Making dandelion wine is a great way to use these weeds that pop up in your yard. Dandelion wine is an aromatic, lightly floral off-dry to sweet wine that tastes of sunshine and summertime. It's also a great beginning winemaking project. To make a one-gallon batch, you'll need common winemaking equipment.
Basic Recipe for Dandelion Wine
Make dandelion wine with the flowers or with the flowers. Stems and other green parts of the plant will impart bitter or astringent flavors. Make sure you use dandelions that haven't been treated with any weed killer or other pesticides. Pick flowers in the early part of the day when they are at their fullest. This recipe makes one gallon of wine.
- 1 gallon plus ¼ cup water, divided
- 6 cups sugar
- 4 quarts dandelion flowers, petals only, green parts removed
- 1 packet wine yeast
- 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- Juice and zest of 2 oranges
- 2 cups golden raisins, chopped
- In a large pot, bring one gallon of the water and the sugar to a boil, cooking until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature (do not chill).
- In a small cup, combine the yeast with ¼ cup of warm water (105°F to 110°F) and allow it to bubble. Rest it for five minutes.
- In a one gallon carboy, add the dandelion flowers, yeast nutrient, lemon juice and zest, orange juice and zest, and raisins and pour the cooled sugar water over the top.
- Pour in the yeast mixture. Mix gently.
- Add water to top off the carboy and cap with an airlock.
- Ferment in a warm spot (about 70°F) for two to three weeks until fermentation has stopped (you'll see the bubbles in the airlock have stopped and the wine has clarified because sediment has dropped to the bottom of the carboy).
- Siphon through a filter into a clean container, discarding any solids including raisins, orange and lemon peels, and dandelion petals. Seal with an airlock. Ferment for another two to three weeks or until bubbling has stopped.
- Siphon through a filter a third time into a clean container, discarding any sediment.
- Bottle in to clean, sterilized corked or capped bottles. Age for 2 to 6 months in a cool, dry location.
Sweet Dandelion Wine Recipe
The above recipe produces a lightly sweet, floral wine. If you prefer a sweeter dandelion wine home brew, you can simply add more sugar to the basic batch- up to 8 cups. You can also back sweeten wine by adding a sugar with potassium sorbate and Campden tablets to stabilize the wine and prohibit further fermentation. Only do this after fermentation is complete.
- Dandelion wine recipe from above
- Campden tablet (in the amount noted for 1 gallon of liquid in the package instructions)
- Potassium sorbate (in the amount noted for 1 gallon of liquid in the package instructions)
- 1 to 3 cups of sugar
- 1 to 3 cups of water
- Complete the recipe as written above through step 8.
- Dissolve the potassium sorbate and Campden tablets in ¼ cup of boiling water. Cool.
- Add the cooled liquid to the wine and gently stir.
- Allow to sit at room temperature for 12 hours.
- Create a sugar syrup by mixing equal amounts of sugar to water and heating it until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the sugar syrup in small amounts at a time (1 tablespoon), stirring and tasting as you go until you reach the desired level of sweetness.
- Bottle and seal. Age in the bottle for two to six months in a cool, dry location.
Dry Dandelion Wine Variation
You can also make the above recipe a dry dandelion wine by reducing the initial sugar you add and omitting the golden raisins. To make a dry wine, add only two cups of sugar, omit the raisins, and make the recipe as written above. Do not back dose the wine with a sugar solution.
Tips for Making and Serving Dandelion Wine
When making dandelion wine, consider the following tips:
- Always start with sterilized equipment.
- Use only the petals for the wine. Avoid any green parts, which will add astringent flavors. If you want some astringency in wine, you can leave a few green parts - but not many (less than a teaspoon of green pieces).
- When siphoning your wine from one container to another (called racking), filter through a very fine filter to remove any microparticles from the wine. You can use multiple layers of cheesecloth as a filter.
- Serve chilled, just as you would any other white wine or dessert wine.
- Keep the wine for up to two years, stored as you would any other bottle of wine.
Is Dandelion Wine Alcoholic?
One question many people have is whether dandelion wine contains alcohol. As with other yeast-sugar fermented beverages, dandelion wine does, indeed, contain alcohol. The amount depends on how much sugar was fermented, but in general it's about 12% to 15% alcohol by volume (ABV).
Benefits of Dandelion Wine
Wine made from dandelions was once considered a health tonic. Making wine is a great way to preserve some of the dandelion's nutrients. Some benefits attributed to dandelions that will also be present in the wine include the following.
- It's a good source of vitamins A, B, and C and potassium.
- It contains antioxidants.
- Dandelions are considered a digestive tonic, so you can use the wine as a digestif after meals.
- Dandelions may also help reduce inflammation.
Drink Your Dandelions
Dandelion wine is a great way to preserve the flavor of spring and summer in a bottle. This aromatic, floral wine may become your new favorite.