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REQUESTED RECIPE:

Plum Wine

"I am a novice wine maker who has been given a lot of small dark
plums. I would be most greatful if you could supply a simple recipe
for a slightly sweet light bodied wine." Lorraine Sewell, Ontario, Canada




Plum wine can be very aggrevating to make, but once made, can well be one of your most satisfying vintages. It tends to lack body, and for that reason it is often made with raisins added. But if you use plenty of plums, the raisins are unnecessary. It is also notoriously slow to clear, but it does clear. The flavor, aroma and bouquet of finished plum wine is really a treat, so please don't be discouraged by my words of caution.

The first recipe below makes a dry table wine. The second one makes a high-alcohol sweet (dessert) wine. With both wines, sulfite initially and after every other racking.

PLUM WINE (1)

Put water on to boil. Wash the fruit, cut in halves to remove the seeds, then chop fruit and put in primary. Pour boiling water over fruit. Add the sugar and stir well to dissolve. Cover and allow to cool to 70 degrees F. Add acid blend, pectic enzyme, tannin, nutrient, and energizer, cover, and wait 12 hours before adding yeast. Recover primary and allow to ferment 5-7 days, stirring twice daily. Strain, transfer to secondary, and fit airlock. Rack after 30 days, top up, refit airlock and repeat every 30 days until wine clears. Wait two additional weeks, rack again, stabilize wine, bottle. This wine can be sampled after only 6 months. If not up to expectations, let age another 6 months and taste again. I have aged plum wine up to four years and the result was exquisite, but that was only because the wine got covered with blankets and was forgotten. I suspect it was ready long before it took on its heavenly quality. [Author's notes and adaptation from Dorothy Alatorre's Home Wines of North America]

PLUM WINE (2)

Put water on to boil. Wash the fruit, cut in halves to remove the seeds, then chop fruit and put in primary. Pour boiling water over fruit. Add half the sugar and stir well to dissolve the sugar. Cover and allow to cool to 70 degrees F. Add acid blend, pectic enzyme, tannin, nutrient, and energizer, cover, and wait 12 hours before adding yeast. Recover primary and allow to ferment 5-7 days, stirring twice daily. Strain, stir in half remaining sugar to dissolve, syphon into secondary, and fit airlock. Rack after 30 days, add remaining sugar, stir well to dissolve sugar, top up, and refit airlock. Rack every 30-45 days until wine clears. Wait two additional weeks, rack again, stabilize wine, and bottle. This wine can be sampled after only 6 months. If not up to expectations, let age another 6 months and taste again. I have aged plum wine up to four years and the result was exquisite, but that was only because the wine got covered with blankets and was forgotten. I suspect it was ready long before it took on its heavenly quality. [Author's notes and adaptation from Dorothy Alatorre's Home Wines of North America]

If you have enough plums, make several batches of wine varying the sugar content (3-1/2 lbs, 3-1/4 lbs, 3 lbs, etc. -- the wine will be sweet until you get to 2-3/4 lbs, but progressively less and less). Be sure to mark the bottle labels so you'll know which is which. In this way, you will later be able to determine which sugar content best suits your taste.


My thanks to Lorraine Sewell for the request.


This page was updated on May 22nd, 2004.

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