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Warm & Golden Dandelion Wine Recipe (Old-Fashioned Wine Making)

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.

homemade dandelion wine

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.)

two boys picking dandelion flowers to make dandelion wine

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.

What part of the dandelion is dandelion wine made from?

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.

yellow dandelion petals
Just use the yellow petals from the flowers. Measure out 3 quarts of THESE, not the flower heads.

If you don’t have enough dandelion petals from one picking, 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.

two boys sitting at a kitchen table, picking dandelion petals off of dandelion flowers

Making Homemade Dandelion Wine

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

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, which is normal.

crock filled with steeping dandelion petals for making dandelion wine

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.

microplane grater with citrus zest for dandelion wine

4)Clean most of the pith off the fruit and slice into thin rounds.

orange and lemon slices and rind on cutting board and bowl of golden raisins for making dandelion wine

5) 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.

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dandelion flower petals and citrus zest in large stockpot

6) 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.

7) 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.

homemade dandelion wine ingredients in a crock

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: After straining, move the young dandelion wine directly to clean 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. 

bottled dandelion wine with balloons on top to allow outgassing during final ferment

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, transfer the strained dandelion 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 of my wine labels, use this link: Printable Dandelion Wine Labels.

If you don’t want to send the wine fruit to the compost pile, try Dandelion Wine Fruitcake.

Slice of dandelion wine fruitcake on a white plate
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Old-Fashioned Dandelion Wine Recipe

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5 from 17 reviews

A smooth and hearty flower wine with citrus notes that will warm you from head to toe.

  • Author: Laurie Neverman
  • Yield: 45 bottles 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 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

Instructions

  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. Still daily to keep the petals submerged.
  3. 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.
  4. Finish peeling the citrus, and slice them into thin rounds.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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: After straining, move the young dandelion wine directly to clean 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, transfer the strained 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.

Notes

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.

Share a photo and tag us — we can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

glass of easy homemade dandelion wine with dandelion flowers at top and bottom of photo

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“. The Art of Herbal Fermentation online class from The Herbal Academy is another good resource.

The Craft of Herbal Fermentation Course by Herbal Academy

Is Dandelion Wine Medicinal?

According to health experts, nearly every part of dandelion is full of nutritional value, with vitamins and minerals packed in every part of the plant. Aside from its great taste in wine making, it also has been used throughout history for its medicinal properties.

For more information, check out Benefits of Dandelion – How to Use Greens, Seeds, Roots & Flowers.

You may also enjoy:

Laurie Neverman

This article is written by Laurie Neverman. Laurie grew up in the kitchen, learning baking and home cooking from her momma. At age 15, she and her mom and two sisters created Irene’s Custom Cakes & Catering. This was her summer job through most of high school and college.

Originally published in 2010, last updated in 2023.

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412 Comments

  1. Hi! We are having a blast trying out this recipe. One clarifying question- we moved the wine into a carboy with airlock for the second fermentation for 2 months. When we put it in bottles, do we wait another 6 months? Or is waiting 6 months only if you don’t put it in a carboy? Thanks!

    1. At least six months total between carboy and bottles. Longer fermentation is fine with this recipe. I’ve had some bottles in storage over a decade and they are still good.

    1. I normally get four bottles, but it may be possible to get five depending on evaporation, how juicy the fruit is, how much you can squeeze out of the fruit, etc.

  2. Hi – I made the fruitcake from fruit from my dandelion wine and it was so good! I will definitely remember this for the next time.
    My question is: I have the wine in a glass gallon carboy and it’s not full to the top (I followed the directions but the gallon is only halfway full). Will it still ferment if not full? It’s been sitting for almost a month now. How will I know it’s fermenting? I can’t wait to try it!

    1. Well I’m glad someone tried that recipe! It always seem like a shame to me to compost the fruit, but it’s rather overwhelming to eat it straight.

      hmmmm… you must have had more evaporation than I do. Ideally, you want the carboy filled to within a few inches of the top. The aim is to have the space above the wine fill with carbon dioxide. It will still ferment if not full, but having the top filled with CO2 adds more protection against spoilage/oxidation.

      The wine is safe to taste at any time, so you can sample a sip to get an idea of where it’s at. If fermentation is still active, you may see some bubbles in the liquid of your carboy.

      When the wine is young, the flavor will be more harsh. You can taste the booze, but it lacks the smooth finish that aging brings. This wine improves with age, unlike many fruit wines, which are best consumed young. I’d say it should age for six months minimum, but we usually wait a year, and have a few bottles that are over 10 years old that we save for special occasions.

    2. Thank you for your quick response!
      Would you recommend me transferring to a 1/2 gallon with airlock? I want to make sure I don’t create spoilage. I tried the wine after a month. It’s sweet but has a great flavor.

      Thank you,
      Cacie

      1. When I transfer to the half gallon (it’s been a month), there’s sediment on the bottom of the gallon that I transferred from. Do I still need that sediment in my half gallon?

        1. No, the sediment is called “lees”, and it’s dead yeast and other solids that have dropped out of the wine. Ideally, you want to siphon the wine off the top of the lees, leaving that sediment behind, so you get a clearer wine with less risk of “off” flavors.

  3. Help! My petals are steeping but my wine yeast hasn’t arrived yet and am not sure it will by day 3…can I refrigerate them until my yeast comes?

    1. I would probably either freeze the petal water, or go ahead with the next steps and let the natural yeast on the raisins start the ferment, and then add in the commercial yeast when it shows up.

      Sun dried raisins have natural wild yeast on their surface. They can be used exclusively for a yeast source, but it will take longer for the yeast to multiply, and the fermentation will not be as vigorous as with a commercial yeast. I recommend using commercial yeast because it’s easy and reliable, and multiplies quickly to crowd out any potentially problematic microbes.

  4. Hi, I tried this recipe. I strained it last week into a glass carboy but I noticed murky stuff on the bottom of the jar, assuming it is the yeast. Any idea? Should I strain it again? I put it through 2 cheese cloths. Thanks!

    1. As the wine sits and ages, old yeast and other sediment will naturally accumulate at the bottom of the carboy (or bottles, if you opt to bottom immediately). These yeast dregs are called “lees” and are normal.

      When you rack the wine at the 2-3 month mark, you siphon off the wine from the top of the carboy, aiming to leave the yeast sediment behind in the bottom. Racking is the process of moving wine from one container to another, generally aiming to separate wine from the sediment.

      If you like, you can rack at 2-3 months, then again at 6 months before bottling, it’ll give you two opportunities to remove the lees.

  5. Hi! It has finished fermenting in the crock, and I am ready to move it to a carboy. As far as the airlock, I assume I need to add water or a sanitizing solution to it? What do you recommend using to fill the airlock? Thanks!

    1. HI Sofie.

      I just use a clean airlock filled with reverse osmosis water. Some people use mineral oil because it won’t evaporate, or use water topped with mineral oil. You could also add some vodka in with the water to inhibit microbes.

  6. Hi! Will a 3-week initial ferment “hurt” anything? Life keeps getting in the way but my brew is currently sitting with raisins and oranges still in it. The flowers were filtered after the steep phase. And I’ve stirred every day and seen no mold. So I’m feeling fairly confident! Also… I have one batch separated in 2 different containers. In one container the fruit sank to the bottom, in the other , some fruit is still sitting on top. Any idea why? The one with the sunk fruit just so happened to have a dish towel and rubber band as a lid.. the other container with the floating fruit has an air stopper.

    1. As long as there’s no signs of spoilage, a three week ferment with fruit in place shouldn’t be a problem. I suspect that people making folk wines in years past weren’t terribly precise in timing.

      With the floating vs non-floating fruit, I think it’s trapped gasses. I bet the container with the floating fruit has more CO2 trapped since it has a stopper, while the open crock with towel cover is probably fermenting a little faster and more gas is escaping. Faster fermentation means less gas currently being produced, because the ferment is starting to slow down.

  7. Hello, So glad for this comment section. I have made dandelion wine but have always wondered about the smell. After three days one batch smells horrible. I have another batch going for 1 1/2 days that does not, it smells grassy. My question is about the horrible smell. Will this go away after 6 months of fermentation? I have tossed it before because when I tasted it ahead of time it tasted like that smell. Should I strain it before it gets that smell? I don’t want to ruin this batch and hope you will get back to me quickly. Thanks for all your help.

    1. Hi Mary.

      The three day smell is not pleasant, but shouldn’t go all the way to “horrible”. The flower petal liquid also isn’t particularly pleasant. Once the other ingredients get added in (and the flower petals are strained out), the mustiness become only one element of the whole. During the initial ferment with fruit, I refer to the flavor as “foxy”. It’s alcoholic, and will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. After aging, the transformation is dramatic. It still has a kick, but it become smooth and full bodied, like a good brandy.

      How warm is it in the area where you let your petal water sit? If your kitchen is warmer, the petals may be breaking down faster, so you may want to strain after 2 days instead of 3 days. I’m in Wisconsin, so my kitchen will typically be in the mid to low 70s F, maybe even the upper 60s.

  8. I am so excited to give this a try! I do not have a carboy or a true fermenting crock, but I do have a spare dutch oven or the insert for a crockpot. Both of these come with lids but I’m thinking that I should probably stick with using a cloth cover because it’s important for the brew to get oxygen; is this correct? Any thoughts on whether the dutch oven or crock pot crock would be the better option? And one last question: rather than corking the bottles, do you think it would work to use swing top bottles?

    Thanks for the help, and the delicious instructions. I can’t wait to get started!

    1. Which of the two containers has more room, the Dutch oven or crockpot? I would use that, as the ferment will bubble up a bit when it’s most active.

      Yes, it’s okay to use swing top bottles. The swing tops are usually more expensive than a corked wine bottle, and may slow down the aging process a bit because the wine can’t breathe through the top like it can with a cork.

    1. I would recommend fresh or frozen. Once dried, the flavor profile will be a little different. You could make it with dried petals, but I don’t think it will have the potency.

      You only want the yellow petals. I noticed that the sites I’ve seen selling dried flowers are selling the whole flower, not just petals, so keep that it mind if you try it.

  9. Could I half this recipe straight down the middle or do any of the ingredients need to stay the same if I do half it?

    1. Just use half of the ingredients. No other adjustments needed. The yeast packets are enough to make 5 gallons of wine, so if you want, you can measure the packet and subdivide it, using less than 1/2 of the packet.

    2. the yeast doesn’t care about halving, but you need high sugar content to get the alcohol content estimation they provide. halfving the flower, water and sugar can work, but the closer you start to a proven recipe when home brewing the better.

  10. Hello! Two questions:
    In step six, for how many days do you leave the mix in the pot?
    What temperatures do you ferment the wine at in the bottles?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Sophie.

      It’ll need 1 to 2 weeks in the crock, depending on temperature. When it stop actively bubbling when you stir, it’s ready for the next step.

      If I use the bottle ferment option, the bottles are in my kitchen on the counter. (I placed them in the window temporarily to make them easier to see against the bright background.)

      I normally keep them out of direct sunlight on a different section of countertop. The kitchen temperature ranges from mid to low 60s at night if we’re having chilly weather to low to mid 70s if it’s warm and the oven is on. When it’s warmer, it ferments faster. When it’s cooler, the wine ferments more slowly. This is why the timing in the recipe is not exact.

      1. Thanks for the detailed answers! My wine has been fermenting for nearly three weeks in its pot and is still bubbling when I stir. I am going away for 10 days soon, so was wondering if I should move on to the bottles and balloons step now, even though there is still some bubbling, or to just leave it in the pot covered for longer?

        1. It’s up to you. I use one to two weeks as a starting point, but if it’s still bubbling, it’s fine to leave it in the crock a bit longer.

          One thing to keep in mind is that the longer the fruit sits, the more it will break down, which will make the wine a bit cloudier. If you use a carboy, that cloudiness has time to settle out in the bottom of the carboy before bottling.

          If you’re going straight to bottles, that sediment will be trapped in the bottle. It settles over time, but some people prefer a clearer wine with no sediment in the bottom. You can see a bit of the cloudiness in the top of the bottle that’s second from right in the balloon photo.

  11. I didn’t see anything about adding a yeast nutrient, but I think I will so it doesn’t stall, 3 pounds of sugar is a lot and I will have to take a gravity reading before adding it all. just saying 😜 any thoughts or comments on this is greatly appreciated.
    thanks






    1. I never have added a yeast nutrient, and we’ve made several batches over the years. If you want to it shouldn’t hurt anything, but this is an old fashioned recipe. I’m quite sure my mom and grandmother never even heard of the term “yeast nutrient”.

  12. I’m looking to make this over the weekend, I’ve read alot of homebrewing forums about sanitizing the carboys and equipment. Did you sanitize any equipment and if so what did you use ?

    1. I’m Old School. I wash things with soap and water and air dry. Sometimes I put bottles in the sun to dry for the UV treatment.

      If you like, most home brewing supply stores stock sanitizing chemicals. You can also boil equipment.

      Correctly handled, the commercial yeast will quickly produce an environment hostile to bad bacteria and other microbes. We ditch the flower petals after the initial infusion time, and the fruit mix that’s left is naturally acidic, which inhibits bacterial growth, too.

  13. The McDonalds ad makes your site basically unusable. The ad jumps over your recipe with no way to delete other than close out your site and try to get in before the McDonalds ad jumps in.

    1. I’m not seeing what you’re seeing. There should be a jump to recipe button at the top of the article that takes you straight to the printable recipe. All ads should be closeable with an “x” at top right corner, and there should be no jumping ads. You may want to scan your device for viruses.

  14. I’m going to make a third batch of your lovely dandelion wine this year – so far, not a dandelion in sight, not for another month or more. Last year’s batch was not so sweet as the one the year before, tastes more like dry white wine, although still nice.
    My question is – would increasing the quantity of sugar I put in this time ensure a sweeter wine? Are there any drawbacks to this I should be aware of?
    Many thanks!






    1. As I understand it, when fermenting, the yeast will eat sugar until the alcohol content gets so high that it kills the yeast off. So adding a little more sugar should sweeten it. You can also add sugar water after the initial ferment, before racking, but that might kick off additional fermentation, so plan accordingly. (Use an airlock or balloon to allow gas to escape.)

      Was the area where you fermenting a little warmer last year than the previous year? That will have an impact on the fermenting process, too. Keeping things a little cooler and slowing down the ferment tends to yield a more mellow wine.

      There are specific formulas and measurements for sweetening to get more exact results, but it’s not something I’ve tinkered with as we simply roll with the variety in flavor that each year produces. I’m a lazy wine maker.

      1. As home brewer, I confirm that adding sugar after fermentation will certainly wake any yeast back up. if you want to sweaten it before bottling, use a non fermentable sugar (like Stevia) or you will need to pasteurize the brew. Or simply sweeten by the glass when drinking.

    2. This is my 3rd year making this, and it is my go to recipe. What I’ve done since the first time, is I add a nice little gob of local honey to it when I add everything else. The heat dissolves it nicely into your batch. It has given it a nice mellow added sweetness. People couldn’t believe it when they tasted it. One man said it was almost like a mead but not quite. This is by far the best recipe out there! I can’t wait to taste this year’s batch as my dandelions that I have fermenting have a sweeter smell this year.






  15. I’m back with 2 more questions .. how do we increase the alcohol content from 12-13 % to maybe 15% if we want? (Just curious!) and also, if we lost some volume due to evaporation , where can we add back in some liquid (or white grape juice I read)? I had 1.5 quarts of loosely packed petals so I decided to go with 12 cups of water versus the full gallon… I didn’t want it to be too watered down. It’s currently steeping but I just realized it won’t even be close to filling the 1 gallon carboy. I read that it has to be at most 2 inches from the top of the container? What do I do, please? 🙂

    1. To boost the alcohol content more, you’d probably need to do some distilling, because the yeasts can only tolerate/generate up to certain levels. Not something I have attempted, so I may be mistaken, but that’s my understanding at this time.

      Yes, the liquid should be close to filling the carboy so that the space at the top fills with CO2. Adding white grape juice or sugar water are the most common options to stretch the wine and fill the carboy, or you can add some white wine.

      1. Thank you!! My only other question is, I just realized many recipes call for the flowers to be included in the primary phase? Any particular reason you strain yours? Doesn’t it lead to a weaker dandelion flavor?

        1. After three days of steeping, those petals have given up all the flavor they have to give. Think about herbal tea. 10 to 15 minutes is plenty to get the flavor into your water. Leaving the petals in also increases the possibility of spoilage. Fruit is naturally acidic, so it’s protected from microbes while the fermentation brings the whole mixture to a lower pH, and eventually produces alcohol, which also inhibits microbial growth.

          I suspect people leave the petals in to make the process simpler, but they’re definitely not needed for flavor.

          1. Okay, thanks so much! I used your recipe to a “t”… just started brewin’ now! So far so good

  16. Hello! I’m about to collect dandelions to make this, and I’m unsure about one part – for the beginning steeping, should the water & petals stay warm the whole time, like in a crock pot? Or is it supposed to cool down?

  17. I made this exactly by the recipe as it was my first “hedge” wine. After I made the petal “tea” I was very disappointed as it tasted of nothing, despite my hands looking like a chronic smoker due to plucking the petals.

    However, I really wish that I’d made a double batch now. It won’t make the recommended maturing time due it tasting wonderful after 5-6 months.

    I will be making this year after year, particularly as my plucking appeared to make the dandelions even more vigorous on my garden.

    Oh BTY the tip on using a balloon for fermenting with a single pin prick is genius! I’ve never seen that in any other sites, and it was so helpful.

    Thank you for getting me into this new hobby. Since the dandelion wine, I’ve made elderflower wine, wild plum, and soon to be elderberry and blackberry wine.






    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the wine, and yes, the expectations of final flavor should not be based on the initial flavor of the petal tea.

      Now I have airlocks and such for fermenting, but when I first started out, the balloons were quite handy. I’m glad you found them helpful, too.

    2. I dont see it in the directions but in the other comments people say about putting a single pin prick in the balloons. Am I supposed to put a prick in the balloons?

      1. I do not put a pin prick in the balloon.

        By the time you put the wine in bottles, fermentation should be nearly finished. The balloon should not expand dramatically in size. If your balloon does blow up large enough that you are concerned, simply remove, deflate, and put it back on.

        With no pin prick, it’s easy to see when there’s not a large amount of gas from the wine. With a pin prick, the gas can leak out, so it’s harder to tell that the wine stopped fermenting.

  18. Laurie, I include old-time recipes at the back of my novels in the Nandria Series set in 1940. I would so like to include your recipe for dandelion wine, if i may have your permission – with acknowledgement of you as the source. Thank you for your consideration. MaryJane Nordgren

  19. Forgot to mention a HUGELY helpful tip. As I was gifted some glass carboys, I didn’t have the bungs and airlocks for them, and Amazon UK customers rated their only source as poor. Therefore, I followed the tip to use the balloons with a single pin prick and it worked perfectly, not only for this wine, but my subsequent elderflower wine. Pure genius. I haven’t found this tip anywhere else on line, but it was a life saver for my wine efforts this spring. Thank you.






  20. I made this about 5 months ago, but sadly, haven’t been able to wait the full time before sampling. It’s REALLY good, clear, and tastes like sherry now. In fact, I did a taste test with another person with “real” sherry vs. this wine, and the dandelion is hands down the best.
    It is a lot of work, as I don’t have little hands to help. I was very grateful for the photo which clearly shows that the petals also contain the “fluff”. It took a day or two to get the yellow stains off my hands from all the petal picking! After the first day of making the “tea”, I was dismayed to find NO flavour. All that work, sob!

    Fortunately, things changed quickly. I’ve seen other recipes that don’t include the raisins, but I believe this is essential. It is well worth the effort, and I will be making it each year now. If it’s this good too young, I cannot wait (as proven earlier), for it to mature.
    Thank you for a superb recipe.






  21. Thank you very much for your time! The Cats Ear have antioxidant properties, I will give it a try with the citrus flavors. Cats Ear Christmas Wine.
    Thank you for your wonderful site!

  22. Laurie, I need your advice! I have 12 cups of Cats Ear petals in my freezer. Will the Dandelion wine recipe work with my Cats Ear?
    Thank you!!

    1. It’s looks like they’re edible, so it should be safe. I’ve never tasted them, so I can’t give feedback on any subtle flavor differences, but they are supposed to be fairly similar in flavor.

  23. O’ Dandy Lion,
    so boldly yellow,
    sitting on my lawn,
    such a fine fellow!
    You are the first sign of Spring,
    whose early scouts make me sing.
    Soon the whole mob will encamp
    upon the green grass so damp.
    Spread afar,
    like Abraham’s children.
    Boundless stars,
    over hills they will run.
    With your gold we are rich,
    treasure in a field niche.
    Tis slander to call thee a weed.
    Thou art a fair flower indeed!
    I would no more yield
    to mow you over
    than a lucky field
    of four leaf clover.
    Shine on little sun.
    With you life seems fun.
    Soon parachutes will fan,
    alight over the land.
    You’ll be left bare and bony
    after your babies take flight.
    I’ll recall grey times, lonely
    until you made the days bright!
    (by George Wooley)

  24. I am 81 years young. I have this recipe scribbled down from my Great Grandfather. Gives you an idea how long people have been making this wine. My recipe said to use a crock pot.

  25. 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.






  26. 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!






  27. 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.






  28. 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.

  29. 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

      1. Hi Laurie,
        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.






        1. 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.

          1. I love this recipe and go one step further where I rack from primary ferment crock to secondary glass carboy (after primary ferment calms down). After 10-15 days in secondary, when still bubbling but most of the lees have settled to the bottom, I rerack to another glass carboy trying the best not to disturb the lees on the bottom and then let it finish out its 2-3 months there. This creates a very clear wine, and minimizes the dead yeast flavor it picks up from sitting on the lees that long.

            I’ve also modified this recipe using homemade vanilla extract, homemade cacao extract, and strawberry juice for 3 well-loved flavor variants!

          2. Yes, the direct to bottle option is simpler, but racking to a carboy gives a clearer wine, as noted in the article:

            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.

  30. 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!

  31. 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.

  32. 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! 🙂

  33. 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.

    1. 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.

  34. Pingback: Dandelion Wine
  35. 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.

  36. 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!

    1. Hi Julia.

      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.

  37. 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!

  38. 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?

  39. 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?

    1. Thank you for the recipe! A few questions if you don’t mind.. my petals were picked 12 hours before they went on the stovetop to soak for 2 days. Should that cause any issues with mold? Also, how do you sterilize your bowls, wooden utensils , crock, jars/ bottles and funnel? What if the funnel is plastic?

      1. Ideally, it’s better to have less lag time between picking and steeping, but the boiling water should kill off mold spores.

        I don’t hardcore sterilize anything, I just wash the equipment. This is an old fashioned folk wine style recipe for home use, not commercial scale production. Heck, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even do variations where you cultivate the natural yeast on the flower petals and fruit to kick off the ferment. Commercial yeast is more reliable. The fermentation process acidifies the mix, preventing the growth of harmful microbes.

        There are sanitizer products sold by brewing supply places (and online) that are touted for cleaning all equipment. We have chemical sensitivities in our household, so I avoid them. I don’t want to even have the potential of ingesting something designed to kill all microbes, since our body functions rely on healthy microbes.

  40. 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






    1. 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.

  41. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  42. 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! 🙂

    1. 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.

  43. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  44. 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.






    1. 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.

  45. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

  46. 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 :>)

  47. 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??

    1. 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.

  48. 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.

    1. 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.

  49. 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”

    1. Thanks, Scott.

      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.

      1. 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. 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).

  50. 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

    1. 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.

  51. 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

  52. 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!

  53. 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?

    1. 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.

  54. Hi,
    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?
    Thanks

    1. 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.

  55. 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.

    1. 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.

  56. I’m devastated.
    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.

    Any salvation?

    1. 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.

  57. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

          1. 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.

  58. His Laurie
    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.

    1. 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.

  59. 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.

  60. 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!

  61. Hi Laurie,
    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

      1. 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!

        1. 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.

    1. 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! 🙁
      Jaynie

  62. Hi Laurie,

    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?

    Thanks,
    Steven

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. Yikes. Ok. I’m scared about bottling!! Since you mentioned explosions.
        And I want the best flavor.

        1. 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.

  63. 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.

    1. 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.

  64. Hi
    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.

    1. 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.

  65. 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.

    1. 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.

  66. 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!

    1. 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.

  67. 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.

    1. 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.

  68. Can I take this a step further and make dandelion vinegar. Any idea what I would need to do next? Thanks.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  69. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

  70. 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..

    1. 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.

  71. 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.

    1. 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.

  72. 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!

    1. 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.

  73. While steepping the flower petals, do they need to be in the refrigerator or just on onthe counter?

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

  74. 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

    1. 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.

  75. 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

  76. 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

    1. 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.

  77. I am going to try this recipe, but instead of sugar I am going to use caramelized honey and make a bochet.

    1. 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.

    2. 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?

      1. 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.

  78. 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!

    1. Hi Jamie.

      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.

  79. 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!!

    1. 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!

    1. 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.

  80. 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?

  81. 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!

    1. 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.