Some plants and flowers are so poisonous that they must on no account be used for winemaking. Others are "doubtful" in that they may not be highly poisonous, particularly in the small quantities in which they might be employed in winemaking, but must still be highly suspect. The position is complicated by the fact that some substances used in winemaking, notably sugar and yeast, can sometimes neutralise poisons, so that occasionally safe wines may be made from apparently doubtful sources. But one cannot depend upon this and we would urge winemakers NOT to use anything in the " poisonous " or " doubtful " categories. Our lists are by no means exhaustive and the only safe rule is: if in doubt about a material—don't use it.
Those " Not recommended " are so listed because, although we are often asked to supply recipes using them, they are not suitable winemaking material either because of fermentative difficulties or because they are not palatable.
POISONOUS : Aconite, alder buckthorn, aquilegia, azalea, baneberry, black nightshade, bluebell, buttercup, celandine, columbine, charlock, Christmas rose, clematis, cowbane, cuckoopint, cyclamen, daffodil, deadly nightshade, delphinium, dwarf elder, fool's parsley, foxglove, most fungi, geranium, green potatoes, all hellebores, hemlock, henbane, holly, honeysuckle (the berries), horsechestnut, laburnum, laurel, lilac, lilies-of-the-valley, lobelia, lupins, marsh marigold, meadow rue, mezereon, mistletoe, monkshood, narcissus, pheasant's' eye, peony, poppy, privet, rhododendron, rhubarb leaves, spearwort, spindleberry, sweet pea, thorn apple, traveller's joy, wood anemone, woody nightshade, yew.
DOUBTFUL : Borage, broom, carnation; chrysanthemum, clover, hawthornberry, pinks.
NOT RECOMMENDED : Agrimony, cabbage, cocoanut, all fungi, including mushrooms, lettuce, marrow, potato, pumpkin, spinach, tomato, turnip.
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