It was a bad year this year for dandelions. Usually, right around April 15 I am so eager for tax season to be over, because the sassy little flowers are EVERYWHERE, winking at me and fluttering in the light breeze saying, "Pick me! You know you want to! Just think what wonderful wine I will make for you!"
But not this year. Sadly, it was the sparsest crop I have ever seen. I spent HOURS trying to pick enough flowers (you need a bit more than a gallon of flowers to make 3 quarts of petals for one batch of wiine), and still came up a little short. I picked violets to supplement the batch, but I just don't know how it's going to come out. Unfortunately, it takes a year for any batch to properly age, so I really won't be able to tell how it will come out until this time next year.
On the plus side, last year's batches (I made 2) came out extraordinarily well! I made one with all dandelions - the traditional recipe, and I made the second batch with the addition of a pint of wild violets growing in the yard. I had a recipe for violet wine (and also violet syrup which I have never done yet), but it called for a gallon of violet flowers to start with. After picking one pint, I gave up trying to collect so many! Oh, my aching back! The tiny little violets are numerous, but it takes SO much effort to pick enough! So I had the brilliant idea of combining my recipes and making dandelion/violet wine. The worst that could happen would be an undrinkable batch to pour down the sink. Instead, it turned out to be the sweetest and mellowest batch we have yet made! That's why I thought the addition of some violets to this year's batch might help make up for the shortfall of dandelions.
Hopefully, next year will be better and the dandelions will reappear with the utter abandon that makes a yard-full so pretty! My neighbors think I'm absolutely out of my mind - I went around this year picking all the dandelion puff-balls I could find and waving them around scattering seeds all over the yard. I am a responsible farmer - just planting my crop for next year.
Ever hopeful for the future ...