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Wild plum juice wine.

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Ivywoods

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A while back my sisters and I got together for a weekend of making jelly. Everyone brought different fruits and supplies. We had jelly coming out our ears and I ended up with 2 1/2 gallons (10 quarts) of extra sand plum juice . We have enough jelly so I want to make wine. I have supplies. I need a recipe. This juice has not been diluted other than run through a steam juicer and then water bath canned.
 

Scooter68

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Sounds like you should just make a 2 1/2 gallon batch.
Recipes are not complicated and in part it's dictated by the sugar and acid content in the fruit. You adjust that to raise the expected Alcohol level to what you want and get the pH (Acidity) in a safe range. Other than that the yeast needs nutrient and you want to break down the pecting the juice so you need to add pectic enzyme to do that. Some folks will use double the amoun below but you can even triple that if you want. It helps the wine clear better. Sometimes folks like a little tannin too. That is purely optional and can easily be skipped first time around. So the following is how I would proceed:

1) Don't add any water. But crush a Campden Tablet and dissolve that in about 1.4 cup of water - add to your juice
2) Add sugar to get the SG up to about 1.080 that would give a potential ABV of 11.81 (It will take a good bit of stirring to disolve it.)
3) Check the pH and adjust that to somewhere in the range of 3.4-3.6 (using Acid blend to lower. It's unlikely that the plum juice will be too acidic) u
4) 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient per gallon
5) 1/8 tsp tannin (If you want a slight astringency to the wine - otherwise skip it)
6) 1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme per gallon


Since you already have the juice you could add 1 campden tablet per gallon (Crushed into powder) as you start to prepare the batch (It needs about 18-24 hrs to dissipate before you add your yeast. Add sugar to the level of SG you want. Adjust the pH using Acid blend if needed to increase acidityt (Lower the pH number = more acidic)
Add the yeast nutrient and tannin.

Then wait overnight for the Campden Tablet (K-Meta in a simple tablet form) to do it's thing and remove bad bacteria and stun any wild yeast.

Next day re-check the SG as it often rises after the sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Recheck the PH and if both are in the range desired - Prepare the yeast.*
I like to take about a 4 oz glass jart warm up 2 oz of tap water and then add 1 oz of the juice just a dash of yeast nutrient (1/4 of a 1/8 tsp of it is all you really need) stir in the yeast and let it set warm for about 15-30 minutes A bit of foaming should occur as the yeast rehydrates. when its set long enough for that - stir it into youre wine must. Cover the container with a muslin cloth and wait for that ferment aroma to start. Usually within 24-48 hours you should be smelling it. Since I assume you have baked bread - you'll recognize that yeasty smell when it starts.

* A safe bet yeast would be Lavin brand K1- V1116 or EC-1118 both are pretty forgiving, fast fermenting and low foaming. There are any number you can use and someone else may suggest something different. The only issue this time of year might be temperature. Make sure that the room it will be fermenting in is well within the range for the yeast. It can go lower after ferment is well underway but until the ferment is going it's better to have the room WELL within the yeast temp range. You can also cover the fermentation container with towel or blanket as it will generate it's own heat too.
 

Ivywoods

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Thank you so much! I read where so many people added water to their recipes I wondered if i should dilute this to a particular volume. Also what kind of yeast should I use. That is one thing I will probably have to order.
 

Ivywoods

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Ooops....I didnt see the part about the yeast. I will order that right away. This will be my first try at making wine.
 

Scooter68

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Check and see if there is a Home Brew Supply store near you. They don't stick out from other stores so there might be one lurking quietly in your area. One (1) Packet will do 6 gallons so one will get this batch and another one without stretching it,
The other really important tool to have is a Hydrometer with SG markings on it. Brix is another method but SG markings are probably more common. A pH meter would also be great to have but once you start into wine making the list of "Good to Have" tools and equipment grows and grows and...
Here's a typical Hydrometer they run around $15.00 to $20.00 on amazon and are pretty much essential for wine making. Oh and if you are over 50, clean up your reading glasses. Watching the readings drop as the wine ferments is part of the fun.

1611440535350.png
 

Ivywoods

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I have a hydrometer that came with the supply kit I ordered. I dont have the yeast or yeast nutrient or a way to check the ph accurately. I have checked for winemaking supplies. We do have a local craft beer establishment. I will see if they sell any supplies. I'm pretty sure I will have to order things since I'm in a small rural community. I may have to order more bentonite since this juice is still very cloudy.
 

Scooter68

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Great - So you aren't starting from ground zero. Ok boost the amount of pectic ezyme up to double or triple the label recommendation (Normally 1/2 tsp/gallon. That craft store might just have what you need if the supply home beer makers. Wine makers and beer makers share a number of items that we all use. On the bentonite there isn't a big rush for that so I'd wait and see what happens in the first month or so after the fermentation finishes. SInce you say you're in rural area - yeah ordering might work out better for you but check out that craft brew store.
Sounds like are are pretty well prepared.

As to the pH testing - with plum wine especially if that juice is darker in color (Not golden colored) pH test strips are really hard to read.
If the juice is a golden color you might be able to use pH test strips but they can be tricky to read.
So if you are thinking about doing more wine making (Spring fruit harvests will be here before you know it. ) Then a pH meter can be had for under $50.00 I've seen them as low as $15 and of course the go all the way to astronomical. I can't recommend any in particular but if I was looking now I would look at two things beyond price. (Assuming looking at Amazon cause I'm a cheap charlie)
How many review? (Like to see over 100 reviews)
What percentage of reviews are 1 star and 2 star. If much more 10% are 1 star or a lot of 1 and 2 star - I'd be a little skeptical but I also have found some of the bad reviews were not even for the product where it was posted.
I've got 3 - My first lasted 4 years and now won't switch on. (Not sure how I got the 3rd one, think it was a customer good will gift for another product that failed.) The second one is probably going to be pretty good: It's the old version of this one. https://www.amazon.com/Dr-meter-Upgraded-Resolution-Two-Color-Measurement/dp/B082DZBJFB/ref=sr_1_24?dchild=1&keywords=ph+Meter+wine+making&qid=1611452486&sr=8-24

Keep us posted.
 

Ivywoods

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Scooter68 you are a wealth of information! I have now ordered the supplies I need as well as extra of all of some of them. My reason for ordering extra is the reason I am getting into wine making to begin with. Besides the fact that I drink a glass of wine every day (once in a while 2) I recently bought a new home where I will be moving as soon as some renovations are completed. It has a backyard vinyard!

A question that remains for me at this time is the quantity. I am wondering about the 2 1/2 gallon quantity. I know I will loose some volume when racking due to sediment, but will the added sugar bring the amount up enough that I can use a 3 gallon carboy for the final ferment? I have a 6 gallon wide mouth bubbler and 5 gallon carboy but I am wondering if I should plan on using a 3 gallon carboy for the final ferment. I don't think I would loose enough volume to go down to 2 one gallon jugs and I am perfectly willing to order a 3 gallon carboy. What are your thoughts on this?
 

Scooter68

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SO your 2 1/2 gallons would fit nicely into a 5 gallon food grade bucket for fermentation. After fermentation your volume loss I will guess will about equal the gain from sugar added. (When I make a simple syrup I use 1 cup water to 2 cups sugar and that comes out to right between 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups of liquid) So figure about 1 1/2 cup volume increase for every 2 cups of sugar you add.
As you are working with juice and without a lot of pulp your loss will be a lower than with pulpy fruit and it will be dead yeast and the solids that drop out after fermentation.
You probably would be best to figure on 2 x 1 gallon carboys and 1 x 1/2 gallon carboy. You do home canning from what i read earlier ??? So look around for some containers to hold odd extra amounts of liquid. Kombucha (SP?) often comes in 16 oz glass containers that have the same size threaded cap as typical 1 gallon carboys so the bungs or caps that fit that 1 gallon carboy will fit a 16 oz empty kombucha bottle. (I frequent our local recycling center to gather such containers and I always keep my eye open for 1/2 glass "Carboys" with threaded tops vs twist off tops.
Since you are getting started you will probably learn to improvise to make things work out.
 

Ivywoods

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Sounds good. I have a few flea markets around the area I will scour for those odd sizes glass containers. It looks like it might be a few days before I'm ready to start this batch since some of the essential additives will take a little over a week to arrive. I tried to shop for the best price I could find, and free shipping makes a BIG difference.
 

Rembee

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Just in case you wanted to order a 1/2 gal. glass growler, I have purchased some of these to do just what Scooter68 was explaining to you from....

They take the same size twist cap or bung that the 1 gal. Carboy takes.
Hope this helps.
 

Ivywoods

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Hmmmm.... I have 1/2 gallon canning jars with wide mouth openings. I also have plastic lids that fit these. I wonder if I drilled the plastic cap to the same size as the #6 stopper my bubblers fit into if the canning jars would work ok. I know I would have to fill the jar pretty full in order to keep the headspace close to ideal.
 

mikewatkins727

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I've re-engineered orange juice bottle tops by drilling a 1/2 inch hole and inserting a rubber grommet. Grommet should be sized to fit the 1/2 inch hole and have a 3/8 inch opening for the air trap. I have both the 3-piece and S type air trap (bubbler) and they fit a 3/8 inch opening.
 

Ivywoods

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Sounds like some improvisation is in my near future.
 

Ivywoods

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I thought I was just about ready to start making my first 2 batches of wine. It looks like I need to get another 3 gallon carboy and another 5 gallon one. I was thinking I only needed one of each but I am wondering. If I'm making a 3 gallon batch I need another 3 gallon carboy in order to rack into another. Is that correct?
 

Scooter68

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There are a couple of options. First is to get another carboy (S) so you have at least 2 of each size. The second option for now is to ferment in a bucket, rack to the carboy when the fermentation is virtually over. Then after the fermentation is actually compledtly over you coud rack into the 5 gallon from the 3. Then wash out the 3 gallon immediately and rack back into it. That will expose your wine to oxygen a little longer but for a one time deal that should be OK. In the mean time you can be hunting for another 3 gallon and another 5 gallon. Keep in mind that you will eventually need to always have one empty carboy of each size you use to make the process workable. I currently have 7 Three gallon carboys so I am limited to having no more that 6 batches aging/fermenting at one time.
So you can work around it but eventually you need to have that one empty carboy on hand for each size batch you make.
Keep in mind also that if you ferment in a bucket first that should take about 4-7 days before you will need to use your one carboy. Then you have another 3-10 days perhaps before you need to rack from that carboy into another carboy. So roughly you have about 7-14 days to get another carboy in hand.
 

Ivywoods

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Thanks Scooter68. That's kind of what I was thinking. I think for me it would be easiest to wait to start till I have the extra carboy. I live in a rural area but there are a number of flea markets within an hour drive where I will be traveling in the near future. No wine supply stores. The closest one is 3 hours away. I have ordered some stuff online, but my goal is to keep the cost down so I will start looking for another of each size.
 

Scooter68

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I like the flea market shopping idea. Also if you have a recycling center in the area you can look for one gallon or 4 liter carboys there too. Those are not too hard to find and work great if you want to do a smaller test batch of something. Of course they are also a great source for wine bottles as well. Today I picked up about 20 bottles and my next step is to wash and strip the labels off. It take a little time to get everything together but in the end it pays off. Oh by the way did anyone suggest getting 2 Hydrometers? Like so many folks I broke one in the first 6 months. I now have 2 and I haven't broken another since then but Murphy's law does apply here.
 

Ivywoods

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Two hydrometers? No, never thought of that. I have one and I also ordered a pH meter. I'm so eager to get started, but as I have read on other threads "patience is a virtue." I just moved a small desk to my utility room. Adjacent to that room is a boiler that heats the house. It stays really warm in there. It's probably about 75 degrees in there right now, maybe more. How hot is too hot for fermentation?
 

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