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If you’ve got an abundance of Rhubarb, why not get out your wine making equipment? Here’s how to make Rhubarb Wine.
If you grow a lot of rhubarb, consider making some delicious wine with some of your harvest. It’s tasty and easy to make – here’s a foolproof rhubarb wine recipe.
The middle of June is the ideal time to pick the bulk of your Rhubarb stalks if you live in the North. Want to learn how to grow Rhubarb?
When you pick them, you can either twist the stalk (close to the ground) to snap it off. You are always better to snap off the stalk instead of using a knife to cut the stalks.
Be sure to leave several of the smaller stalks on the plant. This way, your Rhubarb plant will continue to grow.
We have 5 Rhubarb plants. Last Fall, Graham made a new bed for them to go into. They had been in our Berry Bed and it was getting too crowded and weedy in there.
We also wanted to enlarge the Garlic Bed, so something had to be moved out, in order to give us more room.
How to Make Rhubarb Wine
Ready to make wine? All you need are a few simple ingredients! Here are the instructions.
When your Rhubarb is ready to be picked, harvest it.
Using a kitchen scale, weigh the stalks – you will need 5 pounds rhubarb for every 1 gallon batch of wine (which is about 4.5 litres). This year we ended up with 37 pounds of Rhubarb from those 5 plants!
Clean out a primary fermenter and snap all the stalks many times. You don’t need to cleanly break each stalk into piece.
Just give them a quick snap so the rhubarb is exposed. The more times you can snap each stalk, the better as more surface area is exposed. A rolling pin is a good tool to expose the stalks.
Snap the stalks into the primary container and pour cold water over to cover them. Now let it sit 3 days and give it a stir every day.
After 3 days, scoop out the rhubarb and leave the water behind. Do NOT mash the rhubarb, as this can lead to a cloudy wine.
Hold the Rhubarb above the liquid for a minute to let most of the excess liquid drip back into the primary.
Give it a light squeeze to get more juice out but don’t squeeze it too hard. If you have backyard chickens or pigs, they will love this leftover Rhubarb.
Sugar for Home Made Wine
According to the recipe, I had to add 3 lbs of sugar for every 1 gallon (4.5 liters) of liquid. I stirred the sugar really well to get it dissolved.
You may find it easier to make a sugar syrup on the stove as the sugar will completely dissolve before adding to the fermenter. You can also use honey to sweeten wine, but you may need to use a little more than you would sugar.
Something to consider is that rhubarb doesn’t have the natural tannins like grapes do, so you may find it beneficial to add additional ingredients like some pectic enzyme or a tsp yeast nutrient or more. These ingredients can be found online at various homebrewing sources.
This is because grape juice has a more natural balance of things like sugar, water, wild yeast, tannins, and other components that make wine making simple and more hands off. You may have to put in a little more thought with something like rhubarb wine.
For additional flavor, consider adding things like raisins (which can be a good yeast nutrient substitute), lemon rinds, ginger root, or brewed black tea (a good source of tannin powder).
Making Rhubarb Wine at Home – Testing Specific Gravity
After you add the sugar, test the specific gravity with the hydrometer. You are looking for hydrometer readings of 10 – 12%.
If it is closer to 10% you may want to add some more sugar. Next add a few Campden tablets (optional).
Pour this liquid into the primary fermenter. Look at the pretty pink!
Adding Yeast when Making Wine
Now, sprinkle 1 packet of wine yeast over the top of the liquid; don’t stir it in, just leave it sitting on top of the liquid in the jug.
It’s supposed to start foaming, which means the wine is working. It will be foaming for a couple of days and then it will stop.
Make sure you don’t let the siphon tube sit at the bottom – you want to leave the musty sediment and pulp behind.
Rack it down again into a clean carboy in a few weeks, then let it sit for 6 months to go through secondary fermentation till it can be bottled. When it comes time to bottle, you’ll want to watch airlocks for bubbles and then siphon into sterilized bottles.
Making Rhubarb Wine at Home – Racking
Whenever you finish racking wine, lift the carboy up onto a table or counter right away. It needs to sit someplace undisturbed. Place it in a large bucket out of the way to keep it safe if that will help.
This way, the sediment will begin to fall to the bottom. That’s exactly what you want. You want your carboy up high, so you don’t have to move it up before racking next time.
Every time you move the carboy, the sediment at the bottom of the mixture will start to move throughout the liquid again. You want it to settle so the sediment goes down to the bottom again.
Bottling Rhubarb Wine
Before you bottle it, rack it down one last time into another clean carboy. Then, let it sit for another four or five days so any sediment left has a chance to fall to the bottom.
You always want to make sure to leave all the sediment behind. If in doubt, rack it down again carefully.
When it comes to making wine, you simply cannot rack it too many times. Some people will rack the wine four or five times before they bottle.
What you are trying to do is make sure you have no sediment left at the bottom of the carboy, before racking into the individual bottles.
Be sure your siphon hose does NOT go all the way to the bottom of the carboy. We use a clothespin to help hold the hose at the level we want. If all else fails, you can also strain the wine using a straining bag.
The finished result – a beautiful pink colour and sweet flavor. It will taste great in a few months. Squirrel some away so you can try a bottle from this batch next year!
More Homemade Wine Recipes
- Ever made Dandelion Wine at Home?
- How about trying Carrot Wine?
- Here’s a great resource for making Berry Wine!