Walnut wine – vin de noix

Unripe walnut © glgec/Photoxpress

See also my post on walnuts and walnut recipes (click here).

One of my readers expressed an interest in the walnut wine apéritif I mentioned a while ago [click here for the post], so here is a recipe. This comes courtesy of my friend Vivien, a talented and dedicated cook.  I have never made it myself but, apparently, it’s dead easy.

Walnut trees grow throughout the south west from the Périgord down to the Quercy.  Their numbers are on the decline, though, the victims of successive droughts.

The important thing to note about this recipe is that it uses unripe walnuts, i.e. still in the green outer casing, not the ripe nuts which fall in early October.  If you are reading this in the autumn, you are too late to make it for this year. But at least you’ll know for next year. The time to make it is the fête de la Saint-Jean (John the Baptist) on 24th June.  This date is close to the summer solstice and probably derives from an old pagan festival.

You will need a large mixing bowl or bucket and a 15-litre demijohn (or similar).


40 walnuts (still in green outer casing)

7 litres red wine

1 litre eau de vie (any will do, but here in the SW we’d use prune – plum)

2 kilos sugar (Vivien said this was a little sweet for their taste, so if you prefer it sharper I suggest 1.5 kilos)

2 oranges

Cut each nut into 4-8 pieces and put in the demijohn.  Slice oranges (peel still on) in strips lengthwise and put in demijohn with the nuts.  Mix the wine, eau de vie and sugar in the bowl/bucket until the sugar dissolves.  Then pour over the nuts and oranges.  Leave for 4 months, preferably out of the sun and in an even temperature, strain and bottle.

Bonne dégustation!

Copyright © 2010 A writer’s lot in France, all rights reserved


  1. You’ve actually posted the recipe! Thank you! And Vivien too. Walnut wine remained stuck in my head ever since you first mentioned it. Will keep an eye on this year’s walnuts 🙂


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