Dandelion Wine Recipe (& the Mistake You Don’t Want to Make)
Wine out of dandelions? You bet! Making homemade dandelion wine is a longstanding family tradition. We don't make it every year, but I do like to keep a few bottles on hand for company.
The taste of this dandelion wine is rich, golden and warming – more like a good brandy than a wine. I've had friends who don't normally like wine comment that they do enjoy this “spring tonic”.
When we get dandelions, we get LOTS OF DANDELIONS! They are everywhere! (Boy photos are from 2010. They have grown quite a bit since then, but I kept these photos here for the happy memories.)
Make sure your dandelion flowers are free of pesticides, herbicides and other contaminants. I don't rinse the blossoms, though they are sterilized during the first part of brewing.
Don't pick dandelion blossoms for wine or eating from an area used by pets for their “bathroom”. As I explained to a reader in the comments, I'm fairly sure goat pee will not wash off.
Don't Make this Dandelion Wine Mistake!
For dandelion wine, use the yellow flower petals only. Leaving the petals attached to the green base of the flower will result in a bitter, unpleasant wine.
My neighbor made this mistake when she tried to make dandelion wine, and she ended up throwing out the whole batch.
I use 3 quarts of loosely packed yellow dandelion petals (pictured below). Not 3 quarts of flower heads, 3 quarts of petals only.
If you don't have enough dandelion petals from one picking, go ahead and freeze the petals until you have enough.
All your fermentation vessels should be glass, ceramic, stainless steel or food grade plastic. Never ferment in aluminum or iron, as it can react with the wine.
The boys and I sat down to a session of “second picking” to remove the yellow petals from the blossoms. You want to remove the petals as soon as possible after picking, as the flower heads close over time. Once they close, it's tough to get the petals off.
If you are working alone, it may be best to pick some of the flowers needed, remove petals, then pick more flowers and repeat. That way, you won't have trouble with the flower heads closing before you have time to clean them.
Homemade Dandelion Wine Recipe
“Dandelion wine, believed to be of Celtic origin, is regarded as one of the fine country wines of Europe. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, it was not proper for ladies to drink alcohol. However, dandelion flower wine was considered so therapeutic to the kidneys and digestive system that it was deemed medicinal even for the ladies.“
Adapted from Dandelion Medicine, in combination with my mother's recipe.
- 3 quarts dandelion petals
- 1 gallon water
- 2 oranges, with peel, preferably organic
- 1 lemon, with peel, preferably organic
- 3 pounds sugar
- 1 package wine yeast or champagne yeast
- 1 pound raisins, preferably organic (Buy organic raisins)
How to make dandelion wine – Directions
1) Collect the blossoms when they are fully open on a sunny day. Remove any green parts.
2) Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the flowers in a large pot or crock. Cover with a towel to keep dust out and let steep for three days. Stir daily to keep the petals submerged. They will develop a musty smell. This is normal.
3) Prepare the oranges and the lemon. Zest about half of the rind and peel off the rest in thin strips. You want to minimize the amount of white pith added to the brew. Peel the pith off the fruit and slice into thin rounds.
4) Add the lemon and orange zest to the flower-water mixture and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, strain out solids. Dissolve the sugar in the flower water. Allow to cool to room temperature.
5) Add the yeast, orange and lemon slices, and raisins to the liquid. Put everything into a crock (or wide mouth carboy with airlock) to ferment. I cover my crock with a clean cotton towel held down by a rubber band to keep dust and bugs out. Stir daily with a wooden spoon or non-reactive stir stick.
Bottling the Wine
You have two options for bottling your homemade dandelion wine. You can- let it finish in bottles, or move to a carboy and then bottle.
To finish in bottles: When the primary fermentation mixture stops bubbling (1 -2 weeks), fermentation is almost done. Strain the liquid through several layers of cheesecloth or a flour sack towel and transfer to sterilized bottles.
Slip a deflated balloon over the top of each bottle to monitor for further fermentation. When the balloon remains deflated for 24 hours, fermentation is complete.
Cork the bottles and store in a cool, dark place for at least six months before drinking.
NOTE: Do not seal bottles tightly before they finish fermenting, and don't put them somewhere warm. Otherwise, you'll end up with exploding bottles, like my sister, Mary, when she stashed them in a closet. Apparently, it sounded like there were bombs going off or they were being shot at.
If you would like a clearer wine, rack the wine into a gallon carboy with airlock before the final bottling. Allow to ferment in the carboy for 2-3 months, and then rack into the bottles.
If you'd like to download a pdf copy of my dandelion wine labels, just follow this link: Printable Dandelion Wine Labels
If you don't want to send the wine fruit to the compost pile, try Dandelion Wine Fruitcake.
Recommended materials for Making Dandelion Wine
- Wine Yeast
- 2 Gallon Crock – 2 gallons gives you space for fermentation.
- Wine Bottles – It's fine to wash and reuse old wine bottles.
- Wine Bottle Corker – This double lever model works like a charm.
- Gallon carboy with airlock – optional, for clearer wine
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A smooth and hearty flower wine with citrus notes that will warm you from head to toe.
- Yield: 4–5 bottles 1x
- 3 quarts dandelion blossoms
- 1 gallon water
- 2 oranges, with peel, preferably organic
- 1 lemon, with peel, preferably organic
- 3 pounds sugar
- 1 package wine yeast
- 1 pound raisins, preferably organic
- Collect the blossoms when they are fully open on a sunny day. Remove any green parts.
- Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the flowers in a large pot or crock. Cover with a towel to keep dust out and let steep for three days. Still daily to keep the petals submerged.
- Prepare the oranges and the lemon. Zest (finely grate) about half of the rind and peel the rest off in very thin strips. You want to minimize the amount of white pith added to the brew.
- Finish peeling the citrus, and slice them into thin rounds.
- Add the lemon and the orange zest to the flower-water mixture and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, strain out solids, then add the sugar, stirring until it is dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Add the yeast, orange and lemon slices, and raisins to the liquid. Put everything into a crock (or wide mouth carboy with airlock) to ferment. I cover my crock with a clean cotton towel held down by a rubber band. Stir daily with a wooden spoon or non-reactive stir stick.
Bottling the Wine
You have two options for bottling your homemade dandelion wine. You can- let it finish in bottles, or move to a carboy and then bottle.
To finish in bottles: When the primary fermentation mixture stops bubbling (1 -2 weeks), fermentation is almost done. Strain the liquid through several layers of cheesecloth or a flour sack towel and transfer to sterilized bottles.
Slip a deflated balloon over the top of each bottle to monitor for further fermentation. When the balloon remains deflated for 24 hours, fermentation is complete.
Cork the bottles and store in a cool, dark place for at least six months before drinking.
If you would like a clearer wine, rack the wine into a gallon carboy with airlock before the final bottling. Allow to ferment in the carboy for 2-3 months, and then rack into the bottles.
Do not seal bottles tightly before they finish fermenting, and don’t put them somewhere warm. Otherwise, you’ll end up with exploding bottles, like my sister, Mary, when she stashed them in a closet. Apparently, it sounded like there were bombs going off or they were being shot at.
Is Dandelion Wine Alcoholic?
Yes. If you use wine yeast as recommended in the recipe, you should end up with around 12 to 13 percent alcohol.
If you're feeling adventurous, you may be able to nurture wild yeast from the raisins into fermenting. Wild yeast brews will have a lower alcohol content, because wild yeast dies off if the alcohol levels get too high.
You can learn more about using wild yeasts in the book, “The Wildcrafting Brewer“, or in the Art of Herbal Fermentation online class from The Herbal Academy.
You may also enjoy:
- Harvesting and Using Dandelion Roots
- Low Sugar Dandelion Jelly Recipe
- Benefits of Dandelion Plus How to Use Greens, Seeds, Roots & Flowers
- Stop the Dandelion Madness!
Originally published in 2010, last updated in 2020.
Oh MY!! You were not kidding when you Facebooked about the Dandelions. Your yard looks like mine did last year – a sea of yellow. I'm going to keep this post book marked in case the second round of dandelions is big. The first round this spring was a lot but nothing like last year. Although I may keep ahead of them with the mowing since I am mowing and blowing the grass into long swaths to rake up and mulch the garden with this year.
Success!!! I’ve always wanted to try my hand at wine making and last year was the year! We had so many dandelions on our property. I found your site and went with your recipe above others I had seen. First of all, let me say I love your site and all the wonderful information that you have on it. I’ve emailed you and you’ve responded back to me quicker than I expected you would given your obvious busy life. You’re amazing!
I just knew the Dandelion Wine would be good because even the wooden spoon tasted good each time I stirred it. I bottled it at the end of last July and decided to open one this past weekend on Father’s Day. We have 4 grown children as well that were eager to sample. Everyone loved it and I could not be more pleased! It is a beautiful golden color, rich and warming just as you say.
This wine is so simple to make and well worth the time it takes to remove the petals. Just put on a favorite program on tv and petal away. I’ll be making more. Thanks Laurie!!
Blessings to you and yours,
I’m glad it worked out well for you, Sharon. It’s still one of my favorite homemade wines.
I look forward to finding out how the wine tastes. Keep us posted.
It smells really nice now (three days in) – very floral and fruity. The initial aggressive bubbling that nearly forced the fruit out of the crock has subsided somewhat, but it is still very active.
ahhhhh you fixed it!!!! I'm so very glad I can leave a comment now!
Wow, you guys were really busy. It's funny since I started harvesting dandelions a few years ago….well, I had less go to seed and less dandelions in the yard now! I do allow some to go to seed in some safe places so I can have the greens.
I can't wait to hear how the wine taste! Love your crock!
Laurie, this is incredible. I have to repost this on Facebook. My goodness – amazing. I love how you involve your boys to help. Great pictures, Laurie.
lol, Jasmine – it sounds so exciting when you comment about it. 🙂 For us it's just a normal day playing in the weeds. One week in and the wine smells absolutely wonderful. It's going to be tough to wait six months to try it.
Why do you have to waite so long? I've made grape wine and it took 2 to 3 weeks for it to be ready to drink. I see it s been almost a year. How did it turn out?
Six months was the time recommended by the recipe. In my past experience, dandelion wine can be a little harsh on the palate and the flavor improves with age. For better or worse, I haven't tried it yet. Things have been a little crazy around here and we don't drink much, so I was hoping to hit it with some of my girlfriends, but it just hasn't happened yet. Soon!
How exciting! My front yard is covered in dandelions– now I know I can drink them. I am going to have to get out there to start harvesting right away.
What’s the weight of one package of wine yeast?
A standard packet of wine yeast weighs 5 grams (0.176 ounces).
I am very excited to try this! 3 questions. 1) Can I reduce the sugar, as I like dry to semi dry wine?
2) Do you need to siphon the wine off the lees at any point?
3) Are the raisins absolutely necessary? (Again, concerned about sweetness)
You could probably cut the sugar a small amount, but the finished wine isn’t overly sweet. I wouldn’t skip the raisins. They add body.
For a clearer wine, rack to a carboy after the initial ferment. Ferment in the carboy for 3-6 months before bottling.
Thank you so much for you wine instructions ..I tried making dandelion wine in 1973 using your crock method. Had it upstairs in the hallway and we had a flood of the mississipi that reached the 2nd story and was afraid to even taste it . The water was about a 2 inch level on the crock ..So now I get to try again . Love your post
Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer. I'm still waiting for this year's dandelions to get uncovered by the latest snowfall, but this post gives me hope. 🙂
Wow dandelion wine! Sure helps to have some helpers to pick all those dandelions and help clean them. I made it one year but was so worn out by it all I never managed it again–so far. It was fun and delicious though! Thanks so much for posting this project. I just love dandelions. We live in the city now so I have to be more careful foraging as there are so many dogs around!
Ewwwwwww! No dogs on our place, just cats. I do always examine the area before harvesting. maybe you could get together with a country friend to harvest. Many hands make light work.
I decided that since today was gorgeous with tons of dandelions, that I would try this recipe. I am currently steeping the petals 🙂 One thing I noticed… I've never made any kind of wine before, just kombucha, so I read the directions before going out to harvest. As I was picking the petals away from the greens, hours later my gallon jar was still only 1/3 full, and I thought, "Getting three quarts of petals is going to take me FOREVER!" Then I came back, reread your post, and stared at the pictures… finally I realized that the 3 quarts indicated the amount of blossoms BEFORE picking the petals off, oops, lol!
Since I picked so many dandelions, I decided to give up on plucking petals after I had half filled my gallon jar with them, and put the rest of the blossoms (which had shriveled up long before now) into a second gallon sized Jar. I know you said that greens retard the fermentation, but I want to try it anyway 🙂
Have a happy day!
We did the same thing, measured it by the petals alone lol and didn’t catch our mistake till reading your post just now! But what we’re going to do next time is put them in water right away after getting a cupful, so they dont wilt. I mean, they gotta go in the water anyway, right! 🙂 Our dandelion wine had a kick! 😉
It warms you up down to your toes. 🙂
So I think I’ve picked roughly 3 quarts of blossoms, unseparated from the sepals. But I’m unsure what that equals for separated petals. Some of my petals are saved and frozen from a couple of weeks ago, and they’ve become compacted and hard to measure. I can kind of ‘fluff them up’ as it were.
My question is how many quarts (or cups) of loose petals did you add to the water, if you can remember? If I end up adding more (or less if I came up short) do you know whether that would ruin the final product?
I aim for 3 quarts of yellow petals, not 3 quarts of flower heads with sepals. The petal measurement doesn’t need to be exact. You won’t ruin the wine by having a little less or a little more.
The 3 quarts of loose petals go in the water.
Good luck, Roxanne. Just to warn you – the greens will make the resulting brew much more bitter. I hope you'll stop back and let me know how your brew turns out.
I wonder if it depends where they grow? I left ALL the sepals on and there was no bitterness at all!
Could be. I know if conditions are dry, it really brings out the bitterness in wild greens.
Hi… So my brew has steeped for three days, perhaps minus a few hours, lol, and today I noticed that both jars of steeping petals/flowers looked a tiny bit murky, and when I pulled off the lid to continue the recipe, they were bubbling slightly, and smelled unappealing, lol! I decided to come and ask you how it is supposed to smell after the 3 days of steeping. Keep in mind that they smelled like fermenting flowers, and I am sensitive to flowers, so that is probably why I thought they smelled "ugh!"
I added the peels, boiled for a bit, and then strained out the solids. Then I added sugar, and tasted. They both tasted like overly sugary herbal tea, and I couldn't tell the difference between the jar with the greens, and the jar without. I have labeled them so that if they do end up tasting different, I'll know which one, and why.
Lastly, despite reading the recipe several times, I still had it in my head that there was only a handful of raisins in each, and when I finally realized that there is a pound of raisins in each jar, I was like, "Whoa! I have to go buy more raisins!" lol. At least I have time before they are cool. I'm having fun with this recipe, thanks so much for posting it!
Lastly, have you ever made Dandelion Wine before? I noticed you mentioned you mom makes it too. Do you always make this same recipe? Have you played with the ingredient amounts? Also, in the instructions, you say add the peels, boil, and strain out the solids, but then in the pic, it looks like the peels are in the crockpot. Or did I misread that?
Have a happy day!
If I remember correctly, the initial ferment at three days smelled exactly like you described – not something I'd want to drink, rather musty/foxy.
This was my first time making dandelion wine on my own. My mother used to make it when I was a little girl. I suspect there may still be some 30 year old wine in her basement. (She passed away in January 2010, and we hadn't made wine together in many years.) I couldn't get her recipe, but this is similar to what I remember.
The original instructions said to add all of the peelings, but you'll note I only added the zest during the boil. I did this because I remember my mom's recipe having peelings in it. I did trim most of the pith from the peelings I added with the fruit. The pile of ingredients with the cutting board is what went into the boiled and strained liquid.
I hope this answers your questions! It smells very yeasty as it brews, but it mellows over time.
if you want a realllly strong wine,after it stops working add more sugar and vitamin c.this will keep the yeast from dieing,too much alcohol kills the yeast.
Yes, 🙂 Thank you!
Hello Laurie, this is awesome, my grandpa made many wines out of fruits, I was too little to remember what all he used but remember the large dijon glass bottles. I don’t know where to find fresh yeast, the grocery store don’t carry them no longer and I couldn’t find it at a health food store either. Any alternative? My grandma made Dandelion honey, made with blossoms and probably sugar, unfortunately I don’t have a recipe so need to google it, but I loved the taste, this wine must be awesome with the orange/lemon parts!!
By using just the petals and the zest, this version is a lot less “foxy” than the wine my mom used to make. I’ve got this year’s batch of petals steeping right now.
As for yeast, a good quality champagne yeast will work well. You can generally find that type of yeast at homebrewing stores if you have any in your area, or buy it online retailers, such as amazon.com. Here’s a link to a yeast variety I have used regularly – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00434CB74/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=commosensehom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00434CB74“>Red Star Champagne Yeast (10 Packs) Dried Yeast
Demijohn’s, I believe they are called…Dijon is a delicious French mustard LOL!
Simi , here is a recipe for Dandelion Jelly ! http://www.simplycanning.com/dandelion-jelly.html
Hi there! Found your post from Fat Tuesday 🙂 It caught my eye because for the past 2 weeks I’ve been covering how to cook with dandelions over at my blog. I love the cookie idea, will definitely try it! With the flowers, I made muffins, a cream of dandelion soup, and some veggie burgers – also made other foods with the greens..this is such an amazingly versatile plant!
Anyways, here are the links in case you’re interested 🙂
Dandelions: Friend or Foe? Part 1 (Greens)
Dandelions: Friend or Foe? Part 2 (Flowers)
Sarah – thanks for sharing the links. Be sure to stop back later in the week for Wildcrafting Wednesday. These types of posts would be a great addition to the blog hop.
I wonder if you can make dandelion jelly. I have a recipe for honeysuckle jelly. I am guessing it would work the same.
Absolutely! We generally have plenty of fruit jellies available so I don’t do many flower jellies, but dandelion petals do make a lovely golden jelly.
Dandelion petals make a wonderful jelly. To get a better stronger flavour steep in the water for at least two days…….in a cool spot. Mine reminds me of Buckwheat honey.
Love love love! I do dandy mead, fried dandelion fritters, and I aim to dig up roots this fall to make some roasted dandy root tea! 🙂 Sharing to my twitter feed right away!
Hi I was wondering if instant yeast would work has I’m having a hard time finding champagne yeast.
Some sort of wine yeast would be best, but just about any yeast will work in a pinch.
My wine yeast wouldn’t ferment, so I used good old old dried bread making yeast and the dandelion wine turned out perfectly! I have heard of floating toast on the top of country wines – I expect that’s for the yeast content, too.
The floating bread was commonly used in combination with bread yeast, or as an assist to catch wild yeast. Glad you were able to improvise successfully.
WOW! What a great idea! It’s a must try! Thank you.
What’s the easiest way to get the goat pee off the flowers?
I don’t think there’s any way to completely remove urine because of the absorbancy of the flowers and all the little nooks and crannies. I’d highly recommend harvesting in a goat pee free area. Maybe a friend wouldn’t mind you harvesting?
Laurie, you tutorials are absolutely the best!! As an added bonus, you constantly crack me up… goat-pee-free zone! LOL! Now that’s a blog post right there.
Thanks, Todd. While safe to consume because the petals would be boiled and steeped, I just can’t imagine that goat pee would provide flavor nuances that I’m looking for. Of course, coffee beans harvested from civet poop are a gourmet delicacy, so I may be missing out.
making this now am confused about the yeast. recipe calls for 1 cake or 1 oz but the link takes me to lalvin wine yeast which is 0.176 oz So do I use 2 packages? sure hope you see this post soon
Sorry for the confusion. The original recipe used bread yeast, which will work, because it feeds on sugars, but I typically just use a packet of wine yeast, which is more than enough for a batch of wine.
We did this dandelion wine recipe up last Spring (2014) and popped the bottles among all the dandelion flower gatherers this month. WOW!!!!!!!!! Is all we can say!!!! It’s bubbly and slightly sweet and “citrusy”… FABULOUS! Thank you SO MUCH for both the clear instructions and tastey ingredients! I think a home made gingerale along these lines would be super, although I wonder how one could incorporate raw honey and less/no sugar? If you know of a similar recipe please let us know! Thank you again :)))))
Maybe Wellness Mama’s Naturally Fermented Ginger Ale?
Just wanted to thank you for your website! What great, timely recipes and ideas. Just made my first batch of dandelion wine. How fun! I’m going to try strawberry- rhubarb next, and then maybe lemon balm. The possibilities are endless 🙂
Thank you for your kind words, Joanie. Sometimes it’s a challenge to balance doing the projects with writing about the projects, but hearing that people are interested keeps me going.
I was wondering if you might be able to substitute a pound of sugar with 16 oz of maple syrup? We make our own and I thought it might add a different flavor. Kinda like using sap for maple beer.
At http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/sugar.asp, they say:
And at http://homedistiller.org/sugar/wash-sugar/maple they say:
“Yes, you can use maple syrup to make alcohol. How? Well you take a recipe, follow it and BAM you have your brew. What if you don’t have a recipe? Well most people I know substitute maple syrup for honey in their mead recipes.”
Sooooo… it would seem to imply that one could substitute maple syrup for sugar, although I have not tried it.
Going to start making wine this week and wondered what you are using to cover the pot for the first stage after you pour the boiling water on the petals to steep. Cloth? Pot lid? Also, safe to double the recipe? Or make separate batches. How many bottles does your batch make?
I used a flour sack towel with elastic band to cover the pot while steeping. Doubling the recipe shouldn’t be a problem, other than taking more time to pick and pluck the flowers. This batch made five bottles of wine.
I see you said it makes 5 bottles . What size are the bottles??
I used recycled wine bottles, so 750 ml.
Thank you. I actually have 5 bottles from sparkling lemonade. They are 750no. I don’t like to waste. They have those rubber seal gaskets and the wire that pops down to lock the lid down. I’m drawing a blank on what they’re called. I wonder if those would work. (As long as fermentation was done of course.)
Those are called swing top or bail top bottles. Technically, yes, you could bottle in them, but from what I’ve seen on the wine making forums, folks wouldn’t recommend aging in them because the gasket may give out over time. (Alcohol and rubber don’t mix well.)
Sorry, one more question! Can I use a plastic fermenter bucket? And if I can, do I just put the lid on loosely?
For the initial ferment? That should be fine.
What did you do to get the fines out of the liquid? Did you rack the wine, & if so how many times?
Thanks for the recipe & I’m in the middle of the process here myself. I’m at this stage & I’m wondering what is best to do to get the clearest wine before I cork it up. Thanks!
I didn’t rack, so I ended up with some sediment, but not too much. You could age it in a gallon jug until it stops fermenting and then rack for a clearer wine.
This is my first time making wine. I’m interested in a clearer wine, so I read to “rack” it in a carboy for a few months before bottling. So, my initial fermentation is starting its second week. It’s still aggressively fermenting. When that stops, do I put “all” in the carboy, liquid and fruit, or just liquid?
Before moving to a carboy, I like to filter out the fruit so only liquid goes into the carboy. I line a mesh strainer with an old flour sack towel or heavy duty cheesecloth to strain, and let any sediment settle to the bottom as much as possible before gently pouring into the carboy.
Thanks for sharing this recipe:) I began the process about a month ago now and then had to leave town so left the final steps for a friend to finish. After about 2weeks the citrus solution was still bubbling so we decided to strain and bottle with balloons anyways. I arrived home yesterday and the balloons are still on the bottles inflated some…wondering what I should do now since obviously the fermentation is still going? I noticed there’s some sediment in the bottom of the bottles I could try straining out again? Any advice would be much appreciated:)
You can simply leave them until the fermentation stops, then cork, if you don’t mind a little sediment. This is what I normally do because I’m not too fussy, and the flavor was still good. Otherwise, you could transfer back to a gallon carboy and let fermentation finish there, then rack to bottles and cork for a clearer wine.
love the comment but for homemade blackberry wine I use panty hose ,several thickness from the legs to strain the wine off the berries or a thin curtain several thickness sewed into a bag ..also do this straining when I rack in bottles at the finish just put my bag over the funnel..hope this is helpful
I absolutely love to drink wine, but I do not like sugary stuff, as I am a huge but about balanced blood sugar. I also love to find ways to incorporate wild weeds and herbs into everything. Is there a way I could add less sugar to make it only a hint of sweetness and add other spices that don’t hinder fermentation? Also, could I add chamomile petals as well for additional health benefits? I just love dandelion and chamomile together.
Most of the sugar is consumed during the fermentation process. The end product is not very sweet. It’s your brew, so you are certainly welcome to experiment with adding whatever you like. That’s the fun of homebrewing. You might also try a simple vodka or brandy based infusion with the herbs and spices of your choice, or a mead with added herbs and spices.
I can’t wait to try the Dandelion wine recipe. My mom and I went to Wisconsin years and years ago and found a place up there that sold it. We loved it but could never find it sold anywhere else. Now thanks to you I can make my own.
I’ve never heard of anyone selling it. Interesting.
Can you used dried dandelion flowers instead of fresh? I have dandelions but not enough at one time to make wine and I refuse to pick them anywhere near any roads.
Probably, I just don’t know how it would affect the flavor.
Once you pluck the yellows off, you can freeze them. Do not THAW them before boiling and do not freeze ANY greens from them they turn to mush. I frequently have to freeze my petals for a second picking before making Jellies.
Thanks for the tip, Tia. I will add a note to the post.
oh boy! I did not measure my flowers before plucking all the petals. I was trying to get 3 quarts of petals but I see now that is not what you meant. Anyone have any idea as to how much 3 quarts of blossoms ends up being when plucked?
I am not sure. A little more or a little less won’t make a huge difference in the recipe. We often throw in extra because the boys pick so many.
Hi there! I have reached the stage of balloons on the bottles. They’ve been inflated for a little over a week. Just curious to know if there is a guide line as to how long they will be inflated? Is this something that can take weeks, months? Love the post! Can’t wait to taste the wine!
It depends on how active your yeast is when they go in the bottles, which is largely determined by temperature and sugar content. I would think it should take less than a month in most cases.
I forgot to let the mixture cool before I added the fruit and wine yeast. Now it doesn’t seem to be bubbling (I think I killed the yeast). Can I add another packet of wine yeast now that it is cool?
Yes, you can add fresh yeast.
Year 2 for making this wine with your recipe! Has anyone ever tried adding other fruit or (juice) to it like raspberries or blueberries during the fruit fermentation process? I haven’t come across any recipes online. They all seem to stick with lemons and oranges (assuming those are for acidification).
I’ve never seen a dandelion wine recipe with other add ins – but fruit has sugar, so it will ferment. The thing about wine making (like cooking) is that you have to be mindful of the flavor blends. Too many different things in the pot, and your flavors get “muddy”. (Just watch one of those TV cooking competitions where a contestant throws the whole pantry into one dish.) Citrus and blueberry are a classic pairing, so if you wanted to experiment, I’d probably start there, but I’m not sure how the blueberries would play off the raisins.
Hi, love the blogs!!! Had a question about fruit, and adding or making carrot wine!!? Lol
The only root based wine I have on the site is quackgrass wine, as we generally prefer to eat our carrots instead of fermenting them and I can never grow enough. As long as you have sugar and yeast, you can make some sort of country wine.
We followed a recipe from RGladstar on 4/21 and used 2 c sugar. Today, 5/20, the product is very sour. Should we add more yeast and sugar (dissolved in water), to re-ferment? Or, should we cork as is and store in basement? BTW, we used the whole flower bud. Sure glad we found your site. Linda & Karen
If you used the whole flower bud, it may be beyond saving. The green makes it very bitter, which is why I warn against using it in the post. If you’re willing to spend the time and sugar, a referment isn’t likely to make it worse. Aging will take some of the raw edge off, but the bitterness is likely to stay. As an experiment, if the batch is big enough, you could try sugaring half and bottling half. I suspect others are curious to see if it can be saved, too.
And welcome to the site!
Thank you for your quick reply! We are going to further the experiment by sugaring half (referment) and bottling the rest. Wish we’d seen this site before we processed the whole flower bud. Is there any chance a batch that’s been sitting in the bottle for a month can be “bad”, rancid or bacteria-laden? Or does this process prevent that? Just want to be sure we’re not spending a lot of time on bottles of bad wine, no that we haven’t been having fun with this!
The alcohol should act as a preservative. If it was off, it’d most likely have more of a vinegar flavor, not a bitter or sour flavor.
I did this to my elderberry wine 2 years ago. I was worried it might have gone off, but it smelled lovely so I warmed it up, added more sugar and more yeast. Now, it’s clear and delicious!
Thanks for sharing your experience.
Thank you for this wonderful recipie! We made a batch this sommer. I wanted to give them as Christmas presents but now I am a little concerned. I do have sediments – no problem. But I also have strings/cloudiness. It took weeks for the fermenting to stop. Looks loke my Kombucha. Is this okay?
I tried a sip and it tasted like port wine/Sherry. I like it. Made me sing “Jeramia was a bullfrog – joy to the world! Joy to you and me!”
Some cloudiness is not unusual, especially if you didn’t rack more than once. As a “country wine”, there was nothing added to help precipitate out the yeast beasties, so multiple rounds of racking would be the best route to a clear wine – which I normally don’t do. The yeast dregs are loaded with B vitamins. Hopefully your gift recipients won’t mind. If you do want it clearer, you could dump all the bottles into a larger container, let it settle for a day, and then rack more carefully.
Hi, I have a question.
I made some dandelion wine this summer. I did take the greens of the petals (what an extraordinary amount of work, by the way :)) I have just decanted it, and it is very sharp and bitter. I made it last year with great success. I think that I might have put too much yeast in. Is there anyway I can salvage it, or do I chalk it up to a learning curve? Would it be insane to add some simple sugar to it? What type of yeast do you use?
I’ve been using the wine yeast linked in the post – or whatever I pick up at the local home brew store, depending on the year. I highly recommend getting help to pluck petals, if you can talk anyone else into it.
Although the wine can be consumed at 6 months, the flavor mellows with age and becomes much less foxy and harsh. My 6 year old bottles are more like a good brandy. If you hate the flavor, there’s no harm in attempting to add some simple syrup. I’d probably try doctoring some and leaving some “as is”, and taste again in 6 months to a year.
Thanks. That is what I will try. I will let you know next summer. For this winter, I think I will mix it with some of my raspberry cordial. 🙂
Sounds like a plan. 🙂
Thank you for sharing this recipe, I can’t wait to try making it this spring! What I would love to do is to give out small bottles of dandelion wine as favors for guests at my wedding this coming fall. My plan is to make a large quantity (~ 10 – 15 gallons) and bottle in small bottles (~ 250 – 375 ml). Rather than allow any remaining fermentation to occur in the bottles (requiring the monitoring of attached balloons), do you think it would work if I transfer to large sterilized carboys after the initial fermentation & straining, and left it for a few months to allow for plenty of time to fully ferment before bottling?
Absolutely! The balloon bottle thing is entertaining, but a proper carboy with airlock will definitely do the job – plus an additional racking will help clear the sediment, so they look nicer for wedding guests.
I feel compelled to share some of my experience with brewing alcohols.
The one thing you’ve really left out is sterilization.
Not properly sterilizing all implements is a recipe for disaster. Bad bacteria can very easily get into your brew and overtake your yeast, or at least sour the flavor of your finish product. Star San is a no-rinse sterilizer that you only need to let set on a surface for a few minutes – basically fill your cooking vessel with it and water, and put all your tools in it for 5 minutes.
Also, you should really be using an airtight carboy with a one-way valve for fermenting. Again, it’s very easy for bacteria to creep in.
Finally, with fresh fruit, it’s good to make sure the flesh isn’t damaged – a previous wound that may be healed over would compromise the fruit, and again, sanitize the outside.
If people are inclined to invest in a more sanitary and controlled brewing setup, that’s great. It’ll give more consistent results. If one wanted to do commercial brewing, it would be required, along with a myriad of other sanitation rules. That said, folks have brewed all manner of ferments for millennia without the benefit of modern tools and sanitizers. My mom and my grandmother used to brew up a recipe very similar to this, and I’m quite sure they never owned an airlock or used no-rinse sterilizer. They still brewed up a fine assortment of country wines that were enjoyed by friends and family alike. As for only using perfect fruit…there’s a fine tradition of fermenting bumped and bruised fruit that wasn’t suitable for other storage methods. I wouldn’t use anything rotten, but mushy bits have some of the best flavor.
I have a question about fermentation vessels, crocks or pots. I just picked up a 20qt porcelain enamel stock pot from Meijer for great price, even came w a canning rack. Can I use that for fermentation of this or other wines? If not, I’ve seen stone crocks at Ace hardware for a good price but wondering if I can use the stock pot as multipurpose.
Also can one use vinegar for sanitation of the carboy?
If you’re only going to do an occasional batch of country wine, the stock pot will probably work just fine. If you think you’ll be doing winemaking on a more regular basis, a carboy is probably a worthwhile investment. I use my crocks for wine and other ferments, and don’t worry about precise flavor profiles, so crocks make sense for me.
I wouldn’t recommend vinegar for sterilization, as that might lead to introducing vinegar producing bacteria into your wine – so you’d end up with vinegar instead of wine. Either invest in the commercial cleaners (they’re not very pricey and a little goes a long way), or simply wash as well as possible with regular dish soap and hot water. Rinse well, and let things dry in a sunny window for a little more sterilization via the UV rays. (Not recommended for plastic, as this will speed breakdown.) Folks in the past used to ferment many different brews without the tech and sterilization we have available now.
When the dandelion plants are growing in the spring, but before they set buds, cover them with upended nursery container pots (with holes). They will continue to grow for a few more weeks,
but this trick seems to make the leaves less bitter when used in salads or cooking like spinach…
Like blanching endive. Makes sense.
Hi there! I’m about to be buying bottles to make this recipe: approximately how much does one batch (as per these instructions) make?
I usually end up with around five bottles of wine.
I just go to a bar down the street and ask if I can have their empty wine bottles. They don’t recycle glass in my area, so I get them for free. Most places give back like 15c for bottles, so offer them a quarter or something. New bottles are like $2 each.
I’m going to try to get into winemaking this summer: dandelion, salmonberry and blueberry (and whatever else I can pick around my area). I have some 5 gallon carboys for it. I’m guessing that I can just multiply all of the amounts by 5, since your recipe is for 1 gallon of wine, but would I use 5 packets of yeast or is 1 packet good enough for any size?
Yes, just upscale the recipe for most ingredients. The packets of yeast I’ve used say that they are good for up to 5 gallons of product, so odds are you won’t need extra packets of yeast for 5 gallons of wine.
it’s so interesting and amazing !
Ok, I’ve been looking up raisins by the pound…and they’re kinda expensive. Is there something special about raisins, or will any fruit/berry do?
Raisins add body to the wine, increasing it’s viscosity and causing the flavors of the wine to linger on the tongue. They also add a caramel element to the flavoring, which balances the acidity of the citrus. I haven’t experimented with other fruits, so I don’t know what the flavor of a substitution would be like.
I completely agree, Laurie. What do you do with the deliciously plump raisins afterwards? Seems a shame to throw them away!. I was thinking of a moist fruit loaf. Any ideas?
Thanks for reminding me! I wrote a post last year and forgot to link it – dandelion wine fruitcake, made with the fruit leftover from winemaking.
Getting ready to try your recipe and I’m so excited! a couple of questions, though: I have looked at what others have to say about wine-making in general and I’m wondering if I need to add sulfites to the recipe? Same for yeast nutrient. One article that I read says that most recipes don’t call for these 2 items because a person should know that these are needed for every recipe. Thanks for your help!
This is a “country wine” – what you see is what you get. I don’t use sulfites or yeast nutrient with this one, just the recipe as stated. I’ve never had a problem with spoilage or the yeast taking off and working it’s mojo. The additives can help produce a more consistent wine, but people have been fermenting things for a very long time without them.
Nice recipe, Lorie, and especially valuable hint about throwing out the flower base.
I suspect that the wine yeast will be the most expensive part of the setup.
Does it matter which sort of yeast do you use? Have you ever tried to make this wine without boiling dandelions, using just “wild” yeast that live on the petals to do fermentation on their own?
Why I’m asking is because usually yeast race used affects wine flavor very much, and I suspect that taking just ANY (probably inappropriate) yeast race might bring some disharmony to wine flavor.
I tried my first wild yeast mead (honey wine) last year and ended up making vinegar. Wild yeasts, although traditional and potentially bumping up medicinal qualities in the brews, can be a little tricky. It’s easy for them to become dominated by vinegar yeasts. The commercial yeasts are bred to hold their own and crowd out the competition.
Thanks for quick reply.
Hmm… Honey wine is called “mead” in English? Didn’t know that. Looks suspiciously similar to the ancient russian name of the similar drink – “мёд”(myod), which also generally means “honey” in modern Russian.
If wild yeasts might suffice, then I’ll probably try them anyway to see how will they perform in comparison to the commercial ones. I also plan to do some part of my wine using spring birch juice instead of water to bring additional forest note.
If vinegar fermentation is an issue, I like one good way to avoid it – fill a fermenter almost up to the top and put a water seal or some kind of bubbler on top of it (to avoid air intake), then place the fermenter into the cold cellar.
Then cork the wine up firmly in a bottle, and keep in cold.
So, you always use exactly the same Lalvin EC1118 every time?
There aren’t that many suppliers here in Russia, and it easily might be unavailable. So I wanted to have some possible replacement.
I guess any yeast suitable for white wine will be OK, right?
As I understand it, terms similar to “mead” are common in many cultures around the world. The book I read last year (Make Mead Like a Viking) that inspired me to give wild yeast a try had some interesting history and folklore.
To catch the wild yeasts, at least from most recipes that I have seen, the initial ferment should be done in an open crock covered with cloth to keep bugs out. The wine start should be stirred vigorously daily with the sugar and fruit added.
The initial soak of the dandelion petals basically makes a strong dandelion tea (infusion) to add to the fruit and sugar wine base. The author of Make Mead Like a Viking suggests somewhere warm outside, if it is available. I used my greenhouse, which at that time had the doors open for ventilation, but was still protected from the wind. (The doors are half doors, so can be partially closed to keep animals out.) After about 3 days of stirring, I had very nice bubbling – and should have brought it inside. I left it another day and the temperature spiked. The smell changed from fruity to vinegar very abruptly.
Without the open crock ferment, no wild yeasts.
Once the vigorous fermentation of the initial ferment is done, switching to an airlocked carboy in a cool location for aging would be good.
I use any wine yeast that’s available, as I’m not concerned about replicating an exact flavor. I believe grandma used bread yeast, and the old book “How to Make Wine in Your Own Kitchen” (1963) includes a number of recipes with a slice of bread or small amount of wheat biscuit cereal paired with bread yeast for fermenting.
Thanks a lot for such an exhaustive description.
Indeed, there’s not that much info on this topic around.
Working with wild yeasts is as much art as science – and there’s no money to be made promoting wild yeasts over selling commercial yeasts and all the equipment that goes with current wine making trends. Fruits and sugars ferment, and people have been using that basic fact for a very long time. As long as one doesn’t mind results that might be a little “foxy” at times, there’s no reason not to experiment. At worst, you’re likely to end up with a strange vinegar.
You can get a 10 pack of Montrachet wine yeast on Amazon for $6.34. You only need one pack per batch, so it’s 63 cents worth of yeast.
The most expensive part of this is the pound of raisins per gallon of wine.
Thanks for the info.
Despite that I’m not from Crimea, I believe Amazon charges some fairly good additional fee per shipment to Russia, so it’s much less expensive and much faster to me to buy from our local supplier.
Working on making this right now. Curious about the 6 quarts of blossoms and measurements. Which if I figure correctly is about 12 cups of blossoms. My question: Is the measurement of blossoms to be packed such as brown sugar or loose such as chocolate chips?
The petals, being petals, don’t tend to pack quite like either brown sugar or chocolate chips. 🙂 I aim for a fairly snug packing of 3 quarts. It’s a country wine, so measurements may be less than precise and still end up with a drinkable product.
Hi, this is my first time making wine. I’ve got my petals steeping in a crock now. I’ve got a one gallon crock so it is full to the brim. How much will the liquid expand when I add the yeast. Do I need to move it to a larger stockpot for fermenting so it doesn’t run over?
If you’re full to brim before yeast is added, yes, a larger container would be a very good idea. Anything non-reactive (like a stockpot, as you mentioned), will be fine. Just keep it covered to keep the critters and dust out.
Thanks. We’re fermenting now and the fruit is sitting on top the bubbles, should I stir it back into the liquid? Or is it like bread and you dont want to disturb it while the yeast is working?
The original recipe didn’t mention one way or another, but I typically give my homemade wines a stir each day and check on their progress.
My bottles have been sitting with the balloons on top for a week! Is that long normal? It appeared to be done bubbling when I bottled them and they ferented for two full weeks before that. Also, one bottle was done right away, another bottle was done a few days ago, one bottle inflates the balloon every few hours. Is it normal for it to vary so much from bottle to bottle? It seems like they would all be the same!
Some of the commercial yeast strains can be pretty vigorous, so that’s not terribly unusual. As for the variation from jar to jar, that is a little stranger, but if the wine was settled and pulled off in layers to the bottles, some will have more particulates than others, and more yeast fuel.
So I have spent the day picking and plucking dandelion, tedious but oddly relaxing. Now that I have them steeping I came back and read through the comments. My stars I am seeing so many variations. Im sure you’ve been asked enough but I want to confirm yet again if I may. I plucked a 3 quart saucepan full of nothing but yellow petals. So I measured after plucking. Is this your preference? Or should I add more water to the steeping? Sorry I know its a popular question. Thank you for this recipe my hubby sent it to me so I figure I may have it done for him by Christmas, goodness knows the dandelions are aplenty here in Ohio (broken mower on 4 acres means fount this recipe just in time)!!
lol – 4 acres could be a lot of dandelions. I prefer 3 quarts of nothing but the yellow petals. Cover those with the gallon of boiling water for steeping. Make sense?
They are everywhere, 3 quarts didn’t put a dent in them lol. Thats what I did! Thank you so much!! We are very excited to taste it 🙂
lol – it’s funny. You start picking, and it seems like it would be a lot to pick, but it’s not. Even in our yard I can never tell where we’ve picked. Plenty for us and the bees and butterflies, too.
My neighbors all think I am some kind of nut because I am always picking dandelions. the stares I get are funny.
Maybe they need to be introduced to dandelion wine? 🙂
I ordered raisins from Amazon and they will not arrive for several days, but today is the day I am supposed to add them and the citrus. Can I add them when they arrive? Or do without?
The raisins help to balance the flavor of the wine and improve fermentation, so I wouldn’t skip them. I normally prep all my ingredients in advance, so I haven’t tried this, but I would proceed with the rest of the recipe and mix the raisins in as soon as they are available.
I harvested my dandelions. I’ve removed the stems and leaves. Is it ok to save the dandelions in a ziplock bag and store in the refrigerator or freezer until I have enough to make full fill my recipe?
If you need to store the petals, keep them frozen, not refrigerated. The quality will be much better.
Hi, I have used you this recipe for dandelion wine. It has been fermenting in a crockpot for nearly two weeks, it is still bubbling a little so not yet finished. i am going away for a week from tomorrow, will it be ok to leave for this amount of time in crockpot until I get home? Thank you in advance
It should be fine. By chance do you have a gallon carboy with airlock? You could strain before you leave and shift it in there to bubble. Alternatively, you could bottle and use the balloon trick – just make sure there’s plenty of room in the balloons.
Thank you for your reply. I don’t have a carboy unfortunately as this is my first time at making this wine. I think I will bottle & use the balloon trick. Thank you again. Marilyn
You’re welcome, and good luck!
I accidentally used 4 pounds of sugar instead of 3! Will this completely ruin my wine, or will it just be little sweeter. I feel really stupid for this mistake =(
I’ve never tried it, but I don’t think it will ruin it, just change the flavor profile.
Thank you for the great article and all the comments.
I’m wondering if you can bottle in smaller bottles.
What about empty 500ml plastic bottles?
If corking.. does that mean you have to buy a special corker?
So many answers and still so many questions!
I’m personally not a fan of long term storage in plastic, but I suppose if it’s food grade you could probably do it. If corker, a corker works best, although I have seen corks forced in with a rubber mallet. (I don’t recommend this.) Smaller bottles would be fine as long as you can find a way to seal them.
After you cover the dandelions with the boiling water do you just let them stew for 3 days, and then add all the rest of the ingredients? Or do you add them at the same time you start stewing the flowers?
The dandelion petals sit on their own for three days. Think really strong dandelion petal tea.
Hello, my dandelion wine has greasy globules floating on top. What can I do, please?
Could you provide more information? I don’t know what you mean by “greasy globules”, or what top the said globules are floating on. At no point should the recipe be greasy, although during the initial ferment of the petals the surface may look a little slimy.
I am so glad I Googled “dandelion wine” and found your post! My Grandma’s recipe is NOT complete – and I would never have attempted making this without your help! 🙂 We used to sit on a board that lay across the just-ending fermenting concoction for the promise of a shot-glass full of this wine. Best ever memories of childhood!!
I have the same trouble with some of the family cookbooks. Things were skipped in the recipes because it was assumed that everyone making it knew the other parts. Good luck with your wine!
I was wondering if I can use organic, raw sugar for all three pounds in the dandelion recipe? Thanks
Sure, of course!
Hello! Love this recipe! It’s been a joy taking on this challenge! There were a couple of parts of the instructions I wanted some clarity on. When you said strain the solids in step 5, you’re talking about the dandelion petals right? And did you throw them away after that? I wasn’t sure if they were supposed to be saved and put back in the crock. And how long is it supposed to cool before you add the citrus slices, yeast, and raisins? And should it be cool to the touch, not warm at all, before adding the remaining ingredients? Also, when I added the wine yeast it didn’t really react/bubble. Should that be a bad sign or is it suppose to take a bit before it bubbles? Sorry that’s a lot but I appreciate you taking the time to read this.
Thanks for sharing the recipe!
I added zest to the petals in step 4, so I strained the zest and the petals out. They go into the compost.
“Cool” should be cool enough that you don’t kill your yeast. Between body temp and room temp is an easy safe range.
It won’t start bubbling immediately, but should be active by the next day.
I am going to try this recipe, but instead of sugar I am going to use caramelized honey and make a bochet.
I noticed you share the last name of a good friend of mine, Julie. She’s not much of a drinker, though. I’d appreciate hearing how it works out if you think of it when it’s ready.
I have just finished putting everything into my Anvil steel fermenter. Donyou recommend opening it up every day and stirring until it’s done? Also, how do we know when the wine fermentation is done? Once it’s done I’d like to out it into bottles and cork them off. As I understand, once corked off they will still ferment some over time- is this correct?
I stir daily while there is fruit in the ferment.
If you age in a carboy or other fermenter for 6 months or so before final bottling, fermentation should be largely complete.
Will this work with the smaller dandelions?
I don’t know what you mean by smaller dandelions? Are you talking about the same species, with smaller flowers? If so, those will work.
I have a 3gal jug, will all the extra air make a difference since this is a 1 gal recipe or do I need to get a smaller jug? Also I have lalvin, which I know you use the whole pk. I also have red star it says 1 pk for 5 gallons, do I follow your recipe or yeast pk, and cut it down for a gallon? Thank you so much
For the first active ferment, it’s not a problem to use a larger jug, as the fermentation will be very active. When you move on to final bottling, or if you’d like to do your first round of aging in your jug after the active ferment has settled down, it would be better to minimize headspace.
Whoops – almost forget the yeast question. You can go ahead and use the whole pack for ease of use. It’ll just be really frisky.
OK I am sorry if this is ridiculous, but…are the petals firmly packed or loose? Because that would make a lot of difference. I’m not having fun pulling the petals out LOL
Firmly packed is preferred. I highly recommend bribing someone to help you if possible.
Oy. Thanks…it’s hard work! Dogs aren’t cooperating!
What the fucks a Quart?!
A quart is a a unit of capacity equal to a quarter of a gallon or two pints, equivalent in the US to approximately 0.94 liter and in Britain to approximately 1.13 liters. It’s also known as 4 cups or 32 fluid ounces.
Take freshly harvested dandelion flowers when they are still wide open. Pick the yellow petals off. Stuff them in a measuring cup that holds a quart (or quart jar, until measuring device is well filled with lightly packed petals. Repeat three times.
Making this recipe again Thanks so much for posting it. Picked dandelions and picked off the yellow flower stems to have 3 quarts Everyone that got it for Christmas wants it again. Yesterday it rained after I picked so watched movies and picked stems off
Glad you enjoyed it. Watching movies is a good way to help the time pass more quickly if you’re cleaning the blossoms alone.
While steepping the flower petals, do they need to be in the refrigerator or just on onthe counter?
On the counter is fine. The water has been boiled, so you should have a fairly sterile environment.
Thanks, my first try don’t ant to ruin it. Also do you add any Potassium Meta bisulfate to eliminate any wild yeast? Everyone has different ideas, sometimes confusing.
If you use commercial yeast it tends to outgrow the wild yeast. It’s much more aggressive, and can take the alcohol count higher than wild yeast before dying off.
I was wondering if fermentation needs to take place in a cool place? Or does it need a warm room? Also, should the fermentation take place in a dark/dimly lit room, or will it be fine in a normally lit room? Thanks!
Primary fermentation can take place at normal room temp, from around 65 to 75F. Warmer temps will speed it up, cooler temps will slow it down. Secondary fermentation and aging (after bottling, or if aging in a carboy) is better in a cooler location. We age ours in the basement or root cellar.
I recommend fermenting and storing out of direct sunlight. I keep the crock covered with a flour sack towel, same thing with carboys if I have them on the kitchen counter. For aging in the basement, I cover with a light towel, too, just to keep the dust off. For long term wine storage, a cool, dark location is best. Think classic wine cellar conditions.
Just wanted to say thanks for this recipe!
I was randomly browsing reddit a few days ago and someone had put up a picture of a pulled up dandelion and complaining about them cluttering up his lawn, a few of the comments were upset that it was not going to be used for cooking, I had no idea dandelion had any culinary uses!
After searching for dandelion recipes I ended up here and have been following your instructions and I’ve been having a lot of fun so far making it! I am not used to U.S measurements so I ended up picking about twice as many dandelions that I needed, oops. We are having wonderful weather for the last month or so anyway, so it was not exactly horrible wandering around collecting them. I just finished added the yeast and my wine is currently bubbling away in the kitchen, so it seems it is going well so far, really looking forward to the next stage in a few weeks when i get to bottle it up and spend the next 6 months being super excited about how it will turn out, should be ready just in time for Christmas, perfect!
You’ve also sparked my wine-making curiosity now, I am already coming up with ideas for the next wine I will try to make, I am thinking of something with licorice and blueberries could be nice, those are 2 popular ingredients here in Finland.
If you’re excited about experimenting with different flavors while fermenting, you may enjoy the books listed in this post -https://commonsensehome.com/wild-yeast-brewing/
“Wild Wine Making”, another book just published by Storey Publishing, is another good resource for unusual wine recipes.
I followed your recipe, was getting ready for the next step: adding zest of orange and lemon.. I looked in my crock.. and my dandelion pedal water has molded 🙁 Is it because its humid/ hot in my house?
I waited 3 full days? Should I instead have processed on the 3rd day?
I’m bummed.. I’ll have to pick more dandelions and try again.. before my lemon and oranges are gone..
It’s hard to say for sure what caused the problem. Was your crock well cleaned? Was your water boiling? Were your petals fairly clean? Do you generally have mold issues in the house? Any of these could cause a problem.
I usually process strain and add the lemons and oranges on the third day, but if it’s extremely hot and humid in your home, straining and adding fruit after two days may be better, to get the yeasts in and start the fermenting sooner.
I’m going to be hard pressed to find enough flowers but determined to make! Can you let me know how many regular wine bottle sized bottles this recipe results in? It’s difficult to start without knowing!
You should end up with four or five bottles. There may be some variation in the fruit size and moisture levels, and some evaporation loss from the crock in the first stage of fermentation.
thank you so much for letting me know! If you think anyone (seems a lot of people talk about having an abundance of dandilion) still have any they would pick and sell – not sure if there are any strange restrictions on sending flowers or if freshness would be compromised, etc. I’d love to be able to buy them instead of the hunting and pecking (picking!) I’ll be doing here in northern California! No idea if there’s a way to facilitate? I saw someone mention facebook so I presume you have a page. If you think there’s a way for me to find someone for my scheme, please advise!
There are a couple of issues with shipping dandelion flowers. First off, this is best made with fresh flower petals. Those fresh flower petals are best picked off of their bases ASAP once they’ve been picked. Even after a few hours, they close and start to wilt, and turn into a sticky mess. After two or three days (shipping time), they turn white and try to go to seed.
Second, picking the petals from the base is very labor intensive. I don’t think anyone is willing to pay for the time involved in picking and drying enough petals for a batch of wine. For most who do it, it’s a hobby that they enjoy, so they’re willing to spend the time on it.
I didn’t mean to have someone else pick the petals from the base but it sounds like even shipping the flowers won’t work so I’ll collect here! Thank you again for your help.
Yep, they are a fleeting beauty. Good luck!
1 gallon will fill 5 wine bottles.
Bees love dandilions. We need bees more than we need to steal their flowers for wine.
You may want to do a little more research before you start pontificating online.
First off, people protect resources that they use. If more people learn to appreciate and use dandelions, then they’ll stop spraying all those toxic herbicides all over their lawns to kill the dandelions and there will be more dandelions for humans and all the pollinators.
Secondly, picking the flowers encourages more flower production – making more food for the bees. The goal of the plant is to reproduce by setting seed. If it can do that with one set of flowers, it has no reason to keep creating more flowers. By picking some flowers, we encourage it to keep flowering over a longer period of time – making more food for the bees.
Can I take this a step further and make dandelion vinegar. Any idea what I would need to do next? Thanks.
Seems like a lot of work, but you could leave the container open for the final ferment instead of bottling or using an airlock, and it would eventually turn to vinegar. It would be much faster to take apple cider vinegar and infuse the blossoms in it for a few weeks, and then strain.
Hello, it appears as though most things are covered especially with all the questions and answers, great job on it all. I’d like to ask whether in a separate saucepan with a little extra water I can whizz up and boil the raisins, oranges and lemon flesh so that I can get all the contents straight into my air-locked container (demijohn x2)? They have only a small opening at the top but I could still funnel in a viscous mixture as opposed to solids. I realise not to add the yeast until cooled. In fact, is it possible to not strain anything till later, (post initial fermenting)? Thank you kindly.
General rule of thumb – if there’s sugar and yeast, it will ferment. Flavor will change a bit with different handling, but Mother Nature likes to make hooch.
If you prefer to do the initial ferment in an airlocked container that’s fine, as long as you can clean it out well after you’re done brewing. I personally like to stir daily, but many do not, especially those who are concerned with wild yeast getting in the brew.
Hi, wicked excited to try this, I’ve been intrigued with the concept since reading Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury as a kid. One problem, I live in a neighborhood that gets a lot of dandelions but also has many stray cats and unsupervised dogs. Is there a good way to clean the flowers to make sure they aren’t covered in… business? Obviously I wouldn’t pick any out of a pile, but I can’t imagine any amount would do anything nice. Thanks!
Cat tend to prefer to do their business in mulch or garden beds where they can bury it, or mark an object (in the case the fellows). Depending on the dog, droppings should be obvious, but pee spots might not be. Many dogs do have the favorite spots that they like to mark, so you can tell by damaged foliage, but it’s not always obvious.
The flowers tend to stay up above ground level and so should avoid the worst of the fallout, but any washing that’s thorough enough to completely remove urine and feces will probably wash all flavor out of the dandelions. The petals do get sterilized by the boiling water poured over them, so if you’re comfortable with “close enough”…
Our ducks free range in the yard, but their droppings tend to be quite obvious, so we visually avoid the poop and call it close enough.
I made this last year and everyone loves it. I started a gallon batch 2 days ago. I now have enough for another batch. My question is can I add this batch with the other? I don’t have enough containers for 2-3 batches.
Yes, as long as there is room in the fermenting vessel and you give it all enough time to age. As a country style wine it’s pretty forgiving.
Can’t wait to make this when they dandelions start showing up. I generally have a bunch of craisins for salad ir whatever. So I am gonna do I a batch with those and with raisins. I will let you know the results.
Can you translate your ingredients to metric measurements please as we poor souls in the EU don’t understand your US measurements. ie. Cups ? Quarts ? is a US quart 40oz as it is in England. See what I mean. Best regards Steve.
Hi Steve. All measurements are in U.S. measurements, given that I’m from the U.S. I’m a little tight for time this morning, but but there are these awesome unit conversion tools available online – completely free! – that will help you with these measurements and any others that you encounter.
Unit Converters is a personal favorite. Go to https://www.unitconverters.net/, and select volume, then pick your desired measurements from the lists.
I’m planning on trying this. A couple of silly questions: Can I use cheesecloth to cover the crock while it’s steeping? And wouldn’t I also need a funnel to get the wine in the bottles? Thanks…looking forward to trying this.
If you use cheesecloth, make sure it has a tight weave to keep dust and bugs out. A lot of the cheesecloth sold now is thin garbage.
Yes, a funnel does make filling bottles easier, if you go straight to bottles from the crock like I did in the post. If you go to a carboy in between, a siphon hose is the best option to transfer from carboy to bottle.
Great directions for dandelion wine, and I love your photos! I’ve shared your recipe and story link in my post “Yank That Dandelion – And Eat It!?“
I have a five gallon carboy, can i use that for this recipe?
If you wanted to make a larger batch, yes. For a single batch, it would be oversized. It’s best not to have too much air space above the wine once you move it into a closed vessel. With only a small space above the wine, the fermentation process can fill that gap with carbon dioxide, helping to prevent spoilage.
Yikes. Ok. I’m scared about bottling!! Since you mentioned explosions.
And I want the best flavor.
To add an extra layer of safety (and get a clearer wine), instead of moving to bottles with balloons on them, you can go to a gallon carboy and ferment in that for six months before racking into bottles. That allows extra time for any remaining active yeast to settle down, and more fines will settle to the bottom of the carboy.
I am interested in trying this recipe and I just picked several quarts of dandelion flowers. Given that raisins are being used and that dandelion flowers are great sources of wild yeasts too, have you, or anyone whose tried your recipe, done so without the dry wine yeast?
We the method used in this recipe (with the petals being covered in boiling water to steep), the yeasts are cooked, but I’m sure people do it.
I haven’t tried it because of the higher risk of accidentally making a batch of vinegar, but in the original version of Wild Fermentation, the author reserves about half a cup of petals to add until after the wine cools. (His recipe is a little different than this one in other ways, too.) He also adds 1/2 cup “berries for wild yeast”.
In the book The Wildcrafting Brewer, the author focuses on nothing but fermenting with wild yeast in a variety of ways. He highly recommends making up a wild yeast starter before you begin brewing, so you know you have active yeast, and gives several starter variations.
Thank you so much for this recipe! I am at the – boil the dandelions and strain. I have to admit the dandelions are smelling a bit cheesy after three days of steeping, but i am plunging on, hoping for the best…. any advice?
thanks again, Jaynie
Never fear – it’s not unusual for the steeping petals to development enough funk to hang with George Clinton.
But not Bill Clinton as that may turn them rancid
Never put Bill Clinton directly in your wine.
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I have the same question about smell. After 3 days of steeping, I’m really surprised by the smell. It smells like a string cheese or vomit. I went ahead and continued with the process, but I wondered if this is at all normal and if so, when this will change. Thank you!
The petals by themselves do tend to develop a rather earthy odor after steeping, but once the petals are strained out and the sugar and fruit is added, the aroma shifts to sweet and yeasty.
PS. When you say – cover and steep for three days – how tightly covered is that? I am going to throw it away and try again, it really does smell bad! 🙁
Cover with a towel so it breaths but keeps bugs out, not plastic wrap covered.
I just clarified this in the post.
OK, I guess I’ve come this far, might as well carry on….Thank you. I;ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks again! So lovely to find this kind of support online!
If I’m pulling the petals and they are starting to look white and fluffy at the base, are they too old to use? (Like perhaps they are starting the process of going to seed). Or is that the way they look all the time? The flowers are still all soft and bright yellow, it’s just the bases of the petals after I pull them off.
I will wait for the fall crop if these are too old.
The petals are normally white at the very bottom.
Can I pick and stock pile petals before brewing or do I have to brew the day of picking
Yes, you can stockpile petals. Make sure to remove them from the flower base right away, and keep them in the freezer.
My wife and I decided to make your recipe, we also read it wrong and put in 3 quarts of plucked petals. The wine has a beautiful color to it, but who will it taste? We’re currently at the balloon stage of the recipe, they look like they are ready to take flight. Is this normal? Also for the final stage we used half gallon carboys, we have some sediment on the bottom, will this affect the flavor of the wine?
Thank you for the recipe and your time.
Extra petals aren’t a problem.
It sounds like your yeast is still quite active, so burp the balloons as needed.
You’ll probably want to rack off the wine and leave the lees behind for a clearer finished product. Lees can be left in, but the bottom of the bottles will have a more yeasty flavor profile.
My 2 week fermentation is about halfway done and though it is bubbling it has never risen or been an aggressive bubble, only a light fizzing noise like you just poured a soda. Do I not have enough yeast? I used a whole pack but maybe the water was a little too hot? The room it is fermenting at is usually 68 degrees so maybe that is why it’s not aggressive? Wondering if you have any advice/tips. Also, I plan to rack into a carboy once the fizzing is done. How do you know when it’s ready for bottling? Thanks in advance!
Have you tasted it? What does it smell like? If it has a mild alcoholic smell/flavor, you’re on the right track.
I usually give mine 2-3 months in a carboy when I use a carboy.
Okay thanks for the tips. Another question I forgot to ask. Though your recipe does not specify it appears that you use golden/yellow raisins for your batch. I also notified that many other recipes online say to use golden raisins. I used just standard red raisins, is that going to cause a big difference? I ask because there is a good chance that I start a second batch before actually tasting this one. Maybe I’ll try a batch of each.
Either will work. I use organic raisins. If I can get golden, I’ll use them. If I can’t, I don’t worry about it.
Another question. I purchased an alcohol hydrometer to test my wine and did not realize that’s you are supposed to take a reading the beginning and end (I had already been fermenting for a few weeks). Any chance I could use your first reading to get a ballpark for when I test it? Any other options/tips would be appreciated for measuring the alcohol level.
I’m sorry, I haven’t tested mine. I just wing it.
I got the bubblier attachment for the gallon carboy and it stopped bubbling, I guess weeks ago. My fella says if the bubblier is dry it lets in bacteria. And the bubblier is DRY. Also Italy likely oxidatized.
Not sure about Italy, but yes, the airlock should have water in it to work properly.
Take a small sip of the booze and see what it tastes like. Alcohol is a natural preservative, and country wines like this have a fairly high amount of alcohol, so it may still be okay to bottle.
If i’m traveling to collect Dandelion flowers what do you recommend storage wise to keep them from wilting? I live about an hour away from the collection site I have picked out and plan to use them immediately, but I’m concerned they may spoil or lose some of their perkiness , moisture, and potentially flavor before I use them
Have you ever made your own raisins in the oven for your dandelion wine recipes? I’m concerned about the preservatives, dyes, and pesticides used to grow boxed grapes.
Finally, what is your experience with adding honey to sweeten the wine and brew more of a mead? I’ve only heard that dandelion wine is harsh on the palette so I’m confused as to why people rave about making their own.
Would you have time to remove the flower petals at the collection site? Once picked, it doesn’t take long for the blossoms to start closing, and then the petals become difficult to remove. Either way, I’d probably pack them in a cooler (if it’s warm) for the ride home.
I haven’t made my own raisins, since our grape plants have just started producing. I do normally buy organic raisins to reduce the contaminant level. There should be no problem with substituting homemade raisins if you have them available.
I have not made dandelion mead, but I see no problem with doing so. As for dandelion wine being harsh on the palette, I wonder if those wines didn’t remove the greens properly or let the wine age enough. This recipe has been reliably smooth, although it does pack a kick.
I have been looking at what I thought were dandelions in my yard, only to discover I have a mixture of cat’s ear, hawkweed and dandelion.
Is it Ok to mix the three together? I went out collecting dandelions to try making dandelion honey (before attempting wine) and only had about 1/2 a cup all up.
My thinking is they are all edible, so I should be able to combine them right? but wondering if anyone has tried it, and what it does to the flavour?
As long as the flower petals are edible, making wine with them should be fine. If you don’t have enough petals from one picking, you can freeze the petals until you save up enough.
Country wines made with mixed blossoms will have unique flavors, but as long as there are no bitter flowers, it should be fine.
What do you think or know about using a good quality dehydrator to dry the petals then storing them air-tight, once thoroughly dried, until I have enough to make a batch of wine?
I haven’t tried it, but since the base is something like tea, it might work. You might lose some volatile compounds during dehydrating, so freezing would probably give a better flavor.
Thank you for this very detailed recipe. I am also grateful for the years of comments available to read through to help me along. My son and I gathered blooms yesterday and I made the mistake of washing them. I say “mistake” though it was purposeful because we live in town and I don’t trust the blooms not to have been contaminated. Washing them makes them close up IMMEDIATELY, which makes processing them much more difficult. It took me about three hours to process the flowers and I nearly gave up a million times. It’s only the reality of quarantine and nothing better to do that kept me going. I don’t have all the ingredients (thanks covid-19) but I should be able to get them all within three days, and since I was able to start the petals steeping I figure I’m ok. I will add the other ingredients as soon as I get them. We will look for a more sanitary field for our next attempt. Looking forward to Resurrection Dandelion wine next Easter!
If you were closer, I’d share my flowers. We always have a ton of them.
Please can you tell me how much yeast is a “package” of yeast in weight terms. Thanks.
I would like to try your dandelion wine
5 grams (0.176 oz) – this should be wine yeast or champagne yeast, not bread yeast or nutritional yeast or other yeast.
Still confused whether you are required to collect 3 quarts of blooms then pick the petals from them or if you are required to collect 3 quarts total of straight petals?? I’ve read different accounts. Recipe looks super fun and my (2) quarts of petals are steeping currently. I decided to roughly meet half way and go with two quart jars of packaged petals! Thanks
I’ve seen it several ways. I don’t know how I can phrase it more clearly, as I already have “I aim for 3 quarts of yellow dandelion petals” in the post. I don’t say flowers, I say petals.
Gotcha. Hopefully 2 quart jars of tightly packed petals will make some decent wine! Thanks
I’m sure it will be fine. You can bet that generations past were not terribly specific with their brewing measurements. It’s all good.
Today’s quarantine rabbit-hole lead me from Ray Bradbury to this page. I looked a number of recipes, but thoroughly enjoyed your presentation. This is the keeper, and I can’t wait to try making this! I’m especially impressed that you’ve remained so actively engaged with your audience since you posted this ten years ago!! Great work Laurie.
“Nature loves to make hooch”
Without our readers, it’s just me yammering to myself on the internet. Also, as an information seeker myself, I hate it when I go to a website, have questions, and can’t get through to anyone. I always try to treat others like I would want to be treated.
Thanks for this recipe. Wondering if you can help since I’ve scoured the internet now and can’t find a clear answer. I’ve started making dandelion wine back in early May (similar recipe to yours). I’m at the stage now where I’ve siphoned into a new carboy demijohn and removed most of the sediment. So about 2 months since starting. The airlock stopped bubbling weeks ago. I just left it in the carboy to settle out.Siphoned now, it tastes like wine, a little sharp, but I think in the right direction.
1) Still very turbid so there must be more yeast floating around despite letting it stand for several weeks. How long does it take to clear up? I don’t want too bottle until it’s more clear, but less confident this will settle any further…
2) the liquid doesn’t fill the carboy entirely. Only 3/4 full. Should I (can I) top up to leave less headspace under the airlock? Does it matter?
3) How might I make this into a sparkling wine? I’ve read you add sugar syrup once the fermenting has stopped entirely and right before bottling. However, I’m confused about which additives to use mentioned on other websites. I want to preserve the wine obviously, but I don’t want to inhibit the fermentation that would make it fizzy…
Lots of questions, I know. Thanks for any help you can give! x
1- If you are concerned about turbidity, rack and filter through a coffee filter to remove more of the lees. It will take time for all the wine to work through the filter (hours), so plan accordingly.
2 – It’s best if your carboy is filled nearly to the top, with just 1-2 inches of air space. If you are close to this, you can add a little pure water. Otherwise, you can add a little sugar water or white grape juice.
Alternatively, you could bottle temporarily in swing top bottles, and release the pressure once a week or so, if you can more evenly distribute your wine into those bottles without a large air space.
3 – I have not experimented with sparkling wines, as I am a lazy winemaker. If you are inclined to do so, the simplest option with be adding a little sugar syrup or the white grape juice and placing the wine is swing top bottles.
I’m guessing there are details about additives that stop the fermentation at a specific point to keep the bottles from exploding. That’s beyond the scope of my knowledge.
If you added the juice or sugar water, you could try going a little longer between “burbs”, and see if it builds up the fizz that you want. Make sure to store in a location where the mess will be contained if it explodes (the top blows off – the swing top bottles are unlikely to shatter except under extreme conditions).
The recipe calls for 3 quarts of petals. Just to be clear, that is 3 quarts of CLEANED petals, right? Most other recipes call for about 1 quart per gallon, which would be about 3 quarts of flower heads before cleaning. Thank you for clarifying.
I normally use about 3 quarts of the cleaned petals because I like more dandelion in my dandelion wine and we have so many, but as you mentioned, there’s a wide variation in recipes, so precise amounts are not critical.
Do you ever add sulfites?
I don’t, because I have a mild reaction to them. Between the alcohol content and the lack of sugars as the brew ages, the yeast does die off over time. If you wanted to use them to speed the process up, you could.
Hello! Giving the dandelion wine a shot! 🙂 I picked about 7 cups & I still went ahead with making the recipe anyway. The petals are on day 1 of the three day steeping. I wonder how this will effect the turnout though??
I just found this online. In the early 1970’s I made a very similar recipe of Dandelion Wine from a 1948 Culinary Arts Institute Cookbook. It was potent and very delicious. My dad said, don’t let the kids drink any of this, it’ll kill them, it’s so strong! I guess it turned out more like whiskey or vodka….. We had a house fire a few months later, and I think the alcohol content in the stored bottles fueled the fire :>)
When we were kids, mom let us eat the fermented fruit. 🙂
I’ve seen several people asking about carboy head space. You’ll want about 2-3 inches in a regular carboy and 1-2 inches in a wide-mouth carboy. A handy way of decreasing the head space without diluting your wine is to boil/sterilize a bunch of glass marbles, let cool (so they don’t hurt your yeast), and then add them to the carboy until you’re at your desired head space!
I’m just starting my primary fermentation today on 2 gallons, and I’m picking/freezing petals daily to make another 2 gallons once I move these from crock to carboy. Thanks for the recipe and tips!
Is there any way to check and make sure that the marbles don’t have lead or other contaminants? I ask because I got some decorative glass “rocks” to put in a bird bath, and they were specifically labeled that they should not be in contact with food.
A lot of the brewing websites have them for sale, pointing out they are pure glass with no ink/lead. 3 pounds will run you about $15 and displace about a liter of liquid (Should be more than enough for 1-2 gallons). So a little upfront cost, but they’ll last a lifetime!
Turned out wonderful I did replace orange peel for an orange (didn’t have one) also made it with wild yeast
What is the different between a water lock & air lock? And the difference between an airlock and a carboy. I’m not sure about the instructions and if I need both airlock and carboy.
A water lock is a mechanism that raises and lowers water levels in a river or other waterway so that ships can move through said waterway.
An airlock uses water to block and trap gasses. In the case of wine making, it traps carbon dioxide at the top of the carboy, and prevents the surrounding air from entering the carboy.
An airlock is the little dohicky you still in the top of the container to keep the air out and the carbon dioxide in.
A carboy is the container that you use to hold the liquid, so yes, you need and airlock and a carboy. If you don’t have an airlock, you could put a large balloon over the top of carboy/gallon jug. You want to trap the carbon dioxide emitted by the fermentation on top of the wine to prevent spoilage, and keep the room air out.
Currently in the process of making my first batch, thanks for the awesome recipe! I have two questions.
First; roughly how long should it take for the balloons to drop? The let the wine ferment for 2 full weeks before removing the fruit and putting it into bottles.
Second; while I was straining my wine through cheesecloth and a funnel, a raisin fell into the bottle without my knowing it. Do you think it will be alright, or should I try to remove the raisin from the wine bottle?
Thanks in advance for your help. This blog was super helpful.
It’s tough to put a firm timeline on when the wine will stop fermenting, as it varies significantly with conditions. I’d expect them to settle in a few weeks, but sometimes they stay active longer. If you want to be extra safe, you can move the wine to a carboy with an airlock for 3-6 months before bottling.
I’d try to get the raisin out, as it will keep the fermentation going longer and make your wine murky, but if you’re not fussy about your brew, it could stay.
For folk who don’t make wine this comment might not be so very useful but a basic $10 hydrometer with a cylinder is a very good way to test when fermentation has ended. If you add about 2.5 lbs of sugar to the liquid the specific gravity of that liquid is going to be about 1.100 and that suggests a potential amount of alcohol the yeast can produce to be about 13% alcohol by volume (ABV). If you monitor the drop in specific gravity (AKA density) it should fall to close to (or even below )1.000. That will mean that there is virtually no more sugar left in solution for the yeast to ferment and if the density remains rock solid stable for three readings over abut a week or two then you can say that the yeast has stopped fermentation. Hydrometers can be bought online and local home brew stores sell this tool. (it is a calibrated glass tube that is weighted and floats in liquid and the more dense a liquid the higher the tube floats and the less dense the liquid the lower the tube floats.
Hello! During fermentation in a large crock covered with a towel, my liquid reduced to about half (I live in a dry climate) – I’m wondering if I can add water or something? I’m transferring to bottles now – or maybe just one! 🙂
Normally I only add a small amount of water or maybe grape juice to top off a carboy that’s not quite full. I’ve never run into that much liquid drop. It would probably be safest to bottle “as is”, and only add a small amount of water to top of a bottle, if needed, and then cut the wine with some seltzer or similar, if needed, when serving.
Given the dryness of you climate, it would probably be better to try future ferments in a wide mouth carboy with airlock.
I started making my wine back on April 8th. It is now September 1st and the balloons are STILL inflated. What did I do wrong? Should I remove the balloons, strain the wines and re bottle with another balloon?
Take off the balloons and let the trapped CO2 out and put them back on. See if they reinflate again. If they do reinflate, you may need to rack you wine into new bottles because there is too much active yeast in the lees. By this point the yeast should have eaten itself to death (consumed all the sugars), so I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, unless the balloons are thick and not leaking the CO2 out.
So I essentially made hooch! lol I should have removed the balloons months ago. That’s okay. This was my first time trying to make wine. Now I have learned from my mistake. Thanks for the advice. I will definitely try again.
Cork and let it age and it will mellow out over time. The recipe packs a kick even under normal conditions.
I read on the back of the yeast package that for best results to dissolve in warm water and let rest for 20 minutes before using. Do you do that or is it just not necessary for this wine? Also, I’m using organic mandarin oranges, the only organic oranges I could find. They’re really large to be mandarin. Do you think they’ll be ok to use? I went ahead and gave the recipe 5 stars because I’m trusting my wine is going to be fabulous. I’ll let you know! Thanks! Sharon
If your yeast suggests a soak in warm water for beset results, go ahead and roll with that. Gentle heat gets the yeast going more quickly. My kitchen is normally warm enough that it starts fermenting readily.
The orange zest adds flavor, so it’ll be a little different using canned oranges instead of fresh oranges, but where there is sweetness, there is fermentation. It’s all good.
Question: I just finished steeping my flower petals for three days as instructed. It smells…odd. There was definitely some gas under the petals (I covered the pot with a lid). It smells kind of like an aged cheese. Is this bad? What is it supposed to smell like?
It does normally smell somewhat odd, with some mild fermentation going on, so aged cheese is probably okay.
What are your thoughts about using dandelions from a lawn that may have been treated with lan care products (Scott’s, etc.)in the last couple years? Okay to use in the following season, or should there be a year or two wait?
For organic certification, three years is required, but practically speaking, there shouldn’t be much, if any, residue left after a year.
Just started the first fermentation! Super excited – a little late to the pandemic home brew craze but last year I could only find Cats Ear.
Also for everyone complaining about the flower petal picking part – use kitchen shears to snip off the top part – this gets rid of the white part trying to seed and you only get a wee bit of the green parts!! So much faster 🙂 though might have gotten a few ants in it. Also I’m using my instant pot which was sterilized beforehand and has its own gas valve. Was also joking with the roommates about using condoms instead of balloons as they are more sterile. Thanks for the recipe!
Hi! I am currently finishing up the fermentation in the crock and getting ready to bottle the wine. If I continue to ferment it with the carboy for the 2-3 months, do I still have to use the balloon and ferment for another 6 months in the bottles or will it be ready after the initial 2-3 months? Also I only have a 5 gallon carboy for the 1 gallon of wine I am working with. Is it necessary for the wine to fill the carboy? Thank you so much!
If you go from crock to carboy, go ahead and let it stay in the carboy until fermentation has settled, then skip the balloons on the bottles. The time you need for fermentation to wrap up will vary with conditions, but 4-6 months in the carboy should eliminate exploding bottle risks.
With the carboy – it’s best to have a carboy that fits the batch size. With a one gallon batch of wine in a one gallon carboy, the neck of the carboy fills up with CO2 from fermentation. Between that and the airlock, your wine is largely protected from wild microbes that might product spoilage. With one gallon of wine in a five gallon carboy, not so much.
We made this recipe 2 summers ago and it was fantastic! Started the process again, but noticed some mold spores on top of the dandelions/water mixture which I did skim off but I’m wondering if I should bother with adding the fruit/boiling now. Granted, the mixture sat for longer than 3 days due to my mom brain forgetting about it. Any advice is appreciated. I’m assuming it must be thrown out.
If mold shows up, I don’t trust it and would toss it.
My Grandmother used to make Dandelion wine when we lived on the family farm. She would go out into the fields and pick her flowers in galvanized pails. She would bring them home and start plucking all the petals off the greens. She said that was very important to do. The only yeast we had at that time was the cake yeast. I don’t know how much she used but it always fermented. One important ingredient was the raisins, never forget to use that. She also added another fruit, I don’t think is was lemons but maybe just oranges with no zesting. She would stir her brew she made in large crocks, 3 times a day; once in the morning before milking the cows then at noon and again around 5 o’clock after the cows were milked again. Grandma play the organ for church services on Sundays and the Pastor would always come over to the house on Saturdays to go over the service with her for the following day. Grandma would always bring out a small pitcher of her homemade wine and they would sip on a few small glasses during this time. The wine smelled so good and was so clear. I still have the small wine glasses but was not sure of the recipe she used. Thank you for sharing this recipe from years gone bye.
Cake yeast was more common in days past. Nowadays it’s become hard to find. If you can find it and want to substitute, all you need is a small amount per batch, just to get the fermentation started.
The raisins add body and balance to the wine.
Having crocks fermenting in the kitchen makes it feel like home to me.
I live in Hot Springs, Arkansas, known to the Natives as Manataka, and considered by many over the centuries to be a magical place. It is in a way this nation’s oldest national park, set aside by US Congress as Hot Springs Reservation in 1832, forty years before Yellowstone was designated the first national park. Hot Springs Reservation became Hot Springs National Park in 1921. So what’s so great about some little Podunk town in the middle of nowhere that it should be set aside for future generations to enjoy forever? There are two reasons Hot Springs, Arkansas is world famous: pretty rocks and hot water. We have some of the largest, highest quality quartz crystals in the world, and the hot springs for which the city and park are named are reputed to possess healing properties. The Natives referred to it as medicine water. I call it magic water. This is the water I am going to use with your recipe to brew up a batch of dandelion wine. I will be back next year to tell you how it turns out! 🙂
I’ll be waiting to hear about it. Water is life.
My daughter and I made it – We got four bottles out of the recipe. Thank you so much, Laurie for your wonderful (and specific) instructions. It turned out perfectly and is absolutely delicious!!! We will definitely make it again next year.
I’m glad it worked out well for you, and thanks for taking time to let me know.
I was brought up by wine making parents and so the process comes easy. The hacks I’ve come to rely on have proven their value and I would love to pass them on.
Freezing the product intended for your wine making takes the urgency out the whole adventure. It kills or puts to rest lingering bacteria and also ruptures the cells of your bounty so the fermentation can fully and quickly get its job done leaving bacteria less chance to invade, wake up or bloom then spoil your elixir to be with the poop they excrete.
A sanitized pr of pantyhose can hold a lot of stuff. And they serve to separate the leaves from the young wine juice after fermentation is complete.
Addition of lemons or raisins is all about balancing the pH of your wine so your nose and tongue can pick up the flavors and send those signals to your brain. That in turn releases endorphins to bring you joy, which imprints a memory that also can bring you joy and of course the drive to do it all again. So trust the recipe. Do everything it says.
Lastly I’ve learned that every wine has a medicinal property if used in moderation. Respect its purpose and it will enrich your life 10 fold. Cheers!
WOULD LIKE TO ORDER WHAT I NEED FROM AMAZON . THE AMOUNT AND WHAT KIND OF YEAST NEEDED FOR A 1 GALLON CARBOY IS NOT MENTIONED. CAN SOMEONE HELP WITH THIS QUESTION? THANK YOU
As mentioned in the article, I use wine yeast. Wine yeast comes standard in small packets that can make between one and five gallons. This is the brand I use – Lalvin Wine Yeast.
Love your recipe…going to try to make dandelion wine for the first time. You said that one can use a carbon rather than a crockpot..do you ferment for the same period of time? 2-3 months then an additional 6 months in the bottles? Forgive me if you said that above somewhere.
If you would like a clearer wine, rack the wine into a gallon carboy with airlock before the final bottling. Allow to ferment in the carboy for 2-3 months, and then rack into the bottles. The wine should age a minimum of 6 months, but it improves with age. We usually age it at least a year, but have some bottles over 10 years old.
I am having my first attempt at dandelion wine, and have just poured the boiling water on the petals, as per receipe. However, after a couple of hours leaving them to soak – its supposed to be left for 2-3 days – the liquid looks very dark, is this normal?
I only used yellow petals, I didn’t put in any of the dark green part.
The petal tea will darken as the yellow petals oxidize. This is normal. You’re good to go.
I tried mine today when I racked it into a new carboy and it’s already delicious! 4 months in. I was surprised at how sweet it was. My one question, I forgot to take a gravity reading at the beginning. What was yours? I followed the recipe to a T so I’m assuming mine would be close.
Alas, I have no gravity readings. The recipe has worked for years, so I just roll with it.
Thank you so much for the detailed instructions. Every part of the process, I had no questions about whether I was doing it right because it checked out with what you’d written. We just opened our first bottle after the long 6 month wait and it’s very drinkable, though deter than I expected. Will definitely make again!
I tried this receipe for the first time last year, it worked really well. I do have a problem with trying to stay away from drinking it all, as I want to have a bottle to drink while I make the next lot! It does say try and keep for as long as possible, and I want to see what it tastes like after a year.
When I was a child back in the early 1950’s in the UK, all the old ladies in our village and the surrounding villages made wine from a variety of things, cowslip, elderberry and parsnips, as well as dandelion. As a toddler I was not in a position to ask for a taste! but would love to know how this receipe may or may not differ.
It really is very good, and I loved the boozy fruit left over, it made a wonderful cake.