Every year, more people learn to appreciate wine as part of their dining experience. Certainly, a store-bought wine made from cultivated grapes can be delicious. But did you know that wonderful wines can also be made from a wide variety of fruits, flowers, leaves, and even roots? Better yet, you can prepare these unique beverages yourself in your own home using Nature’s bounty. The result will be a pure, distinctive wild wine!
Wild Wines begins by examining the differences between commercial wines, organic wines, and wild wines. Every aspect of winemaking is then explained in detail, from the use of ingredients and equipment to the brewing process. This is followed by over seventy-five wild wine recipes that use fruits, flowers, roots, or leaves. Included are handy charts that guide you in collecting the best ingredients for your homemade brews. Here is all the information you need to revel in one of life’s pure pleasures.
Who doesn’t love a good glass of wine? Each year, more and more people learn to appreciate this delightful beverage and make it a part of their dining experience. But did you know that you don’t have to limit yourself to grape wines made by vintners? The fact is that it’s easy to make your own wine at home. Better yet, there’s no need to go to your local supermarket or farm stand for the fruit needed to make your wine. You can just take a trip outside and “shop” from Nature’s bounty for the plants needed to craft pure, distinctive, flavorful wines—wild wines!—right in your kitchen.
Wild wines are created by combining ingredients selected and hand-picked by you, the Great Gatherer—fruits, roots, flowers, leaves, and other plant parts foraged from your city or suburban backyard, the surrounding neighborhood, or anywhere plants grow unaided and unimpeded by human intervention. Making wild wines can link you to past peoples by reviving age-old winemaking techniques, using unadulterated, foraged vegetation as the primary ingredient. And, of course, making wild wines will allow you to give friends and family a gift that is both natural and unique—a hand-crafted wine that is available nowhere else.
Nature’s bounty embraces you even when you feel too hurried to notice it or are looking through untrained eyes. These pages will help you to identify more than sixty wild edible plants—from apples to thimbleberries to red clover—that can be transformed into wild wine. You will also learn to find wholesome secondary components to use in your wine. Wild grapes and wild plums can be changed into raisins and prunes, which can add fullness and flavor to otherwise weak wines. Some citrus fruits can be grown indoors as houseplants to be added to wines that are naturally low in acid. Wild grains such as oats and rice can enhance the body of weaker wines, as can store-bought wheat berries and dried corn kernels. You’ll be pleased to learn that there is no need to add the various chemical compositions and animal-based products used in commercial wines—and even in some organic wines. Your wines can use ingredients made strictly from Nature’s flora, not its fauna. And the results can surpass any wines you’ve ever enjoyed.
Part One of Wild Wines provides you with the basics of winemaking, starting with commercial wines. In the first few chapters, you’ll learn about different types of wine, and you’ll discover what actually goes into a standard bottle of storebought wine. Later chapters offer a close look at the world of organic wines, again showing you what actually goes into these specialty vintages. Finally, Part One introduces you to the world of wild winemaking. You’ll learn how to forage for Nature’s bounty; how to choose additional winemaking ingredients; and how to equip your wild wine kitchen at relatively little expense. Perhaps most important, you’ll explore the step-by-step process for making wine at home, from the preparation of the plant matter to the corking of your first bottle.
Part Two presents wild wine recipes, with each chapter focusing on a different type of wine—fruit, root, flower, leaf, and more. For every plant explored, you’ll find wild plant collection tips, a helpful description of the wine that can be made with that plant, and a detailed recipe. In short, you’ll find everything you need to choose a wine that suits your tastes, and to create your own Wild Blackberry Wine, Wild Ginger Wine, or even Wild Rose Petal Wine.
I feel that the more you learn about winemaking, the more you’ll want to learn. That’s why this book ends with a helpful Glossary of terms; a Resources section that will guide you to fruit-picking supplies, winemaking supplies, and more; an Evaluation of Organic Wineries; and an extensive Suggested Reading List. These appendices will extend your knowledge, help you locate any assistance you might need, and aid you in further appreciating the world of organic wines.
As someone who has created and enjoyed wild wines for many years, I can assure you that the rewards of winemaking are endless. In warm weather, you can fully immerse yourself in Nature as you gather wonderful fruits, flavorful leaves, and exotic roots. Yet you can make wine on even the coldest of days by using plants picked earlier in the year, and preserved through drying or freezing. Not only can a glass of wild wine provide a warm glow on a chilly night, but starting a new batch of dried fruit or tea leaf wine can fill your home with earthy cheerfulness during the blustery winter months. Won’t you join me now on an adventure into the fruitful, root-filled, flowery, and leafy world of wild edible plants? Let us plunge into the long neck of a transparent green bottle and see where the wild wine takes us!