Do you have a huge crop of ripe, juicy plums that need to be picked? Why not try making plum wine?! Homemade plum wine is not at all like the sweet, fruit-based wines that you buy in the liquor store. This wine is an earthy and full-bodied drink that is rich and smooth. A perfect after-dinner wine.
A Perfect Wine For Beginners
Homemade plum wine is relatively easy. It ferments well and always ends up tasting delicious. It’s the first wine I ever tried to make, and I have been making it for years.
It’s hard to include all the little details in the recipe card. So here are a few extra notes. I’ve tried to cover everything, but if you have a specific question feel free to leave a comment.
Varieties of plums
I use green gage plums, which grow wild in a park near my house. They are so juicy that they don’t last longer than a day or two after ripening. Perfect for wine!
Most ripe plums are soft and juicy enough to mash for a whole-fruit wine. This recipe is quite popular, and people have been using it to make wine from all different varieties of plums. And using a mix of different types of plums will result in a full-flavored wine.
The Importance of Sanitation
The fermentation of alcohol can involve a small amount of methanol production. This is especially true for ferments with pectin in them (like plums).
However, the amount of methanol produced from wines (commercial or homemade) is very low. The danger comes from distilling wine into brandy, which concentrates the amount of methanol.
Regardless, the best way to prevent any methanol production is to make sure that your ferment is not contaminated with pectin-loving bacteria, yeasts, and fungi, which will break down the pectin into methanol. The secret is to sanitize everything. Check out this post on sanitation for winemaking.
Tips for Beginners
If this is your first time making wine, then I recommend reading some of my general posts on winemaking before you start. They will explain all the steps involved in the recipe.
- How To Make Cider and Wine provides detailed information about the required equipment, and all the steps in this recipe.
- How to Use a Hydrometer explains how to measure the alcohol content of your wine.
Homemade Plum Wine
Plum wine is earthy, rich, and smooth. It is delicious as an after-dinner wine or served chilled as an aperitif. It’s also a great base for mulled wine.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 3–4 bottles 1x
- Category: Alcohol
- Method: Fermentation
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 5 lbs of ripe plums (no moldy ones)
- 3 lbs of sugar
- 16 cups of filtered water (chlorine-free)
- 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice (not bottled)
- 1 packet champagne yeast (affiliate link)
- Throughout the wine-making process, it is important to sanitize EVERYTHING that comes into contact with the plums. (See the section above for more information).
- Wash the plums, remove the stems, and put them in a large pot. Then use a potato masher to roughly break the skins.
- Bring the water to a boil. Then pour the boiling water over the plums. You can do this in batches with an electric kettle. The boiling water is to help kill off any mold or bacteria that might be on the skin of the plums.
- Put a lid on the pot and stash it in a quiet corner of your house to cool.
- After 24 hours, add the lemon juice and sugar to the plums and give them a good stir. Follow the instructions on the yeast package (mine involves re-hydrating before use), then stir the yeast into the plums. Give everything another good stir after one hour to make sure it is well mixed. If you want to calculate the alcohol levels, remove some of the liquid at this point to measure the specific gravity (see section above for details).
- Cover the pot and leave it somewhere warm to ferment for 4-6 days. Give the mixture a good stir once or twice a day.
- After the initial ferment, filter out the solids and move the liquid to your carboys. It’s better to leave some of the liquid behind in the solids than to have solids in your carboys. I usually use a siphon to get out most of the liquid. Then I strain the rest through a mesh brewing bag and bottle it right away for a bit of plum cider. It carbonates very quickly, so stash it in the fridge right away and use a bottle that can handle the buildup of carbonation. It should be carbonated and ready to drink after 2-3 days in the fridge.
- Top the carboys with an airlock and leave them to ferment for 2 weeks.
- After 2 weeks, rack the wine into a clean jug for another round of fermentation. (This is to remove the spent yeast, which really doesn’t taste good. Skipping this step will result in a not-so-tasty wine.)
- After two months bottle the wine. The wine needs to age for at least 10 months to develop a nice mellow flavor. I’m often tempted to sample it early, but it’s always a disappointment.
- This plum wine recipe does not use sulfur dioxide to curb fermentation. So it is not a sweet wine and the alcohol levels range between 12-15% (depending on the sugar level of your plums). It tastes a bit more like brandy than wine though, unlike brandy, it is not distilled.
- If you are using really coarse or unrefined sugar, you may want to dissolve it in boiling water before adding it to the plums. Just reserve 5 cups of water from the initial batch to help dissolve the sugar. If you are using regular, refined sugar, it won’t have any problem dissolving.
Keywords: homemade, diy, summer, fall, fruit, no sulfites, affordable, wine,