Making Yellow Plum Fruit Wine

A medal winning country style wine crafted by Bill Greaves

Fruit                                                                         24#’s  clean ripe plums
Warm Water                                                       5 Gallons
Sugar                                                                        add up to SG 1085; (about 12 #s)
Start specific gravity                                     1085
Go Ferm                                                                7 gm Go Ferm per 5 gm yeast
Yeast                                                                       5 gms K1-V1116 for 5 gallons must or juice
Fermaid O                                                           5 teaspoons
Tartaric Acid                                                     To balance the wine
Potassium Metabisulphite                       6 Camden tablets (or 25 ppm of 10% solution) at rackings
Pectic Enzyme                                                 3½ teaspoons
Tannin                                                                   ½ teaspoon to taste (white/fruit)

Preparing the Must
Freeze 24 #’s of clean ripe fruit. This causes fruit to break down more efficiently.
Then thaw fruit and squeeze out the stones. Place fruit in jelly bags. Bill uses
three bags, which nicely hold 24 #’s of fruit. Place bags in a sanitized (clean)
primary fermenter with about three gallons of warm water adding the pectic
enzyme to the water and give it a stir. Cover with lid or good plastic with an
elastic, stirring at least twice daily for the next two days.

Bill uses large potato
masher to gently presses the fruit bags and crush the plums at the same time. On
the third day squeeze the bags by hand and discard the pulp. Add the remaining
water to bring the total volume to about 6 or 6½ gallons. This allows for
sufficient volume to rack the wine three or four times and an end result of a clear
wine without need of filtering or or fining that could reduce its quality. You are
left full five gallons to keep the carboy full with about ½ or ¾ a gallon left over
for topping up the carboy after each racking. At this point take a specific gravity
(SG) reading and add sufficient sugar to bring the SG up to about 1085. Stir in the
sugar vigorously to dissolve it. One should then check the acidity level by taste. If
acidity is a little low add some tartaric acid to adjust. Bill has found that starting
with ripe, not green or over ripe plums has eliminated the need for tartaric acid
additions.

 

Starting the Fermentation
A few hours before finishing the last above step Bill rehydrates the yeast using a
product called go-ferm available from quality winery supply stores. Go-ferm
greatly enhances the strength and amount of active yeast cells. He dissolves goferm
in the ratio described in the ingredient list above in a small quantity of water
at 110 degree F. Once the temperature of the go-ferm solution has dropped to 104
degrees yeast is sprinkled on top and gently stirred. Allow to stand for about 15
minutes and then stir again the thoroughly to break up any clumps. Add add about
an equal amount of the must that is to be fermented to the yeast slurry. Aim to
have the temperature of the yeast slurry and the juice to be fermented to about the
same. This avoids the drastic shock to the yeast that takes place by just putting
the warm yeast slurry into the cool must. If there is a large temperature difference
thermal shock kills a good portion of the yeast, which effects fermentation. The
additions of must may be repeated two or three times to get both the must and the
yeast slurry to roughly the same temperature; no more than 10 degrees F
difference. Therefore if there is twenty degrees difference to start, two must
additions will be required. One can wait 5-10 minutes between additions of the
juice. Add the yeast to the juice and cover with a tight lid or plastic held down by
elastic. If not using go-ferm rehydrate your yeast a 104 degrees F.

Fermentation and Nutrition
After about three days of active fermentation in the primary fermenter transfer the
must to carboys and gallon jugs to allow the fermentation to continue. Leave
sufficient space at the top to allow for foam from the fermentation to build up,
somewhere around the shoulders.

Bill moves the containers to a cooler darker spot at this stage. To make sure that
there are adequate nutrients in the must for the needs of the yeast Bill uses a
product called Fermaid 0 added to the must at a rate of 1 teaspoon/5 gal at the
time of one third sugar depletion in the must. This is usually around the third day
of fermentation. He also adds a teaspoon on the following two days. When the
SG gets down to about 1.015 he adds last addition of Fermaid O to help the yeast
finish its’ job. He mixes the powder with some warm water and then adds it.
When adding nutrients you have to be careful that it doesn’t foam up and spew
out the container making a real mess. It is wise to temporarily take out about a
litre of your wine prior to additions of nutrients.

Clearing and Finishing
In about 14 days rack the wine into clean containers and get the fermenting wine
off the sediment. Add ½ crushed Camden tablet for each gallon of wine. Top up
containers to about ½ an inch from the top. After about two months rack off
sediment, again adding ½ a crushed Camden tablet for each gallon of wine.

Alternatively, use a 10% solution of potassium metabisulphite adding it at a rate
of 0.43 ml/L thereby establishing a concentration of 25 ppm SO2 in the wine.
When fermentation has stopped completely and the wine is clear, it should be
racked again adding camden tablets or potassium metabisuphite. After about 30
days it should be racked again adding the camden tablets or the potassium
metabisulphite. Bottling could take place in a couple of months The SG should be
around 0.995 or .996 but may be lower. Taste before bottling to ascertain if an
adjustment in the dryness level should be made. If so, Bill recommends using
“Splenda” which will unlike sugar will not cause the wine to ferment again. It can
be purchased at most large food stores.

Healthy drinking and by the way this wine making method should also work well
with Italian prune plums!! Bill