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 a relatively easy recipe. It ferments well and always ends up tasting delicious. However, if this is your first time making wine, then I recommend reading some of my general posts on winemaking before you start.
- Read How To Make Cider and Wine for detailed information on the required equipment, sterilization, useful additives and all the steps in this recipe.
- Here’s a post on How to Use a Hydrometer, in case you want 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
- 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
- 1 packet champagne yeast (affiliate link)
- Throughout the wine making process it is important to sterilize EVERYTHING that comes into contact with the plums. (See notes for more information.)
- Wash the plums, remove the stems and put them in a large pot. Then use a potato masher to roughly break open the skins.
- Bring all 16 cups of 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.
- 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 it 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.
- Cover the pot and leave 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.
- 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.
- After two months the wine is ready for bottling. The wine needs to age for at least 10 months to develop a nice mellow flavour. I’m often tempted to sample it early, but it’s always a disappointment.
- This plum wine recipe does not use sulphur dioxide to curb the fermentation. So it is not a sweet wine and the alcohol levels range between 15-20% (depending on the sugar level of your plums). It tastes a bit more like brandy than wine though, unlike brandy, it is not distilled.
- 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. So KEEP EVERYTHING CLEAN and it won’t be a problem.
- I use green gage plums, which grow wild in the parks around my house. They are so juicy that they don’t last longer than a day or two after ripening. Perfect for wine!
- Thank you to And Here We Are for the initial inspiration for this recipe.
Keywords: homemade, diy, summer, fall, fruit, no sulfites, affordable, wine,