An Update on Plum Wine

November 29, 2013 at 6:10 pm (Winemaking Log) ()

I had a couple half-empty bottles of my Black Plum wine sitting on the server in my dining room.  I had opened them years ago as an experiment and decided the experiment was over a few months ago.  They still smelled good so I poured myself a drink.  As I had hoped, they were still as good as the day I opened them.  I alcohol content is so high (~17%) that it doesn’t spoil.  A regular bottle of wine wouldn’t have made it a week.

During the summer, I happened upon the right time of year for black plums and I purchased 20 lbs of them at a cost of  $0.88 per pound.  I washed them, split them, removed the pits, and stored them in the freezer until my wife decided she needed that space for something Thanksgiving related.  That takes me up to today, when I moved the thawed fruit into the fermenter.  It’s been 10 years since I made the last batch of Black Plum wine, time to restock.  I have a single 10 year-old pack of the high-alcohol tolerant yeast, I’m about to float it and hope the beasties are hungry.

I decided today was the day to clean up this blog; I got rid of the science fiction links and finally posted the limoncello recipe.  I haven’t been posting much new material here, but I get a regular stream of questions that I promptly answer.  Some of the comments and conversations have been going on for years.  If you have questions, ask away.  In the mean time, make a batch of Limoncello, that is the party favorite now for the last several years.


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Island Mist Kiwi Pear Sauvignon Blanc

April 7, 2008 at 7:48 pm (Kit Wine, Winemaking, Winemaking Log) (, , , )

I didn’t do a blow by blow on this wine. I made it for my friend’s wife, and it’s just another kit. Tonight I bottled the wine and there was half a bottle left over. Good wine never goes to waste, and I was quick to taste the leftovers.

Wow was it sweet, very sweet, too sweet for my likes, but what great flavors.

I also had a new experience with this kit.  Just before adding the “F” pack, you are instructed to remove two cups of wine and put it aside to top up later.  I did as instructed, added the “F” pack syrup and ran out of space.  I had to remove at least one more cup of wine.  The “F” pack is obviously full of more than two cups of flavoring.  The result was a bottle in the fridge with around two cups of unsweetened Sauvignon Blanc.

Fast forward ahead to the leftovers from bottling.  As I mentioned, I tasted it and it was way too sweet, so I poured it into the unsweetened bottle from the fridge.  The resulting half sweetened wine was still sweet, but much more to my liking and it only lasted through the next night.

I would consider making a double batch of this and half sweetening, or making just pouring in half the “F” pack.  I’m curious if anyone else has tried this wine.

By the way, my friend’s wife and father absolutely love the fully sweetened wine.  I think they’ve gone through a couple of bottles and it’s only been a week.

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Piesporter Kit Log

January 14, 2008 at 10:29 pm (Kit Wine, Winemaking, Winemaking Log) (, , , , )

1/6/08 – Today I racked the blueberry wine, so I cleaned the fermenter and immediately started the Piesporter kit. The kit has about 7 liters of juice concentrate. It also has a big bag of elderflowers. This is the first time I’ve made this kit.

1/14/08 – Tonight I siphoned the wine into a 6-gallon carboy. The specific gravity was 1.010 as recommended by the instructions. It now has to sit for at least 10 days before moving on the next step.

1/27/08 – It’s sort of 10 days. Today I added the Potassium Sorbate and Potassium Metabisulfite, the F-Pack, and the Isinglass and stirred and stirred. It seems weird to mix up wine that has already cleared, but that’s the way they do it and Winexpert has made a lot more wine than me. I know from experience (and I’ll do a separate entry) if you don’t wait long enough or stir it up enough, you will get bubbles in your wine. I had bubbles in my very first batch. It says I can bottle in 14 days, but I’m in no rush. As long as there is an airlock on top with liquid in it, the wine can sit for a very long time. I’ll probably bottle in three weeks, just to give it a little extra time to clear.

2/17/08 – I bottled the Piesporter this morning. In the past, I have often gone from the carboy directly to the bottle. Today I used a bottling bucket because I wanted to add additional Potassium Metabisulfite to the wine. The directions suggest adding 1.5 grams in 125 ml of water to the wine before bottling. The only way to do that is to either rack to another carboy or to a bottling bucket. I calculated the 1.5 grams to be about 25 ppm, so I used my 2.5% solution Potassium Metabisulfite and added 50 ml. I did this because I’ve had some of the white go bad after only a couple of years in the bottle. You wouldn’t expect a commercial white to go bad after 2 or 3 years in the bottle, so I finally broke down and added sulfites at bottling.

I don’t have a label for it yet. Unfortunately, the kits don’t come with labels any more. It was nice when they did, you just wiped the back of the label across a wet sponge and applied it to the bottle. They also came off easily in hot water. I’ll probaby go for a simple laser printed design applied with a glue stick. Another idea I’ve had lately is to make a full color page and get copies made. It’s got to be cheaper than using my inkjet printer.

I’ve never had the Piesporter before, so I’ll post a taste comment here in a month or two.

3/30/08 Tasting Notes – (I’m writing this a month later, so taste details have been forgotten, however …) I took a bottle over to the winery.  Even though it has only been in the bottle for a month, this has already become a very nice wine.  The elderflowers come on a little bit strong at first, but quickly mellows.  The wine has a nice body that is really enjoyable.  The three of us polished off that bottle in no time.  Piesporter is one of the least expensive kits available, but it has definitely lived up to all the hype.

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Blueberry Wine Log

December 31, 2007 at 9:51 pm (Kit Wine, Winemaking, Winemaking Log) (, , , , , , , , , )

12/27/07 – Removed blueberries from the freezer and set out to thaw.
12/29/07 – Crushed berries, put in muslin bag, added water to 4 gallons. Added 1 T pectic enzyme, 50 ml of 2.5% sulfite solution.
12/31/07 – Stirred frequently the last two days. Added 1 tsp grape tannins, 1 T yeast nutrient, 1 T acid blend. Boiled sugar in water, added about 9 lbs of sugar in total. Brought the mixture to 6 gallons with a specific gravity of 1.080. Added package of Premier Champagne yeast.
1/1/08 – Nice bits of foam on the top,it all smells very nice. This will be stirred and pushed down every couple of hours.
Blueberry Juice - Fermentation StartedVery Active Fermentation
1/2/08 – The second photo shows just how well the fermentation is doing. The juice tastes great. I’ve been stirring the fruit bag down every time I think of it, at least a couple of times a day. You don’t want to let the fruit dry out, keep submerging it so that the yeast breaks down all of the berries.
1/4/08 – The specific gravity of the must measured out at about 1.040. It’s hard to get a really accurate reading on the hydrometer as the foam is just all over the place. The wine will get transfered to a glass carboy when the specific gravity reads around 1.025.
1/6/08 – The wine has a specific gravity of 1.020, so it was time to move it to a carboy. This is probably the toughest part of the whole blueberry winemaking process because after siphoning the wine into the carboy, it takes about 45 minutes to manually squeeze out as much wine as possible from the bag of blueberry remains. All that is left from the 18 lbs of blueberries is a ball of fiber about the size of a softball. I didn’t think to take a picture, it’s all in the compost heap now.
1/14/08 – The wine is still actively fermenting in the carboy. It needs to be topped up with either water or sugar water. It probably needs two to four cups to reach the neck of the carboy.
More as it happens …

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