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Plum wine recipes

Posted by Colin Lundy 
Plum wine recipes
August 26, 2015 10:26PM
Hi Folks, I have an unusually large plum crop this year and was thinking I would take a stab at using some to make plum wine. I have been making pretty good cider the past few years relying on the apples alone - no added yeasts, sugar, enzyme, acid, etc. However, I don't know what the fermenting qualities of plums are like. I would appreciate some direction on the process. How best to process the plums for fermenting ? Can I mill and press them as I do the apples or do I put a mash in a primary fermenter? Do I need to sterilize it and add yeast or can I rely on wild yeast? Do I need to add sugar? Are there other fermenting aids required? The plums are picked and ripening fast so I would appreciate quick responses from anyone who has tried this out.

The plums themselves are an unknown variety; I would not say wild, but more like a wild plum than most other common varieties. They are early, small, oval, with yellow flesh that is very juicy and soft. The skins are thick, yellow ripening to a light, bright purple. The flesh is sweet but also distinctly acidic compared to most common plums. The skins definitely have a sourness and bitterness around them. The original trees are ancient and we now have young trees that have come up as suckers where we stratically did not mow. In other words, these are not grafted trees. We basically have a 100' hedge of plums that are suckers coming from the original 4 trees.

I wish I could post a photo of them but don't know how!

Thanks,

Colin Lundy
Colonial Inn Orchard
North Gower, Ontario
Zone 5a (Canada)
Zone 3b (USDA)
Re: Plum wine recipes
September 07, 2015 08:53AM
Hello Colin,
Great to find you in this network.
I have asked a couple wild wine making friends about plums, as we also have wild plums in abundance.
One person said the wine from the plums (and these are the red wild plums with distinctly bitter skins, and juicy sweet flesh) was very bitter after one year, yet much better the next year.
It was similar to the woman who made a mead from them. It seems the bitterness mellows after two years.
Cutting the plums in half, taking out the seed, then scooping out the sweet flesh and composting the skins is a tedious option, yet likely to produce sweeter results.
In the past, I have cut the plums in half, taken out the seeds, pushed the halves forward from the skin side to expose the flesh more (sorta inside out) and dried the half plums. They keep well and the skin seems to mellow and be enjoyable to pack as a trail food.
Please let us know what you decide to do.
Happy harvesting,
Robbie

Morninglory Farm
Zone 3b* in Ontario
Re: Plum wine recipes
September 08, 2015 09:12PM
Hi Robbie,
Thanks for the response. Yep, that's the plums I am talking about - though I find the skin more sour than bitter so I am hoping that will reflect better on the final taste.

What I am really trying to figure out though are things like whether it is necessary to add yeast or whether I can use wild yeasts that are on the skins as is done with apple cider? Is yeast nutrient required? Pectin enzyme? etc. The recipes I have found list these things, but I was wondering if it is actually necessary or if I could take a more "cider" approach and just use the plums?

Colin Lundy
Colonial Inn Orchard
North Gower, Ontario
Zone 5a (Canada)
Zone 3b (USDA)
Re: Plum wine recipes
September 09, 2015 09:03PM
Hello Colin,
I'm sure there's enough yeast and sugar in and on each plum to ferment it. The challenge is to get the juices moving and be able to strain them off once the ferment is done. Into a crock and mashed is likely best.
The added sugar, yeast and water of wine making might make the extraction of fermented juice easier.....
yet consider it all a challenge to your creativity. And please do keep me posted.
Robbie

Morninglory Farm
Zone 3b* in Ontario
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