Honeysuckle Wine: A Summer Solstice Treat
This article discusses making honeysuckle wine, a favorite floral, country wine.
The Summer Solstice is upon us in the Northern Hemisphere. Everything is lush and green, and the air is perfumed with the scent of summer flowers. It is the time that I most love making flower wines, like this recipe for honeysuckle wine. Summer flowers are plentiful and there’s no end to the floral country wines you can make.
The reason I most love honeysuckle wine is that it really captures the essence of early summer. It’s soft and subtle alone and absolutely delicious in summer wine coolers. Caution: Use only the blossoms of the vines; the berries are poisonous.
This is the time of the year when the sun’s powers are at their absolute height, and the solstice plants are brimming with solar energy.
I am lucky enough to have wild honeysuckle growing on my homestead, and one of my favorite things to use them for is honeysuckle wine.
The only problem with honeysuckle is that it is highly invasive and spreads very quickly and overtakes everything it touches, rather like kudzu. Therefore, I am unashamed at how many honeysuckle flowers I harvest.
If you are lucky enough to have wild honeysuckle growing near you, then feel free to harvest with wild abandon. This is one plant that you’ll never need to worry about over harvesting.
Because honeysuckle does not contain tannins or naturally occuring yeast like grapes, you will need to add these ingredients in order to produce a palatable wine.
Most of these items are easy to find and can be handily ordered on Amazon and shipped to your house in as little as two days. Isn’t it easy to take these modern conveniences for granted?
- Pick dry honeysuckle blossoms with green tips removed (the tips can be bitter).
- Wash the honeysuckle blossoms gently in cool water.
- Place washed blossoms in primary fermentor and add 1 gallon of water and all other ingredients except yeast. Stir to dissolve sugar. Let sit overnight.
- The next day, add the yeast. Stir daily until vigorous bubbling and frothing stops — about 6 days. Strain out blossoms and fruit and siphon into secondary fermentor. Attach air lock.
For a dry wine, rack in six weeks, then every three months for one year. Bottle.
~Tips: If you prefer a sweeter wine, you can rack at six weeks and backsweeten it by adding 1/2 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup wine along with 1 tsp of potassium sorbate for stabilization. Stir gently, and place back into secondary fermentor. Repeat process every six weeks until fermentation does not restart with the addition of sugar. Rack every three months until one-year-old. Bottle.
*The reason for multiple racking throughout the year is to ensure the wine is as clear as possible and any yeast sediment is completely removed.
Your wine is ready to drink one year after the date the batch was started and if you make it now, it’ll be ready in time for next year’s summer celebrations!!!!