Date wine recipe

Few things remind me more of childhood Christmases than dates. Dates and sugared almonds. Yuletide dates come in varying quality. I say we should eat the nice ones and go shopping just after christmas for the nasty ones, buy loads and make some ace homebew wine.

Dates make a great medium sweet winter wine with a lot of body! In the first week of the year, the shops are packed with reduced prices on dates, so buy at least 1.5 kilos of dates to make a gallon of wine which will be great for drinking in about a years time.

Roughly chop and dates and cover with boiling water. Add a teaspoon of mixed acid and some pectic enzyme. Adjust the sugar to about 1090 and use a good wintertime yeast such as Gervin No 5 White Label Wine Yeast which ferments well in the cold. Ferment out and then add some extra sugar in 100g lots trying to end up with a final gravity around 1005. Check the balance and add a little more acid if you think it needs it.

When the wine is cleared and stabilised, rack it into a gallon jar and seal the top. Now go and forget about it for 12 months. I find that date wine drinks best about 20 months after you make it. So if you make it at the beginning of the yeast, enjoy drinking it lightly chilled in the autumn of the following year.

Date wine really benefits from long maturing. It goes in developing character and smoothing off for at least 24 months. The more dates you use, the longer it will mature for. Some very expensive dates can be purchased, and I've never used these for making wine - one day it will be a worthwhile experiment to use some premium dates for making wine instead of the cheap reduced dates! It is a very unusual and interesting wine for try out on your guests - although sometimes the colour can be a bit off putting.