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"The base [base ingredients] is where the wine's flavor and aroma comes from."

The first essential step in winemaking is to extract the flavor and aroma from the base ingredients by chopping, crushing, pressing, boiling or soaking them. This can be done in several ways. The recipes on this site each select and specify a particular method for accomplishing this.

WHOLE FRUIT OR BERRIES: If you begin with whole fruit or berries, there are four basic methods of extracting flavors and aromas. The base is first prepared. It might be peeled or not. Seeds (pits) might be removed or not. Immature (not yet fully ripe) fruit or berries are culled (removed), as are those showing signs of over-ripeness (brown spots, mold, rot) or bird or insect damage. After washing to remove dust, bird droppings, insects and pesticides, the extraction method is selected. Placing the fruit or berries in a nylon straining bag before it is placed in the primary greatly eases the later removal of the pulp from the must.

FRUIT JUICE OR CONCENTRATE: Concentrates are reconstituted (diluted with water) into juice before fermenting. Other ingredients are added to protect and balance the must after it is placed in a primary. Always begin fermentation in a primary, without an airlock, unless specially instructed to begin in a carboy. The inoculate (yeast culture added to the juice) needs exposure to oxygen for the first 48-72 hours to assist the yeast in rapid reproduction and increase the population to a density suitable for rapid fermentation.

FLOWERS AND LEAVES: Some of the best wines are made from flower petals. Dandelion, rose petal and hibiscus are three flowers that make excellent wines. Honeysuckle, cactus flower, tulip, red or white clover, and coreopsis also make wonderful wines. Flavor is usually extracted by one of three methods. Place the flowers (usually just the petals) in a nylon straining bag to reduce cleanup time and effort. Brambles, vine prunings, nettle tops, and leaves of selected trees and herbs are processed the same as are flowers and petals.

Additives and Other Ingredients

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Last update was August 29th, 2004.


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