I make my excess rhubarb into wine, after all there is a limit as to how many rhubarb crumbles we actually want to eat, and my neighbours are also up to their ears in rhubarb. I produce all this from just over a 1 sq m raised bed.
This is a very quaffable wine, it is NOT a grape wine and makes no excuse for that.
You need a clean food quality 1 gallon bucket. A demijohn fitted with a bung drilled to take a bubbler. A length of siphon pipe.
- 3lbs rhubarb
- 2 ½ lbs sugar
Rhubarb, clean and cut into 1 inch lengths, freeze for 24 hours minimum, defrost and then freeze again. This breaks down the fibres to extract the juice and is much easier than boiling 3 lbs rhubarb!
Sugar, I use organic, assuming that there is enough other nourishment in organic that I don’t need to use yeast nutrient.
Yeast, you can use and general purpose wine yeast, I use one called MA33 this is designed to ferment high acid musts.
Clean everything thoroughly, sterilise preferably, but wine is higher alcohol than beer and can therefore kill off more bacteria. I am careful but don’t go over the top.
Put the sugar into the clean bucket and pour over a couple of kettles of boiling water, stir to dissolve sugar. Add the rhubarb and top the water level up to one gallon, cover.
Let the contents cool to around 25 deg, that is just warm to your hands. Add the yeast, I use 1 tsp full and reseal the sachet, I just sprinkle it on the must and stir. Cover the bucket, if all you have is a tea-towel this will do. Leave is a place that is 20+ deg (if you haven’t this place things will take longer) in 24 hours it should be bubbling, stir twice a day for about 5 days.
When the foaming becomes less strain the rhubarb out, you can line a colander with a clean tea-towel, and decant into the demijohn. Top the contents up to about 1½ inches below the neck, just use tap water, it’s all I do. Fit the bung and bubbler (the bubbler needs to have water in it to stop anything getting in.
Your wine will start to bubble again, each blurp means the equivalent in alcohol! In about a month the bubbles will have really slowed and you need to rack it. If you have 2 demijohns this is easy as you simple siphon from one demi to the other, if not you will have to be creative! Leave all the dregs behind, again top the demi up, but this time to the neck, refit the bubbler. When all bubbles have ceased, about another month, then you can bottle it. At this stage it may be drinkable, but I keep mine for about a year, it does improve. You can mature the wine in a glass demijohn fitted with a pressure cap, or in 6 bottles, siphon the wine into clean bottles leaving the dregs behind, cap, cork or screw your top on. Mature the wine preferable in the dark.