Plums were washed in sulphite solution and chopped and placed in carboy.
2 gallons of boiling water and 2 campden tablets were added. When
cool yeast was pitched in. Fermentation was allowed to proceed for
two days before mixture was strained into a carboy containing 10 lb sugar
dissolved in one gallon boiling water, nutrient, tannin and acid.
Airlock was affixed and fermentation was allowed to proceed.
Saturday, September 28, 2002 wine was racked it was bone dry. 4 lb sugar and ½ tsp yeast nutrient was added and carboy was moved to bath to warm.
Tuesday, January 28, 2003. Wine racked and SG tested. 10% sugar remaining. May be stuck wine, alcohol % does not taste high. Wine was racked into a clean demijohn, 2 teaspoons of yeast nutrient were added. A fresh yeast starter was prepared using 4 oz honey boiled in 1 pint water, which was then cooled to which was added Lalvin EC-1118, Sacharomyces bayanus. This is a champagne yeast, therefore one with a high alcohol tolerance. The idea is to slowly introduce under fermented wine to actively fermenting yeast by the following schedule:
Day 1: activate the yeast in a small volume honey + water
Day 2: add the yeast mix (1/2 pint) to clean demijohn, add ½ pint under-fermented mead. Keep in a warm place (next to radiator).
Day 3: Check demijohn, if actively fermenting add an equal volume (1 pint) mead. If not actively fermenting leave 1 day.
Onwards: add an equal volume of wine to the active ferment everyday until the entire volume is used up i.e. 2 pts, 4 pts, 8 pts, remainder of wine .
Monday, April 07, 2003. Wine racked and SG tested. 7% sugar remaining, strong alcohol taste, no evidence of fermentation (flat) wine is done. Racked and moved to a cool location to clear and mature. Starting SG probably around 1130, current SG 1030, potential alcohol level of 14 %.
Friday, July 18, 2003. Wine racked and SG tested. Currently 1025. A reduction of 5 points. Very strong alcohol flavor, 4 tsp sparkaloid and 2 campden tablets added and wine returned to dark to finish clearing.
Tuesday, September 09, 2003. Wine racked and SG tested. No change in SG. Faint haze remains in the wine however, wine has an excellent flavor with V. high alcohol nose. One bottle corked for consumption at harvest day, remainder (4 gallons) returned to dark to finish clearing.
Thursday December 11, 2003 – One gallon plum wine racked into clean carboy and bottled into five wine gallons for Xmas presents. Remaining 3 gallons returned to basement to finish aging and clearing.
Saturday, September 04, 2004 – wine racked off lees into clean carboy preparatory to bottling on subsequent days. Remaining 1.5 pints in bottom of carboy racked into bottles to use for cooking or wine coolers. Final SG 1022.
NOTES: wine is very alcoholic, even too much so. Restarting with champagne yeast after the wine stalls is probably what caused this. The persistent haze which has troubled this wine from very early on, despite treatment with sparkaloid is most likely a result of pectin. Plums are a high pectin fruit and consequently this is a common problem with plum wines. This wine was aged for a year without much change in clarity or a significant collection of lees on the bottom of the carboy. I needed the carboy to brew more, time to bottle.