When we think of the way wine is made, we almost immediately picture people stomping around in barrels filled with grapes. But, did you know that there are other fruits you can use to make wine?
Plums are one of the most popular alternative winemaking fruits. The reason they make such an excellent choice is because, just like grapes, they come in loads of different varieties.
This includes Goldens, Damsons, and Victoria, and each also comes with its own color and flavor notes.
Regardless of the variety, they all have one thing in common; they make one super-tasty beverage!
If you’ve found yourself with an abundance of plums or you simply want to know how to make plum wine, you’ve come to the right place!
Below, we’ll take you through the brewing process step-by-step. We’ll also tell you what equipment you’ll need before you get started and, most importantly, how to choose the perfect plums for your delicious homemade plum wine!
The first step in your wine making journey is to find the best possible ingredients. In this case, you’ll want to source some sweet, juicy, perfect plums.
The best time to do this is in the couple of weeks between the end of August and September. This is when they are perfectly ripe, although you may have to get there before the birds do!
Homegrown plums are by far the best option for making wine as they’ll be super fresh. However, if you haven’t got a plum tree or you don’t know anybody that does, start looking for a local farm that offers a pick your own service.
You’ll know a plum is ripe and ready for picking by the way it smells and the way it feels. They will have a sweet, fruity odor to them and they’ll feel slightly soft, but not so soft that they are easily damaged. If both of these boxes are ticked, you’ve found the perfect plum!
If you’re unable to get to a pick your own farm and you don’t have a plum tree in your own garden, your next best bet would be to head to a farmer’s market.
The plums here will be generally fresher than the plums you’ll find in a supermarket. They’ll also have done less traveling, so they are much better for the environment.
Whichever way you’re sourcing your plums, one thing you need to know is that to make 1 gallon of plum wine you’ll need 1.8kg of plums. Once you’ve got this amount, you can start making your wine!
What Equipment Do I Need To Make Plum Wine?
There’s no getting around the fact that wine making is a fairly complicated process and, as such, you’ll need certain equipment to do it. Below, you’ll find a list of everything you need to start making your own plum wine at home:
- 1.8kg of fresh plums
- 3.9 liters of cold water
- 1 Campden Tablet
- 1.2kg of sugar
- ¼ tsp of wine tannin
- 1tsp acid blend
- 1tsp yeast nutrient
- 1tsp pectic enzyme
- 1 sachet of wine yeast
- 10L fermenting bucket
- 2 5L demijohns
- 1 medium-sized pan
- 1 funnel
- 1 siphon
- 1 potato masher
- 2 muslin cloths
- 2 airlock and bungs
Preparing Your Plums
Once you’ve got all your ingredients and equipment together, the first thing you need to do is prepare your plums. Don’t worry, this isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Here’s what you need to do:
- Give each plum a good rinse under a running faucet.
- Remove the stems, then slice each plum into quarters and discard the stone. It’s best to do this over a bowl so that you can catch any juice that drips during the process.
That’s all there is to it! The one thing you need to be certain of, however, is that you don’t remove the plum skins when you’re preparing them. This is what gives the wine its color and some of its flavor.
Making The Wine
There are two stages to making plum wine. Once you’ve prepared your 1.8kg of plums, it’s time to embark on stage one:
- Grab your fermentation bucket, line it with one of the muslin cloths, and gently place your plums inside.
- Take your potato masher and smash the plums up to release the juices and break up the skins.
- Once this is done, bring the sides of the cloth together and secure to create a bag. Leave this in the bucket.
- Now, take your medium-sized pan and fill it with 3.9 liters of water and 1.2kg of sugar. Bring to the boil and keep it boiling until all the sugar is dissolved.
- Pour this sugar-water mixture into the bucket over the plums.
- Leave everything until the liquid has reached room temperature. Once it has, throw in the Campden tablet along with the yeast, tannin, and acid blend. Mix thoroughly.
- After 12 hours have passed, add the pectic enzyme and mix again.
- Leave for another 24 hours before sprinkling the sachet of yeast onto the surface of the mixture. Once you’ve done this, you need to stir the mixture once a day for a week.
After a week has passed, follow the steps below:
- Lift out the bag of plums and allow it to drain back into the bucket thoroughly.
- Wait another 3-4 days, then sanitize your siphon and transfer the wine into one of the demijohns. Make sure you use a sediment trap when doing this.
- Put a bung and airlock on the demijohn and fill the airlock with sterilized water until it reaches the halfway mark.
- Leave everything in place for about a month. After this time, you’ll notice that it will look clearer and any remaining sediment will have settled on the bottom.
Bottling Your Wine Up
After the month has passed, you have two choices. You can either leave your plum wine in the demijohn for another 4-5 months, or you can transfer it to individual wine bottles.
If you bottle it up, you’ll be able to drink it sooner, but it’s generally better to leave it so that the flavors can develop further.
When it comes to bottling your wine up, all you need to do is use your funnel to pour it into sterilized wine bottles. Make sure you leave a 1-inch gap at the top of the bottle, cork it up, and you’ve got delicious homemade plum wine!