Is dandelion wine worth the work? Opinions please!

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BigDaveK

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I think I’ll try leaving the sepals on a batch this year. I leave a little anyway. I wonder if the sepals will require more aging. My paw paw requires two year to lose the seed bitterness.
Your tip using scissors was a big help but not dealing with sepals would save even more time. I'm very curious!

Did a quick check of my paw paws yesterday. Stopped counting around 50 blossoms. Going by the last 2 years I should have a hard frost any second now, dammit.
 

VinesnBines

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I'm praying we are past the hard frost danger and mange not to have any more frost from now on. My vines were breaking bud last week. In 2020 we had a hard frost/freeze on May 10 - killed every bit of green on the vines and set back several vines a year and killed a couple. Most vines had been killed back twice or three times by May 10. in 2021 we had a light frost on May 15. Our last frost date is traditionally May 10.
 

BigDaveK

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I'm praying we are past the hard frost danger and mange not to have any more frost from now on. My vines were breaking bud last week. In 2020 we had a hard frost/freeze on May 10 - killed every bit of green on the vines and set back several vines a year and killed a couple. Most vines had been killed back twice or three times by May 10. in 2021 we had a light frost on May 15. Our last frost date is traditionally May 10.
Bummer. I can certainly relate.
I'm praying, too. My tomatoes, that I started 3 weeks later than last year, are 2 feet tall. I need to get those babies in the ground quick. Peppers and everything else - also started later than last year - can wait maybe 2 weeks.
 

FlamingoEmporium

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We had frost this year.
Burned some banana leaves, burned some coconuts, but the tomatoes were hardly fazed.

Then came the drought. We haven’t had any measurable rain for well over 2 months. Until last night finally yay !

It’s a pain hauling hoses around to keep things alive. My Valencia Orange has been dropping blossoms before they even open, and mango trees are dropping little mangoes. Koi pond is several inches low and grass is brown and crunchy.

When we lived up north i always sacrificed one or 2 tomato plants to the frost god 😂. There’s always that one cold night when your way too tired to cover your plants or bring them in if you haven transplanted them and that’s the night the surprise temperature dip hits.

I’m thinking retractable dome over the yard would have been the way to go. Maybe gets some corporate sponsors.
Miracale gro dome, or Burpee Dome
 

VinesnBines

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Bummer. I can certainly relate.
I'm praying, too. My tomatoes, that I started 3 weeks later than last year, are 2 feet tall. I need to get those babies in the ground quick. Peppers and everything else - also started later than last year - can wait maybe 2 weeks.
My tomatoes and peppers are about 6 inches; I started later and the spring has been cool. I'm happy not to have long leggy plants this year. I'm 2 to 4 weeks from getting them in the ground.
We had frost this year.
Burned some banana leaves, burned some coconuts, but the tomatoes were hardly fazed.

Then came the drought. We haven’t had any measurable rain for well over 2 months. Until last night finally yay !

It’s a pain hauling hoses around to keep things alive. My Valencia Orange has been dropping blossoms before they even open, and mango trees are dropping little mangoes. Koi pond is several inches low and grass is brown and crunchy.

When we lived up north i always sacrificed one or 2 tomato plants to the frost god 😂. There’s always that one cold night when your way too tired to cover your plants or bring them in if you haven transplanted them and that’s the night the surprise temperature dip hits.

I’m thinking retractable dome over the yard would have been the way to go. Maybe gets some corporate sponsors.
Miracale gro dome, or Burpee Dome
I got a greenhouse in 2001, moved it in 2011 and did a major overhaul in 2018. That has been the best plan; though some years since I don't heat the greenhouse, I had to bring seedlings in the house for a few nights. I rarely put any tender plants in the ground before Memorial Day.
 

FlamingoEmporium

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My tomatoes and peppers are about 6 inches; I started later and the spring has been cool. I'm happy not to have long leggy plants this year. I'm 2 to 4 weeks from getting them in the ground.

I got a greenhouse in 2001, moved it in 2011 and did a major overhaul in 2018. That has been the best plan; though some years since I don't heat the greenhouse, I had to bring seedlings in the house for a few nights. I rarely put any tender plants in the ground before Memorial Day.
I used to put some things in once the asparagus was growing. If asparagus decided to come up, cold hardy plants went in. Tomatoes was always a crap shoot.
 

WinoDave

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I made this a few months back and it’s pretty good, everyone likes it. Not sure if it truly taste like Dandelion Wine but it is good.
 

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wetneck

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No worry there. I personally like dandelions. And besides, a weed-free lawn is at the bottom of my list.

In fact - just checked my shelf - I have a book "The Dandelion Celebration" that has recipes for the flowers, greens, and root. Pudding, muffins, ice cream, omelets, soup....what a hoot!
Ive had some awesome dandelion wine in the past. Friend came over with his gf about 5 years ago with the best ive had but it wasnt home made. I went out today and plucked out 1 flower, removed the green and decided it was a pita lol. If you have a lot of ambition, go for it. Otherwise summer is around the corner and that skeeter pee idea would be a LOT less work lol.
 

BigDaveK

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Ive had some awesome dandelion wine in the past. Friend came over with his gf about 5 years ago with the best ive had but it wasnt home made. I went out today and plucked out 1 flower, removed the green and decided it was a pita lol. If you have a lot of ambition, go for it. Otherwise summer is around the corner and that skeeter pee idea would be a LOT less work lol.
Have a gallon in secondary right now. The prep work took about 1 1/2 hours - much less than I thought - and I will seriously consider doing it again.
 

wetneck

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And we're off!
Picked about 3 quarts of flowers. Some of them were massive! I was very surprised how relaxing the entire process was. Start to finish maybe about 1 1/2 hours. The effort involved will not deter me from making it again. First batch will be bare bones, old school dandelion wine. I'd like to make another with other additional ingredients to compare.

One thing I noticed, right from the start it was "Hell no I'm not bending for just one flower!" And then it was two...and then three...

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I definitely appreciate your ambition! This is going to be my first watch on a wine making thread and dandelion to boot! My chair is pulled up and im all eyes and ears.

Your enthusiasm is contagious. Now im gonna try picking dandelions again. Maybe a good smoke will help me get into flower picking mode.

Momma had a baby and her head popped off! Lol
 

BigDaveK

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I definitely appreciate your ambition! This is going to be my first watch on a wine making thread and dandelion to boot! My chair is pulled up and im all eyes and ears.

Your enthusiasm is contagious. Now im gonna try picking dandelions again. Maybe a good smoke will help me get into flower picking mode.

Momma had a baby and her head popped off! Lol
It's in secondary still bubbling away!

I've fallen into a trap. I'm only making 1 gallon and wondering - am I going to kick myself for only making 1 gallon? So, yes, I've decided to make more. Unfortunately most of the dandelions are in seed mode now and I don't think I can collect enough flowers. Might have to wait.
 
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I've fallen into a trap. I'm only making 1 gallon and wondering - am I going to kick myself for only making 1 gallon?
1 gallon is 5 bottles, which can evaporate very quickly.

For my reds with aging potential, anything less than 10 gallons is a waste of time. 5 gallons, 2 cases, goes too quickly. Generally speaking, I make few batches smaller than 5 gallons.

Some folks make batches much larger than mine, some far less.

It takes as much effort to make 1 gallon as 10, although storage is a bit different. As you get farther into winemaking, you'll figure out what works for you.
 

FlamingoEmporium

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1 gallon is 5 bottles, which can evaporate very quickly.
As you get farther into winemaking, you'll figure out what works for you.
my first 2 batches were one gallon each.

now my Minimum is 2 gallons. Some day I’ll progress to 3

5 gallons ? Maybe someday. That’s a lot of bottles

but yeah you make one Gallon and give 3 away, and it’s like where did MY wine go. That 5th bottle isn’t always a full one.
 
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5 gallons ? Maybe someday. That’s a lot of bottles
It's a gateway. I've got a pair of 54 liter barrels (14.25 US gallons) and a bunch of 19 and 23 liter carboys. Some folks have 30 and even 60 gallon barrels.

Be wary, you too can fall into this spiral .... ;)
 

BigDaveK

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1 gallon is 5 bottles, which can evaporate very quickly.

For my reds with aging potential, anything less than 10 gallons is a waste of time. 5 gallons, 2 cases, goes too quickly. Generally speaking, I make few batches smaller than 5 gallons.

Some folks make batches much larger than mine, some far less.

It takes as much effort to make 1 gallon as 10, although storage is a bit different. As you get farther into winemaking, you'll figure out what works for you.
As a beginner I was certainly being cautious. Some wines I didn't know if I'd like, others were restricted by the harvest. And some were just plain let's see what this tastes like. Many are still in bulk so I won't know for a while.

I learned that my fruit wines - 4-5 lbs fruit per gallon and tasty - will be bumped up 25-50%. Or maybe I'll experiment with a different flavor enhancer.

But some were great going into bulk. I'll definitely start another larger batch of banana soon. And I really liked the dandelion and will do a larger batch the next time they come around.

I'll get the hang of this in a couple years.
 

heatherd

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As a beginner I was certainly being cautious. Some wines I didn't know if I'd like, others were restricted by the harvest. And some were just plain let's see what this tastes like. Many are still in bulk so I won't know for a while.
That's a wise course of action. I've been making wine a long time, and I know that my large batches will be to my liking. Well, as much as the uncertainty Mother Nature brings to the table allows. OTOH, I'm going to make the 1 gallon batch of coffee mead because of the uncertainty -- I'm sure I'll like it, but I also question how much of it I want. I have 15 split bottles of Coffee Port, and this may be close enough to that, that I don't want a lot. Or it may be different enough (much less sweet) that I'll regret not making more -- this time.

I'll get the hang of this in a couple years.
Never stop learning. I find there's always more ....
 

BigDaveK

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Jack Keller has a book that I bought of all his recipes that his widow published: Amazon - Home Winemaking: The Simple Way to Make Delicious Wine: Keller Jr., Jack B., Pambianchi, Daniel: 9781591939474: Books
I'd add that folks using his recipes on this forum felt he was light on fruit, though.
Yes, the consensus is he was a bit light but everyone's mouth is different.

The book and the PDF of his most requested recipes are no where near containing all his recipes. His site no longer exists but using the Wayback Machine you can access it and all his blog posts. A wealth of information! (Nothing is ever truly deleted from the internet.)
 

BigDaveK

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Jack Keller has a book that I bought of all his recipes that his widow published: Amazon - Home Winemaking: The Simple Way to Make Delicious Wine: Keller Jr., Jack B., Pambianchi, Daniel: 9781591939474: Books
I'd add that folks using his recipes on this forum felt he was light on fruit, though.
I need to clarify something. Keller's recipes will work with the amount of fruit listed if you have great, flavorful fruit. Nowadays they're not that easy to find. He even says if the fruit isn't "perfect" to increase the quantity. Crappy fruit, crappy wine.
 

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