Dandelion Wine

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St Allie

Tech Administrator
Mar 6, 2009
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2 qts dandelion flowers
3 lbs granulated sugar
4 oranges
1 gallon water
yeast and nutrient
This is the traditional "Midday Dandelion Wine" of old, named because the flowers must be picked at midday when they are fully open. Pick the flowers and bring into the kitchen. Set one gallon of water to boil. While it heats up to a boil, remove as much of the green material from the flower heads as possible (the original recipe calls for two quarts of petals only, but this will work as long as you end up with two quarts of prepared flowers). Pour the boiling water over the flowers, cover with cloth, and leave to seep for two days. Do not exceed two days. Pour the mixture back into a pot and bring to a boil. Add the peelings from the four oranges (again, no white pith) and boil for ten minutes. Strain through a muslin cloth or bag onto acrock or plastic pail containing the sugar, stirring to dissolve. When cool, add the juice of the oranges, the yeast and yeast nutrient. Pour into secondary fermentation vessel, fit fermentation trap, and allow to ferment completely. Rack and bottle when wine clears. Again, allow it to age six months in the bottle before tasting, but a year will improve it vastly. This wine has less body than the first recipe produces, but every bit as much flavor (some say more!).
This is a gallon recipe and a general purpose wine yeast will be fine.

I use a champagne yeast for most fruit and flower recipes.


About how long...?

I have a batch of this underway, and am wondering what kind of time frame to use to rerack after initial fermentation is complete. I used a champagne yeast; it's in a big fermenter (six gallon) as I didn't have a smaller one and it seemed hard to be sure when fermentation was done; it had some pressure but not really enough to make the airlock bubble, though I saw some condensation, the lock raised slightly and there was surface activity apparent from the residue on the sides of the fermenter. Any suggestions? Should I put it in a smaller container? Should I be looking for a certain specific gravity? It smells good... My mother in law likes dandelion wine but I don't want to get on her bad side!
Hey Pat, is your fermenter a plastic barrel or is the wine in a glass carboy? .. Have you got a carboy the wine will fit in with minimal headspace?.. Suggest you rack it to a smaller carboy and check the SG is under 1.000. If the wine is finished there is too much head space in the 6 gallon one for a one gallon wine.

Plastic barrel at present, will rerack it to a smaller one as soon as I can find one and see what I've got. Will a gallon juice jug or something like that work? I guess something the airlock is made to fit in would be best. Ain't over til it's over, right? Thanks for the help!
Even if it's a plastic gallon jug, it'll do the trick. All you're doing is reducing the amount of air the wine can come in contact with . sounds like it's doing fine.

you're welcome :D
I have a 1 gallon of dandelion on thats been gonig for ages, its still fermenting away really really slowly, I think its been on for about 2 months now and still hasnt got under 1000 Its now down to 1010 from 1085 ....do I just ignore it and wait for it to finish or what? Seems an awfully long time to still be going.
if it's still fermenting Coll.. let it finish..mine took ages too.
Heat an issue?

I put it into a smaller one-gallon jug, still fermenting but slowly. Last batch went fast and furious, but it was a kit wine. The dandelion must smells good, tastes OK, but sg is 1.05. It's cool in our house in the spring and fall; we heat with wood usually, and we'd get cooked out if the stove was cranking now, so winter is actually a better time to have a large batch underway as it gets warm. Plenty of cool places that stay above freezing once it's bottled, but the main living area can get pretty warm when it's cold out!
Any thoughts about using bottom heat in the off-season? For example - I once had a heat mat for starting seedlings, a flat electric waterproof mat that provided gentle bottom heat to start germination. Would something like this work for a small batch of wine?
your question may be better, to be asked in the general winemaking forum. I live in a temperate climate where it doesn't really get very cold, not cold enough to need heating pads anyway. So have never needed to use one.

My thoughts are that homemade fruit and flower wines ferment often for weeks, slowly, until they are finished. I don't rush the process and having done one kit to date I know they are furious fermenters, it's quite different. If your flower wine is fermenting slowly and smells great, just let it finish.

Finally a dandelion use I like!

I never did like the greens, too bitter for me though my husband likes them in salads.
My first batch of wine has cleared and stabilized, SG .996; it's not as sweet as one I had tasted earlier, and I like dryer wines, so that's good with me. It is a little strong, and a little harsh; the floral part is more noticeable in the smell than the taste. Will these traits mellow with time in the bottle? (Actually I plan to bulk-age it in a one-gallon carboy.) And what can I do now to correct if not?
Also - I used marbles in the secondary to top up so far to make up for the samples for SG. Any recommendations for what to use to top up in the next? Is water OK, or should I use a white wine? Not sure how much water you can add to a gallon of wine before affecting the taste, though I shouldn't need much. 3 cylinders for checking SG (all of which I drank!) Or I could use marbles again. I was surprised how much settled out in the secondary as it cleared, so maybe I should use marbles again. Then at least I will know where my marbles are, for a change...
, so maybe I should use marbles again. Then at least I will know where my marbles are, for a change...


top up with a similar white wine or use marbles. Flower wines need at least a year to mellow out.. I have some rose petal wine tucked away for xmas..it might need longer than a year, that was quite harsh when it finished fermenting too.

What are you going to make next?

The heating pad will work but keep an eye on it. You dont want to get the must too hot. 70 - 75 is great. You can poor the wine back from the cylinder if you use a sulfite solution on it first, I do.
Jon was asking me about the color of his/our dandelion wine. It is a yellow brown color and he used dark raisins in it. I told him the brown probably came from the raisins??
Sounds like it was the raisins Steve.. my wine is a light golden colour. He didn't use brown sugar?

No he used table sugar. It has a golden color must be too brown for his liking. It still had alot of settling to do also.
In response to your question St Allie - started a gallon of green tea wine using the rest of the champagne yeast. I like tea almost as much as I like wine, so...
I have taken the dandelion wine off the secondary into a clean carboy with marbles to fill to the neck; is there a minimum time to leave it? As soon as any sediment settles do I rerack it again, or wait a while? Also, adding the marbles may have added some air bubbles, the water in the airlock is no longer even. We've had lots of changing weather, so it could be that, I guess; it had equalized in the secondary. Either way should I just let it settle out, or should I stir it to degas it?
Thanks for all the help. It's fun to read the posts!
Hiya Pat,

Green tea sounds interesting.. did you use raisins in that recipe?

The dandelion will be fine left in the gallon jug for a while and no need to rack much more by the sounds of it.. just let it clear and degas on its own. I mean it's not like you can drink it young anyway, so might as well bulk age it a bit. However, if you are happy that it is clear you can degas and bottle to free up the gallon jug for the next project if you like. Temperature changes and a bit of residual gas may account for the airlock unevenness.

I'm really enjoying reading these posts too..it's great to have someone to talk to about my obsessions !


The tea wine recipe called for a cup of chopped golden raisins, 2 lemons, 1 lime (juice and zest from these), 2 lbs sugar and 18 teabags or tsps of green tea. Lipton has a green tea I particularly like, with orange, passionfruit and jasmine, so I tried some of that and some other plain green tea. Wish me luck! Smells good, at least - between that starting and bread baking it smells very yeasty in here!