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Fortified Tea Wine Recipe

As a vegetarian, I am always looking for innovative ways to make meals interesting, tasty, and nutritious for the whole family.

To Make One Gallon of Tea Wine

Fortified Tea Wine

Fortified Tea Wine

Review of Fortified Tea Wine


  • 12 Tea bags
  • 1 tin Grape concentrate
  • 2 Oranges
  • 2 Lemons
  • 2.5 lb. (1.13 kg) White sugar
  • 1 Nutrient table
  • Sauternes yeast
  • 1 Campden tablet


  1. Put the 12 tea bags into your fermentation bucket with the grape concentrate and very thinly-pared orange and lemon rinds.
  2. Add seven pints (4 Litres) of boiling water, cover the fermentation bucket and leave to cool until it gets to about 20 degrees Celsius (68F).
  3. Once cooled remove the tea bags and add the sugar, nutrient tablet and yeast, and stir the sugar until it's dissolved.
  4. Cut the oranges and lemons in half and express all the juice; add the juice to the fermentation bucket.
  5. Cover the fermentation bucket and place in a warm place for about a week; checking on it daily.
  6. After about a week transfer the fermenting wine (must) to a demi jar and continue fermentation under an air-lock for a few months.
  7. Once the wine begins to clear, a sign that the yeast has converted the majority of sugar to alcohol, rack (syphon) the wine into a clean demi jar and add one Campden tablet to stop the yeast from converting the remaining sugar to alcohol (otherwise the wine may end up too dry, cloudy and rough). When syphoning the wine from one demi jar to the other leave the dregs behind at the bottom of the demi jar; as this is all the unwanted muck that you don't want in your wine.
  8. Once the wine has been transferred to a new demi jar and the Campden tablet added store the wine for another four to five months before bottling.
  9. The contents of one demi jar should be enough to fill five or six wine bottles; so if you want more than this then consider having two or more demi jars on the go at the same time.
  10. To fortify the wine add one tablespoon of vodka to each bottle.
  11. Syphon, don't pour, the wine from the demi jar to the bottles as you don't want to disturb any unwanted muck at the bottom of the demi jar.
  12. Cork and label the bottles and leave for at least two or three months before opening, but as with all good wines even at this stage it will still be young and will benefit for being left to mature for as long as you can resist drinking it.
My wine equipment

My wine equipment

Additional Information

This recipe is based on the Recipe 'Tea Wine' but adapted to my own preferences and taste, namely fortifying it to make it a dessert wine rather than a table wine and using wine concentrate instead of raisins. When fully mature the wine should be served slightly chilled and if not downed at a BBQ served with biscuits after the main meal.

Stage One - Fermentation Bucket

If you are worried about melting the fermentation bucket with the boiling water (which is unlikely) then add the above ingredients with as much boiling water as you can in a preserving pan, leave to infuse for half an hour and then add to the fermentation bucket topping up with more boiling water as appropriate.

Stage Two - Fermentation Under Air-Lock

When syphoning the wine from one demi jar to the other leave the dregs behind at the bottom of the demi jar; as this is all the unwanted muck that you don't want in your wine.

Stage Three - Bottling and Fortifying

If you want to experiment then add vodka to just two or three of the bottles so that when the wine has matured to can sample both the table tea wine (without the vodka) and fortified dessert tea wine to decide for yourself what your preference is for future wine making.

Choice of Ingredients

For Flavour

The flavour of the wine will be affected subtlety by the brand of tea bag you use, but I'm not a connoisseur of tea so I tend to use just the cheap tea bags.

The original recipe suggests using the Sauternes yeast. I'll try to use this if I can as the type of yeast you use does have a subtle effect on the type and flavour of wine you make, but if I don't have any I'll quite happily use another suitable white yeast I may have to hand knowing that it will still make a good white wine.

This recipe is to make one gallon (5 litres) of wine

More About Homemade Tea Wines

Tea Wine is my favourite home brew wine; and it goes well served with biscuits. It's not a well-known wine and it's not one of the traditional home brew wines, unlike peapod wine; although recipes for tea wine have been around for a long time. It's quite ironic that although I don't like tea, I'm a coffee drinker, that tea wine should be one of my most favourite home brew wines.

Tea wine is an easy and quick wine to make, it's ready for drinking within the year although it does mature with age; and unlike peapod wine actually tastes good; a good white wine that's light and refreshing and an excellent complementary wine for biscuits.

For my wine recipes, with few exceptions, I predominantly rely on the book 'Home Winemaking' by Charles Foster for my inspiration, adapting the recipes to my own preferences and taste; and sometimes modifying the ingredients to match with what's to hand at the time. I had this book many moons ago I started wine making and it's been a great source of inspiration over the years. The recipe below is my own adaptation of an old recipe in this book and all photos in this lens were taken by me.

An Introduction to Tea Wine

A Novel Home Brew Wine That Makes for a Good Wine

Although tea wine is a simple wine to make that tastes good and has been around for a while there is surprisingly little reference to it on the web and not many recipes when you do a Google search. I'm guessing its lack of prevalence on the web is because many people find it hard to imagine how you can make wine from tea and find it even harder to imagine that wine made from tea can actually taste good; no doubt thoughts of the notorious peapod wine is conjured up in their minds.

However, tea wine is one of the first wines I made when I started making wine and consistently has proven to be one of my best wines; although so far all my wines have been good once fully matured. And as with most things I don't stick to the original recipes I like to adapt them to my own tastes and preferences so this recipe given below is my adaption of an old recipe which I would like to share so that you and others can join me in making what I think is an excellent home brew wine.

Tea Wine

Tea Wine

Fortifying Your Home Brew Wine

Making Wine Smoother with Vodka

One of the enhancements I make to this wine is to fortify it which is simply adding a tablespoon of vodka to each bottle when bottling the wine.

Fortifying the wine isn't necessary, it makes a good table wine on its own of around 12% alcohol by volume when I've made it; and I don't usually fortify my other wines, I let them mature naturally. But when I first made tea wine I fortified some of the bottles, making it a dessert wine of around 16% alcohol by volume, and on sampling was pleasantly surprised how smooth it was for fortifying. So on the basis of if it works don't change it I've continued to fortify my tea wines ever since.

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Although fortifying wine this way turns it from a table wine to a dessert wine I jokingly refer to it being changed from a table wine to an 'under the table wine' because at BBQs its smoothness masks it strength making it very popular and rather moreish; especially when it's a batch that's been maturing for a few years.

Tips for Enhancing Wine Recipes

Fruits Make the Best Wines

Fruits do make the best wines so if you are making a wine that's not fruit based, such as a vegetable wine, then add fresh fruit to the recipe, particular citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and grapefruits etc., just a couple of oranges and lemons added to a parsnip wine can make all the difference.

Where a wine recipe includes raisins or sultanas, as many do, I always substitute these for the 'grape concentrate' specifically sold for home wine making; and although it might add a little to the cost of the wine in my opinion by doing so it makes for a better wine. Raisins and Sultanas are after all dried grapes and if you are using them for wine making then in the initial week or two of fermentation they're left in the fermentation barrel to infuse the nutrients from the dried fruit into the brew before straining them out. Therefore by adding the grape concentrate instead all the goodness you want from the grape mixes with the water right from the start and there's nothing to strain out later.

Tips for Successful Wine Making

Always Sterilise all Your Wine Making Equipment and be Patient to Let the Wine Fully Mature

There is nothing worse than putting a lot of effort into good wine making only for the wine to be ruined by contamination from unwanted bacteria or flies. Therefore, always sterilise everything you'll be using thoroughly before you start and protect the wine at all stages until bottling from pesky flies.

Sterilising doesn't just mean washing in hot soapy water you need to use the proper sterilising powder or tablets, following the instructions on the label to the letter; no short cuts here. At the start when you sterilise the fermenting bucket you can add all the other equipment you'll be using into the bucket to sterilise them at the same time; adding one or two teaspoons of sterilising powder for every gallon (5 litres) of lukewarm water, leaving for about half an hour then thoroughly rinsing with warm water. A couple of weeks later when you're ready to syphon the brew from the fermentation bucket to demi jars I also put the plug in the kitchen sink and sterilise equipment in the sink while sterilising the demi jars.

When in the early stages you're using the fermentation bucket keep the lid on to keep the flies out and once the brew is in the demi jars use the airlocks to protect the wine; and then all being well once the wine has fermented, been bottled and allowed to mature you should end up with a clear and delightful wine.

And that's the other point to successful wine making. In the early stages if you sample the wine in the making it will be sweet as there is still sugar that the yeast has yet to convert to alcohol during the fermentation process. Once the fermentation is complete and you bottle the wine it will be young and is likely to be quite bitter and harsh; but be patient and give it proper time to mature and you should end up with a wine worthy for the table or any BBQ party.

Generally wine matures with age and the longer you keep it the better it will be. As alcohol is a preserving agent the higher the alcoholic content the longer the wine will continue to mature and stay good; table wines with less alcoholic content e.g. table wines below 12% should be consumed within the year of bottling or risk deteriorating and becoming undrinkable. And preferably the wine should be store on its side to keep the cork from drying out letting air in and contaminating the wine.

Wine rack in our garden shed

Wine rack in our garden shed

Wine Making Bottles

12 Bottles Per Case

750 ml bottles in a choice of clear, frosted and green glass. Ideally the clear and frosted glass should be used for white and Rosa wines respectively and the green bottles for red wines; but its not too critical if you mix and match.

Although if you make a lot of wine you'll need to replenish your stock of spare wine bottles from time to time you can save a lot of money by recycle, especially if you ask your friends for the empties when you go to their house or garden parties.

However, make sure you keep genuine wine bottles only, as these are safe to use while other types of bottles such as spirit bottles are not designed to take the pressure that can build up in wine bottles and are likely to explode.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Arthur Russ

Do you have any views or tips on home brew wine and beer - Leave your comments here

Arthur Russ (author) from England on June 15, 2017:

Thanks for all your feedback; all greatly appreciated.

cmadden on December 19, 2012:

I prefer red wine to white usually, unless you count champagne. I've never tried to make it, though.

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on December 13, 2012:

I helped make homemade beer in the past. One time the maker used thin liquor bottles and after bottling, several of them blew up. What a mess! Be sure to use thick bottles!

Arthur Russ (author) from England on October 16, 2012:

@CuAllaidh: Thanks, definitely something I need to look into, it sounds a great idea.

Jeff Johnston from Alberta Canada on October 16, 2012:

Consider oak aging your wine. I made a Chai Tea Mead that I oak aged and it turned out fantastic. I often bulk age my homebrew mead and did the oak aging of half of the chai mead I made, the oak aged stuff was much nicer than the unoaked variety.

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