Plum Wines, Sherries, and/or Meads

Plum Wine (2)

April 5, 2001
  • 6 lbs plums
  • 3-1/2 lbs fine granulated sugar
  • Water to one gallon
  • 1-1/2 tsp acid blend
  • 1 tsp pectic enzyme
  • 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient
  • 1/2 tsp yeast energizer
  • 1/4 tsp grape tannin
  • wine yeast

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 ]

Texas Wild Plum Wine

April 5, 2001
  • 5-6 lbs wild Texas Plums
  • 2/3 lb chopped or minced golden raisins
  • 2 lbs over-ripe bananas
  • 1-1/2 lbs finely granulated sugar
  • 7-1/2 pints water
  • 1 crushed Campden tablet
  • 1 tsp pectic enzyme
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • wine yeast

Wash the plums and remove any that show signs of insect infestation. Place them on paper towels to dry and leave them at least two hours. Put the plums in a bowl and place in refrigerator. In 1-2 weeks they will turn dark. Meanwhile, buy 2 lbs bananas and let them get ripe. If they turn slightly mushy, so much the better. The only parts to discard are sections of flesh that actually turn brown. When plums are ready, put water on to boil and chop or mince the raisins. Put the plums in a sterilized plastic pail and mash them with the end of a sterilized piece of hardwood (the thick end of a baseball bat works great), but do not crack the seeds. Just mash the plums up as best you can. Now peel the bananas and slice them thinly (1/2 inch maximum), adding them to the plums. Add the chopped or minced raisins and the sugar. Pour the boiling water over this, stir well with a wooden paddle to dissolve sugar, and cover with a clean dish towel. When cooled to 70-75 degrees F., stir in the crushed Campden tablet. Recover the pail and let sit 12 hours. Stir in the pectic enzyme and yeast nutrient. Recover and set aside another 12 hours. Add the yeast (if dry, sprinkle over the top and DO NOT STIR for 24 hours) and recover. When fermentation is strong (for dry yeast, about three days; for an already started yeast, the next day), begin punching down the cap of pulp twice daily. After 7 days of strong fermentation, drain off some liquid and measure specific gravity. When S.G. is 1.020 (may take up to 10 days), strain pulp through a nylon straining bag and squeeze to extract as much juice as possible. Discard pulp and return all juice to pail and ferment another two days. Siphon off stones and sediments into secondary and fit airlock. When ferment dies down to a steady bubbling, top up to within one inch of airlock. Rack into clean secondary after 60 days, top up and refit airlock. Repeat 60 days later. In another 60 days the wine should be clear, but if it isn’t, rack again and allow another 60 days. If clear and all fermentation has stopped, rack into bottles. [Author’s own recipe]

Blackberry-Black Plum Wine

April 5, 2001
  • 4 lbs blackberries
  • 2 lbs black plums
  • 2-1/4 lbs granulated sugar
  • 7 pts water
  • 1 tsp pectic enzyme
  • 1 crushed Campden tablet
  • wine yeast and nutrient

Put water on to boil. Meanwhile, wash and sort the blackberries and plums. De-stone the plums and chop. In bowl, mash the plums and put in nylon straining bag. Add blackberries to bag, tie the end closed, and set in bottom of primary. Mash the blackberries in bag with potato masher or piece of hardwood. Add sugar to primary and pour boiling water over fruit pulp and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Allow to cool to lukewarm, then add pectic enzyme, cover, and set aside two days. Add yeast and nutrient. Ferment 7 days, submerging and gently squeezing bag daily. Drip drain, transfer liquor to dark secondary and fit airlock. Set aside for 2 months. Rack and set aside another 2 months, then rack again. Allow to clear, then rack, refit airlock and bulk age another 4 months. Rack into bottles. Allow to age one year. [Jack Keller’s recipe]

Japanese Plum Wine

April 5, 2001
  • 6 lbs ripe, flavorful Japanese plums
  • 1 lb 10 oz finely granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 cup 100% white grape concentrate
  • 1-1/2 oz sliced, toasted almonds
  • 1 tsp acid blend
  • 1 tsp pectic enzyme
  • 1/4 tsp tannin
  • 1 crushed Campden tablet
  • water to one gallon
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • 1 packet Red Star Côte des Blancs or Lalvin K1V-1116 (Montpellier) wine yeast

Put 1/2 gallon water on to boil. Meanwhile, wash, sort, destem, and destone the fruit. Chop and save all juice. Transfer fruit and any juice to nylon straining bag in primary graduated (marked) by pints to one gallon, add grape concentrate, boiling water, and ˝ the sugar. Stir well to dissolve the sugar, cover and allow to cool to lukewarm. Add crushed Campden, recover and wait 12 hours. Crush fruit by hand by squeezing bag. Lift the bag of fruit and allow to drain about two minutes, then add water to bring liquid up to 7 pints. Return bag to liquid and lift again, once more allowing it to drain about two minutes. Repeat this dunking and draining several (4-6) times, then submerge bag, measure and note S.G. Add acid blend, tannin, pectic enzyme, and yeast nutrient. Stir well, recover primary, wait 12 hours, and then add activated yeast. Squeeze bag of pulp twicw daily for 7 days. Drip drain bag of pulp 2-3 hours, squeezing gently at end to coax additional juice from bag. Add drained juice to primary and use hydrometer chart to determine how much additional sugar to add to achieve combined S.G. of 1.095 (find previously measured S.G. on hydrometer chart and determine how much sugar to add to that to achieve target S.G. of 1.095). Add sugar and stir well to dissolve. Allow to settle overnight, rack into secondary and fit airlock without topping up. After 7 days top up and refit airlock. Rack after one month, top up and refit airlock. Wait two months and put toasted almonds in jelly bag with 4 sterilized marbles (for weight). Tie bag and work into clean secondary, then rack wine into that secondary. Save any wine that will not fit in secondary, storing in refrigerator in sealed jar until needed later for topping up. Refit airlock and set aside additional two months. Rack (leaving toasted almonds behind), top up, refit airlock, and set aside for bulk aging. Check water level in airlock monthly. After 6 months, if no sediments at bottom of secondary, stabilize, sweeten to taste, wait 10 days, and rack into bottles. If sediment, rack, sweeten to taste, wait 10 days, and bottle. This wine still needs additional 12 months of aging. Serve chilled. [Author’s own recipe]

Plum Wine (1)

April 5, 2001
  • 6 lbs plums
  • 1-1/2 lbs fine granulated sugar
  • Water to one gallon
  • 1-1/2 tsp acid blend
  • 1 tsp pectic enzyme
  • 3/4 tsp yeast nutrient
  • 1/4 tsp yeast energizer
  • 1/8 tsp grape tannin
  • wine yeast

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 ]