Recipe file created February 28, 2000.
A friend of mine lives on a partially cleared 5 acre lot. Nettles grow in abundance there. Cooking or drying renders the "sting" harmless.
Pick tender nettle tops in the spring. Rinse well. Simmer in water with lemon (or orange) rind for 20 minutes. Strain liquid into primary fermentor and squeeze all liquid out of the pulp. Discard pulp. Add water to make up to 1 gallon. Add sugar, nutrients, lemon (or orange) juice, raisins and campden tablets. Stir to dissolve sugar. Let sit overnight.
Next day, Specific Gravity should be 1.090 - 1.100. Stir in yeast. Stir daily for 2 or 3 days until frothing ceases. Siphon into secondary fermentor and attach airlock.
For a dry wine, rack in six weeks, and every three months for one year. Bottle.
For a sweet wine, rack at six weeks. Add 1/2 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup wine. Stir gently, and place back into secondary fermentor. Repeat process every six weeks until fermentation does not restart with the addition of sugar. Rack every three months until one year old. Bottle.
If wine is not clear, or still has quite a bit of sediment forming between rackings, Fine the wine as follows:
Use wine finings or plain gelatin. Gelatin: use 1 teaspoon per 6 gallons of wine. Finings: 1/2 teaspoon per 5 gallons or as per package directions. Soak in 1/2 cup cold water for 1/2 hour. Bring to a boil to dissolve. Cool. Stir into wine. Let sit 10 to 14 days. Rack. If not clear enough yet, repeat process. DO NOT increase amount of gelatin or finings. The mixture will stay suspended in the wine, preventing it from ever clearing. Bottle once wine is clear.
The wine is best if you can refrain from drinking it for one full year from the date it was started.
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