This recipe is a compilation of recipes I read from all over, and techniques I read from all over. I tried to find the original one that I took most of the guidance from to give credit, but could not. A thousand pardons....
UPDATED - for clarity
My experience with this recipe yielded a very nice light white wine with floral and slightly spicy ginger and clove notes (not at all overbearing, they round out the finish and are slight but add complexity). I would not characterize this as a "fruity" tasting wine. Depending on your sugar, something between a Pinot Grisio/Riesling/muscat (from dry to sweet).
Makes one gallon (5 bottles)
1 gallon water
2qts loosely packed dandelion tops (no green) - will get a gram weight this year.
4 cups sugar (confirm with hydrometer that this gives you roughly 1.110 S.G.)
NOTE: I did S.G. of 1.130 and ended with a F.G. of 1.024 (13.91%ABV) Yeast fermented out to failure and left a residual sweetness I was targeting for (1.020-1.025) for a muscat sweet wine
(depending on your ABV desired
1/2 tsp ground ginger
8 Clovers (whole)
1/2 packet Yeast (I used Cotes de Blanc)
1/4 tsp Yeast nutrient
3 Camden tablets
1. Add water and flower petals into a container and cover (put in the sun for 2-3 days) -i.e. make a sun tea with dandelion petals.
2. Mix all remaining ingredients in a HD bucket. Include the flower petals and the fruit peels.
a. Hand juice the fruits and throw in the skins
b. mix well so sugar is integrated.
3. If you are adding Camden, use one tablet and let the mixture sit one day under a towel in a cool dry place before pitching yeast.
4. Add yeast to 1 cup 100 degree water and rehydrate 10-15 minutes and pitch.
5. Cover bucket with towel and let sit in dry cool place with no sunlight light - ferment at ~68F degrees for 5-7 days (CONSTANT temperature is desired
6. Rack off through coarse strainer into gallon growler and airlock - leave to ferment to dryness for about 3-4 weeks (1 month from start of ferment).
7. Rack off (add a camden tablet if you prefer) and top off with water as needed. Let sit for 3-6 months from start of ferment - this allows the wine to clear.
8. Because this recipe is designed to exhaust the yeasts capability to continue fermentation, you should end up with 11-14% alcohol (cotes de blancs rated ABV potential) and the yeast will not be able to convert any more sugar after that point.
i.e. you shouldn't have to add sorbate - but you can do so to ensure you don't get a start up of fermentation if your yeast under attenuated.
a. Before bottling, take a hydrometer sample - if you are at 1.000 - this will be a bone dry wine. If you are above 1.000 then your yeast under attenuated. At this point you must decide what type of wine you are looking for (dry, semi-dry, sweet) and add sugar to get there.
My recommendation is to shoot for something in the 1.010-1.020 range - depending on how sweet you like it.
9. Once you decide your type of wine, add sugar and stir in and take hydrometer samples until your reach your desired gravity. Once this has been completed, you are ready to bottle.
10. Bottle as early as 3-6 months from start of ferment (be sure to add 1 camden tablet when bottling). Let condition no less than 5 months (from start of ferment) before trying. I would try your first bottle at 7 months and then try a bottle per month. If you are patient, wait a year.
If you backsweeten:
1. cold crash wine 24-48 hours (bring temp to <50F)
2. In your bottling bucket add sorbate (1/4 rounded tsp per gallon) and sugar to a gravity reading of 1.010-1.020 - as per your tastes).
3. Once you reach your sweetening gravity add 1 camden tablet before bottling.
1. Camden additions. I personally add Camden at the start and at every other racking.
2. My wine was good at 5 months, getting really good at 7 months, but I ran out! The spice notes did not come out until about the 7 month mark. These were subtle and at the end, rounding out the finish. They were great.
3. I would bottle at 3-5 months, then try a bottle a month or so, starting at 5-6 months.
4. Store in <50F environment for bottle conditioning if possible.
Other notes and backstory
Let me say that I initially screwed up this recipe by putting in too much sugar (so I ended up with something of a light floral Riesling wine) - however it was still very very good. I think I accidentally put in 10-12 cups of sugar (I thought I was going to do a double batch originally)
. I would go with the recipe posted below and back sweeten if needed. I will be doing this one again in the spring and will update my results. I hope to add sugar to ferment out to ABV failure and have a residual sugar of 1.010-1.020
. Will post when I get those results.
My original batch fermented out with residual sugar left (I believe I had 1.040 F.G. but will check my notes - I forgot to grab a S.G.), so I assumed I tested the yeasts maximum ABV threshold on the cotes de blanc. I believe it ended up at somewhere like 11-14%ABV.
Enjoy - this one was a big hit. My mom recently called me and asked "if I pick, will you make the wine for me?" I know she is my mother, but it was unprovoked and unsolicited.
This wine is a winner. Enjoy!