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

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

VinesnBines

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2020
Messages
1,209
Reaction score
1,387
Sadly I can reach boatloads of green walnuts. If they are still usable on July 4 …. come on down! I may try the Vin de Noix. Will that count towards my 200 gallon per year max since we start with a fermented wine? (She says this with anticipation of a bumper crop of grapes).
 

QuiQuog

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2015
Messages
139
Reaction score
78
Location
Minnesota
I grew up with walnut trees in my front and back yards. The sticky smelly mess they they made always disgusted me. And forget about running barefoot when the squirrels were breaking them into shards. Now that I’ve been away for 30+ years, it smells like home. Go figure.

I’ll be interested in your results. Good luck!
 

BigDaveK

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2022
Messages
1,224
Reaction score
2,086
Location
Hocking Hills, OH
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.

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.
Just the leaves for the walnut.
I picked out a couple oaks and I'll try that later this week. Variety of red oak, high tannin, wine 2 years to maturity.
 
Last edited:

BigDaveK

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2022
Messages
1,224
Reaction score
2,086
Location
Hocking Hills, OH
Can you reach them with an extended polesaw? Maybe an air rifle?
I estimate the lowest branches are 25-30 feet up. Loaded with black walnuts. When I collect them from the ground I usually stop at 3 5-gallon buckets.

I have a BB gun but I don't think it would shoot that high. 😄 However, I DO have a pellet rifle that will easily pierce skin. I'll try that. Good idea!! Thanks, Bryan!!!
 

Vinobeau

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2015
Messages
173
Reaction score
107
Location
Oshkosh
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.
I used only the leaves, and I started it on 6/19/21, only because a neighbor just cut the tree down. It might be different with younger leaves.
 

Vinobeau

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2015
Messages
173
Reaction score
107
Location
Oshkosh
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.”


I've made the Italian version - Nocino. Red wine, vodka, quartered Walnuts, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla & coffee beans. It is quite good!
 

BigDaveK

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2022
Messages
1,224
Reaction score
2,086
Location
Hocking Hills, OH
Racked the two black walnut wines a couple days ago.

On the left, combo Berry and Belt recipe.
Nothing special about the aroma. The flavor? My first thought was burgundy! It's complex, layers, and delicious. Bone dry down to SG .986 and I would drink it like it is. Pleasantly surprised, something so tasty from 60 black walnut leaves. I will make this again next year.

On the right, Keller's recipe.
It used demerara sugar and honey, neither of which I used before, so this was an experiment.
Smells like either Kahlua or Frangelico...more Frangelico I think. First flavor is molasses followed by honey. It's tasty, I'll probably back sweeten later, but it seems like a molasses wine. Not what I was going for. Wouldn't make it again.

We'll see how they taste in a couple months.


blak walnut.jpg
 

bearpaw8491

Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2021
Messages
95
Reaction score
69
Location
North Carolina southern piedmont
Racked the two black walnut wines a couple days ago.

On the left, combo Berry and Belt recipe.
Nothing special about the aroma. The flavor? My first thought was burgundy! It's complex, layers, and delicious. Bone dry down to SG .986 and I would drink it like it is. Pleasantly surprised, something so tasty from 60 black walnut leaves. I will make this again next year.

On the right, Keller's recipe.
It used demerara sugar and honey, neither of which I used before, so this was an experiment.
Smells like either Kahlua or Frangelico...more Frangelico I think. First flavor is molasses followed by honey. It's tasty, I'll probably back sweeten later, but it seems like a molasses wine. Not what I was going for. Wouldn't make it again.

We'll see how they taste in a couple months.


View attachment 92156
Dave, any chance of posting the link to the combo Berry and Belt recipe?
Thanks
 

BigDaveK

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2022
Messages
1,224
Reaction score
2,086
Location
Hocking Hills, OH
Dave, any chance of posting the link to the combo Berry and Belt recipe?
Thanks
The recipes are almost identical except Belt adds raisins.
There are no links. I collect old wine making books, but this is what I did -

60 Black walnut leaves
100 gr raisins, chopped
6 cups sugar
1 tsp nutrient powder
2 tsp acid blend
1/2 tsp citric acid
yeast

Pour almost 5 quarts boiling water over leaves and steep for 24 hours. A Campden tablet isn't needed since the boiling water will kill any wild things. After 24 hours remove leaves, add everything else. I usually transfer to secondary when the SG is 1.020-1.010.

I make my 1 gallon batches with extra water so I don't have to worry about headspace for maybe 2 rackings. I use a gallon jug and an appropriate sized Mason jar, both with airlocks.

I add sugar to get an SG around 1.085 or so.
I add acid until I'm around pH 3.5 or so.
 

winemanden

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2009
Messages
634
Reaction score
1,342
Location
Banbury UK
Racked the two black walnut wines a couple days ago.

On the left, combo Berry and Belt recipe.
Nothing special about the aroma. The flavor? My first thought was burgundy! It's complex, layers, and delicious. Bone dry down to SG .986 and I would drink it like it is. Pleasantly surprised, something so tasty from 60 black walnut leaves. I will make this again next year.

On the right, Keller's recipe.
It used demerara sugar and honey, neither of which I used before, so this was an experiment.
Smells like either Kahlua or Frangelico...more Frangelico I think. First flavor is molasses followed by honey. It's tasty, I'll probably back sweeten later, but it seems like a molasses wine. Not what I was going for. Wouldn't make it again.

We'll see how they taste in a couple months.


View attachment 92156
First flavor is molasses. That I think is the main drawback with using Brown sugars in wine!
 

bearpaw8491

Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2021
Messages
95
Reaction score
69
Location
North Carolina southern piedmont
Thanks for your time Dave. I have at least one of CJJ Berry's books but thought you were referring to a specific recipe -my bad. Additional research on this site indicated that you were combining several recipes.
I have logged your methodology in my notes and will make a test run next spring when the young leaves emerge. We have many black walnut trees on our property and they're still in full leaf now but you and others indicate that the young leaves have more flavor so I'll wait until spring. Thanks for documenting your experiment so well. Hoping mine turns out as well.
 

BigDaveK

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2022
Messages
1,224
Reaction score
2,086
Location
Hocking Hills, OH
First flavor is molasses. That I think is the main drawback with using Brown sugars in wine!
It was a good experience.
I'll continue to use brown sugar but in smaller quantities. I have a banana in secondary that used 25% brown sugar. I'll see how it tastes when I rack and adjust my percentage accordingly. My goal is to have an extra flavor that isn't quite identifiable.
 

BigDaveK

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2022
Messages
1,224
Reaction score
2,086
Location
Hocking Hills, OH
Thanks for your time Dave. I have at least one of CJJ Berry's books but thought you were referring to a specific recipe -my bad. Additional research on this site indicated that you were combining several recipes.
I have logged your methodology in my notes and will make a test run next spring when the young leaves emerge. We have many black walnut trees on our property and they're still in full leaf now but you and others indicate that the young leaves have more flavor so I'll wait until spring. Thanks for documenting your experiment so well. Hoping mine turns out as well.
You're welcome. I enjoy sharing my "unusual" wines.

From my readings you can make a leaf wine any time but they will be very different. Younger leaves are supposed to be better so that's what I'll stick with.

I was tempted to do an oak leaf wine also, even picked out the tree, but collecting a gallon of leaves didn't appeal to me.

Good luck if you do it next year!!
 

bearpaw8491

Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2021
Messages
95
Reaction score
69
Location
North Carolina southern piedmont
You're welcome. I enjoy sharing my "unusual" wines.

From my readings you can make a leaf wine any time but they will be very different. Younger leaves are supposed to be better so that's what I'll stick with.

I was tempted to do an oak leaf wine also, even picked out the tree, but collecting a gallon of leaves didn't appeal to me.

Good luck if you do it next year!!
Got the old "winemaker's itch" and may have to try a 1 gal run with the old leaves - it'a a long time until spring! Walnuts here in NC are one of the last trees to leaf in spring. One question if you please, which yeast did you use? I'm becoming interested in natural fermentation but don't think I would try it on a first attempt recipe.
My muscadines are ripening and I'll begin picking in the next week or so. I used JSWordy's Moonshiner's Muscadine recipe last year and it came out well. I expect it to continue to improve over the next 6-18 months. I used several other recipes in past years and most have produced a very good wine. I let them go completely dry and then back sweeten some to ~ 1.002; others remain bone dry.
Thanks again and will keep you post on progress. That's that itch again!!! ;)
 

Latest posts

Top