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Old 04-21-2012, 03:49 AM   #1
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Default Best plums to grow for wine?

Been brewing beer and cider for a bit now, and I'm moving to a new house. I want to plant some fruit trees and I love plum wine. What are some good plum varieties for wine that will grow in ... I guess you'd call it high desert? Southeast Idaho. Sage brush, lava rock, poor soil, very cold winters, not much water.

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Old 04-22-2012, 05:16 PM   #2
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You poor thing! I spent a winter in IF.

Few wine plums are cold hardy. Plums in general can't take much freezing, except for American native plums. They tend to be small, hard and tart. If you were in the Banana Belt, you'd have a chance.

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Old 04-23-2012, 07:39 PM   #3
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Hmm. Well, thanks for crushing my dreams, David. Just kidding! One of the city parks here has a row of plums that gets fruit every year, my wife "borrowed" some last year and they were quite good. Naturally I have no idea the variety. I'm sure some types are better for wine, but will any old plum work? Any types you would avoid?

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Old 05-19-2013, 01:09 AM   #4
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K, I'm gonna necro this this thread, hopefully get a few more responses. I've been brewing for more than a year now, I've learned a lot and read some good books. I just read one book specifically on plants and booze (The Drunken Botanist by Stewart, great read) that suggested Big Mackey and Jam Session. I'm having trouble finding those varieties online. Does anyone have experience growing those varieties, or any other varieties that made great, japanese style plum wine? For reference, I'm in a zone 4 area.

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Old 05-19-2013, 03:20 AM   #5
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Some sites list plums as zone 5, some zone 4, maybe if you had a protected site to give them a little break from the winds? We planted Methley last year for their red flesh and great taste, havent gotten any from our trees yet but the plum wine we made from Methleys we got at an orchard was very good. WVMJ

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Old 11-29-2013, 02:32 PM   #6
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If you haven't gotten your trees in the ground yet, there's one more consideration - polinization. I didn't see anything mentioned, so perhaps you've got this covered, but most stone fruit trees (like plum) need polinization from another variety or another tree. All by their lonesome they will produce beautiful flowers and no fruit. There are lots of multi-variety trees in which they are all grafted on the same tree and they cross polinate for us city lot types. That also gives you a variety of fruit to play with. I have a great Japanese multi-variety that produces like crazy every other year. That's another hurdle to leap once you get going - if the tree fruits like crazy one year it exhausts itself and naps through the next year. Just making the flowers will do this, so you have to thin the buds as soon as you see them. I've never caught my trees in time.

Good luck. Fruit trees are fun.

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Old 12-04-2013, 02:49 AM   #7
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I have made a few plum wines now so I feel I can weigh in on this one. My best plum wine to date has been a 'Mariposa' plum wine, my friends practically begged me for more of it and now I have hidden the last 3 bottles because I want to taste it when its gotten some good years behind it, say 5+. It was a smash hit when it was 6 months old!

This variety of plum is a 'blood' plum its quite big in size and deep red, and extremely juicy, you bite it and your shirt gets wet. Also it needs another plum variety 'Satsuma' to pollinate with, which is also a very similar kind of plum.

The end result is a pink coloured wine with a remarkable plum flavour exactly like the fruit. If you get the chance give it a try!

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Old 12-04-2013, 07:57 PM   #8
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Fizzycist, did you ever find out what plum grows in that park near you and is it a large or small tree? I think you need to be careful what rootstock you use for plums in zone 4. I live in zone 5 and the Penn State extension service says:

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Currently, no suitable dwarfing rootstocks exist for peaches, nectarines, plums, or apricot that will survive under Pennsylvania conditions.
I've been putting in an orchard the past two years. I might see some fruit next year, but I'm years away from wine making quantities. For plums, I have one each of Damson, Stanley, Methley, Shiro.

I also harvested ~50 wild american plum seeds from a local orchard and stratified them in the fridge over winter. I ended up with the picture below. Not sure where I'll plant them if they all make it through the winter in my barn. They also like to sucker and have thorns, but I don't think that will be a major issue with pruning. From what I've read, they are good for jams/wines. The tart skin makes them hard to eat fresh.
amplums.jpg  
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Old 12-05-2013, 04:18 AM   #9
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Lol, thanks for the advice ratters, but I doubt that a plum that thrives in Tasmania will do well in Idaho, USA. For perspective, my altitude is 4,705 ft (1,434 m) and the current temperature is -2 F (-19 C). We regularly get wind in excess of 25 mph (40 kph) Today I think we reached about 15 F (-10 C) during the warmest part of the day, and that will be quite normal till March or so. On monday we had winds at 55 mph (89 kph), so I'd need something sturdy. I'm jealous of your plums; the wine sounds amazing.

Atvar, I don't know what the plums from the park were, maybe I can call city services and ask them. Some sort of plum apparently does grow here, I just have no idea if they are good for wine. Does the variety affect the quality of the wine strongly, or will any good eating/jam plum make a good wine?

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Old 12-06-2013, 01:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Does the variety affect the quality of the wine strongly, or will any good eating/jam plum make a good wine?
From my experience it does make a difference. One wine in particular I made turned out fine generally speaking, but with no plum or distinctive flavour at all. Just a sort of bland sweet flavour, it was well balanced, good mouth feel and colour, but no aroma and nothing like true a plum wine. But that was a random old plum tree of unknown variety which was a prolific fruiter so I gave it a shot to see what happened. I guess thats what you have to do sometimes!
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