Plum wine easy recipe

There are so many plums available at this time of year it's a crime not to make some effort to use as many as possible. Besides strong arming the family to take as many as possible and freezing loads for the winter, making plum wine and plum jam are quick and easy ways to gain from all that fruity goodness.

Here's the recipe for plum wine. No chemicals are used, just all natural ingredients other than Milton baby liquid to sterilise equipment. A great Summer wine to make. Why not try out some of the other Allotment Heaven easy recipes?

Besides the desire to not waste a single plum, I started making this wine because I was fed up trying to find wine in the shops that didn't have the 'contains sulphites' message hidden away on the back label. Sulphites can cause allergies and a headache.

The instructions below are to make one gallon of wine, which will give you about six bottles. If you can make a batch of five gallons even better... it's simpler to make large batches of wine since it's easier to bottle without disturbing the sediment. Just multiply the ingredients by five apart from the wine, for which you should follow the instructions on the container.

The cost of equipment is pretty low... about £35 if you acquire the wine bottles by saving from bought white wine. Thereafter your only cost is for sugar, lemons and some wine yeast... so having made the initial investment in equipment, typically you're enjoying rather nice, strong wine with no sulphite content for well under 50p a bottle! Why wouldn't you want to do it?

Equipment needed
Something for stirring the contents
Large strainer
Long clear plastic tubing (available from DIY stores)
A 1 gallon demijohn (cheaper if you buy several)
6 wine bottles (ideally clear glass)

Ingredients needed
5lbs (2.25 kilos) of healthy plums
3lbs (1.35 kilos) of sugar
1 gallon of water
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
Wine yeast

1. Sterilise the fermentation barrel and lid using the Milton liquid.
2. Wash the plums, cut in half and remove the stones.
3. Place in fermentation barrel
4. Bring water to boil and pour in fermentation barrel.
5. Put the lid on and leave for four days, stirring twice daily.
6. Add the sugar and stir vigorously to dissolve.
7. Add lemon juice and wine yeast and put the lid on. Stir twice daily for five days.
8. Store somewhere warm. After a few hours you'll notice something starting to happen... there'll be a froth on the surface as the yeast starts to ferment, turning the sugar into alcohol. Stir the contents twice a day.
9. After five days transfer the liquid to the demijohn using the plastic tubing and funnel. Make sure all the equipment has been sterilised with Milton liquid.
11. Avoiding disturbing any sediment, place the fermentation barrel at a higher level than the demijohn (e.g. put the barrel on a table and the demijohn on the floor), put one end of the plastic tubing in the barrel, and having placed the funnel in the neck of the demijohn give the other end of the tubing a strong suck to pull some of the wine in the tube up and over the edge of the barrel. Quickly remove your mouth and put the tube end into the funnel. The wine should start to drain.
11. Stop removing liquid when you get close to the bottom so you transfer as little of the sediment as possible. Once all the liquid is in the demijohn top up with water to bring to a gallon. Seal with the rubber bung and airlock, having put a small amount of diluted Milton liquid in the airlock.
12. You can now store the wine for months somewhere cool and frost free. At first the fermentation may start up again and you'll see bubbles going through the airlock. Gradually the wine will clear.
13. Once fully clear repeat the draining process, this time from the demijohn to sterilised wine bottles. Put a stopper in each bottle and store.
14. The wine will be ready to drink after twelve months.


  1. Anonymous7:35 am

    I like your recipe and have a couple of questions if you don\'t mind.
    Does the wine clear alright? Some recipes on the Internet suggest that it\'s better to put in the additives.

    Can I double the amount as I have a lot of plums to use, if so do I just follow the recipe and double the quantity.
    Thank you, kind regards, Liz

    1. Hi Liz… The wine will clear, although plum wine is probably one of the fruit wines that take longer than average. You can use additives to clear the wine, their generic name is finings. If you do choose to use one, check carefully what it's contents are… some are made from animal protein for example and therefore may be from an unappetising source. I prefer to do the whole thing naturally, although it does take some patience and self control!

      Yes, just double the amounts if you have a lot more plums to use and a big enough container.

      Hope all goes well.

      Regards, John

  2. Anonymous7:34 am

    Hi, followed your instructions and am on fifth day of ferment, should the fruit sink before I syphon into demijohn of should it be strained off first? I am new to this but every thing has worked as suggested....thanks...Ian

    1. Hi Ian… the aim is to transfer as little of the fruit pulp into the demijohns as possible. So if your fruit is floating on the top or sunk to the bottom that should enable you to siphon off the liquid and easily avoid getting any of the fruit plugged up against the tube mouth. You want to avoid having to strain out the fruit since this will get more of the soft pulp floating into the liquid.

      Regards, John

  3. hey john,
    i have a huge plum tree in the garden of our cottage, and this year is the first year i am attempting to make plum wine, after many years of crumbles and jams and chutneys!
    please could you tell me how much wine yeast you would add in your recipe?

    1. Hi Emma… I use Young's wine yeast. Here's a link below showing an image of the container, and just about the lowest price I can find. If you're in the UK, Wilkson's stores stock this yeast. The instructions state one heaped teaspoon per gallon. Hope that helps.

      Regards, John

  4. Hiya, I followed your recipe because it seems so simple. I'm new to winemaking. After making plum wine and leaving it in the demijohn for about 3 months, I siphoned it into bottles yesterday. I checked with a hydrometer that it had stopped fermenting beforehand. I had a sip of the test wine - it tasted horrible - quite sour in fact. What can I do to make it taste better? Or will be OK after a year or so in the bottle? Thanx. Please let me know what you think.

    1. Hi Crianza... I'm sorry to hear you're having problems. The most likely reasons for the sour taste is are...

      1. Bacteria has got into the mix and has turned the wine into vinegar. If this is the case, it's likely it will get even more sour over time.

      2. It just might be that, being a young wine, the taste will improve and you just may have to slowly add some sugar to sweeten to your taste.

      Since it isn't really ready for drinking until 12 months old, I suggest having another taste in 3 months time. If it's even more sour then, it'll be from reason no. 1 and you'll have to throw the lot away and try again next year, being especially careful over sterilisation and ensuring no damaged plums are used. If the wine taste a little better, leave it for a further 6 months and then judge if you need to add more sugar for taste when it's 12 months old.

      Hope this helps, John

  5. Hi, Crianza here again. Just wanted to say the we've had another taste of the plum wine and it seems to be improving. We think it was just a bit young. Thanks for your advice. By the way, we also did your apple wine recipe and just bottled it up today. We had a taste and it was gorgeous - we even felt a tad tipsy after a few sips. After a year or two it should be really nice. Thanks again. Crianza

    1. That's great news Crianza...phew! The apple wine turns out lovely and golden, both in colour and taste, so well worth the wait!

      Regards, John

  6. Anonymous7:34 pm

    Hi. If I use frozen plums, should I defrost them first before starting to make the wine?
    Thanks, Mo.

    1. Hi Mo... I suspect when you add boiling water to the plums this will defrost them anyway Mo, so go for it. Regards, John

    2. Thanks John. Will have a go and let you know the result.


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