Learning how to make dandelion wine is straightforward. The most difficult aspect of creating this tantalizing beverage at home is having the patience to wait for the lengthy fermentation process to take effect. This can take up to two years.
While dandelions might look bright and vibrant, they are actually weeds that pop up all over your lawn throughout the summer. You can use the petals of this flower to make a refreshing fruit wine. Although the recipe we showcase today is packed with sugar, dandelion wine is typically quite dry. In some ways, the drink is similar to mead, packing a trademark honeyed taste.
Dandelion wine is best served chilled and aged. Aging it for too long will spoil it, though, so you need to strike a delicate balancing act. Alcohol content is moderate.
You make this drink by combining the dandelion petals with an acid – normally lemon juice – along with other chemicals like yeast used in the winemaking process.
This drink has been known as a cheap wine for several centuries throughout Europe. Settlers brought the drink with them to the United States where dandelions still managed to grow, even in the dry and arid environments they encountered.
More like a liquor than a wine, imparting a sweet, warming sensation akin to drinking great brandy, all you’ll need is a gallon of dandelions for each gallon of wine you want to make.
Not only will dandelion wine taste great and give you a mellow buzz, but you could also achieve some of the following health benefits:
- Dandelions promote digestive health.
- The flowers are loaded with potassium and vitamins.
- Moderate amounts of dandelion wine could be beneficial for the liver.
- Dandelions could help to reduce inflammation.
- Packed with antioxidants, dandelions could promote immune system health.
Now, since very few wineries produce dandelion wine on a commercial scale, it’s well worth learning how to make your own at home, and we’ll show you how to do that today.
How To Make Dandelion Wine the Easy Way
If you’ve never made wine before, pack plenty of patience. It takes around 2 years to ferment dandelion wine properly.
First, grab the following supplies:
What You Need
- Dandelion flowers (2 quarts)
- Filtered water (1 gallon)
- Zest and juice (3 medium lemons)
- Zest and juice (3 medium oranges)
- Granulated sugar (1 ½ pounds)
- Chopped golden raisins (3/4 pound)
- Yeast nutrient (1 teaspoon) or cornmeal (2 tablespoons)
- Wine yeast (1 packet) or baking yeast (1/2 teaspoon)
- Simple syrup (1 cup, optional)
What To Do
- Gather all the above ingredients.
- Snip the green parts off the base of the flowers. You should also remove the stems. If you introduce too much of the green parts of the flowers – these are known as calyces – this will impart a bitterness to your dandelion wine.
- Either discard or compost the stems and the calyces. Put all the trimmed petals into a non-reactive container – that means no iron, no copper, and no aluminum.
- Bring the water to a boil. Pour this all over the flower petals. Allow this mixture to sit for 2 hours.
- Line a colander with some cheesecloth or muslin. Place this over the pot and then strain your dandelions. You should press on the flowers gently so you get as much of the liquid out as possible. Discard or compost the petals once you’re done.
- Turn the heat up to high and bring your infusion of strained dandelions to the boil.
- Next, stir in the sugar, the orange juice, and the lemon juice. Mix this until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the orange zest and the lemon juice. Throw in the chopped raisins, too.
- Remove the pot from the heat, set it aside, and allow it to cool down.
- When the solution has cooled to room temperature, it’s time to stir in the yeast nutrient or cornmeal. Also add your baking yeast or wine.
- Cover the mixture and leave it for 10 to 14 days at room temperature. You should stir the mixture 3 times daily.
- Strain the mixture into a 1-gallon jug. Make sure this is sanitized. Seal the jug using a fermentation lock. Alternatively, use a balloon with a single pinprick in it. This pinprick will allow the gases to escape while active fermentation is taking place, while at the same time ensuring that no harmful bacteria get in.
- Leave the mixture for 3 weeks and then carefully decant it into another jug, also sanitized. This process serves to separate any yeasty sediment that’s accumulated.
- If you notice more than a couple of inches of space at the top of the bottle, add equal parts water and sugar to top it up.
- When the wine becomes clear and the cloudiness is gone, wait a further 30 days. At this stage, decant the mixture carefully into another jug. You could use a siphon to streamline this process. Again, this will leave behind any unwanted sediment that’s built up on the bottom.
- Add an airlock or a balloon with a pinprick to this jug.
- You should repeat the above steps every three months over a nine-month period. By this point, there should be almost no sediment forming.
- Decant the mixture into some sanitized bottles.
- Age the dandelion wine for a further year before serving.
Some Handy Hints for Getting the Best from Dandelion Wine
You could experiment with different flower wines, including:
You can use these flowers in the same quantities as dandelions, although you should use a lighter hand with lavender due to the pronounced flavor and aroma. If you use too much, the effect will be overpowering.
All parts of the dandelion are non-toxic. The whole blossom and the greenery are edible. The stems and leaves are typically discarded when cooking as they don’t deliver much by the way of flavor.
Always used dandelions that are free of contact with pesticides. Rinse the flowers thoroughly before you start making dandelion wine.
Always use a non-reactive container made of glass, ceramic, or food-safe plastic. Avoid metal containers unless enamel-coated and completely free of chips.
If you are giving serious thought to winemaking as a hobby, it pays to invest in some basic supplies. Rather than a regular corkscrew, look for a hand corker. This will ensure you safely and securely cork your bottles and you don’t waste two years of hard work making dandelion wine!
If you’ve been looking for a fresh new drink, we hope today’s brief guide has shown you how to make dandelion wine the easy way.
The bad news, as you’ll see from the recipe above, is that you’ll need to wait a couple of years to enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you’re patient, though, you’ll be reaping the rewards soon enough and you can then ensure you always keep a stock of this alluring wine on hand.
Before you head off today, bookmark Slow Wine Magazine. We’re in the process of adding lots of fresh content weekly as we share our love of wine with you. Our aim is to help those at all stages of their wine collecting journey, from beginners to more sophisticated collectors.
If you’re new to the world of wine, we would suggest you explore some of our wine cooler guides so you can get a good idea of the best wine storage solutions at your fingertips. We also recommend our serving guide. Here, we bring you plenty of tips like today’s snapshot of dandelion wine.
Make sure you head back soon and don’t miss out!
1) Does dandelion wine contain alcohol?
Dandelion wine will contain alcohol after the fermentation process. You can expect to find a similar ABV (alcohol by volume) content as in white wine. Alcohol content will vary since this is a homemade drink.
2) Are any parts of the dandelion poisonous?
No, there are no poisonous parts on dandelions. The blossom and greenery are both edible. The leaves and stems are not normally used for cooking since they lack flavor. You should always avoid using dandelions that have been in contact with pesticides.
3) How should I collect dandelions?
You should first consult an identification guide as there are many flowers that look similar to dandelions. All you need is the flower heads. Ensure you leave the base intact so the plant can continue growing. You will need to collect around 3 liters of dandelions by volume. Gather the dandelions you need on the morning you intend to make the wine. The flowers do not stay fresh for long so you should use them the same day for best results.
4) How should I store dandelion wine?
Never seal bottles the tightly before the fermentation process is complete. Do not store the bottles in a warm place either. Both scenarios can cause the bottles to explode.