Thursday, 29 December 2011

Country Wines Continued

Vin de Noix and Cherry Plum Wine - Good To Go!
(lovely labels by the Head Chef.)
I had a lot of cooking apples that would not squeeze into my apple store and the Head Chef insisted that I had to make some more space in the house, so that we could fit the Christmas tree in. I thought that Apple Wine sounded entertaining and the recipe seemed very straightforward too. I chose to add some spice to the standard model in the form of a few cloves and a stick of cinnamon.
Batch 1. Chopped and Ready For Boiling
It required 6 Lbs of apples and 3 Lbs of sugar to each gallon of water - I decided that I had enough to make double this amount, mainly because I had two empty demijohns to fill. Masterchef was on TV and I find it dreadfully contrived; so I figured this was a good time to brew up some real home cuisine. I quickly realised that this process would have to be done in two hits as 12 Lbs of chopped apples takes up a lot of space, even with a big pan.
Strained With Spices Added
I presently had the first lot boiling away; they required 15 minutes, after which I scooped out the bulk of the partly stewed fruit with a sieve; before straining the liquid into a bucket over the sugar. By the time I had the second batch done the kitchen smelled like sweet apple sauce with a hint of cloves, not at all surprising really and very nice on a cold winter night.
Yeast Added
The directions stated that you should use the juice of a lemon and the zest from its skin. I didn’t have one so I used lemon juice from a dropper and found some crystallised fruit peal in the Head Chef’s cookery cupboard, so it will be part marmalade wine, I guess.
The Magic of Fermentation
I left the boiling bucketful over night to cool down. I then added yeast in the morning and it was soon politely fermenting away. I left it for a day and then poured it into the demijohns. According to the formula, I should leave it for four months, then add chopped raisins and leave it for six more to mature – we’ll see how we go...
Left to Right: Vin de Noix, Apple, Sloe and Ginger Wine
I'm really enjoying the process of making country wine; it's simple, quite magical and so far at least the results have been very pleasing. I optimistically assume that the flavours will improve over time as the wine matures, unless it is consumed before that point arrives. Either way, we won't be going short over the festive period. 


  1. Hi I am new to wine making and have a Bramley cooking apple crop to use up as quickly as possible. Is there a recipe that you can make easily as a beginner. You sound so accomplished and experienced I thought I would ask. Thank you.

  2. Hi
    I would hardly call myself accomplished, more an enthusiastic amateur.
    As far as I can tell, there's a fair bit of leeway when making country wines, which is why I enjoy it so much.
    You could copy this recipe or just look one up online - I use ancient books but it's all the same really.
    Apples will store for months, in a shed or cool dark place, just make sure they don't touch each other. This way if one turns rotten, it will not spread to the others.
    You can also turn apples into sauce and freeze them for later use.
    Hope that helps.