Simple Orange Wine Recipe

Some years back I had a job as a rep and one of my customers had some large, catering tins of pulped orange. They’d been on the shelf for ages and he was ready to bin them so they ended up coming home with me, which is where this simple orange wine recipe comes in.

Orange Wine RecipeWe decided that the best thing to do was to turn them into wine. In those days there wasn’t any internet to look up things, so out with the trusty wine recipes book where we found this simple orange wine recipe.

We replaced the fresh oranges and lemon in the recipe with the pulped oranges and set about brewing. When the fermentation had stopped and it was time to rack off into bottles, we took a taste and were happily surprised. Sweet and very orange but light and with a kick. We’d invented alco-pops!

After just a month in the bottle it was fine to drink. The test gallon being a success, we immediately started a 5 gallon ferment. Some months later we had a party and most everything drinkable was gone by late on. Except for 5 gallons of orange wine sitting in the demijohns waiting to be bottled.

Next morning there were just 3 gallons left to bottle! Definitely a wine that can be enjoyed young. Here’s the recipe it was based on, which does produce a sharper wine with a cleaner flavour than our tinned-pulp version. I think that is because of the lemon balancing the orange.

Ingredients for Simple Orange Wine Recipe

  • 8 Sweet Oranges
  • 2 Lemons
  • 4 lb White Granulated Sugar
  • Wine Yeast
  • Yeast Nutrient
  • Water

Method for Simple Orange Wine Recipe

  1. Unless organic, un-waxed fruits are used, wash well under hot water to remove and wax.
  2. Zest the fruits and then peel the pith off. Roughly chop the peeled fruits and place into a sterilised wine bucket with the zest. Mash a little as well, an old-fashioned potato masher is ideal.
  3. Pour on about 6 pints of boiling water, stir well and cover. Leave for 5 days, stirring daily or more frequently if you can.
  4. Strain off the liquid into a pan, gently heat the water and, whilst stirring, add the sugar. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, return to the wine bucket and allow to cool to 20°C
  5. Add the yeast and yeast nutrient. After a week the initial fermentation should have calmed, transfer to a demijohn, topping up with cooled, boiled water if needed. Fit the airlock.
  6. Leave in a warm place until fermentation stops and then move the demijohn to a cool place for a month prior to racking off into bottles.

Usually best left for 3 months but very drinkable young.

Posted in Country Wines
47 comments on “Simple Orange Wine Recipe
  1. Winey Sip says:

    Hi, I am trying out this recipe but was wondering if as much as 4lbs sugar is really necessary. I have used 1kg or 2.2lbs and have a starting gravity of 1100. Should this still work? Or can I add extra sugar later?

    • John Harrison says:

      I’d say to stick with the recipe as it works but it’s up to you. Adding more sugar later maybe – don’t forget it will need dissolving and must have cooled back down or you’ll boil your yeast!

  2. Mark says:

    wow first batch went down a treat starting 2 batch now also have last years blackberry and blackberry/elderberry on test reports so far are very promising. thanks for these wonderful recipes. I’m going to need a bigger wine rack

    • John Harrison says:

      You’re very welcome Mark – although the praise for the recipes should go to Granddad – And I’ve found his wartime recipes so they’ll be going up soon. Now we know where his sugar ration went!

  3. Glen says:

    Hi great recipe and am making it now, am at the stage where ready to bottle but can you tell me as have just tried a sip before i start bottling does this wine tastelike or meant to taste like a sweet mulled wine/sherry as that is what mine tastes like at moment or is this a sign that ghe fermentation has finished too early and should i add a second yeast mix, the wine is crystal clear as a wine can be so am not sure as never tried orange wine before. Thanks

    • John Harrison says:

      Hi Glen – it’s pretty sweet and makes a good dessert wine so I doubt the fermentation finished too early. I really wouldn’t add more yeast.
      If it’s too sweet for your taste, try it as a long drink with soda – best to wait for summer for that!

    • Erik says:

      Hi, This is the very first time of me making wine as I have always wanted to die to the being an abundance of orange trees in my backyard. I am comment to question what a wine bucket is, as it is referred to in step 4.

      • David Lind says:

        A wine bucket is more commonly called a primary fermenter. It’s a food-grade plastic bucket with a lid, coming in sizes ranging from 3 gallons all the way up to 9 gallons. They have a hole drilled in the cover with a rubber grommet that you insert the air lock into while fermenting.

  4. Engin says:

    Hi! what’s the amount of the yeast and yeast nutrient you used for this recipe? And what type of yeast you used?

    • John Harrison says:

      Yeast, being a living creature, replicates so just a sachet or a teaspoon is sufficient. Just use any wine yeast for this. Yeast nutrient usually has instructions on the pack – about a small teaspoon is enough. If you don’t have any it’s not critical.

  5. Dave Stones says:

    Hi John, thanks for the recipe. I was wondering if the 8 oranges could be replaced with orange juice from concentrate?

  6. Wendy Merritt says:

    Hi John, a question, after you add yeast do you still continue to stir daily or just let be while it ferments? Been a while since I last made wine and don’t remember. Thanks. By the way it smells wonderful all that orange peel I suppose.

  7. Chrissie says:

    Hi, if I reduce the sugar will it produce a drier wine please.

  8. Sil says:

    Once I add the yeast do I close the bucket? Not sure I am doing it right, it doesn’t look like the fermentation has started but I am not sure

  9. Gaynor says:

    How much wine does it make. It sounds really good so I want to give it a go. All my equipment is for 23 litres so I want to calculate the quantities I will need.

  10. Libbie says:

    Hi John.
    This is my first time to make a wine. I want to try oranges with lemons but I’m kinda disappointed not to have all the ingredients I need. I had a hard time looking for a shop selling wine yeast here in the Philippines, if I will order online, it takes a while before I receive it, it will be coming from the US. My question is, will it be ok to use red star activated yeast used for baking? Should I increase the quantity of red star yeast to make up for the wine yeast? Thank you

    • John Harrison says:

      Hi Libbie
      Making wines with bread yeast was common years ago but wine yeasts have been developed to improve the results. So the only answer I can give is ‘maybe’ I’d hang on until the wine yeast arrives myself.

  11. Gaynor says:

    Hi John, just had a sneaky taste of my wine as I made 23 litres I multiplied the ingredients by 5. Soon realized I had way too much sugar so ended up splitting it between two demijohns adding lemon to one and orange to another. It tastes amazing and the best part is I have double the amount I originally expected. The one with the lemon is very light where as the orange has a real good kick to it. Thanks for the inspiration.

  12. MJ says:

    How many wine yeast, yeast nutrients and water?

    • John Harrison says:

      Yeast, being a living thing reproduces and doubles its number every 8 hours or so. If bought in sachets, use the whole sachet otherwise a teaspoon full will be fine to get things going.
      Unless the packet instructions say otherwise, a small teaspoon full will be plenty. You can omit yeast nutrient but I’ve found better results from using it. The fermentation gets going better and lasts longer.

  13. Trudy Owen says:

    Hi John thanks for putting up all these replies I noticed you don’t include Camden tablets and pectin etc in your recipes since I don’t want to put all those chemicals in my wine either I am assuming it’s a good way forward?

  14. Darren Rees says:

    Hi John, trying this recipe for the 1st time and just wondering if I should add a campden to the demijohn or to the must?.

  15. Parvez says:

    We do not get wine yeast where I live. It’s not allowed in. Can I use simple baking yeast/ instant yeast and how much.

  16. Sara says:

    Hello, what type of wine yeast do you prefer? We have tried champagne and cider. I dont care for the after taste with the champagne yeast and cider was okay. We have done peach, plum, nectarine, blackberry and apricot wines and they all have a simular taste. What can we do to change the after taste?

  17. Ron Dunham says:

    I have frozen orange zest and want to make 5 gallons. Can you please guidance on the amount I should use as well as the amount of sugar?

  18. Tracie Brown says:


    Made the orange wine and after fermenting out, it tastes FAB – but I am struggling to get it to clear. Did yours go clear or is it ok still being opaque? Its been racked and there is zero sediment.

    • John Harrison says:

      Ours cleared beautifully but I think I added finings to clear before bottling.

      • Sean Bragg says:

        I just put all ingredients in with hot tap water about 2 weeks ago. Smells good so far. Is it okay to add yeast and sugar? Either way it’s been about two weeks maybe close to 3. How much longer do you suggest for a good strong batch? 7 oranges, 3 grapefruit and 4 tangerine. With about 1 1/2 gallon of hot tap water.
        Any suggestions???

  19. Chris Mellor says:


    Thank you for posting the recipe.

    I’ve made it – but scaled it for 10l (effectively doubled). I also used a bit of pectinase during the juice extraction process. I have to say the whole thing smelled wonderful:)

    I used a yeast starter to get things going but even after a week, fermentation is going rather slow. It’s bubbling but not as fast as I would expect.

    Have you any timescales for fermentation? Days, weeks, months?

    I’m happy with any – it’s just I’m wondering if there is too much acid or possibly even sugar in there.

    Many thanks


  20. Alice says:

    I did 1kg of sugar and added a 1/4tsp of tannin as well as bit of bentonite to clear it up. It produced a very pleasant wine similar to a dry white wine with a touch of (not unpleasant) bitterness from the orange. Would definitely recommend. Thank you for putting this recipe up.

  21. Dawn says:

    In stead of Demijohn can l just transfer to brewers bottles

  22. Ste Hamer says:

    hi there , what percentage should the wine be if I follow the guide to the letter, my hydrometer is broken ,

  23. OJ says:

    Hi John,
    Wondering if in step 4, after adding the sugar do I put the liquid back in with the fruit and zest? or just ferment the liquid?

    • Christopher Thornthwaite says:

      Hi im just doing my first batch myself i would imagine the fruit bits are left out after adding sugar but i could be wrong hopefully someone can say for sure before i get to that stage.

  24. Sean Bragg says:

    Forgot to mention sugar and yeast added from the start. Is it okay to add more after a couple weeks?
    Either way, how long is best to sit for a fairly strong but enjoyable drink????

  25. Neil says:

    Check with hydrometer and taste is best way

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