Jenn said...

I've made dandelion coffee out of roasted dandelion root, but never dandelion wine.

"Ingredients=apples." Love this!