blackberriesPurple-stained cooking water is a sure sign of an accidentally nicked beetroot skin. But don't discard this nutrient-filled liquor, allow it to cool then add some sugar and yeast and the result in a couple of weeks time will be a beetroot 'country' wine.

Made with vegetables or fruits other than grapes, country wines are making something of a comeback due to their seasonality and low-food miles: make wine with just-picked garden or hedgerow crops and it will often travel less than a mile.

straining wine ingredientsThe strained liquid from 1.8kg/4lbs of simmered parsnips, carrots or swedes, along with 1.4kg/3lbs of sugar placed in clean bucket and topped up with cold water to the gallon will net you six bottles of homemade wine. To start your brew sprinkle in a teaspoon of bread yeast, or better still a teaspoon of winemaking yeast available from homebrew shops.

After a couple of weeks your immature wine will have stopped fermenting and be ready for bottling. Pour into six empty dark green wine bottles (the dark coloured glass will help preserve the wine's colour) and cork. It should be ready to drink about this time next year.

If waiting 12 months is too long, why not let someone else do all the hard work? Lyme Bay Winery in Dorset sell their country wines made with hedgerow fruit and flowers for £7.65 a bottle

Contact Lyme Bay Winery on 01297 551355, or visit

PG Wine Reviews

ZinfandelSainsbury’s Winemakers’ Selection South Australian Shiraz 2013

£5 Sainsbury’s

Milk choc and elderberry flavours. Fruity but not overly sweet.

La Grille French Sauvignon Blanc 2013

£6.49 Co-op

Lemon and nuts – no gooseberry flavours which is unusual for a Sauvignon.

The Interlude Australian Semillon 2013

£6.49 Co-op

A good everyday von with pear and coconut flavours. Light enough to drink on its own but equally good with food.

Days of Summer Chilean Muscat Reserva 2013

£6.99 Co-op

Fresh lemon flavours – and I mean fresh – with a bit of apple to calm things down a bit.

Errazuriz Chilean Estate Series Merlot 2013

£10.49 Majestic, £59.94/case of 6 (equivalent to £9.99/bottle) Tesco Wine by the Case

Creamy blackcurrant and black coffee.

his article also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on