And you thought tomato wine sounded strange! Years ago I started an oregano bush from seed. Each year I harvest a little for cooking, but it’s huge and most of it goes to waste. What’s a winemaker to do? Use this recipe from Terry Garey’s Joy of Home Wine Making, my first winemaking book. It’s a great way to start – it’s how I got started – making your own wine.
4-6 cups (1-1.5 liters), packed lightly, of fresh herbs
1 gallon (3.785 liters) water
3 lb (1.4 kg) sugar or 3.5 lb (1.6 kg) honey
1 tsp (5 grams) yeast nutrient
0.125 tsp (0.3 grams) tannin
3 tsp (15 grams) acid blend
sulfite to 50 ppm (equivalent to 1 campden tablet)
Initially, you will need a fermenter, hydrometer, thermometer, stirring spoon, measuring spoons, and a couple of pots. Later, we’ll use a gallon jug, a racking cane, some siphon hose, and pH papers.
Start by sanitizing the clean equipment by immersion in boiling water or sanitizing solution. Harvest about 6 cups (about 1.5 liters), lightly packed, of oregano. Then remove dead leaves and any other plants that have gotten mixed in. After a quick rinse in cold water, place the oregano in a 2 quart (2 liter) saucepan, add 1 quart (1 liter) water, and bring to a simmer. As soon as it started simmering, take it off the heat and let sit for 1-2 hours. In the meantime, I dissolve the sugar in boiling water.
Strain the oregano and add the sugar water. Next, I dissolve the tannin and nutrient in water and add to the fermenter. Wait until fermentation is complete before adding the acid because the pH could drop too much during fermentation and inhibit the yeast. Finally, I add 1 tsp of sulfite solution (equivalent to 1 campden tablet).
Always take a hydrometer reading before pitching the yeast. I recorded a specific gravity of 1.108 @ 82 Fahrenheit (about 28 Celsius) when I made this recipe. My hydrometer is calibrated to work at 60F (15.5C), and I adjusted for the higher temperature with a lookup table. The adjusted SG was 1.110, so the potential alcohol was 15%. I thought it might turn out to be high, but I like to follow recipes closely the first time. I’ll probably cut the sugar and aim for and SG of 1.090 (12% alcohol) the next time.
At this point, turn if over to the yeast. Once fermentation subsides, rack the wine to an airlocked glass jug. When fermentation is complete (check with a hydrometer), add the acid.
Was this helpful?
If you got something out of this article, why not spread the word? You can click any of the icons below to give this page a +1 or share it on your favorite social media. Everyone likes a pat on the back - even me!