A Family Builds a Homestead in the Rain

Love and Country Wine

I made my first batch of country wine this summer, with my daughter in a carrier on my back and during her nap times, using drought-stifled tart plums. I’d read quite a bit about the basics, and John Seymour’s description of the simple, forgiving process appealed to me greatly. That and the self-sufficiency aspect– beer and wine aren’t cheap, and anything made in my own kitchen brings that much more gratification.

My husband was skeptical, to say the least, when he eyed my bucketful of hard olive-like fruits and heard my plan.

That first batch yielded a case and a half of warmly golden wine that had a robust alcohol content and was decent-tasting at bottling time and more delicious as each week went by.

As quickly as it transformed, I was making new brews: rosehip and apple and Chinese date. Some were roughly palatable, full of potential with some age. (See? Never a failure, even when it doesn’t come out great.) The apple is a bit sweet, but effervescent and sublimely pure– you can actually taste the Golden Delicious nuances of the apple.

Pumpkin spice wine now sputters away in a carboy in our dining room, and my husband’s first mead project is starting to ferment (look for more on each of these here soon.) Persimmon and mint are on-deck.



These projects are intensely satisfying. I love walking through the room and meeting the evolving, pungent scent of fruit and alcohol wafting away from yeast hard at work. I love the fizz, and the raucous created by a good, aerating stir twice a day.

Working with yeast provides a whole different excitement apart from cooking. With fermentation, you are the sous chef, not the chef. The yeast do all the work when given the right tools and a little love.

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  1. November 18, 2014    

    Had you tried any of these fruits/combos before? We’ve made pear and apple ciders in the past and have a crab-apple and apple cider fermenting now. I really like some of the combinations you’ve mentioned, sounds fun!

    • November 18, 2014    

      No, all are new. The new property has more blackberries growing than we could ever make a dent in, so I know there will be abundant blackberry combinations next summer!

  2. November 18, 2014    

    I love how adventurous you are!

    • November 18, 2014    

      Thank you– it’s humble, quiet adventure but wonderful exploring!

  3. November 18, 2014    

    I have made country wine similar to this before. Pretty good stuff for sure. Mine ended up quite strong though. I can’t wait to make mine form my own fruits like you did! How does the rose hip wine taste?

    • November 19, 2014    

      Yes, they are all strong. I don’t mind that, personally. The rosehips are rather bitter-tangy with herbal/ floral notes but everything I’ve read says to wait 6 months to 2 years for a transcendent improvement. Looking forward to that!

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  1. Making Plum Wine | Little Fall Creek on March 23, 2015 at 8:26 am


I'm Kelly. Writer, crafter, forager, country winemaker, cook. Mama of an awesome toddler and married to my best friend. We recently returned to the Pacific Northwest, where we're setting out to grow, make, and learn as much as we can as the future unfolds.

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