Most of a plum tree died for this wine.
It’ll be okay though, it’s just that my brother in Tacoma had a plum in his backyard that was taking it over and was coincidentally covered in fruit. Easy fix: cut off the branches with fruit and let his sister get in there like a locust and shark a couple buckets of gorgeously ripe Italian prunes.* (I’m every species. It’s all in me.)
So, 17 lbs of plums with their pits gouged out and crushed in an authoritative fist later, I’ve got a wine that’s coming along nicely. Have a 5-gallon-bucket recipe:
- 17 pounds plums
- 4 gallons water
- 8 pounds sugar
- 2 tsp acid blend
- 5 Campden tablets, crushed
- 2 tbs yeast nutrient
- 1 packet of wine yeast
Wash and oppress your plums; just dig a thumb in there and gouge the pit out, then crush the sad fleshy remains in your fist before dropping it into the fermenter. You can use a mesh bag for your plums, I did not. Add all the other dry ingredients EXCEPT THE YEAST and pour boiling water over the mix. Stir to dissolve everything and pop the fermenter lid on. Wait 24 hours. Now that the Campden tablets have made your plum sludge all hygenic and such, prep and add the yeast. Pop the lid back on, stir daily, and enjoy the big heaps of bright pink fizz for a few days.
After a week or when you start to get a good thick layer of yeast corpses and other sediment at the bottom of the fermenter, siphon the wine out into a secondary fermenter and let it finish up its business for another two or three weeks. Now your wine’s done! It’ll be cloudy. Left to age for a good long time it may clear up, but don’t wait on that. Cloudy is fine. (Let me tell you my thoughts on cloudy homemade wine.)
You can sweeten the wine before bottling by adding 1/2 teaspoon potassium sorbate (wine stabilizer), 1 Campden tablet, and a quarter-pound to a half-pound of sugar–all of these measurements are per gallon. Maybe you want half a batch of dryer table wine and half a batch of sweet dessert wine. Rock out.
Here’s a few shots of mine as it works it way through that process. It’s stopped fizzing hysterically, which is a shame because I liked to put my ear next to the fermenter and listen to it go. Like the ocean in a seashell, but the ocean is not made of delicious brew. I’ll probably plop it into a carboy later today and drag it over to the Ape Cave to finish fermenting.
Tasting notes so far: it’s been getting rapidly drier over the last few days and still has a nice plum-skin flavor. I’ll probably sweeten a couple of bottles and leave the rest as-is.
* The Italian Prune Plum is both a prune AND a plum, even while it’s fresh. This amuses me more than it should. Apparently they’re so named because they’re the perfect plum to dry for prunes: small, sweet, and free-stoned (i.e. the pit falls right out. It does.)