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Old 06-28-2009, 09:52 PM   #1
justbrewit
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Default cherry plum wine

ok so at my house, theres a cherry plum tree and those babies are soft and ripe. i want to make a 2l bottle of wine from these to get my feet wet making wines. i have made a mead before with apples so i know a bit about wine making, i just don't know about making wine from raw fruit only.

here's what i'm thinking, i harvest the plums, wash them really well, then vaccuum seal them and freeze them to burst the cells in the fruit, then heat them up to 160 and press the juice out of them and then take out the pits and ferment whats left in the pot, questions are, should i take the skins out? should i leave some in? do i need to cook just a little bit hotter to rid myself of the wild yeast?

if all of this sounds like its not right, please feel free to set me straight. i might be able to make this batch a bit bigger depending on how much fruit i get off the tree.

what i'm shotting for is a sweet plum wine, i know these cherry plums are a bit tart so thats why i'm trying to go sweet. i don't really like dry wines, most of the wines i drink are moscato, port, eis wine and chaucers traditional mead

thanks guys and gals

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Old 06-28-2009, 10:18 PM   #2
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Freezing is a great idea- it really works to burst the cell walls.

Don't heat it up, though! Buy some campden tablets. What I do is get the fruit out of the freezer, and put it in a big mesh winemaking bag (sanitized, of course). Throw it into the primary bucket, and add the rest of the ingredients for the must. Dissolve one campden tablet per gallon in a little water (microwave works great!) and pour that into the must. Stir well, and cover with a towel. If using pectic enzyme (and you should), add it 12 hours later. Twelve hours after that, add your yeast and you're all set.

I don't know what cherry plums are! But for a typical recipe for fruit wine, do something like this:

3 lbs fruit
1 tsp pectic enzyme
2 lbs sugar (or to get the OG to 1.085-1.100)
7 pts water
1 tsp acid blend
1 crushed Campden tablet
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 pkg wine yeast

Use only fresh unblemished fruit. Wash and destem and freeze. Combine water and sugar and put on to boil to dissolve sugar. Put the fruit in nylon straining bag, tie closed and crush in the primary. Pour hot sugar-water over berries to set the color and extract the flavorful juice. Add acid blend and yeast nutrient. Allow to cool to room temperature and stir in dissolved and crushed Campden tablet. Cover primary. After 12 hours, add pectic enzyme and recover. After additional 12 hours, add wine yeast, recover and stir daily for 3-5 days. Remove nylon bag and allow to drip drain (do not squeeze) about an hour. Return drippings to primary and continue fermentation until specific gravity falls below 1.015, stirring daily. Rack to secondary, top up with water and fit airlock. Use dark secondary or wrap to block light and preserve color. Ferment additional 2 months, then rack into clean secondary. Refit airlock and rack again after additional 2 months. Rack every 60 days as long as lees continue to fall, even if just a light dusting. When finished, you may stabilize if you wish to sweeten. Sweeten to taste and refit airlock. After 10-14 days, bottle in dark glass or store in dark place. Drink after one year.

Now, if your fruit has pits, be careful not to crush the pits when you smash up the fruit. If it's large fruit, you can remove the pits, but it seems like I always have little fruits (like chokecherries, or crabapples) with little pits so I'm just careful not to crush the pits. You throw away the pits and skins when you remove the pulpy fruit mess from the must, and any that have "escaped" can be loose in there because you'll rack off of anything in the bottom.

If you tell me what cherry plums are, I can give you better advice! Also, check out this site: winemaking: requested recipes (Maraschino-Chocolate Sweet Mead) He has tons of helpful information on wine yeast strains, recipes, techniques, clarifiing, aging, bottling, etc.

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Old 06-28-2009, 10:33 PM   #3
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Cell walls are typically only needed for small fruit like blueberries or cherries, not really needed for fruit that you are going to cut up but it will help in the fact that it will get mushier. Get yourself some pectic enzyme to help break up the fruit and rid the wine of any pectin haze. I agree with the sulfites to kill off any wild yeast.

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Old 06-28-2009, 10:46 PM   #4
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I would disagree that you need to heat the juice, people have been making wine from fruit for a long time without needing to sanitize it.
I am thinking of doing a very similar thing re pressing plums and fermenting the juice. As I see it there are 2 options, following Yoopers recipe which is the traditional and proven way, or doing what you suggest which is just pressing and fermenting the juice, the way they do with grapes. If you are going to just use juice you need to test the juice for OG and also preferably pH, if the OG is too low or the pH too high you would need to follow Yooper's recipe.

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Old 06-29-2009, 02:10 AM   #5
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I was thinking of heating it to concentrate the juice and bring up my OG without using sugar. I don't really want to back sweeten it if I can avoid it. As for the acid blend, I have seen it used in meads and I make it without. What is the purpose of the acid blend?

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Old 06-29-2009, 02:53 AM   #6
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The lower the pH, the safer a wine is for storage. Its not absolutely necessary but a wise precaution when trying a new recipe.

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Old 06-29-2009, 02:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justbrewit View Post
I was thinking of heating it to concentrate the juice and bring up my OG without using sugar. I don't really want to back sweeten it if I can avoid it. As for the acid blend, I have seen it used in meads and I make it without. What is the purpose of the acid blend?
The acid blend is a blend of tartaric, citric, and citric acid. It helps to give some bite, flavor, and acidity to fruit wines.

If you're using just plums, depending on the SG of the juice, you may have to use many, many pounds of plums to get enough sugar to make wine without adding any sugar. The only fruit I know of that has enough natural sugar to make wine is wine grapes. Good lulck, and let us know how it turns out!
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Old 06-29-2009, 08:01 AM   #8
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as i'm thinking more and more about this wine(haven't been able to think any thing else. so i picked the fruit, put it in vaccuum bags, put it in the freezer for about 2 hours until they were pretty firm. i then popped the little plums and made a nice mush lol

heres what i'm thinking about doing, it might not be tried and true method but i'm gonna give it a shot anyway. i got to thinking that maybe i'll add some honey to this wine. i guess make a melomal.

for a 3 gallon batch heres what i'm thinking;

10lbs of cherry plums hand pressed
5 lb can of wild honey
yeast food


i'll go tomorrow or when ever the LHBS is open and get some 14% alcohol tolerant wine yeast. i'll drain the juice mix in the bag through a strainer, put in the honey, bring to about 160 degrees. place the strainer over my fermenter, with the pits removed and pour my mead/wine mixture over it, sorta sparge the skins with the hot mixture.

once its all transfered into the fermenter, dump the skins in with the rest and ferment on fruit for 3-4 weeks, then transfer to the secondary for another 1-2 months. after that keg or bottle for another 1-3 months and try a sample. i'm hoping this will stay sweet.

when i did my cyzer i used 15 lbs of honey, fermented with water and yeast food for a week(about 7 gallons) and then got 10 lbs of apples, cored, peeled, put in water that was 160 degrees, pureed and put in the mead for 3 weeks.

this is what i'm basing this on is my first mead attempt and turned out amazing

does this idea seem like it will work? i know alot of this isn't the usual way to make wine but hey it worked for my mead right??

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Old 06-29-2009, 11:57 AM   #9
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Default do not squeeze???

I just have a question about the fruit wine recipe. This recipe and many others tell you that when you remove the bag of fruit "Do not squeeze". I was wondering why they tell you this. There is certainly a tendency to want to get all the juice you can out of that bag and not waste it!
Hope this is not OFF TOPIC.
Thanks,

Gus

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Old 06-29-2009, 01:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guscampag View Post
I just have a question about the fruit wine recipe. This recipe and many others tell you that when you remove the bag of fruit "Do not squeeze". I was wondering why they tell you this. There is certainly a tendency to want to get all the juice you can out of that bag and not waste it!
Hope this is not OFF TOPIC.
Thanks,

Gus
You don't want to extract more pectin. That's the same reason we don't boil the fruit- you don't want to create a permanent pectin haze.

I never fermented on fruit (even grapes) for more than 5-7 days, so I can't help much with fermenting on them for weeks. I would think the fruit would rot, but if the apples worked then the plums might.
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