Five days on and we’re at this stage of the process:
9. After five days transfer the liquid to the demijohns using the plastic tubing and funnel. Make sure all the equipment has been sterilised.
10. Avoiding disturbing any sediment, place the fermentation barrel at a higher level than a demijohn (e.g. put the barrel on a table and a demijohn on the floor), put one end of the plastic tubing in the barrel, and having placed the funnel in the neck of a 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 a demijohn top up with water to bring to a gallon if you need to – but don’t try and make a gallon from 3/4 of a gallon of plum juice! Seal with a bung and airlock. Some people add something like Milton to the airlock, but I tend not to incase there’s a reverse pull on the liquid and it taints the wine. I prefer to replace the airlock regularly with a sterlised one.
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. So we have three demijohns of plum wine (very young) sat in the kitchen. As it says to store somewhere cool and frost free, we’ll pop it in the garage which is perfect. I must remember to check the airlocks regularly as they’re quite feisty at the moment!
And there’s also the question of what to do with the old ferment (pomace) left over at the bottom of the fermentation barrel? Others add water and sugar to get the levels right for wine-making, and make a “second wine”. Some then take the second wine and distill it to a liqueur. As gardeners, we’re going to add it to the compost bins – the pomace being rich in nitrogen, potassium and calcium!