Monday, February 18, 2013

Orange Tea Wine

I bet you’re wondering what this photograph is aren’t you? Hint: it’s not last week’s meteor exploding over Siberia.

I admit, in no way am I any good at the craft itself, but I like making wine. And I like drinking it even more. So when I read about winemakers making wine out of tea, of course my attention was had.

In honor of President's Day, and because I was bored with winter and tired of spending hard-earned money on wine that’s less than stellar anyway (and I can’t afford the good stuff), I set out to find a recipe for some wine, made from tea.

I just happened to have a stash of Tazo brand, Wild Sweet Orange tea on hand. No I didn’t. I “borrowed” it from the coffee / tea lounge at work. Don’t judge. I’m still going to drink it, just not in the form it was intended.

The tea’s Ingredients: Lemongrass, Blackberry Leaves, Rose Hips (yucky), Mint Leaves, Turmeric, Orange Peel, Hibiscus, Rose Petals, Ginger Root, Licorice Root, and Licorice Extract. Sounds fun enough to make wine from, right?

I had some wine yeast in the fridge dated 2011, so I was only half convinced that it might still be good. I used ICV K1V-116 Lalvin Brand wine yeast, otherwise known as “Saccharomyces cerevisiae.” Is that Latin? Anyway, if you care, or a nerd like me, here is a description of that strain of yeast and what it’s good for:

ICV K1V-1116 Selected by the Institut coopĂ©ratif du vin in Montpellier among numerous killer strains isolated and studied by Pierre Barre at INRA, the K1V-1116 strain was the first competitive factor yeast to go into commercial production and has become one of the most widely used active dried wine yeasts in the world. The K1V-1116 strain is a rapid starter with a constant and complete fermentation between 10° and 35°C (50° and 95°F), capable of surviving a number of difficult conditions, such as low nutrient musts and high levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2) or sugar. Wines fermented with the K1V-1116 have very low volatile acidity, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and foam production. The K1V-1116 strain tends to express the freshness of white grape varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Seyval. The natural fresh fruit aromas are retained longer than with other standard yeast strains. Fruit wines and wines made from concentrates poor in nutrient balance benefit from the capacity of K1V-1116 to adapt to difficult fermentation conditions. Restarts stuck fermentations. Highly recommended for dry whites, aged reds, and late harvest wines. Blah, blah, blah….

When I pitched the yeast, it took off like somebody left the gate open and was bubbling away merrily within a few hours. I like that.

The Recipe…

Bring one quart of water to the boil. Remove from heat and add the tea bags. Let the tea steep for 20 minutes. Remove the tea bags and pour into the primary fermenting vessel.

Boil half the sugar in half a gallon of water for a minute or two. Add it to the tea. Coarsely chop the raisins, and add them to the fermenting vessel. Add a crushed campden tablet, stir and let sit covered overnight.
In the morning, stir in the yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme and acid blend. Then pitch the yeast. Cover your primary with a cloth or papertowel. At seven to ten days, rack into a clean carboy. Boil the rest of the sugar in the rest of the water. When it is cool, add it to the carboy. Make the volume up with water. Add an airlock and allow to ferment, racking when needed. When the wine has cleared, add potassium sorbate to stop fermentation, and then bottle.

A Gallon of Smiles (I hope)

Orange Tea Wine (Wild & Sweet?)

4 Wild Sweet Orange Herbal Tea Bags (I used TAZO brand)
28 oz sugar
3/4 gallon water
Montrachet (or other wine yeast)
1 handfull of raisins
3/4 tsp. pectic enzyme
1 tablespoon acid blend
1 campden tablet
1 teaspoon yeast nutrient

Now that hardest part of the recipe…waiting.

P.S.  I'm not a rocket scientist and therefore could not get my photos and paragraphs to line up right today.These things happen.

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