Black Walnut Leaf Wine - I'm going for it!

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BigDaveK

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Twice!
I found a youngish black walnut in the understory near my other trees. I couldn't reach the branches on the older trees and since it takes up to 2 years I thought I'd get the party started. Only a fraction of the leaves are needed compared to other tree leaf wines - only a pint.

The one on the left is a basic black walnut recipe. A combination of Berry and Belt with 100 gr of raisins.

The one on the right is Keller's, sweetened with demerara sugar and honey. No experience using honey or demerara, sounded good, had to try.

20220623_181953.jpg
 

Joel

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Not sure about the leaves but I know the hull were used to de worm pigs, we would boil the husks in water and dye our traps in the tea when I was a kid. As for consuming the leaves it will be interesting to see how it turns out.
 

BigDaveK

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Not sure about the leaves but I know the hull were used to de worm pigs, we would boil the husks in water and dye our traps in the tea when I was a kid. As for consuming the leaves it will be interesting to see how it turns out.
Of all the tree leaf wines, I read black walnut is the best. Am I gullible? I'll find out.

The nuts are delicious. I process them about every 2-3 years. It takes me about that long to forget how messy and time consuming it is. Stains everything.

Did not know about de-worming pigs!
 

VinesnBines

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This is interesting to me; we have loads of black walnut trees but no one likes black walnuts. Keep us posted even though I've been disappointed in nearly every "different" wine I've tried (coffee, banana, tomato, pecan, fig). I made a good pumpkin years ago but this past year was a failure; I have made a good ginger but my last batch was a disappointment. Dandelion, rhubarb/strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, peach seem to be my most successful non-grape wines.
 

Joel

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Of all the tree leaf wines, I read black walnut is the best. Am I gullible? I'll find out.

The nuts are delicious. I process them about every 2-3 years. It takes me about that long to forget how messy and time consuming it is. Stains everything.

Did not know about de-worming pigs!
God speed on your endeavor!

I have a decent way to hull them, and have grandpas goody grabber for shelling them, its more along the lines of still time consuming as I still have two gunny sacks full of nuts that need shelled.
 

BigDaveK

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This is interesting to me; we have loads of black walnut trees but no one likes black walnuts. Keep us posted even though I've been disappointed in nearly every "different" wine I've tried (coffee, banana, tomato, pecan, fig). I made a good pumpkin years ago but this past year was a failure; I have made a good ginger but my last batch was a disappointment. Dandelion, rhubarb/strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, peach seem to be my most successful non-grape wines.
I'm sure your "different" wines only disappointed you because they hadn't "matured" enough. :)
 

BigDaveK

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God speed on your endeavor!

I have a decent way to hull them, and have grandpas goody grabber for shelling them, its more along the lines of still time consuming as I still have two gunny sacks full of nuts that need shelled.
Thank you!
Some people drive over the walnuts with success. I may try that this year.😄
 

VinesnBines

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I'm sure your "different" wines only disappointed you because they hadn't "matured" enough. :)
Maybe; Pawpaw improved with time. I’ll still try something different. Hard to break the habit.
Thank you!
Some people drive over the walnuts with success. I may try that this year.😄
We would toss them in the tire paths to get the green hulls off. Didn’t work to crack the shells.

Wonder when I should collect leaves? Is it like oak and better in the autumn? Do I even know what I’m talking about?
 

BigDaveK

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Wonder when I should collect leaves? Is it like oak and better in the autumn? Do I even know what I’m talking about?
I'm really intrigued by leaf wines and there's not a lot of information out there. I'd like to try oak leaf, but.... I've read collect leaves in May-June, collect leaves in fall, collect whenever. And what kind of oak leaves? My pin oak is paper thin. My shingle oak is "meatier". Bur oak is huge. And do you want a lot of tannin or less? I read the red oaks have the most tannin, white oaks the least and the best tasting acorns.

I suspect various experimental batches are in my future.
 

Joel

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Perhaps you should try it at various stages of the year ( leaf bloom, mid season, end of season pre browning). I suppose you will make a "tea" with the leaves, add some sugar and other odds and ends then ferment. A spin to win.
 

BigDaveK

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Perhaps you should try it at various stages of the year ( leaf bloom, mid season, end of season pre browning). I suppose you will make a "tea" with the leaves, add some sugar and other odds and ends then ferment. A spin to win.
Yes a "tea" is used.
Just started research. Apparently the amount of tannin in oak leaves decreases during the year and other chemicals increase. I'm going to see which oak leaves I can reach on the property. I'd like to do a high tannin and lower tannin just for comparison. I want to get it started soon because everything says 2 years maturing for oak leaf wine. 2 years?! Jeeze Louise!
 

Joel

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Yes a "tea" is used.
Just started research. Apparently the amount of tannin in oak leaves decreases during the year and other chemicals increase. I'm going to see which oak leaves I can reach on the property. I'd like to do a high tannin and lower tannin just for comparison. I want to get it started soon because everything says 2 years maturing for oak leaf wine. 2 years?! Jeeze Louise!
That is a long time to wait to see if a batch is good to go or not...
 

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I made three gallons a year ago. I used two pints of leaves per gallon, and I just tasted it last week. It is OK but a little blah, I'll test the acid level, it might need a bit more. I will try blending it with some thing!
 

BigDaveK

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I made three gallons a year ago. I used two pints of leaves per gallon, and I just tasted it last week. It is OK but a little blah, I'll test the acid level, it might need a bit more. I will try blending it with some thing!
One year might be too young for a leaf wine. I've been reading 2 years...or more. I'm very happy with my vine cutting wine so far so I'm willing to experiment and wait.
 

BigDaveK

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My French friend makes Vin de Noix which is better described as an apertif liqueur made with red wine and unripe walnuts and other goodies. I quite like it. I say it is definitely worth making.
Read about it, have recipes, would LOVE to try!
Unfortunately my black walnuts are all about 20 or so feet from one another. In other words, mostly trunk. Unripe nuts are too high up. I'll be watching for drops, though. Maybe I'll get lucky.
 
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He says you traditionally pick the walnuts on St. Jean Baptiste day which is June 24. It is only a little past that date if you want to make some. I put a link to a recipe in my previous post.

And just reported by him:

“The walnut inside should be a clear gel. The walnut’s shell should not be solid at all. If it is, it’s already too late.”
 
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Cosyden

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I'm really intrigued by leaf wines and there's not a lot of information out there. I'd like to try oak leaf, but.... I've read collect leaves in May-June, collect leaves in fall, collect whenever. And what kind of oak leaves? My pin oak is paper thin. My shingle oak is "meatier". Bur oak is huge. And do you want a lot of tannin or less? I read the red oaks have the most tannin, white oaks the least and the best tasting acorns.

I suspect various experimental batches are in my future.
I’m looking forward to reading your experiences. I’m sure I could find 1 or 2 of them oaks over here if I looked hard but the only 2 in abundance here are pedunculate and sessile. I have no idea how they will compare.
I made three gallons a year ago. I used two pints of leaves per gallon, and I just tasted it last week. It is OK but a little blah, I'll test the acid level, it might need a bit more. I will try blending it with some thing!
Did you use just leaves or did you add anything else?
I’m curious as my favourite commercial country wine is “Cairn o’mhor autumn oak leaf”. The blurb says they add orange, lemon and sultanas to the tea and blend a “splash” of elderflower before bottling.
 
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