"I am an amateur wine maker and have made teaberry wine
in small quantities only a couple times. Could you please
email me your recipe...?"
Paul, location unknown
Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) is related to Salal (Gaultheria shallon), Western Wintergreen (Gaultheria humifusa), and creeping snowberry (Gaultheria hispidula). Wintergreen grows in eastern North America, salal grows along the north Pacific Coast, western wintergreen grows in the mountains of the American and Canadian west, and creeping snowberry grows across much of northern North America.
Wintergreen grows to several inches in height and can grow abundantly in woods with the correct drainage and soil. It blooms primarily in July and develops red berries in the autumn which persist through the winter unless consumed. These aromatic berries are called teaberries and are edible raw. They are juicy, sweet and aromatic, and they make pretty good wine, jelly and pie, although collecting them can be a chore. Although they can be picked after turning red, they improve in taste as they age through winter.
The leaves of wintergreen are red when young and turn light and then dark green. Euell Gibbons developed a recipe for a fermented wintergreen drink which, with little modification, evolves into wine. Recipes for each (teaberries and wintergreen) follow. Some aging is required.
Put half the water on to boil and stir in sugar until dissolved. Meanwhile, wash berries and cull out any that are not ripe or are unsound. Put berries in nylon straining bag and tie closed. Place in primary and mash berries. Pour sugar-water over berries and add remaining water to help cooling. Cover with cloth and set aside until cooled to room temperature. Stir in acid blend, yeast nutrient and crushed Campden. Recover and wait 12 hours. Stir in pectic enzyme, recover and set aside another 12 hours. Add activated yeast and recover primary. Stir twice daily until fermentation dies down. Remove straining bag, squeeze to extract maximum juice, and discard pulp. Allow to settle overnight and rack into secondary. Top up if required and fit airlock. Rack, top up and refit airlock after 60 days and again when wine clears. Set wine in cool, dark place for 4 months, checking airlock periodically. Stabilize, sweeten to taste (if desired) and set adise for 14 days. Rack into bottles, age 3-6 months and enjoy. [Author's own recipe]
Put half the water on to boil. Meanwhile, wash and trim stems from leaves and put in primary. Pour the boiling water over leaves, cover primary, and let set overnight. Strain off the liquid and save it. Boil the other half of the water and pour over the strained leaves, chopped or minced raisins and zest of two large oranges. Cover primary and set aside for one hour. To this, add water drained off earlier. Add juice from oranges and all remaining ingredients except yeast. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Add activated yeast and cover. Stir daily for one week. Strain through nylon straining bag into secondary and fit airlock. Ferment to dryness, rack, top up and refit airlock. Set aside two months and if clear rack carefully into bottles. If not clear, top up, refit airlock and set aside until clear. Rack into bottles. Age 3-6 months. [Author's own recipe]
My thanks to Paul for requesting this recipe.