Homemade Wine Recipes from Godey’s Lady’s Book

Godey’s Lady’s Book, the premier magazine for women throughout much of the nineteenth century included fashion and homemaking tips to help women run their households using all the newest technology available at the time.

During the Civil War years, Godey’s did its best to help women maintain a happy home despite the difficulties around them.  This article gives readers detailed instructions on how to make homemade wines.

Homemade Wine

Now, that the difficulty and expense of making is trifling compared with what the latter used to be, all housewives may add wines to their household stores as easily as they may preserves. In wine countries, the grape, under the influence of climate, contains within itself the chemical properties to produce fermentation, while, in other countries, artificial aid is compelled to be used to accomplish it. The four requisites for fermentation are sugar, vegetable extract, malic acid, and water; and upon the proper regulation of these constituents the success depends.

The fermentation requires great attention, and should neither be suffered to continue too long, nor be checked too early. Its commencement, which will be about a day after the articles have been mixed, will attract attention, by the noise it makes. For a sweet wine, the cask should not be closed until the sound of fermentation has almost ceased. If a dry wine, have ready a barrel which has been subjected to the fumes of sulphur, and draw off your wine into it. Rack off the wine, clearing it with isinglass, and bottle in about ten weeks after it.

  • APPLE WINE — Add to a barrel of cider the herb scurlea, the quintessence of wine, a little nitre, and a pound of syrup of honey. Let it work in the cask till clear and well-settled, then draw it off, and it will be little inferior to Rhenish, either in clearness, color, or flavor.
  • BALM WINE — Boil twenty pounds of lump sugar in four gallons and a half of water gently for an hour, and put it into a tub to cool; bruise two pounds of the tops of green balm, and put them into a barrel with a little new yeast, and when the syrup is nearly cold, pour it on the balm; stir it well together, and let it stand four-and-twenty hours, stirring frequently; bring it up, and when it has stood for six weeks, bottle it, put a lump of sugar into each bottle, and cork tight.
  • BARLEY WINE — Boil half a pound of French barley in three waters; save about a pint of the last water, and mix it with a quart of white wine, half a pint of borage water, as much clary water, a little red rose water, the juice of five or six lemons, three-quarters of a pound of sugar, the rind of a lemon; strain, and bottle it up.
  • CHERRY WINE — To make five pints of this wine, take fifteen pounds of cherries, and two of currants; bruise them together, mix with them two-thirds of the kernels, and put the whole of the cherries, currants, and kernels into a barrel, with a quarter of a pound of sugar to every pint of juice. The barrel must be quite full; cover the barrel with vine leaves, and sand above them, and let it stand until it has done working, which will be in about three weeks; then stop it with a bung, and in two months time it may be bottled.
  • CURRANT WINE — Take sixteen pounds of currants, three gallons of water: break the currants with your hands in the water, strain it off; put to it fourteen pounds of sugar, strain it into a vessel, add a pint of brandy, and a pint of raspberries, stop it down, and let it stand three months.
  • ELDER WINE — Pour a gallon of boiling water over every gallon of berries, let it stand twelve hours; then draw it off, and boil it up with three pounds and a half of sugar; when boiling, beat up some whites of eggs, and clarify it; skim it clear, then add half an ounce of pounded ginger to every gallon of the wine; boil it a little longer, before you put it in the tub; when cool, put in a toast rubbed in yeast; let it ferment a day or two, after which put it into a barrel previously rinsed with brandy. All wines should be lukewarm when the yeast is added to it.
  • GINGER WINE — To every gallon of water add three pounds of sugar and one pound of ginger, the paring of one lemon, half a pound of raisins, stoned; boil all half an hour, let it stand until it is lukewarm, then put it into the cask with the juice of a lemon; add one spoonful of yeast to every gallon, stir it every day for ten days, then add half a pint of brandy to every two gallons, half an ounce of isinglass to every six gallons stop it close down, and in about eight weeks ii will be fit to bottle.

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