Plums are what my son would describe as, “One of the juiciest fruits” around. There are many different types of plums; Goldens, Damsons and Victoria. They all vary in colour and taste to some degree but all will produce a quality tasty beverage.
If you are reading this post in August you are in luck as this is the best time to start planning your Plum Wine as we enter the Plum harvest time. This will make a gorgeous dark red wine with incredible depths of flavour which will be at its best ready for Christmas!
What better fruit to brew this Autumn, than juicy and radiant ripe plums?
Sourcing the Plums and What Makes the Perfect Plum.
Plum trees are very common in the UK. You may have a garden with a plum tree in it, or know of someone who does. The perfect time to start picking plums is between the end of August and September.
To make the tastiest plum wine, you must make sure that the plums are as ripe as possible. Ripe plums will have a perfect amount of sugar and juice, making the flavour of the wine just right.
To ensure you are picking the plums when they are ripe, give them a smell, as a ripe plum will smell sweet and fruity. You should be able to squeeze the plum slightly too, as it will be soft, but not too soft.
If you don’t have your own plum tree’s, many small farms allow Pick Your Own if you ask them.
If you are unable to pick your own, either head to a farmers market or get yours with your weekly shopping. Just make sure that they are ripe. As it is plum season make sure to grab British Plums! If you making your wine in August make sure to pick up British plums.
The Equipment You Will Need.
The following is a list of equipment you will need to brew your perfect plum wine. This will make 1 gallon of plum wine.
- 1.8kg of plums (prepared)
- 3.9 litres of water
- 1 Campden Tablet
- 1.2kg of sugar
- 1/4 tsp of Wine Tannin
- 1 tsp Acid Blend
- 1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
- 1 tsp Pectic Enzyme
- 1 sachet of Wine Yeast
- 10L Fermenting Bucket
- 2x 5l Demijohns
- Medium Pan
- Potato Masher
- 2x Muslin
- 2x Airlock and bung
Preparing the Plums.
- Give them a wash and discarding any bad fruit that may have been picked.
- Remove the stems and stones and cut into quarters. Make sure to capture all the delicious juice that has squeezed out during this process.
- Pro Tip: Keep the skins on as this is what allows that brilliant colour to shine through in the wine and adds some tantalising texture too.
- Using one of your buckets, dissolve 1 tsp of steriliser in your 10L bucket with max 4 litres of warm water.
- Sterilise your bin, wiping the sides and the lid with a soft sponge (to avoid scratching the sides with anything abrasive). Sterilise your paddle, thermometer and hydrometer as well.
- Make sure you have thoroughly sterilised all surfaces that will come into contact with the wine. Infection is one of the main reasons for bad homebrew.
- Scold your muslin bag with boiling water.
- Place your straining bag in the bottom of your fermentation bucket and pile in your plums.
- Smash them up with the masher to release the juices and breakdown the skin. Then secure in the muslin bag and leave in the bucket.
- In a medium pan bring to the boil the water and sugar, ensuring the sugar is fully dissolved.
- Pour the solution into the bucket over the plums.
- Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, add the Campden tablet, tannin and yeast nutrient and acid blend and mix thoroughly.
- Wait 12 hours then add the pectic enzyme and mix thoroughly again.
- Wait another 24 hours, then sprinkle the sachet of yeast onto the surface of the mixture. You then need to ensure that you stir this mixture daily.
- One week later, lift out the plum mixture and allow to thoroughly drain.
- Leave this to settle for a three to fours days.
- Sanitise your syphon and transfer the wine to a sanitised demijohn, ensuring you are using a sediment trap.
- Pop in a bung and airlock. Fill the airlock with sterilised water to the halfway mark.
- Leave this to settle and clear for around a month.
- Over the course of the month, sediment will build up and will need to transfer (Rack it) it to another demijohn.
- You can either leave it in the demijohn for 4-5 months or you can transfer into wine bottles. The bonus if you transfer into bottles is you will be able to try some sooner, but it will be best if you leave it.
- Ensure once again you sterilise the wine bottles and your syphon. You can use a bottle washer and rack to make this step a lot easier.
- Transfer your plum wine mixture to the bottles, leaving a gap of 1 inch at the top. Place the corks on the bottles.
Enjoy Your Perfect Plum Wine This Winter.
If you picked in August by the time your perfect plum wine has sat for 4-5 months, the winter months will be on us. This means you can cosy up with a delicious glass of wine that you have brewed and enjoy the company of friends and families. If you enjoyed making this wine, why not try our ultimate Blackberry Wine recipe?
If you need any of the kit listed above, don’t forget to visit our online store and order any items that you need. Perhaps a Country Wine Starter Kit is what you need? You’ll be the envy of your friends once you master country winemaking!