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Making Homemade Orange Wine

Widely available throughout the year, the two most common varieties of oranges are the Navel and the Valencia. The Navel orange is in season from November through May and is easy to spot because of its distinctive button-like formation opposite the stem. These oranges are perfect for eating as they peel easily and are seedless. The Valencia orange, which is in peak season during the summer months, is extremely juicy, sweet, and thin-skinned. This makes it an ideal juicing orange. Less common varieties of oranges that are equally as delicious are Moros, otherwise known as "blood" oranges because of their vibrant red interior and Mandarins that are sweeter, yet smaller than other oranges.

If you have a large quantity of oranges on hand, they can make both orange wine and the specialty from the south of France called "vin d'orange," which is an orange-flavored wine. Both are relatively simple to make and delicious.

Orange Wine

10 lbs very ripe oranges
6 lbs granulated sugar
2 gallons water
teaspoon grape tannin
2 teaspoons yeast nutrient
1 ounce wine yeast

Boil the two gallons of water in a large stockpot. Peel the oranges, carefully removing all of the pith. Separate the oranges into sections and remove the seeds. Place orange sections into a blender and liquefy. Place liquefied oranges, sugar, tannin, and yeast nutrient into primary fermentation container. Add boiling water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cover and cool until mixture is room temperature. Add yeast, cover, and ferment for one week. Strain liquid through a finely meshed bag, and transfer to a glass secondary fermentation container. Seal with airtight lid, and rack once a month for four months. Stabilize, wait one week and rack into bottles. Age at least one year before drinking.

Vin D'Orange

8 bottles inexpensive dry white wine (preferably Riesling or Chenin Blanc)
5 cups brandy
6 cups sugar
10 oranges cut into quarters
2 lemons cut into quarters
3 cinnamon sticks

Pour the wine, brandy, and sugar into a large, sterilized pickling jar. Stir ingredients until sugar has dissolved. Add the oranges, lemons, and cinnamon sticks and seal the jar tightly. Place in a dark, cool location for 6 to 8 weeks. Pour into smaller bottles. Serve chilled.

If you are serious about making homemade wine, check out this book. It has tons of homemade wine recipes and advice. It is also a great value and even includes some free bonuses.