How to Make Rhubarb Wine

 In the last couple of years, we have made a lot of wine at home.  It’s easy to do, and is good, cheap fun.  Yes, we have had a few flops (still need to dump a few bottles of dandelion wine that are in the basement) but many of them have been pretty darn good (especially elderberry wine!)  Our most successful country wine of 2013 was definitely a batch of Rhubarb Wine that Jeff made, following these instructions.  It yielded a beautiful rosé that we and our summer guests thoroughly enjoyed.  We were excited for rhubarb season to come, since we had polished off the last of it a couple of months ago.  A lot of the recipes Jeff followed ended up with really strong, really sweet wines that were more in the dessert wine category– but not this one!  We felt that it really competed with the bottles of rosé we were lugging back from France whenever we got the chance to drive across the channel.  You should definitely try it!How to Make Rhubarb Wine

How to Make Rhubarb Wine

What You’ll Need

    • 1.5kg (3.5 lb) rhubarb
    • 1.3kg (just under 3 lb) sugar– we like to use organic sugar or sucanat
    • 250ml (8 oz) white grape juice concentrate
    • 1 sachet general purpose white wine yeast
    • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
      In terms of supplies, there are a few basic items you should have.  You can often find these on craigslist, and definitely at a brewing supply store.  But you can also order them easily from amazon.  I have put together a little gizmo to show you what you’ll need.

What to Do:

1.  Chop the rhubarb stalk into thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick.IMG_80402. Put the chopped rhubarb into your (sterilized) fermentation bucket, and add the sugar and mix it together.  Put the lid on your container and leave it for three days.IMG_80493. Pound the pulp up a bit with a clean wine bottle or potato masher, then stir in three liters (a generous 3 quarts) of boiled but cooled water. Strain the pulp through a clean mesh strainer of piece of muslin into another clean bucket, add the grape juice concentrate and make it up to 4.5 litres (a generous 4.5 quarts) with more water. Add the yeast nutrient and sprinkle the yeast on top.

Cover this up with the lid, and leave for a week.

4. Using a funnel or a siphon hose, pour into a sterilized demijohn and add an airlock, leaving any dregs behind.IMG_85865.  After about a month, “rack” the rhubarb wine by siphoning into another sterilized demijohn.  Replace the airlock.

6.  You may choose to rack again in a few weeks, to further clarify your wine.  The picture below is where we’re at, one month into fermentation.  The flavor is developing nicely, but we’d like it to clear some more before we bottle it.IMG_85927.  When you’re happy with the clarity and there is no more fermentation happening (watch the airlocks for bubbles for a couple of minutes) then you are ready to siphon your rhubarb wine into sterilized bottles.  It will be ready to enjoy right away, but waiting will make it better.

Enjoy!

I am already enjoying a glass as I type this up– it’s incredibly gratifying to make good drinks with things that either grew in your own garden or nearby.  And, of course, at a fraction of the price.  Cheers!

P.S.  If you have kids who feel left out of the the home brewing action, you should definitely make up a batch of Rhubarb Soda with them!

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28 Responses to How to Make Rhubarb Wine

  1. Dominique April 2, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

    Wonderful!
    I made homemade cider much of the same way, but didn’t really like the taste in the end. I will definitely be trying out your recipe!!

    • ariana April 11, 2014 at 8:31 am #

      Great! Let us know how it turns out!

  2. Swamp Pixie (@PixiesPocket) April 2, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    If you have flops, pour them into a bucket or crock, and try adding a bit of the “mother” from apple cider vinegar to it and make it useful! It’ll become a vinegar after a bit of time.

    OR if you are in a place where you can use a still, distill icky wines or meads to make rather delicious booze (distill it three times, and you’ve got high-test moonshine!)

    I’ve never had rhubarb, but this sounds nummy.

    • ariana April 11, 2014 at 8:32 am #

      I would love to know someone with a still! I think I’ll try turning the dandelion wine into vinegar– why not? Thanks for the idea!

  3. Ian April 4, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

    How much does this recipe yield? I’m shopping from demijohns.

    • Ariana Mullins April 4, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

      We had a bit more than filled our 1 gallon demijohn– I kept in a large flip-top bottle, and will add it when we rack ours.

  4. Marie Loughin April 4, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

    Would you trade some rhubarb wine for a little statistical consulting? (Sorry, that’s all I have to offer.)

    • ariana April 11, 2014 at 8:33 am #

      Sounds good to me! :)

  5. Sue mckown April 4, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

    You might want to make sure the dandelion wine is still bad. Wine goes through a lot of changes once bottled. You can also amend it with acid or sugar to adjust the taste.

    • ariana April 11, 2014 at 8:34 am #

      It’s getting close to a year old now, and we keep tasting it. Still bad. I’ve added sugar, but it just tastes weird– kind of like tropical punch kool-aid, in a bad way! I think I’ll see what happens when I turn some into vinegar.

  6. sue April 10, 2014 at 7:53 am #

    im making rhubarb wine now. after only 5 days in demijohn movement in airlock has stopped but still see bubbles rising in demijohn..do you think that fermentation is stuck?

    • ariana April 11, 2014 at 8:38 am #

      Hi Sue. I don’t think fermentation is stuck. It’s just slowing down, and that’s normal. There is a lot of variability in terms of speed– for example, if your home is warm, it will go faster, and then die down more quickly. One way I check is to have a little taste and see how sweet it is– if it’s still a bit sweet, then I know there’s a lot more fermenting to do, as there is still sugar to metabolize. I’d give it a couple more weeks, rack it, and wait longer. The wine goes through a lot of different stages in terms of taste, so don’t worry if you don’t like the flavor yet or even in two weeks. Hang tight and see where it goes.

  7. Carly April 28, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

    I am so happy to have come across this post today!!! What a great way to start the day :) I have so much rhubarb that I’m always looking for a use for, and I love wine, and even more, I LOVE fermenting–so much so, that I have a heath and wellness blog (that I started back in January) and have a section dedicated to fermenting food (www.modernhippiehousewife.com). You make making wine sound so easy! Thanks so much! I

    • ariana May 20, 2014 at 9:43 am #

      Hi Carly, so glad you found this post, and that you can make some wine with all of that rhubarb! There are a lot more technical wine making blogs out there, but I think that can be really intimidating. I love just trying all of these projects, and find that they turn out well more often than not, even with a more laid-back approach. Hope your wine turns out great!

  8. John Naylor May 17, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    “A litre of water is a pint and three quarter”
    2 pints = 1 quart
    So a litre is not quite a quart rather than being generous.
    Hope this helps with the quantities!

    • ariana May 20, 2014 at 9:43 am #

      Thanks, John!

  9. Barbie Kossman May 21, 2014 at 3:09 am #

    I’m a bit confused. Sorry new at this. I’m stuck at: add the grape juice concentrate and make it up to 4.5 litres (a generous 4.5 quarts) with more water.. so how much grape juice concentrate to water. Also where did everyone find demijohn.

    • ariana May 21, 2014 at 9:03 am #

      Hi Barbie. Just add the 8 oz. grape juice to the mixture, and then add enough water until your total volume of wine comes to 4.5 litres. If you click on the little widget in the post that has brewing supplies, you will see a demijohn (big glass jug) there, and you can click to buy it on amazon, or look for it at a brewing supply store. Hope this helps!

  10. Shannon May 28, 2014 at 3:29 am #

    Quick question. Do you remove the rhubarb permanently after you add the boiled but cool water ? I would think you would add the rhubarb back to the bucket w some enzyme to help break down the rhubarb further and then leave in bucket till fermentation has completed in the bucket

  11. vjg86 June 2, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

    I have a 5 gallon carboy (demijohn), Can I multiply the recipe to fill it completely?

  12. eatmyblog July 25, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

    Hiya – followed your recipe, but when I got to the end of three days and was preparing to add the cooled water and whatnot, my rhubarb was covered in an inch of mold. I had sanitized the heck out of everything, and double washed the rhubarb… my garden has a bit left, but I don’t want it to go the same way as the first batch. Any thoughts?

  13. Krisha August 18, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

    I tried this and it molded in the primary. I would suggest adding a cambden tablet to the sugar/fruit mush or pasteurizing it before the Primary.

  14. Larry Adamson August 22, 2014 at 2:01 am #

    Those looking for 5 gal jug’s ? I use water cooler containers that bottled water comes in , they work great
    And they are plastic , ( unbreakable ) you can get them from the bottled water co. Cheap.
    Thank’s. L.A.

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