My paternal grandmother, Helen S. Wright, included a recipe for Frontignac Wine in her book, Old Time Reciepes for Home Made Wine, published in 1909. The recipe includes raisins and elder flowers but no reference to the Frontignac grape. Research on the internet revealed that the Frontignac grape is dark-skinned, hybrid French-American grape variety high in acidity and sugar that is used to produce red wine, rose, and fortified wine like port. The plant is vigorous, very cold hardy, and resistant to downy mildew, powdery mildew and botrytis. It was the result of a cross made in 1978 at the University of Minnesota and so unknown to my grandmother when she wrote her recipe, so whatever my grandmother’s recipe creates is not the wine sold by that name today.
Heer is the recipe for Frontignac wine in the words of my grandmother:
Take three gallons of water, six pounds of white sugar, and three pounds of raisins of the sun cut small; boil these together an hour. Then take of the flowers of elder, when they are falling, and will shake off, the quantity of half a peck; put them in the liquor when it is almost cold. The next day put in three spoonfuls of ale-yeast, and two days after put it in a vessel that is fit for it, and when it has stood two months, bottle it off.
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