Dandelion wine captures the essence of summer. Sweet, floral and with subtle notes of honey, dandelion wine is tasty enough to bring out the forager in anyone. It takes quite a few dandelions to make wine, so it’s best to enlist the help of as many small children as possible.
The author of Backyard Medicine talks about how her very first job as a child was collecting dandelions for her neighbor’s dandelion wine. He paid her by the paper sack full and she was happy to do it.
The first time we made dandelion mead, a type of dandelion honey wine, I enlisted the help of a 4-year-old neighbor girl. She picked enough dandelions for a 5-gallon batch in about an hour.
After that, every time I saw her for the rest of the summer she would bring me dandelions. That little neighbor girl is a teenager now, and I have my own daughter to lend a hand.
The real work in making dandelion wine is not collecting the dandelions. It’s in splitting apart the dandelions and removing the green leaves from each blossom. The green leaves have a milky sap that will ruin the taste of dandelion wine, and a good batch only uses the petals.
This year, my 3-year-old daughter picked about a gallon of blossoms in about 15 minutes, but we spent over an hour picking the petals from the flower heads.
It’s pleasant work for a warm afternoon, and I had my best girl sitting across from me. I successfully bribed her for the task by promising that some of the blossoms would be used to make dandelion ice cream.
(Since then I’ve bribed the littles with dandelion cookies, dandelion marshmallows, and even dandelion gummy bears…there’s a reason I have so many dandelion recipes in my back pocket…and that reason is wine!)
Given that it’s a bit labor-intensive to clean dandelion flowers for wine, plan on making a small batch.
You can make a 5-gallon batch in a traditional carboy, but unless you’ve got a lot of devoted friends, your fingers will likely give out before you have enough dandelion petals.
I had originally planned to make a super tiny 1-quart batch in a quart mason jar. It’s easy enough to attach a mason jar fermentation kit and brew on a very tiny scale.
In the end, we made better progress than I’d anticipated and ended up with enough petals for a full one-gallon batch of dandelion wine.
That means I get to try out my new wide mouth one-gallon carboy. If you’ve ever tried to clean out a narrow neck carboy after you’ve brewed with flower petals or any other small particulate, you’ll understand why the wide mouth is so convenient.
Dandelion petals will glue themselves to the inside of the neck of your fermentation vessel and you’ll be scrubbing with a bottle brush for a while unless you use something big enough to get a hand into.
After the primary ferment, the dandelion petals need to be filtered out as the wine is racked into a clean secondary fermentation vessel.
The wide mouth on this fermenter makes that an easy job, and you can just scoop the floating flower petals off the surface before racking.
Racking is a winemaking term, but it just means transferring the wine to a new clean container while leaving the sediment at the bottom behind. This is often done with a siphon for the best results, but it can be done by just pouring the wine carefully into a new container.
It helps to have 2 fermentation vessels, so there’s a clean one waiting, but lacking that, pouring the dandelion wine into a pair of half-gallon mason jars temporarily while you wash out the fermenter works too.
This dandelion wine is made using a cold infusion, which means that the sugar syrup goes in cold, and more of the floral flavor of the dandelions is preserved in the final wine.
You can just make a dandelion tea and filter out the petals before brewing, but the hot water used to make the tea will drive off some of the volatile flavors of the dandelions, and the resulting wine will taste a bit different.
Still, making a tea is much cleaner than brewing with flower petals in the fermenter, and you won’t run the risk of the flower petals bubbling up into the airlock and clogging up the works. If that does happen, just take off the airlock and clean things out before putting it all back together.
If you’re lacking a siphon or other brewing equipment, you can simply brew up this dandelion wine in a pair of half-gallon mason jars equipped with inexpensive silicone water locks. Once the primary ferment is over, scoop off the dandelion petals and carefully pour the wine through a fine mesh strainer into the secondary, leaving the sediment behind.
Reattach a water lock and you’re good to go until bottling time.
The final wine has a cleaner flavor if you don’t add raisins to the batch, but the yeast work more efficiently with either a few raisins in the wine to provide micro-nutrients that are missing from plain table sugar.
You can also add 1 teaspoon of yeast nutrient to the dandelion wine which will provide nutrients for the yeast without changing the flavor of the finished wine.
That’s really the best solution for the best dandelion wine quality.
How Does Dandelion Wine Taste?
If you’ve done it right, a propper dandelion wine tastes sweet, mild, and floral. You can almost feel the sunshine splash against your tongue, and it goes down smooth with no hints of bitterness.
We tried this batch in January, after about 6 months in the bottle and it was just right. More importantly, it was just what I needed on a cold Vermont evening, with more snow in the forecast and several feet already down on the ground.
Spring will come again, and sipping this little beauty brings me hope.
Looking for more ways to fill your glass with homemade wine?
A sweet floral wine that captures the very essence of summer in a bottle.
- 3 quarts water (approximate, more to fill)
- 3 pounds sugar roughly 5 to 6 cups
- 1-quart dandelion petals, packed from roughly 3-4 quarts blossoms
- 3 oranges juice and zest
- 1 lemon juice and zest
- 1 tsp yeast nutrient(https://amzn.to/2GOaDCM)
- 1 packet wine yeast(https://amzn.to/2W8Y5ex)
- Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Stir to dissolve the sugar and cool to lukewarm.
- Place the dandelion petals, citrus juice and zest into a one-gallon fermentation vessel. Add the yeast nutrient and pour the lukewarm sugar water over the top.
- Dissolve a packet of champagne yeast or other wine yeast in lukewarm water. Allow it to stand for 5 minutes to rehydrate and then pour it into the wine. Top off with a bit of extra water to bring to fill the carboy, but be sure to leave at least an inch of headspace.
- Cap with an airlock and ferment for about 3 weeks or until fermentation has stopped. It will take a bit longer if you don't use raisins because they provide extra micro-nutrients to get the yeast working faster.
- Siphon the wine into a clean container, leaving the yeast sediment behind. Allow the wine to ferment in secondary for at least 6 to 8 weeks, checking the water lock periodically to ensure that the water hasn't evaporated.
- Sciphon the dandelion wine into a clean container, again leaving the sediment behind, to prepare for bottling.
- Bottle the dandelion wine in corked wine bottles for longer storage, or flip top Grolsch bottles for tiny batches you're not planning on storing long.
- Allow the wine age in the bottle at least 2 months before drinking, ideally 6 months or more. Note: During aging, the wine should be kept somewhere cool-ish like a basement or closet on the north side of the house.
Small Batch Dandelion Wine
If you’d like to make dandelion wine without investing a lot of time, divide the recipe by 4 to make a super small 1-quart batch. It’s a great solution for those that just want to try it, but don’t want to spend all day plucking apart petals.
All you need is a quart mason jar and a mason jar fermentation kit.
A full packet of champagne yeast will be overkill in a quart batch, so be sure to only use about 1/4 of a packet. Save the rest for another small batch brew, and maybe give small-batch mead a try with any of these mead recipes.
More Dandelion Recipes
Fun Facts…There’s actually a Ray Bradbury novel titled Dandelion Wine, where the drink serves as a metaphor for packing all the joys of summer into a single bottle. How’s this for nostalgia…
“The summer of ’28 was a vintage season for a growing boy. A summer of green apple trees, mowed lawns, and new sneakers. Of half-burnt firecrackers, of gathering dandelions, of Grandma’s belly-busting dinner. It was a summer of sorrows and marvels and gold-fuzzed bees. A magical, timeless summer in the life of a twelve-year-old boy.”
Thanks for posting and the idea of small batch wines. I love to try unique flavours, whereas my boyfriend does not. I want to try the dandelion small batch wine in the Spring 🙂 and have bookmarked your blog posts. I have some 1 quart light green jugs from distilled water, do you think I can use these to make the wine in?
Wonderful! I’m glad you’re going to give it a try. I’m not familiar with the type of jug you’re talking about, but really any jug would work provided you can find some way to airlock it so that gasses can escape but contaminants cannot get in. I have friends who make wine “hobo style” in 2-liter soda bottles with a balloon attached to the top as an airlock. If you put a teeny tiny pinprick in it, the gasses can escape but it keeps contaminants out. That said, many people prefer fermenting in glass because they think that the plastic gives off flavors, and they worry about some type of plastic related contamination.
Regardless, if there’s a will there’s a way, and it’s totally possible to make wine without buying any equipment what so ever.
I would just like to make a few comments. I had an old recipe from my father a new paper clipping and I always make my dandelion wine this way. But it never said to pop the petals off I always use the whole head. Never, never has my wine been bitter it’s green and tastes a little like spinach. In the recipe it said though to pick the heads only when it was sunny and the dandelions are open fully otherwise it may be bitter. I think people are doing a lot of work they don’t need to. I tasted the water before adding anything else this time to make sure I am right and yes it’s not bitter at all. After all, how would you know after putting all that lemon juice in it lol so yes it’s a different recipe but I do believe clipping the petals is a waste of time.
Thanks for sharing that. It’s great that you enjoy the taste without having to remove the petals. It can definitely take a bit of time to get that job done. I think most people prefer the taste of the petals alone as it has a much sweeter taste. Many people compare the taste of dandelions to that of honey and prefer that over spinach, especially in a wine.
i would be glad to give my recipe if anyone is interested.
for some older recipes go to archive.org and search it 🙂
Your recipe, is it a 5 gallon bucket or 1 gallon carboy for fermentation? And once dandelion tea is added and pitched yeast do you too off with water for fermentation?
You’re more than welcome to share the recipe.
recipe is as follows. pick 1 gallon of dandelion heads not the stems but a few stems wont hurt. pick only when the sun is out and flower is completely opened. rings them off well and boil a gallon of water on the stove. when the water comes to a rolling boil put the dandelion heads in and let them boil on medium for 20 minutes. then strain the dandelions out into a bucket for fermenting. add 5 pounds of sugar and stir to dissolve. cut in to fours 2 lemons and 2 oranges squeezing the juice in to the fermentor and drop the whole fruit in. cool down to at least 80 degrees and put the yeast can (it could even be bakers yeast but a wine or cider yeast is probably best) let ferment for 3 days. the recipe then said it should be done and ready to bottle but i would wait and make sure because i have had exploding bottles before, remember this is a very old recipe. let age for 6 months and strain it again in to other bottles and drink. it gets better with age. i know this for certain 🙂 but i just rack it from the fermenter in to bottles when its completely done fermenting one time.
Dr Roly Armitabge
CAN YOU GET BY WITH LESS SUGER THAN SUGESTED SO DOES NOT GET TOO SWEET
Well I for one am!! I really did NOT see ANY recipe[ at ail!! Correct me if I am wrong … ???
Here is a post with 60+ Dandelion recipes for you. https://practicalselfreliance.com/dandelion-recipes/
Do you know what your starting specific gravity was?
Nope, I haven’t used a hydrometer on this recipe in particular. If you do make it and test it, let me know.
We have frozen some dandelion heads with the hopes of giving this a try. Have you ever used frozen petals before??
Not personally, but I know many people who say they freeze them until they have enough with great results.
This sounds like new knowledge to me..I had a random thought then one thing read to another..Now here we are..Would love to make this dandelion thing…The ingredients though..Don’t know if i can get them in Kenya.
Help an interested fella..😁
Depends on what ingredient you’re missing. If you can’t get dandelions, you ‘re out of luck. Really no substitute. But anything else – including yeast- can be “fudged”.
Yeppers!! No problem!!
I need some help. Was exhausted when I put my D. wine together & just realizse I used way too much sugar. No moreDandelions in bloom. Think I can even things out with some Burdock root boiled in a gallon of water?
I just put a batch together this morning. The SG on this was 1.130.
I just made this last night, and the reading was higher than my refractometer could read. My guess is somewhere around 35 brix.
Really looking forward to tasting how this turns out! Thanks for the recipe!
You say use flip tops if storing fir a short time. What us short and why?!
I have dandelion wine that my husband and I made on our first date still in the basement (5-gallon batch). We open a bottle up every year for our anniversary…and we’ll be celebrating 10 years in just a few weeks. Those bottles, for long multi-year storage, do best corked because wine needs to “breathe” as it matures and ages. This batch gets better every year.
Anyhow, I’d say if you’re planning on storing it longer than a year, a corked bottle is best. If you’re going to drink it after it’s just had a short time to bottle condition, then Grolsch bottles are easy to use.
Thank you and sorry for all the typos.
I made this recipe and it’s turning out well! A problem I’m having is that even though the fermentation showed it had stopped (no gas coming through airlock for a day or two)), I bottled and then after a week, one of my three bottles of wine blew its cork while in storage! Once opened, we saw it was super carbonated and we had to open the other two bottles to release gas, they were also super carbonated! Advice??
So a couple of things could be at work here…
Secondary fermentation: When I make dandelion wine, I always rack it over into a secondary fermentation step before bottling. That means pouring it into a new container, leaving the sediment behind, re-attaching the water lock and allowing it to ferment slowly for another 2-3 months before bottling. I talked about this in the article, but I made an error when typing up the recipe card (that I’ve now fixed). Sorry about that.
That said, there are plenty of dandelion wine recipes online that bottle the whole thing up after a quick primary ferment of just 2-3 weeks, but then they suggest keeping the bottles somewhere cool like a basement. Either way, I think it’s a good idea to keep the bottles out of the summer heat during aging.
Second thing, if you used raisins instead of yeast nutrient it can take a bit longer for everything to ferment properly.
If you’re still having issues, store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to drink them. It sounds like your ferment needed a bit more time, and I do apologize for the error in the original recipe.
Hi! Love the recipe and plan to try it 🙂 Is there a second fermentation between steps 4 and 5 that should occur? Just want to make sure I’m not missing something.
Yes! I just went back and checked the recipe and you are correct! I talk about a secondary ferment in the text of the article, but there was a sentence missing in the actual recipe card. Fixed now. It should be racked and then ferment in secondary for at least 6-8 weeks, or much longer if you prefer (6 months).
I should note, that not all recipes you can find online include a secondary ferment, and several say to bottle and drink the wine after a 2-4 week initial ferment. That’s an option, but it increases the risk of blown corks (since there’s still a lot of fermentable sugar).
Perfect! Thank you. I’ve ordered my supplies and can’t wait to try it out! I’ll update you on how it goes 🙂
Hi again! I have to thank you again for these great recipes and for you responsiveness to all the questions! I’ve made a 1/2 gallon of the dandelion wine 5 days ago and added 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient, no raisins. I found that I had quite the overflow on day 2 so I cleaned out the airlock and removed a bit of the petals on the top and gave it a stir. I haven’t seen much bubble action since. It seems pretty much done now. Any ideas what is happening? Did I ruin my batch by opening it up or do you think the second fermentation will give it wake up? Thanks again!
You’re right on schedule! It’s warm out at the moment (at least here) so primary ferments are going a bit faster in my kitchen. I have a watermelon wine, pineapple wine, and lemon balm mead just finishing up primary on my counter and they all went FAST. Heavy bubbling and a bit of overflow on day 2, then a clean out and now around day 4/5 they’re pretty quiet. Often my house is very cool, and primary ferments, especially early in the spring for dandelion season take longer, but not this time.
It’s time to rack both yours and mine over into secondary, filter out all the solids at the top (dandelion petals) and leave the yeast sediment behind. If the water level is low after you rack it, add a bit more filtered (unclorinated) water to top it off, re-attach the water lock and let it ferment in secondary.
Ideally, get it somewhere cooler for secondary because you want to slow it down at this point. The slower the secondary goes, the better the finished flavor will be. Mine are all moving down into my cool basement today, but a cool pantry or closet works well too. Just keep an eye on the waterlock, try to check it each week. You shouldn’t have overflows after this point, but sometimes the water will evaporate out of the water lock before secondary is finished.
Good luck with your brew, it sounds like you’re right on track.
This is great news! Thank you! I will rack this weekend and move it to my basement for “the long wait”…lol. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your instruction through all this! The clarification is invaluable to this newbie! 😉
No worries, happy to help =)
Hello! How would this recipe change if did make a five gallon version? Just times it all by 5 and use a whole pack of yeast? Assuming I can get enough helpers! 🙂
Yup, that’s pretty much it! When we did it, I started the ferment in a plastic bucket fermenter, and put the dandelion petals in a drawstring brewing bag which made it much easier to pull them out at racking time. Then we racked it into a glass carboy with a narrow neck for aging in secondary. Definitely, use a siphon, and don’t try to cheat just pouring it over at that quantity.
But yes, same recipe for 5 gallons. Enjoy!
Hey good morning! Is there any benefit to using weights to keep the petals submerged during the ferment? Thank you!
I don’t, largely because any weight I’ve added to my winemaking just sinks past the fruit and plops to the bottom. The main risk with fruit/flowers/solids of any kind above the water level is that they could mold eventually, which is why you filter them out after the initial primary fermentation. If you forget it in primary too long, you might be in trouble with flowers floating above the water line, but generally, weights aren’t required if you get it racked over on time.
So I picked my dandelions yesterday and didn’t have enough time to pluck the petals out… They closed up over night and are a bit brown on the ends. Are they still good to use do you think?
Yup, totally fine. They close up quick! We’ve saved them overnight and plucked them the next day without issue. Just break them in half and then the petals come right out.
Perfect! Great to know. Thanks for the reassurance! Much appreciated…
Why there no mention of washing them?!
Because I don’t =)
I read elsewhere that if I can’t pick enough dandelions for a gallon batch in one sitting, I could just freeze the petals until I have enough. Wondering how that might affect the flavor of the finished product. Thoughts?
Hi Ashley, thanks for this recipe. I’m really excited to give it a try. I’m definitely curious about trying the cold infusion. I read so much out there about the importance of sanitizing everything, but then I wonder how everything in this wine mixture is going to stay sanitized when the petals aren’t cleaned and boiled. Is there a danger in some other bacteria taking over during the fermenting process since the petals aren’t cleaned and boiled?
That’s a great question. Failure to sanitize your equipment can cause outside bacteria, mold etc. to spoil your batch or ruin the taste. If you are picking dandelions from a clean area, the only bacteria that should be present is what is natural to the flower and is not harmful. If you are boiling the petals, you would be losing a lot of the flavor and benefits from the dandelion.
Jodie Marie Foster
You mention the use of raisins, but the recipe does not say how many to use. Please clarify???
If you choose to add raisins instead of yeast nutrient, I’d suggest a handful of around 1/8 to 1/4 cup. Add them in primary and then filter them out with the dandelion petals.
So I saw that you have lilac wine on this wonderful blog, and this dandelion wine. I was wondering if you ever made honeysuckle wine? I feel like it might be delightful, and was thinking about using grapefruit as the acid. Thoughts?
I think that’d be amazing!
Cool! I just want to make sure I don’t make something gross haha!
My friend and I have tried this recipe this week and I have followed your instructions to yhe letter. I woke up today and my wine bubbled out a bit and created a puddle on top of my lid. Is there anything I may do so that this does not happen the whole time? Thank you so much for this recipe and any pointers you can throw my way ☺
Sorry my response is so late, but that is a common issue. Simply clean and re-sanitize your airlock and it should be fine.
What is the different between a water lock & air lock? And the difference between an airlock and a carboy. I’m not sure about the instructions and if I need both airlock and carboy.
An airlock and a water lock are the same thing, so you only need one of those. They just go by both names, even though it may seem contradictory. It uses water to lock out air, so that’s the reasoning for why it’s called different names by different people.
A carboy is the glass or plastic vessel that holds the wine. It’s basically just a fancy name for a brewing container. You need a carboy (sometimes two if you want to “rack” or transfer the wine into a clean one half way through the ferment), and one water-lock/air-lock, along with a bung of some sort that fits the carboy so that the water/air lock can attach.
I started a batch dandelion wine today, and afterwards was wondering: Why isn’t sterilizing the equipment/absolute cleanliness super important in this process, as it is in beer brewing (where you sterilize every pot/cup/spoon/carbuoy)? Or is it just as important and thus my batch prob will go awry…
Hi! I just started this recipe on Saturday, excited about it! I am a little concerned because i’m about 48 hours in from adding the yeast and i don’t see any bubbling happening yet… my house is cooler around 68 degrees. How long should i expect it to take before it starts bubbling? OR should I add more yeast? I’m doing a 1 gallon batch and added a packet of white wine yeast along with 1 tsp of yeast nutrient. I waited for the mix to cool down to about 95 degrees before putting the yeast in but i’m thinking maybe it was still too hot and I killed it. 🙁 any advice?
Occasionally it can take more than 48 hours to see bubbles, especially if it’s cool in the house…but at 72 hours I’d start to worry and add more yeast. You never know how that yeast was stored before it got to you, and there’s always a chance you have a bad packet.
Thanks for this recipe, This is my first attempt at wine making, I’ve been intrigued by dandelion wine for a number of years and have decided to make it a project. I brewed it up on Tuesday, it’s now Saturday and I’ve got a few questions-
First, I got everything in the gallon jar, poured in the nutrient and the dissolved yeast, At this point I had an inch of clearance and capped off with water lock. I didn’t stir (like I said-complete newbie, I didn’t see anything about stirring, so I didn’t!) The result was, immediately started bubbling rapidly and soon was bubbling all out the top of the lock. I did some quick research, found a you tube video which showed I should have indeed stirred it, so I did that, cleaned the lid and water lock and recapped. An hour or so later, the same thing – bubbling out the top. More research, found some recommend just covering the jar with cloth for about 3 days to let the excess CO2 escape more easily. So I id that, Obviously, not stirring was and issue, but did I have it too full? There was just an inch when I started.
Then, last night when I went to re-cap again, I noticed the flowers are all floating on top. So, I stirred again before re-capping. Now everything is bubbling and fermenting fine, but the flowers are still floating. The liquid is now about to the shoulders of the jar, and the flowers are on top, about up to the lid. I thought I had the right 1 quart amount of petals, but mine seems to have a lot more than what your pictures show. Will it hurt the flavor of the wine if the petals are floating, not IN the liquid? Also, concerned about bacteria after reading a previous comment. Should I add more water or remove some of the petals? Or both?
I hope I haven’t completely ruined my batch. Is there any way to tell at this point? If I have, I may be able to still get enough flowers to try again.
Thanks again! This newbie really appreciates your help!
Hey Anne, everything you mention is totally normal. I usually don’t have issues with overflows when I use a 1” headspace to start, especially with the wide mouth fermenter. That said, sometimes a batch is really vigorous and can overflow. Some people suggest, as you say, not capping it and just leaving it covered with a towel for the first few days. That’s a perfectly fine method too. At that point, so much CO2 is coming off that it has positive pressure and it’s pushing any possible contaminants away from the wine with the continuous flow of CO2 rising, so it’s not a big deal to have it open covered with a towel. Once it calms down though, get the water lock on.
As to the floating petals, that’s also perfectly normal. They tend to trap CO2 bubbles and then float a bit. That’s not an issue, provided they’re filtered out after primary, which is what I suggest. Left in too long, anything above the waterline will eventually mold so that’s why you have to remove those after primary once they’ve flavored the wine. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty in the liquid and it sounds like everything is going as it should with your batch.
I left a good inch of headspace and it overflowed everywhere… twice. I took out the petals that had oxidized, cleaned the top and all around and mixed the petals back in. This is day 2… and I ok to keep fermenting? The yeasts are obviously very happy about something, lol.
I used Champaign yeast and raisins instead of yeast nutrient
Wow, that’s crazy! Yes, it’s ok to keep fermenting and it’ll be fine (albeit messy). Sounds like you have a really active ferment. Are you using a narrow neck fermenter? Sometimes that’ll cause clogs with the flower petals and result in overflows (which is why I’m using the wide mouth now). Lacking a wide mouth fermenter, it might make sense to do the primary in a bucket instead.
Hey! So I was wondering about varying the sugar amount in this recipe. I wanted a dry wine, not a sweet one and I saw recipes with anywhere from 1 1/2 lbs of sugar to 3 lbs. I went with 1 1/2 lbs as I wanted a dry wine. However, after two weeks it is pretty sour! I put it into carboys, but is there a way to adjust the sweetness now that it has already finished fermenting? Will it mellow with time?
With that little sugar, it’s going to be sour. I like dry wine too, and I’ve tried reducing the sugar down really far like that, but it just results in sour wine at a certain point. For a dry wine, I’d try 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pounds sugar, and even then avoid champagne yeast since that really eats up sugar fast. Choose a milder wine yeast that’s less agressive.
If you’re just two weeks in, there’s plenty of time to adjust the sugar and still salvage the batch. Filter out the dandelion petals (if you haven’t done that yet), and add more sugar. The yeast are still alive in there and will revive if fed. Make a sugar syrup on the stove with sugar and water, just enough to dissolve it. Allow it to cool completely all the way down to room temperature, and then add it to the carboy.
Cap it with a water lock and watch it because it’ll likely ferment vigorously for a few days. Given that you started with 1 1/2 pounds, I’d add in 3/4 to 1 full pound and try that. Allow it to ferment for a few more weeks, then try it. Good luck!
Thanks so much! It has been about a month. Is that too long? Can I reactivate my yeast with a pinch or two of white wine yeast if need be? Thanks.
Hi, I just put my dandelion wine into secondary….after about 8 weeks in primary (time seems to have gotten away from me). There was nothing moldy going on and everything looked pretty great. It also actually smelled really lovely! I tasted it as I racked it into secondary (discarding all the petals and not dredging up the settled and it is slightly sour. At this point, could I do the above regarding adding more room temp simple syrup, or do I just need to let this batch do its thing and see what happens.
You can definitely add more simple syrup if you want to sweeten it. That may kick off more fermentation, so you’ll need to let it go another few months before bottling. This recipe in particular results in a pretty sweet wine, so I hope you didn’t get any vinegar contamination to cause the “sour” taste.
What amount of raisins do you suggest adding based on the recipe you provided and when should they be added? Thanks!
If you’re using raisins, they’re added at the beginning with the dandelion petals (and filtered out before secondary, just like the petals). I’d add a good-sized handful, around 1/8 to 1/4 cup.
Can I add white raisins, to the one gallon batch after straining the peddles and CITRUS ?
My house, at night, gets down to 60 degrees. We are abut to hit day temps that will consistently be in the mid-60s to 70 range. Do you think it’s OK to start a batch? This is my first try!
For a five gallon batch do I use more than one packet of champagne yeast?
Yup! One packet is good for up to 5 gallons.
Hi Ashley, just wondering about something… I tried to do the primary ferment in a carboy (narrow neck), but it began overflowing, so I moved everything into a wide-mouthed glass container and put a towel over it for 2-3 days to give it some time to calm down. Then I transferred the liquid back into the carboy, filtering out the pedals & orange and lemon peels… It didn’t occur to me at the time, but now I’m wondering if I removed the pedals & zest too soon. Is 2-3 days enough time to extract enough flavor into the wine? Or should I have put all the contents back into the carboy for the remainder of the first ferment? How long do you typically leave the pedals & zest in?
That should be totally fine. The vast majority of the flavor comes out in the first day or two. Good luck with your wine!
I just want to say THANK YOU for EVERYTHING! I was SO happy to have found your site so I could try my hand at Dandelion winemaking. I remember picking the blossoms for my older sister as a youngster & having a tiny taste of her delicious wine, but I had no CLUE what she did or how she did it & since she has passed years before I could even ask her, I thought the process was just forever lost. Imagine my delight at finding your wonderful information! I’m starting my process today…. 😊 We’ll see what happens!
I’m excited to try my first batch of dandelion wine (first home brew experience ever!).I read through your overview on making small batch wine, which mentioned the need for tannins, but this recipe doesn’t mention that. Is it not necessary for dandelion wine? Thanks! I just discovered your blog and it is so chock full of great things!
Tannin is optional in any winemaking recipe, and it affects the final flavor and mouthfeel, but not how it ferments. For some reason it’s never included in dandelion wine recipes, maybe the petals have some naturally? Anyhow, while I often add it to other fruit wine recipes, I didn’t add it here because way back in the day when I made my first batch the recipe didn’t have it. It turned out great, so I’ve never added it since.
Your recipe doesn’t say anything about removing the dandelion petals, etc. Do they stay in the fermenter for 3 weeks?
Yes, the petals stay in the wine through primary fermentation, but they’re filtered out before secondary fermentation.
We followed your recipe but have still not seen any bubbling in the airlock. It’s been 10 days. We didn’t wait until the boiling mixture reached room temp before adding the yeast mixture, I’m thinking it’s possible it could have died if the mixture was too hot? Can we add more yeast at this point? Thanks!
If it’s been more than 48-72 hours with no bubbles, I’d assume something happened to your yeast. You may still be able to save it if you pitch yeast now, but 10 days in, something else may have colonized in there and if may have already spoiled. Give it a smell, and if it still smells fine, maybe try to re-pitch the yeast and save it. Use your best judgment though.
Hi there! In the comments to another question you mentioned making pineapple wine. I searched your website for a recipe and couldn’t find one. Do you have a recipe for pineapple wine? I’d love to try it!
I do have a recipe, but it’s not posted yet. Hopefully soon. It comes from the book Artisanal Small Batch Brewing. She uses bottled pineapple juice, but I substituted fresh pineapple juice that I extracted myself.
How do I know when it is time to rack the wine? Do I just wait for 3 weeks to go by? Do I watch to see if there are no bubbles in the air lock for a certain amount of time? My carboy is in a cool basement. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe and experience! I’m very excited about this.
Usually a few weeks is good, maybe 3-4 weeks at most in colder spots. You want to get the petals out of there sooner rather than later because they can mold. A good rule of thumb is to wait 3-4 minutes between airlock bubbles, but you may just never get there. Don’t leave the petals in for more than 3-4 weeks in any case.
Do you ever use camden tablets in your recipes
I don’t actually, but many people always do. You can make fine wine without adding camden tablets if that’s your choice.
Thank you for responding to all these comments! I I’m trying this for the first time. I just moved into the second fermentation and I have 2 gallon carboys, but one of them is quite clear and (I tasted it) VERY sweet while the other is cloudy and VERY alcoholic tasting. Should I bail on one of these? Or let them both sit in second fermentation for 6-8 weeks?
They both were very active very quickly and I’m afraid they sat for many more weeks in their first fermentation than was necessary, too. They were in my kitchen for 3 weeks but I think fermentation may have finished after just a couple days…
I often forget things in primary for way too long, no worries, it happens. The sweet one will likely need more time, assuming it’s active. If it’s not bubbling, then the yeast may be dead and that one may need fresh yeast added. The really alcoholic tasting one will mellow in the bottle, assuming it’s still has enough sugar left to balance it (if it tastes sour now along with alcoholic then you may need to add more sugar for taste). Did you use the same recipe for both? That’s a pretty dramatic difference between the two…
Hi Ashley, I’m impatiently making my first batch of dandelion wine. After almost 5 weeks it is still on its first fermentation with the airlock “burping” every 1-2 seconds. I have kept it in a cool basement of about 65 degrees. Should I go ahead and rack it to get the petals out of it? Do you ever clean the airlock? Thanks in advance for any advice. I’m so afraid that the petals will go bad and ruin the wine.
Yup, I’d take everything out and clean the air lock at this point. A cool basement is a great spot for it, it’ll ferment much slower, but with a slower more gentle ferment you’ll get better flower flavor (rather than things volatilizing off). But yes, it’s time to filter them out and clean the water lock.
KANDACE M LEE
If I don’t have exactly enough petals right now, do you think I could dry them out and keep gathering, until I gave enough? Thanks so much, I can’t wait to make it.
I’ve kept them in the fridge, plucked from their stems, for up to a week without issue. Other’s I’ve read have frozen them until they had enough. I don’t know about drying, but that may work well too (or it may rob them of flavor). Good luck!
Essentially an update of how it is going…
In the height of the lock down I figured I would give it a go. SInce I have a 5 gallon kit, of course I wanted to make 5 gallons and used your recipe. It took a long time to gather all those petals! Recipes online seem to vary from 1-3 qts of petals per gallon of water. I only found one example where it was done by mass which was 75 g of petals per liter of water (essentially a qt). The way I packed the petals it worked out to about 2 qts/gallon.
Using the yeast nutrient and champagne yeast, after just over two weeks in primary ferment I transferred into a carboy with air lock. It still bubbles a couple times a minute so maybe I did it a bit early but maybe not. Hydrometer readings from the start and end of the two weeks showed an alcohol content reaching ~18% which is just about the limit of my yeast.
Right now it is a cloudy When I siphoned into the second vessel. As you can see it is quite cloudy and orange/yellow. I took the opportunity with the wine thief to give it a taste. Fairly strong alcohol taste but quite a sweet taste, almost like a liqueur. Not at all unpleasant. Right now it seems to have a yeasty (to be expected) citrus/orange flavor. I have never had dandelion wine for comparison but I am hoping after secondary fermentation and bottle aging I will get the dandelion flavor. If not, it will still be good.
If it does stay too citrusy it is probably because I didn’t take into account the volume of the juice and petals in the vessels and went with 18 oranges, 6 x lemons for 5 gallons of water.
It looks and sounds like it’s coming along great. The flavor will only improve with age!
Hi, Ashley. I am ready to rack my wine after it’s second fermentation process but I was wondering if it’s okay that the leftover yeast in the bottom is dark and dead looking? My wine is also a bit dark in color. Also, my siphon turns out to be plastic and I can’t find a recommendation for a sanitizer for it. Do you recommend a particular sanitizer or a way to sanitize it?
Use something called one-step sanitizer for your siphon, it’s the same thing I use for everything. Dark colored lees at the bottom is totally fine and normal.
I just made this recipe this year and its delish!
My friend and I are trying to brainstorm new flavors and we were thinking of trying rose. Could you just substitute rose petals for the dandelion? Maybe not use as much citrus? Any suggestions ?
Rose sounds amazing, and I’ve actually considered that option too, but haven’t quite caught enough of our wild roses at peak bloom to make it happen. Less citrus sounds about right, or at least skip the orange and go with all lemon. For a more neutral taste, you can also use acid blend, which is formulated for brewing and will get the pH right without adding citrus. You might try basing the recipe off this lilac wine recipe for roses (https://practicalselfreliance.com/lilac-wine-recipe/). This recipe uses blueberries or blackberries for color, though I think a splash of pomegranate juice or raspberry juice might really compliment roses. Best of luck and let me know how it goes!
Samantha J Talbert
Finding enough Roses was also a hurdle we thought we’d face, I never thought of lilac! Much more accessible
Hi I just came across this post. I have a question, is it necessary to use yeast. What if I have on hand my own homemade fermentation starters made from fruit can I use that in replacement of the yeast?
You must have yeast to make wine. The difference is where that yeast comes from. You can innoculate your wine with cultured yeast like described in this post or you can use wild yeast that is in the air and allow it to spontaneously ferment. It really depends on your personal preference. Spontaneous fermentation can be very unpredictable which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. You just need to do your own research and determine which method is best for you. Here is an article that I found that explores the pros and cons of each method. https://winemakermag.com/article/758-wild-yeast-the-pros-and-cons-of-spontaneous-fermentation#:~:text=Whether%20you%20are%20a%20first,produces%20alcohol%20and%20carbon%20dioxide.
Hi, thanks so much for this great recipe! When I transferred the batch to the secondary container, I left the sediment out as specified and now it’s not bubbling in the airlock at all. Should I worry? Do I need to add anything? Thank you!
How long did you leave it before racking into the secondary container. Had the fermentation stopped before you transferred it?
I made wine with marmalade(pectin) or you can use molasses. adding processed sugar makes the wine unhealthy. especially 5 pounds wtf.
The recipe actually calls for 3 pounds of sugar rather than 5. Anywhere from 1 to 3 pounds of sugar per gallon is very standard. Of course it’s totally up to you which kind of sugar your choose to use, but many people prefer table sugar since it has a more neutral taste and doesn’t interfere with the taste of the wine.
Hi! This is my first attempt at home brewing. Can you please tell me the ideal temperature the first ferment should hover around? I’ve currently got it in a dark closet on the north side of our house, but it’s not super bubbly in the airlock and context from other comments implies that perhaps it should be…?
Any advice you can offer would be great. My Google-fu is failing me on this one.
It depends on the type of wine. It is recommended that red wines ferment between 68 and 86 degrees F and 59 or below for white whines. For Dandelion wine, most people ferment at standard room temperature, or somewhere between 65 and 75 degrees.
I’m a rookie at making wine so I have absorbed as much information as I could about a few sweet wines. How sweet is this wine compared to say Moscato de’asti? Will adding potassium sorbate before bottling make it sweeter, or is that even necessary? I have a gallon of dandelion wine fermenting as we speak with a different yeast that was suggested since the store had run out of the right yeast, and I plan on doing a 5 gallon batch when my order comes in from Amazon. I have the dandelion petals in the freezer. 😉 My family thinks I’m crazy to have picked so much without knowing how it tastes. I also plan on doing a one gallon batch of your lilac wine recipe as well as a gallon of rhubarb wine. I know I will be super busy in a few months bottling, but with all the recipes you have, I wanna try them all. LOL
My wife and I don’t really like dry wine. Are there any other recipes you would suggest?
Thank you for these recipes and for offering your experience to us. It is invaluable.
The wine is described as sweet and floral with subtle notes of honey so I really don’t think you will find it to be too dry. The potassium sorbate is not necessary and we actually don’t recommend using it. You would want to use it if you plan to back sweeten the wine but again, I don’t think that will be necessary. I would just start experimenting with the different recipes. You can always do a micro batch to test out a recipe first to see if you like it. You can find the instructions for that here. https://practicalselfreliance.com/small-batch-wine/
I just made this over the summer. And while I was supposed to bottle it at the end of August – we ended up bottling it last night. I was so worried that it wouldn’t turn out. We had a bit that wouldn’t fit into bottles, so we drank it and I was so surprised at how good it was. Almost like a dessert wine. So, question. Would leaving it in the secondary ferment for so long make it sweeter?
Thanks for the recipe. I honestly thought I had probably ruined it, but I’m already thinking about what I’ll do differently when I make it next year!
I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe. It shouldn’t make the wine any sweeter by keeping it in the secondary for a longer period of time but it really shouldn’t hurt it either as you have discovered.
would it work if we use MonkFruit istead of sugar?
Nope. Monkfruit is indigestible, which is why it’s a keto sweetener. The yeast do need to be able to digest the sugar to do their work.
Thanks for sharing! I started my gallon yesterday and I’m so excited!
You’re very welcome. Please come back and tell us how it turns out.
Hi. I have a couple questions. I am going to be making dandelion wine for the 2nd time this year. Seriously, my yard looks like a dandelion farm. Last yrs batch that I totally ignored, I strained and tried after sitting for a year (no mold). It is SO good, not bitter at all. Actually pretty sweet. This time going to be better about the process. Interesting reading all the comments. I put my quart jar in the back of my pantry, never looked at it but could smell the fermenting each time I opened the pantry. So assume it bubbled.
Wondering if you know about how much alcohol is in this wine. Curious. Corking, is it as simple as getting bottles (sanitized) and corks and pushing the corks in? There are a lot of fancy kits for corking, is that necessary? Want to make more than just the quart this time. That’s all (for now, ha). Thanks for all your great info that you share! It is SO helpful. Peace
This post for watermelon wine goes into detail about the process of bottling with corks and also has links to some suggested equipment. Let us know if you have any other questions. https://practicalselfreliance.com/watermelon-wine/
Hi. First: THANK you for all of your experience, wisdom and time and effort you put into post so that people like me can do things we wouldn’t normally do!!! I so appreciate what you do.
I have never made wine. My parents were not wine drinkers. I have wanted to make dandelion wine for a very long time. The funny thing is, I have lived on my 5 acres for over 20 years and have never put weedkiller anywhere. I also have never had dandelions!!! Perhaps a small handful, if that. So, I just ordered dried dandelion flowers. I just now read all the comments, which were very helpful, but noted one reply was that dried flowers may not work as the flavor is gone…(darn!) Do you think that trying it with the dried flowers would be wasting my time effort and ingredients?
Also I noted that at least one of the packets of the “flowers” seems to have quite a lot of the white fluffy stuff….if I did use the dried, would I need to pick this out first?
I guess I COULD wait until I have my own patch of fresh dandelions…
I also have ordered several packets of dandelion seed to plant a large patch this summer…..
Again, thank you for this article and for staying true to your readers by continuing to monitor posts and replying to their questions.
If I were you I would definitely wait until you had some growing rather than using dried. Dandelion is very impossible to dry without it going to seed which is the white fluff that you see. That won’t be good for much of anything other than growing more dandelions.
Thank you so much for posting such detailed instructions and great tips – I am enjoying reading through the comments as well. My partner and I are in the process of harvesting enough dandelion flowers to make a full 5 gallon batch! We’re still new to winemaking, and (no pressure for us or anything, haha) this will be our first non-kit wine we make. The timing is right for it, though, and you only get one shot each year during dandelion season!
I have a couple questions for you or anyone else reading:
– Are the oranges and lemon necessary? Does the final product taste like citrus over the dandelions? My partner wants to make a “pure dandelion wine” to really make the most of the dandelion flavour and is concerned that the other flavours will overpower the dandelion blossoms and make it taste just like a “regular old citrus wine” if you know what I mean. He wants to “really be able to call it a dandelion wine.” What would happen if we only used the dandelion blossoms and omitted the oranges and lemons? Would it still taste nice?
– What are your thoughts on using some of the winemaking ingredients such as potassium metabisulfite for stopping fermentation and preserving as well as stabilizing/clarifying agents like kieselsol, chitosan and bentonite? I’m thinking to just follow the regular winemaking procedure and use these ingredients to help with preserving/aging, stabilizing and clearing.
Thanks again! 🙂
You could certainly try it but nearly every recipe I have seen include lemons and oranges. It really shouldn’t be overpowering at all and the cold infusion method really helps the floral notes from the dandelion to shine. One of the reasons why we make our own wine is so that we can avoid the additives that are used in regular winemaking procedures but you’re certainly welcome to use them if you wish.
Hello. Thank you so much for this recipe. I made my second batch and I think it came out ok? It’s very very sweet even after reducing the sugar. It’s the same color in your picture but it so sweet I doubt it’s even wine! Is this normal for flavor? Thank you again
Dandelion wine definitely has a sweet taste. How long did you allow it to ferment?
Hi there! I was wondering if I could make this recipe with dried dandelion flowers?
I wouldn’t recommend it. Typically dandelion flowers turn to fluff whenever you attempt to dry them.
Was just wondering if the quarts are Us quarts or imperial quarts? Sorry if that’s a silly question!
Not silly at all. We’re in the U.S. so that would be U.S. quarts.
Hello! I made this wine and after the fact realized I was supposed to let the water cool before adding it. I added it while it was still hot and then added cool water .Will my wine still turn out?
As long as you didn’t add the yeast directly to the hot water, you should be ok.
Excited to try this recipe, but it will be my first time making wine. Do I need to sanitize all of the brewing tools (carboy, airlock) and if so, do you have any recommendations for how to do that?
It’s not absolutely necessary but it does result in a more predictable result. You can find a link to the sanitizer we recommend in this post on winemaking tips. https://practicalselfreliance.com/homemade-wine/
Sadly my wine Turner into a slimy mess. I dont know want went wrong. Do you have an ideas why?
I’m so sorry that happened. Is there anything that you did differently from the recipe?