Dandelion Wine

This batch was made from about 3 lbs. of dandelion flower heads, 6 cans of 100% white grape juice, 12 oranges and 12 lemons ($37 if you don’t count your time and effort to collect the dandelion flowers). I adapted a 1-gallon recipe from Jack Keller for my 6-gallon batch. Most of the recipes say to remove the flower petals from the dandelion heads. Granted, this isn’t too bad for a 1-gallon batch, but when you are multiplying everything times six, you have to find the most efficient way to proceed. Yeast: Lalvin ICV D47

Status Date Specific Gravity Fluid Temp. Air Temp.
Primary Fermentation 2011-04-05 1.110 75°F 65°F
Secondary Fermentation 2011-04-11 (forgot to check)
Clearing 2011-05-08 70°F
Second Clearing 2011-05-28 PM
Tertiary Clearing 2011-06-09 PM
Quaternary Clearing 2011-06-25 PM
Bottling 2011-07-10 PM

Primary Fermentation

Assembling the ingredients took some time. Since I needed dandelion flower heads I went ahead and did my wife the service of pulling the entire dandelion plant out of the ground. I did this for my entire front yard and part of my backyard. That was pretty much a full day. Overnight, after lightly rinsing the dandelion flower heads, I put them all into our largest bowl and covered with water. This might have leached some of the flavor out of the dandelion heads prior to adding them to the must, but I also know that this would help clean them too. Then the next day I drained off that water and placed all of the dandelion heads and some lemon and orange zest into a mesh sack in the primary fermenter.

I poured a gallon of hot water over the dandelion heads, added several cans of concentrated white grape juice, added water and then spent a good hour juicing oranges and lemons. After topping up the must and checking the specific gravity, I let it sit for about 12 hours to let the campden tablets do their work, killing off any unwanted bugs. I got the yeast started about a full day before it was pitched. After the yeast was pitched it took a good day and a half before there was heavy fermentation.

Secondary Fermentation

Not much to report.


Added 6 crushed campden tablets and stirred up really well. 2011-05-22: Wine is still cloudy with very little serious clearing happening even at the very top of the carboy. Today I shook the jar a little and  a lot of air was escaping the wine. So I spent 15 minutes or so repeatedly shaking the jar and then allowing the air to escape. Perhaps the air trapped in the wine was preventing it from clearing properly. We’ll see.

Secondary Clearing

Well, the primary clearing didn’t clear much at all aside from the really heavy stuff. The wine was still cloudy today so I added another dose of campden tablets as well as half of the packet of chitain from my red wine kit. Then I stirred and stirred and stirred, chasing out yet even more carbon dioxide bubbles. After a few hours this already looks like it will be a more successful clearing. Fingers crossed. 2011-06-04: Finally clearing nicely. Still cloudy but after 7 days a healthy quantity of lees has settled to the bottom.


Wine was very, very clear. Racked into the primary fermenter and sweetened with 3 cups of sugar. Filled 30 bottles.

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