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Jan
20
2012

Plum Wine

In addition to brewing beer I’ve also made a feijoa wine and distilled some spirits last April and now I’ve just started a batch of plum wine. I made a small batch of feijoa wine as we have a feijoa tree that produces lots of fruit. It turned out fairly good, a bit like a white wine with distinct feijoa flavour, but to be honest I would prefer a good Chardonnay, although I have to say it went particularly well with Thai food. We drunk it after about 3-4 months and now that I’ve done some more reading up on wine making, I’m thinking it would probably have benefited from significantly more aging. Maybe I’ll try some more this year when the feijoas are ripe. Also in April last year I distilled some spirits. I got the loan of a small air still from a friend and fermented up a batch of sugar wash and distilled it out. This resulted in a neutral spirit with which I made into gin, rum and feijoa liquor and I’m also currently making some limoncello with the last of the alcohol from that batch. The rum was simply made by adding Still Spirits rum essence. It was OK but tasted a bit artificial to me. The gin was made by infusion of juniper berries and various other spices and was really good, better than standard commercial gin in my opinion. The feijoa liquor was really good too and I’m looking forward to seeing how the limoncello turns out.

Now on to the Plum wine. Our plum tree was loaded with plums this year and after asking myself what am I going to do with all these plums the obvious answer came quickly. After looking at some plum wine recipes online this is what I came up with:

Plum Wine Recipe (21L Batch)

  • 15 kg plums
  • 3.75kg fine granulated sugar
  • 8 tsp acid blend or juice of a lemon (I substituted 4 tsp mallic acid)
  • 5 tsp pectic enzyme
  • 4 tsp yeast nutrient
  • Campden tablets
  • 1 tsp yeast energizer
  • 1/2 tsp grape tannin (I substituted cup of strong tea)
  • 2 packets wine yeast
  • water up to 21 L

Method:

  1. Put approx 10 L water on to boil
  2. Rinse fruit with cold water
  3. Pour boiling water over fruit. Only use just enough boiling water to cover (more can be added later to top up if needed). Let sit until cool enough to handle. The fruit will be mushy.
  4. Remove the seeds by squeezing them out with fingers. Put pulp and water in clean sanitised fermenter. (Next time I may try without removing the seeds to see if it makes much difference)
  5. Dissolve sugar in some of the hot water used for softening the fruit.
  6. Pour sugar water over mashed fruit in the fermenter and mix well.
  7. Add 5 crushed campden tablets, stir and cover loosely (to allow SO2 to vent)
  8. After 12 hours, add acid blend, pectic enzyme, tannin, nutrient and energiser. Stir and add airlock. (I wasn’t able to get acid blend so I used some malic acid instead. I also substituted a cup of strong tea for the tannin)
  9. After 24 hours, stir well, take sample and measure S.G. Pitch yeast and stir and re-cover. (I measured S.G. at 1.085)
  10. Stir once or twice daily. Skins and pulp will build up on top, most of these these can be easily removed with sanitised strainer.
  11. Allow to ferment for 5-7 days, or until S.G. reaches 1.030. My S.G. reached 1.010 after 6 days.
  12. Transfer to a secondary fermenter. My solution for filtering out the remaining fruit pulp is to place a muslin bag inside the carboy and secure it to mouth of carboy with rubber band. The siphon tube will be inside the muslin bag so the debris will get trapped in the bag. Removing the muslin through the narrow neck helps squeeze out most of the juice. If necessary and depending on your gravity readings, top up to 21 L.
  13. Rack after 30 days. Optional: add oak chips
  14. Bottle after 3 more months. Stabilise wine with 5 crushed Campden tablets prior to bottling.
  15. Age in bottles for 6 months or more

This recipe and procedure was adapted from these sources:

http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/reques12.asp

http://grapestomper.com/recplum.html

http://www.instructables.com/id/Plum-Wine/

How to make plum wine from scratch (YouTube video)

 

15kg of Plums

15kg of Plums

4 comments

  1. Olan says:

    I remember my mother having plum wine when I was a kid.

    Oak chips? Smoky plum wine sounds like an interesting idea.

    1. Aidan says:

      Yeah, oak chips would be fairly common in a red wine to give the oak aged characteristic. I haven’t seen any plum wine recipes call for it but I reckon it can only help.

  2. Jesse Crowne says:

    I noticed you said you were going to try again without removing the pits next year. Plum pits contain Cyanide. Leaving them in may cause you to ferment poisonous wine. Make sure you choose the fist person to sample wisely!

    1. Aidan says:

      Hi Jesse, This will warrent further investigation before I make my next batch. My hunch is that the trace amounts are so small as to be harmless but I’ll have to investigate that a bit more to see if there really is any danger. I think also methanol can be produced from fruit with pits, so leaving them might also be bad for that reason too. But I’ve read of other winemakers doing it e.g.
      http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/f5/plum-wine-remove-pits-8005/

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