This recipe captures the incredible aroma of wisteria blossoms in a delicious wine. Note that the blossoms are the only edible part of this plant, and that most flower wines (including this one) really do need to age for at least a year to be at their best.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Yield: 3 1/2 quarts or liters
6 - 8 wisteria racemes (the whole dangling flower clusters)
- 3/4 pound/340 grams chopped golden raisins
- 1 1/2 pounds/680 grams sugar
- Juice 4 lemons
- Zest of 2 of the lemons (but not the bitter white inner peel)
- 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient or 2 tablespoons corn meal
- 1 gallon/3.78 liters water
- 1 packet wine yeast or ½ teaspoon baking yeast
For the most flavorful wine, choose strongly fragrant wisteria flowers.
Important note: the flowers are the only edible part of the wisteria plant. Avoid all other parts.
1. Strip the wisteria flowers from the stems. Discard the stems. Put the flowers in a non-reactive vessel (no aluminum, copper, or iron).
2. Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the flowers. Let the mixture sit for 2 hours. Strain through a colander lined with cheesecloth or butter muslin. Press gently on the flowers to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Keep the liquid and compost or discard the wisteria flowers.
3. In a large, non-reactive pot, bring the strained wisteria infusion to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and add the lemon juice and sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the lemon zest and the chopped raisins. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
4. When the mixture has cooled to room temperature, stir in the yeast nutrient or cornmeal and the wine or baking yeast. Cover and leave at room temperature for 10 to 14 days, stirring 3 times each day.
5. Strain into a sanitized one gallon jug and seal with either a fermentation lock (available from online home brewing and winemaking suppliers), or a balloon with a single pinprick in it. The pinprick allows gasses to escape during active fermentation, but the ballon still keeps detrimental bacteria out.
6. After 1 month, siphon or carefully pour the liquid into another sanitized jug, leaving behind any yeasty sediment. If there is more than 2 inches between the top of the wine and the rim of the bottle, top off with a simple syrup of equal parts sugar and water.
7. When the wine is clear rather than cloudy, wait 30 days then siphon or carefully pour it into another jug, leaving behind any yeasty sediment on the bottom. Refit with airlock or pricked balloon. Repeat this procedure every 2 months for 6 - 9 months until almost no sediment is forming on the bottom of the jug any more.
8. Funnel into sanitized bottles. Cork the bottles (I recommend getting a hand-corker from a winemaking supply company. They are cheap and do a much better job of securely corking the bottles than you can without one).
9. Age for another year before drinking.