Black Plum Wine *****

This wine was an attempt to copy a sweet plum dessert wine I had at a Chinese restaurant many years ago. It is both very high alcohol content and then overly sweetened to offset the alcohol. This wine turned out so unbelievably good that I don’t give it away. It makes the most amazing after dinner drink, it goes down warm and delicious.

  • 18-20 lbs of plums, frozen, then thawed before use.
  • 60 ml of sulfite solution
  • 2 T of Yeast Nutrient
  • 1 T of Acid Blend
  • 2 T of Pectic Enzyme
  • 1 tsp of Grape Tannins
  • 10 lbs of sugar
  • Yeast – Lalvin 71B-1122

The must had a specific gravity of about 1.110, then after it fermented for a while, I added another 3 cups of sugar dissolved in 3 cups of water.

After it finished fermenting, my vinometer measured the alcohol content at 17%. I let it clear for several months. At bottling time, I added Potassium Sorbate to inhibit further fermentation and then 9 lbs of sugar boiled in 9 cups of water.

I can’t wait for plums to be in season again, my supply is running low.

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17 Comments

  1. Chris Bailey said,

    Im going to give your recipe a shot here. I have a green gage plum tree in my back yard and just finished bottling my first two batches last year . . . really great stuff. If this works well with your recipe . . . I’ll send you a bottle! On another note, I just got back from a trip through France, Italy, and Spain. While in France I was in a small little town called Carcasonne (a must see for you someday!) and purchaced this wine there that was 18%. and what I gathered from this French Speaking merchant was that it was a grape wine that also had liquer in it as well??? Ever heard of that? Well I thought it was so damn good I brought back a few bottles and am now looking for some sort of recipe. Do you know anything about that?

    Cheers,

    -Bailey

  2. Scott said,

    Chris,
    I’d never heard of green gage plums. I looked them up, they sound like they would make an excellent wine. I’ve read about fortifying wine with brandy to preserve it. I’m curious if that is the origins of the wine you purchased or it was done for taste. I’ve never tasted it or seen it commercially, but I also haven’t looked.

    I’d like to see the recipe you used for your recent batch of plum wine. I’ll include it on my blog if you like.

    Scott

  3. Chris Bailey said,

    Hey Scott!

    Thanks for replying so quickly . . “Fortifying wine,” sounds extremely interesting, I wish I knew French I might have been able to understand what the lady was telling me when I purchased it. I’ll do some research on it and see what I can find. As for the GreenGage resipe, I’ll get that for you with in a couple of days – I’m on business in Seattle right now.

    Read your Lodopher bit, I might try that as well . . . good tips on here!

    -Cheers,

    Bailey

  4. Chris said,

    [Note: This recipe is also available on Wine Recipe page – Scott]

    GreenGage Plum Wine

    20lbs plums
    12lbs sugar
    Water to total volume of 12 gallons
    7 tsp acid blend

    3tsp peptic enzyme
    6 tsp yeast nutrient
    6 Campden tablets
    2 Pkg Premier Cuvee Yeast

    Couple tips:

    This wine can have several different flavors depending on the harvest . . . I make an effort to make several batches to truly indulge on this beautiful fruit and its various flavors. Early in the season when the plums are still hard has been the most successful wine for me. However, it is much easier and faster to make this wine while the fruit is ripe. Also, add all ingredients to hot water 41 – C this makes it much easier to blend, and wait 12 hours before adding yeast so the Campden tablets can do their job first. I usually allow the must to ferment for about 9 days before racking. Be sure to check acidity and use your trusty hydrometer of coarse. Rack as usual . . . Plum wine is best consumed with in six months after bottling . . . this allows the taster to experience the fresh fruit flavor. Also this wine is absolutely beautiful in color and I highly recommend using clear wine bottles when bottling. Enjoy!

    – Cheers

  5. Scott said,

    Chris –
    I gave your recipe its own page so others can find it easier. You might consider freezing the fruit rather than using it fresh. You shouldn’t lose any flavor and it breaks the cell walls down allowing more juice to come out of the fruit. Just about every fruit wine recipe I’ve found recommends freezing for fruit other than grapes. I assume you pit the plums first. If so, I want to add that to the recipe.

    Have you experimented with adding Potassium Metabisulfite (campden) to the finished wine? I would think the wine would last quite a bit longer than 6 months. In fact, the flavor might mature and become even more enjoyable if you do.

    As I mentioned before, I’m unfamiliar with these plums, but 1.5 lbs per gallon makes a very light wine. I usually use 3 lbs per gallon and lean towards more fruit whenever possible. I’m curious how it would come out if you used 20 lbs for a single 6 gallon batch of wine.

  6. chris said,

    Hi Scott,

    Ooops, I completeyly messed up, and thanks to you I went back and read what I wrote and sure enough, I’ve only made this with “water to a total of 6 gallons,” not 12 like I accidentally typed. Indeed I agree, 1.5 per gallon would make a very week wine! Its also very ironic that you mentioned the frozen fruit comment because I just pulled 20lbs of GreenGage plums from my frrezer and started a batch in fact 4 days ago . . . and it is truly fermenting the very best I’ve seen so far!! Smells wonderful too. I’m also trying something different with this particular batch and that is, adding oak chips to my first racking. Do you have any suggestions or comments about that?

    Lastly, Ive heard of adding Campden to the finished wine but havn’t tried it yet. This wine I’m making now is going to be used for my cousins wedding in September 2009, do you think adding the Campden would be desireable even though it will be consumed so early?

    -Cheers,

    Bailey

  7. Brian said,

    We have an unbelievable amount of plums on our tree this year. I’d like to make wine from them. Our local u-brew wine shop said that I should freeze the plums for 2 or 3 months before juice them. Any advice?

    • Scott said,

      I don’t see how 2 or 3 months matters, but yes, you should freeze them first. Freezing the fruit causes the cells of the plant to rupture or get broken by the ice crystals. Then when you go to make wine, it will be easier to extract the juice from the fruit. I’ve found you get the same results from only freezing the fruit solid for a day or two, but I always freeze the first.

  8. hellomazahouse@msn.com said,

    Hi, I started this recipe tonight. I have a batch of your blueberry wine in its seconds month of fermenting in a glass carboy. I started the plum wine using the must start up instructions from the blueberry recipe cause this recipe is not as detailed. Did I do it the right way? I did add more sulfate solution and pectic enzyme that this recipe called for. Hope I didnt screw up 21 pounds of plums 🙂 Also, about my blueberry, did you rack yours again before bottling? and its still bubbling away, seems like a long time? And you didnt say how much sorbate solution to add with the 4 final cups of sugar. Is there a ratio you use? Lots of question 🙂 thanks you

  9. Scott said,

    Starting a fruit wine is pretty basic; frozen fruit in a bag, yeast nutrients, sugar, yeast, sulfites, an enzyme to help break it down. Adding too much sulfites will inhibit the yeast, so be careful there. More enzyme shouldn’t hurt, its only purpose is too help break down the fruit. You can’t have too much fruit, only too much sulfites.

    I rack the wine a second time if it needs it. The plus is you get clearer wine with less sediment, the minus is you lose some from each racking. Patience and three rackings makes crystal clear wine, but less of it, so it’s your call.

    If it’s still bubbling, just be patient. As long as your equipment is clean and you didn’t introduce some other bacteria, it’s just taking it’s time. If in doubt, taste it. Your wine is drinkable from day one, it is just juice. Good juice makes good wine.

    The amount of sorbate you use is on the bottle and doesn’t change. You use a half-teaspoon per gallon, so a six gallon batch uses a tablespoon.

    Good luck and report back please.

    • Nicole said,

      Both the wines are still trucking away. The colors are gorgeous, let’s just hope they taste as good as they look! My Blueberry wine is still bubbling a little, seems to be sooooo slow. It’s going on five months in the secondary. I racked it once a couple months ago and that seemed to slow doen the bubbling a bit, i am thinking of racking it again. I am planning on racking the plum this week and take a reading but it is still bubbling slowly as well. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks 🙂

      • Scott said,

        It’s too late now, but you shouldn’t rack a wine that is still fermenting. Wait until it is done, then let it settle for a while before racking.

        The purpose of racking is to remove the wine from the sediment. Then if you let it settle again for several months and rack it again, the wine is even more clear. I try to minimize the rackings because you lose wine each time you rack.

  10. carlos said,

    my very first time of even giving this wine thing a shot! but after reading this sight i all ready feel great about it.wish me luck and thank yall for posting!

    • Scott said,

      Carlos, I wish you luck, but I also wish you patience. Email me with questions, I’m happy to help.

      Scott

  11. Donna Friel McBride said,

    I just froze 10lbs. of italian plums (prunes actually) and am excited to give wine making a try for the very first time, and I want to do it as organic as possible, especially without sulfites (migraines). I’m wondering if the wine could be made without all the other ingredients except sugar and possibly the yeast, which I’m guessing helps the fermentation process a lot. Anyone ever tried it this way?

    • Scott said,

      There isn’t a lot of extra stuff in these recipes. I understand your concern with sulfites. You can minimize the use of the stuff, but you run a much higher risk of the fermentation going wild and turning out poorly. If your concern is sulfites, I would use some in the early stage so that other microbes can’t hijack your juice. After that, most of it will be gone due to oxidation. Just clean everything well and don’t expect the wine to have an extended shelf life.

      The other stuff: yeast nutrient, tannins, whatever else is in there – generally it is needed to have a successful fermentation and end up with something enjoyable.

      Are there specific concerns other than the sulfites?

  12. TheWineBrewer said,

    ​I have a great video on how i made Plum wine here:

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