"From Root to Bottle: A Guide for Making Parsnip Wine"

Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Making parsnip wine is a fun and rewarding process that can result in a unique and flavorful wine. Parsnips, often overlooked in the culinary world, have a natural sweetness that makes them a great ingredient for wine making. 

The process of making parsnip wine involves boiling and straining parsnips, adding sugar, acid blend, tannin, and yeast, and allowing the mixture to ferment for several weeks. The result is a wine with a subtle sweetness that is balanced by a pleasant acidity, resulting in a well-rounded and complex flavor profile.

In this post, we will guide you through the process of making parsnip wine, from selecting the right parsnips to bottling the finished product. 

We will also share tips and tricks to help you brew the perfect parsnip wine. 

To your health!

guide to making parsnip wine

To make a great-tasting parsnip wine, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2-3 lbs fresh parsnips
  • 1 lb sugar
  • 1 teaspoon acid blend
  • 1/4 tsp tannin
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • 1 package champagne yeast

You'll need to have a pot to boil the parsnips, a drainer and a drum to ferment with. 

Simple instructions on how to make parsnip wine:

  1. Prepare the parsnips by peeling and finely chopping them up.
  2. Boil them in water for at least 15 minutes or until they become soft.
  3. Strain the parsnips and save the liquid. You no longer need the parsnips so you can eat them or compost them!
  4. Add sugar, acid blend, and tannin to the liquid and stir until dissolved.
  5. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
  6. Add yeast nutrient and yeast.
  7. Cover the mixture and allow it to ferment for 3-4 weeks.
  8. Strain the wine and bottle it.
  9. Allow the parsnip wine to condition/age for at least 6 months before drinking.

Here are some tips for making parsnip wine:

  • You should use fresh parsnips: Make sure to use fresh parsnips that are firm and without any blemishes. Old or spoiled parsnips will result in poor tasting wine.
  • Sterilize your equipment: Make sure to sterilize all your equipment, including the fermenting vessel, airlock, and bottles, to prevent contamination.
  • Use a hydrometer: A hydrometer is a device that measures the specific gravity of the liquid, which helps you to monitor the progress of fermentation and determine when it is complete. Take a reading on the day you brew your wine and then about 5 days later check again - check the next day, if your reading is the same, fermentation is probably complete. 
  • Taste your wine: Taste your wine throughout the fermentation process to determine if it needs more sugar, acid, or tannin.
  • Be patient: Parsnip wine takes a while to mature. It needs at least 6 months of ageing before it's ready to drink. Store in a cool place, away from direct sunlight. 

What is 'acid blend' and how does it help with making parsnip wine?

Acid blend is a mixture of different acids (typically tartaric, malic, and citric acid) that is used to adjust the acidity level in wine. It is often added to wine must (juice, skins, and solids before fermentation) to ensure the proper acid balance for wine making.

In the case of parsnip wine, parsnips are relatively low in acidity, so adding an acid blend helps to balance the pH level and create a more stable environment for fermentation. Additionally, it helps to preserve the wine and gives it a more pleasant flavor, by providing a balance of sweetness and tartness. A proper acidity level in wine is essential for a good wine structure, aging potential and preservation.

It's important to note that the amount of acid blend to be added depends on the acidity level of the parsnips, the desired acidity level in the wine, and personal preference.

Why is tannins added to parsnip wine?

Tannins are a group of naturally occurring compounds found in grape skins, seeds, and stems, as well as in other fruits and plants. They are added to wine for a variety of reasons.

In the case of parsnip wine, tannins are added to provide structure and complexity to the wine. They can help to balance the sweetness of the wine, add depth and bitterness to the flavor, and give the wine a more full-bodied mouthfeel. 

Tannins also act as a natural preservative and help to improve the wine's aging potential - which is quite ideal for a homemade parsnip wine (that can be aged for six months!)

When making parsnip wine, the tannins are usually added in the form of grape tannin powder or tea made from the bark of certain trees, such as oak. The recipe provided above calls for 1/4 tsp of tannin, but the amount can be adjusted to your preference. It's important to use caution when adding tannins as too much can make the wine taste overly dry and astringent.

How long should parsnip wine be stored before drinking?

Your parsnip wine should be aged for at least 6 months before drinking. This conditioning period allows the flavors and aromas to develop, and it also allows any sediment to settle out of the wine.

During the aging process, the wine should be stored in a cool, dark place away from light and vibration. 

The bottles should be stored on their sides to keep the cork moist and prevent air from entering the bottle.

After 6 months, the wine should be clarified and stabilized before bottling. 

It's worth noting that many wines, including parsnip wine, can improve with additional aging. Some parsnip wines can actually be aged for several years (if you have the patience), and will continue to develop new flavors and aromas over time. 

It's important to keep in mind that wine does not last forever, and eventually, it will start to deteriorate.

What extra ingredients can be added to parsely wine such as raisons or lemon?

There are many ingredients that can be added to parsnip wine to enhance its flavor and complexity. 

Here are a few options:
  • Raisins: Raisins can be added to parsnip wine to provide additional sweetness. They can also add a nice fruity flavor to the wine. They should be added during the fermentation process.
  • Lemon: Lemon can be added to parsnip wine to add acidity, freshness and aroma. It can be added to the wine must before fermentation or can be added in the form of lemon juice.
  • Spices: Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice can be added to parsnip wine add to the flavor. They can be added to the wine must before fermentation.
  • Herbs: Herbs such as thyme, rosemary or sage can be added to parsnip wine to add depth and complexity to the flavor. They can be added to the wine must before fermentation.
  • Honey: Honey can be added to parsnip wine to provide sweetness and complexity. 

It's important to note that when adding these ingredients, it's important to use small amounts at first.

What meals can parsnip wine be matched to?

Parsnip wine can be paired with a variety of meals, depending on the specific style and flavor profile of the wine. 

Here are a few suggestions (the roast sounds most appealing to us)I :
  • Roasted meats: Parsnip wine can be paired with roasted meats such as pork, beef, or lamb. Its sweetness can complement the rich flavors of the meat and its acidity can cut through the fat.
  • Root vegetables: Parsnip wine can be paired with other root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and turnips. Its sweetness can complement the earthy flavors of the vegetables and its acidity can balance the dish.
  • Cheese: Parsnip wine can be paired with a variety of cheeses, particularly soft and hard cheese. Its sweetness can complement the richness of the cheese and its acidity can balance it.
  • Stews and soups: Parsnip wine can be paired with hearty stews and soups such as beef or pork stew, or vegetable soup. Its sweetness can complement the rich flavors of the stew and its acidity can cut through the fat.
  • Desserts: Parsnip wine can be paired with desserts such as apple or pumpkin pie, or other sweet desserts. Its sweetness can complement the sweetness of the dessert and its acidity can balance it.

Many types of fruits and vegetables can be used to make wine

Some examples include:

  • Berries such as strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries can be used to make wine. They have a high sugar content and can make a delicious and flavorful wine.
  • Apple wine is a popular alternative to grape wine. Apples have a high sugar content and can make a dry or sweet wine depending on the type of apple used.
  • Cherry wine is a popular choice.
  • Pears can also be used to make wine, similar to apples, pears have a high sugar content and can make a dry or sweet wine.
  • Rhubarb: Rhubarb is a popular choice for making wine, it has a high acidity and can make a dry or sweet wine.
  • Elderberries can be used to make wine, it has a rich and complex flavor, and it's usually paired with other fruits or spices.
  • Pumpkin can be used to make wine, it's a flavorful and unique wine that can be paired with different meals, particularly with spicy meals.
  • Carrots can also be used to make wine, it's a unique and flavorful wine that can be paired with different meals.
  • Beets can also be used to make wine, it's a unique and flavorful wine that can be paired with different meals.

The goal for your wine should be to have full-bodied mouthfeel and a pleasant aroma, which makes it an excellent wine to be paired with different meals. By experimenting with ingredients and proper conditioning, your parsnip wine could be the talk of the party!

What is the shelf life of bottled parsnip wine?

The shelf life of parsnip wine will depend on various factors, such as the alcohol content, storage conditions, and the freshness of the ingredients used in making the wine.

Typically, parsnip wine has a moderate alcohol content, around 12-14% ABV. If the wine is stored properly in cool (45-55°F), dark conditions, away from light and vibration, it can last for several years, potentially up to 5 years or more.

However, the wine's taste and quality will start to deteriorate over time, even if the wine has not technically gone "bad". It's best to consume the wine within the first 2-3 years for optimal taste and freshness. Before consuming, it's a good idea to check the aroma, flavor, and appearance of the wine to ensure it's still good to drink.


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