Ask Wine Wizard

When Life Gives You Limes Make Wine


Faith Chadwick — Marcellus, Michigan asks,

I am making a lime wine and I used honey instead of sugar to bring up the brix. I’m doing a 3-gallon (11 L) batch. The recipe that I found said to zest the limes so I zested 21 limes. When I racked it, I tasted and it has a very strong lime peel taste. Is there any way that I can tame that?

Very, very interesting. I have to say that the zest of 21 limes for three gallons (11 L) of liquid seems like a lot of lime-y-ness to me! I can only imagine that indeed, it did have a very strong lime peel taste. My suggestion for “taming” this would be a dilution strategy. The aroma and “lime peel taste” you are getting is largely coming from two sources in the lime zest: The aromatic oils and the bitter components in the pith. Both are difficult to “treat” out of a liquid solution with common wine additives and fining agents as they are such small particles, chemically. Likewise, they aren’t coming from a protein or a tannin either, so they will have a harder time being removed and “pulled out” of solution with bentonite (in the case of the former) and a protein (in the case of the latter). Additionally, you have such a small volume that it might not be worth your while to first do bench trials (where you would measure out and try increasing amounts of a fining
Response by Alison Crowe.