Review – Making Wild Wines & Meads

Some folks who discover winemaking become obsessed with it. So obsessed, they want to move from wine kits to their own country style wines including wild berries, or perhaps even planting some grape vines in their backyard. The Internet winemaking king has even made wine from grass clippings!

If you’re interested in further experimentation, what could you do? One obvious thing is to search the Internet for wine recipes you are interested in. Or, you could purchase a book entitled Making Wild Wines & Meads – 125 Unusual Recipes Using Herbs, Fruits, Flowers & More by mom and son team, Pattie Vargas and Rich Gulling. I purchased this book about one month ago and the household I live in are afraid – very afraid that I am going to take up even more space within the house for my obsession.

The first chapter is one that experienced winemakers might want to skip as it covers the basics of winemaking in general, including essential equipment, other equipment that is nice to have but not necessary; some general information on required ingredients such as yeast, yeast nutrients, campden tablets, and more; the winemaking process; and an “FAQ” section. Although this chapter is not comprehensive (it would be impossible to be comprehensive about winemaking in a single chapter), it should peak your interest to learn more about that which you’re not sure about.

The next chapter gets into what we really want to read about – the recipes! The first chapter is followed up by chapters on:

  • Making Wines From Fruits
  • Making Wines From Flowers, Nuts & Vegetables
  • Making Meads
  • Making Wines From Herbs
  • Making Wine Coolers & Punches

The chapter on wines from fruits includes fruit that is available to most people in North America, either frozen or wild and there are some very nice looking recipes to follow. But for me, the chapters that I am spending the most attention on are the ones on wines from vegetables and mead making. Some of the vegetable wines, including a “Parsnip” wine are suitable for drinking while other vegetable wines are meant for gourmet cooking – including a garlic wine and a “vegetable medley” wine. Other intriguing wines include a recipe for almond wine, wines from beets, carrots, pea pods, and potatoes. Of course, there is dandelion wine recipe as well.

If you’re interested in making meads, this book is worth the cost for the chapter on this subject alone. The authors carefully explain the differences between true meads, melomels, and metheglins After reading this chapter, you’ll be able to discuss meads knowledgeably with anyone. And of course, the recipes – 30 recipes for mead or mead based wines – enough to keep your local bee keeper excited to see you.

After you’ve tried these recipes, you may want some ideas on how to serve them as coolers or punches and this book offers suggestions based on the wines you may have made from the recipes previously discussed in the book. And finally, the book closes with a helpful winemaking glossary and an index.

If you are interested in increasing your wine cellar selection to include a variety of unique wines, this is most definitely a “must have” book! You can purchase it here.

Leave a Comment