BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘wine’

#365daysofbiking Berry wet

August 14th – On Clayhanger Common, the elderberries are ripening slowly. These beautiful, tiny back berries, beloved of winemakers for centuries make a great home brew red wine that’s known for potency and taste.

Elderberries always look beautiful in the rain and are a lovely indicator of a fruitful season ahead.

Although I’d personally not gather these particular ones due to the history of their location, I’ll be out gathering others for a relative when the time comes, continuing a family ritual that’s gone on for decades, if not centuries.

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#365daysofbiking Ripening

July 4th – One of the signs of a passing summer is the emergence of various fruits and berries, and their gentle ripening. This morning at Clayhnager, I spotted these rowan berries – beloved of wine and jam makers as well as songbirds – turning from green to a light orange.

Soon they will be a wonderful deep colour, and fall on pavements where they crackle and pop satisfyingly when walked or ridden upon.

The summer really is passing fast now.

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#365daysofbiking Respect your elders

May 30th – Also blossoming now is the delightful and humble elder, a shrub beloved of winemakers for hundreds of years. It grows in woods, hedgerows, on wasteland and anywhere it can. Here in Harlaston it’s thriving at the back of Victoria Park.

The tiny, beautiful white flowers have a gorgeous scent and can be used to make wine or champagne: the berries they make way for – deep red, almost black – make a heavy, heady wine that’s almost legendary.

This gives the winemaker a tasty dilemma: White and floral or red and strong?

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August 18th – In spite of my earlier feeling that we were in for a thin harvest, the hedgerows and woodlands are laden with berries, nuts and fruit this year. I noted on Brownhills Common that the elderberries were now showing well and in abundance, which is good news for local winemakers, who will produce a dark red, strong and face-numbing drink from these shiny, dark berries.

And long may it continue!

August 7th – One of the surprises of the summer for me has been the surprisingly bountiful harvest of many berries, nuts and fruits: I would have thought that the dry spell would have meant fruit was more sparse.

Elderberries are a case in point. I think the fruit may eventually be smaller, but there is a huge quantity ripening in the warm sun. These are all in Victoria Park, Darlaston where the bushes are absolutely laden.

Going to be a good year for home wine-makers aI think.

August 22nd – The Elderberry crop looks decent this year, which is always a good sign for local home-brew winemakers.

I will be out collecting buckets of these tiny back juice laden berries for a relative to perform the usual magic of transforming this bitter, black harvest into a dizzying, beautiful dark red nectar.

They also make a wonderful sight as a roll around the area. 

The oncoming autumn is lovely when you stop fighting it…

September 26th – There’s still a bountiful crop of elderberries for the taking out in the hedgerows, thickets and copses of the area. I spent a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon getting very red fingers collecting for a family winemaker.

Elderberries make a gorgeously dark, potent wine that in the the hands of a skilled winemaker can be way better than any shop-bought red wine.

One of the benefits of autumn!

August 17th – Another marker of impending autumn – the elderberries are turning to shiny black perfection at Shelfield. These days, these bitter fruits are in great demand for home-made wine and jams, but they used to be mostly left for the birds.

They’re such perfect, beautiful fruits.