No one makes dandelion wine anymore. I want to bring the tradition back.
MADISON, Conn. — It’s May 18, 2015. I’m crawling on grass-stained, blistered knees in 80 degree weather at Bauer Park here, picking the last of spring’s inaugural dandelions. I’ve chosen this sprawling field because it is free of herbicides and pesticides and packed with the ubiquitous “weed.” My children collected hundreds of dandelions here the day before, but the flowers shriveled before I separated the yellow blossoms from the green bases, and I reluctantly threw most of them away. By the time I am done, I have gathered thousands of flowers, which will yield one gallon of petals.
Many months later, these petals are transformed into wine that looks like golden sunlight and tastes like springtime. It is light and simple, with no complexity and no sweetness. A delicate liquor with hints of grass and green apple.