Properly made prune wine is remembered by its characteristic aroma of ripe plums with light hints of dried fruits and slightly “smoked” taste. Let’s look through the recipe and complete winemaking technology. Its main advantage is that raw materials for wine are available all year round–a good opportunity for home winemakers to practice favorite hobby while waiting for the next season of fresh berries and fruits.
Any type of prunes will do. But if you want to go with the best ones, prunes from Sochi (Abkhazian and Tuapse) of Hungarian plums variety are considered as such. It is important that fruits used aren’t spoiled, rotten or moldy. All used containers should be sterilized or boiled for safety to prevent contamination of the must by pathogenic microorganisms.
- Prunes without pits – 2.2 lbs/1 kg
- Sugar – 2.2 lbs/1 kg
- Water – 5 liters
- Raisins – 3.5 oz/100 gr (or wine yeast per 7 liters of must)
Warning! In order to ensure that the final beverage has no bitterness and almond flavor use only prunes without pits (preferably) or make sure that pits are removed during the second cooking step.
Prune Wine Recipe
- In case you don’t have any wine yeast you should make a ferment 4 to 5 days prior to working with prunes: put unwashed raisins (leave wild yeast on their surface) in a jar, add 1 oz/30 grams of sugar and 200 ml of water. Stir the mixture and then transfer to a dark place with room temperature (20-28°C). Cover the neck of the jar with gauze or with a cotton wool stopper. Leave it like that for 3-4 days. A slight smell of fermentation, foaming on the surface and hissing sound will indicate that the yeast is ready.
If there is mold it means that the raisins are bad (infected). You’ll have to make the ferment with other raisins once again.
- Thoroughly rinse prunes with running water, remove pits (if any).
- Boil 4 liters of water (80% of the total volume). Pour the prunes with boiling water, cover with a lid, and leave for 60 minutes.
- Strain the infusion through gauze. The liquid part should be poured into a plastic or enameled container with a wide neck.
- Mince the pulp (steamed prunes) and mix with the liquid part. Add 1 liter of clean, cold water (20% of the volume) and 18 oz/500 grams of sugar (50% of total amount).
- After the must is cooler than 30°C add wine yeast or the raisin ferment prepared at the first step. Mix. Cover with gauze to protect against flies and other insects. Leave the must for 5 days in a dark place with room temperature. After 8-24 hours, you should be able to see the signs of fermentation: foam, hissing sound, and a slight sour odour.
Be sure to stir the wort two or three times a day with a wooden spoon or by clean hand, sinking the pulp that has floated to the surface. Otherwise, the beverage may go sour.
- 5 days after adding the ferment, strain the must through gauze. Squeeze the pulp well. You no longer need the husks.
- Add 9 oz/250 grams of sugar (25% of the initial proportion) to the liquid part, mix, and pour into a fermentation vessel. Fill up to a maximum of 75% of the volume so that there is enough space left for foam.
- Install a water seal on the bottleneck (you can also use a medical glove with a hole in one finger). Leave the container in a dark place (or cover it) with a stable temperature of 18-28°C until the fermentation is finished.
A homemade water seal
Wine fermenting under a glove
- 5 days after the water seal has been installed, add the remaining sugar (9 oz/250 grams or 25% of the calculated amount). To do this, drain 150-200 ml of must separately, dilute the sugar, and pour the obtained syrup back into the fermenting wine. Then close the container with a water seal once again.
Fermentation of homemade prune wine lasts 30-50 days. You can tell that the process has stopped when the water seal stops emitting gas for at least 12 hours (or the glove deflated), there’s a layer of sediment at the bottom, and the wine is lighter.
If fermentation does not stop after 50 days after the water seal installation the wine should be poured through a tube into another container without hitting the sediment at the bottom and then put under the water seal again to ferment at the same temperature in order to avoid letting it become bitter.
- After the fermentation is over, pour the young prune wine from the sediment (through a tube). Try it. Add more sugar to sweeten the taste (optional). You can also increase ABV by adding vodka or alcohol in amounts of 2-15% of the wine volume. Increasing ABV prolongs storage but makes the taste harsher.
- Fill the aging vessels (glass or plastic) with wine to the brim, so that there is no contact with oxygen. Seal them tightly (if you added sugar keep the vessels under water seals for the first 7-10 days).
- Transfer the beverage for aging in a cellar or refrigerator with a temperature of 5-16°C. Leave it for at least 3-4 months (preferably 5-8). Aging greatly improves wine’s taste.
- If you see a 2-5 cm layer of sediment appearing, filter the wine by pouring it through a tube from one container to another (first every 10-20 days, then you can do it less often).
- Homemade prune wine is considered ready when there’s no more sediment build-up. The beverage can be bottled and sealed.
10-12% ABV. If stored in a refrigerator or basement the shelf life is up to 5 years.