First Time Plum Wine

Discussion in 'Country Fruit Winemaking' started by pkm925, Aug 11, 2018.

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  1. pkm925

    pkm925 Member

    Feb 25, 2015
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    I've been making wine for some time but this is my first time trying to make a fruit wine. Started out with 30 lbs. of plums and 6 gal. of water. I racked from an open container to carboys when the S.G. hit 1.0. The interesting thing was I ended up with 10 Gal. of must/wine. A lot more than I expected. I'm thinking this extra volume was a combination of the plums basically disintegrating (there was only a negligible amount of fruit left in the straining bag at the end of fermentation) and the fact that I diluted all additives with water, especially the sugar before adding to the mix.

    The recipe that I used, a combination of Jack Keller's and MoreWine's recipes (both very similar and derivative of earlier recipes) called for waiting until 30 days until racking. OK that said, I have a TON of lees (which I expect is a function of my plums escaping the straining bag).

    My first question, should I rack this wine off the gross lees after a day? The recipe say wait 30 days. If this was a grape wine I would rack off the gross lees after a day without hesitation. The thing that's holding me back on racking right away is the hope that the lees may compact. Resulting in clearer wine, improved yield, etc.. Will the lees compact and should I wait?

    My second question, why did all my plums seem to escape my straining bag. I mashed them with a potato masher before adding to the straining bag which I thought was good. Should i have left them in larger pieces?

    The third thing is more of an observation, after moving to carboys the fermentation really took off again. i am really impressed. Never had such a vigorous fermentation at this stage of the game with grapes. Is this typical?

    Oh another observation, I'm thinking that when I rack this wine I'll probably be pretty close to my original target volume of 6 gal.

    Finally, I think I may sweeten this a touch (something I've never done before), does anyone have any good guide lines about sweetening wine or know of any reference material that could give me a good idea how to approach sweetening this wine.

    Appreciate any comments or suggestion. Thanks.
  2. Johnd

    Johnd Large Member Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2015
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    S Louisiana
    Q1: I would rack off of the gross lees

    Q2: Maybe messy, but it’s a good thing, the more the fruit is broken down, the more extraction of color, flavor, tannins, body, aroma, etc. your wine will have.

    Q3: Happens sometimes, sometimes not. Your fermentation might have loved getting some O2, or just stirred up, AR maybe the temps changed slightly, there’s normally a reason behind it. Could just be that you see more in glass, all bubbles get concentrated to the carboy neck.

    To sweeten your wine when it’s ready (aged a bit, crystal clear), pull out a measured sample, like 100ml, and proceed to slowly add measured amounts of sugar until you are satisfied. If it took you 2.3 grams to get there, you need to add 2.3 g / 100 ml to your carboy. Add the appropriate amount of potassium sorbate to your wine, then the sugar, and wait at least a week or two before bottling. Most opinions are to sweeten a smidge less that your taste buds want if using sugar, the sweetness will increase with time.
    meadmaker1 likes this.
  3. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Old Enough to know better but....

    Aug 30, 2015
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    Johnd has given great advice.

    Some fruits just do break down completely. Don't worry about escaped pulp. Just rack off of it.

    For comparison, blueberries break down so much that the only reason for a fruit bag is to keep the few larger bits and pieces from clogging the siphon tip.
  4. Donatelo

    Donatelo Senior Member

    Oct 25, 2017
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    Ada, Oklahoma
    I always place the fruit in the bag halved and pitted skin on. After a week or so it has all turned to mush in the bag. I use a nylon bag that is very tight weave. Still a lot of lees.

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