11/27/2017 TimberGardener 0Comment

In November of 2017 we drove to Santa Barbara to celebrate at Ryan and Laurie’s wedding!  It was a little early for citrus, but on the way back through California we pick up a flat of oranges.  Rumor has it oranges can make a great wine!  Toby willingly gave up 12 juicy oranges to the cause.  Add this to the list of weird wines in the ol’ wine cellar (which does not yet exist).  Better yet, we stopped at a brew shop that had ALLLL the colors of bottle foil tops, loose, so I spent some time matching my soon-to-be-bottled wines to their perfect shade.  And of course…vibrant, horrible, shiny orange for the orange wine.  Will this be a good mimosa base?  If I carbonate it, will it BE a mimosa?  Can’t wait!

Orange Wine

12 oranges, peeled and juiced
4 cups water, hot

Add peels and hot water into primary fermenting bucket and let steep overnight.

Day 2:
1/4 tsp tannin
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 tsp pectinase
1/4 lb raisins
2.5 lbs sugar
8 cups water

Optional: 1 Tbsp prepared bentonite clay sludge to promote clearing.

Strain peels out of water and discard peels.  Water will be light orange.  Stir the rest of the ingredients into the bucket.  Add 1 packet dry yeast Premier Blanc, sprinkle on top of liquid.
Brix 22, so should be 12% abv.

Freshly stirred must on Day 3

Day 3: Fermentation going in the orange wine, with foam floating on top and a weird green layer of pulp next.  I hate pulp in my orange juice and I can’t wait to strain this out.  The green color is either due the powdered grape tannin or the bentonite.  It smells great!  Really clean orange flavor, and the liquid beneath the pulp layer is a clear dark amber.  I should have used golden raisins on this one, but I didn’t think of it!  Also, they are a lot more expensive than the brown ones.  In fact, raisins are probably my biggest wine making expense.  I need to start buying them in bulk at Winco or something.

Day 5: The orange fermentation is going so strongly you can actually hear it in the room!

Day 7, fresh squeezed orange wine!

Day 7: Strained orange must through a sanitized fine strainer into a 1 gallon carboy with an airlock.  Ended up having about 45 oz of reserve juice.  The flavor has a little bit of the bitter orange from soaking the peels but it’s already faded quite a bit.  I could see it being a nice subtle flavor in the finished….mimosa wine!  😀

Day 8: The orange is clearing already, and the liquid is a dark burnt orange.

Day 9

Day 9: Already I’m mistaking this for the apple wine, which was started 3 months ago!  It just looks so clear already.  This is one of the first batches with bentonite added during primary fermentation, so we’ll see if it makes a difference in clarity.

Racking the orange wine on Day 22

Day 22: Barely tasted the bitter oils from the rind.  They had really faded.  Nearly clear.  A little weird, seems acidic enough.  Racked, added a pinch of k-meta.  Topped off with 1/4 cup of sanitized water.  I had forgotten about the reserve juice in the fridge…I popped it open to check on it, it was also mostly clear with a layer of biscuity goo on the bottom.  Since the container had a narrow neck we couldn’t siphon the liquid out, but a careful pour filled a 750 ml wine bottle without too much sediment.  The orange fridge wine had kept much more of the bitter rind flavor.

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