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 (I ended up dumping a few bottles of dandelion wine down the drain) 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 as he experimented with country wines 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!Print
How to Make Rhubarb Wine at Home
You will be so happily surprised by how easy it is to make a truly delicious Rhubarb Wine at home! This easily competes with our favorite rosé wines.
- 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, or you can order them on amazon (the links below take you there).
- Fermentation bucket
- Airlocks with rubber stoppers
- Siphon hose
- a funnel
- Wine bottles (we usually just sanitize our old ones), corks, and a corker, OR swing-top bottles
- Sterilization solution
1. Chop the rhubarb stalk into thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick.2. 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.3. 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.5. 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.7. 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.
I am already enjoying a glass of Rhubarb Wine 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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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!!
Great! Let us know how it turns out!
Hi Ariana, This is my first time with wine making, and thought I should bring rhubarb to the boil for few seconds to get rid of bacteria then I have added the sugar, now I am wondering if I am too clever and have ruined the intended wine and should just make some crumble pudding and start again, but wonder just how do you get rid of the bacteria in the first place. Thanks Carol
Kath Farr says
Camden tablets are good for getting rid of bacteria, correct me if I’m wrong. I think boiling your rhubarb will make the wine hard to clear. A good book for beginners is C J J Berry.
I removed the lid from the rhubarb/sugar mixture on the third day, and it was all moldy. Bummer to have wasted the rhubarb and sugar!
John Kadlec says
Did you have the rhubarb/sugar in a fridge for the 3 days or sitting out in room temperature?
Richard Abel says
What would happen if the lid came off the container while the yeast and the nutrient were working?
Alwyn Burnell says
Hi Can anyone say how alcoholic this is when bottled please
William Halsall says
Almost certainly the must will have wild yeast and bacteria in it. Most times it probably does not matter, however camden tablets are cheap. Put two crushed tablets in at the start, and stir to mix.Add Bentonite (https://winemakermag.com/715-using-fining-agents-techniques) Keep the top well sealed, either with a close fitting lid, or a towel tied round the top.
debbie rhodes says
I think my fermentation is stuck. No bubbles appearing in airlock ?
Brooke Britnell says
I followed your recipe for the last 4 years. every year now i have had great success. thank you for writing the article. it was of great help.
Swamp Pixie (@PixiesPocket) says
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.
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!
My parents always made dandelion wine. The thing with dandelion wine is that people try to drink it too soon. Dandelion wine gets much better with age. I’ve got a bottle of it that my parents made about 15 years ago. When they first made it, it tased very bitter. But with sitting in the fruit cellar for 15 years the dandelion wine is now a warm, smooth, sweet wine. Let it sit and then try it in a couple of years from now. It will keep getting better year after year.
Freeze your wine and strain into another container. Alcohol will not freeze😀
Yep, it does not freeze as you say, l did it with a cask of cheap wine from the supermarket …….
I put it into the freezer to chill it down on one very hot day and forgot it until the next day
One glass and l was seeing double, well, not quite but one glass was like l had had 4 glasses of wine straight off , but made the cheap wine real nice and flavoursome, Big hang over though lol
How much does this recipe yield? I’m shopping from demijohns.
Ariana Mullins says
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.
When you add the yeast to the bucket and leave for a week shouldn’t it foam and bubble,mine is at day two and nothing
I’m exactly the same Jason. I’ve stirred it up a few times to try and put some vigour into it but still nothing…
If you still don’t see any action, it wouldn’t hurt to try again with a fresh pack of yeast.
Tried this but it came out way too sweet and ai kly. Hydrometer said it was 11%. Is the recipe over heavy on sugar? Need to rectify but only see people saying to blend it with another. Is there no way you can introduce more yeast after fermentation has stopped to regenerate and use up sugar? Need to get my skates on as i have organised a village wine tasting in early sept!!!
Marie Loughin says
Would you trade some rhubarb wine for a little statistical consulting? (Sorry, that’s all I have to offer.)
Sounds good to me! 🙂
Sue mckown says
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.
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.
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?
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.
If there’s bubbles there it’s still fermenting. Maybe it’s in a cool place. Try a warm cupboard or a sugar topup made up with 3oz of sugar to half pint of cooled boiled water.
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
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!
John Naylor says
“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!
Barbie Kossman says
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.
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!
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
I like your enzymatic activity addition, you could also add corn meal or any carbohydrate with the enzyme getting more free sugar, it all depends on the benefits derived of course.
I have a 5 gallon carboy (demijohn), Can I multiply the recipe to fill it completely?
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?
I would have thought you would have to sterilize the rhubarb itself first by pouring boiling water over it, I’m going to mash the rhubarb slices with a rolling pin end then pour boiling water over and no sugar, cover leave 3 days. Otherwise you are bound to get mould and other microbes from unsterilized rhubarb
Martin Ede says
I just made some rhubarb wine in a similar way and got the mould cap too but I skimmed the top layer off. I then strained the remaining juice through a muslin cloth. The result looks OK so now I’ll pitch the yeast and see how it goes with a little shop bought nutrient.
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.
This a probably a daft question, but can you still use the liquid if you take out the moldy rhubarb?
Larry Adamson says
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.
Just made Rhubarb wine from a gallon juice pulp concentrate which was slightly working when I got it. First I heated rhubarb juice to 170 to kill any yeast. Added 5 lbs white sugar syrup and water to 3 gallons. Left covered in SS pot till cool. Transferred to plastic steral lidded with water lock, bucket. Added wine yeast. It worked for 3 weeks. Then racked. (with strain bag) Tasted, sweetness was fine for me so placed in SS lidded bucket with thermometer set at 165 Heated on stove. When alarm went off moved and let it cool in lidded ss pot. Bottled. The result is pasteurized wine that will keep for years.
Completed a 2nd transfer to demijohn to clear rhubarb wine a little more but it tastes very dry. Can I add more sugar to the demijohn at this stage?
Chris, you can definitely add more sugar at this stage. I often taste and adjust as I go.
julian clarke says
Having made rhubarb wine before I found some would turn out to be bitter or sweet, but mixed together resolved the taste issue.I have made 5 gallons using your recipe, the fermentation is now in its second month and as yet to clear but I do think it will take a lot longer than the suggested month to start clearing. This now sits along side my 14 gallons of cider. I will let you know how it tastes.
Catherine Hillis says
I didn’t understand the 4.5 liters after adding the grape juice and added 4.5 liters of water what now it tastes great but did I ruin it or can I just put it in the demijohn
So how did the rhubarb wine turn out? I’d love to know how it tastes. I like the taste of rhubarb… I imagine the wine might be like a white wine grapefruit strawberry mix? Is that about right?
I’ve made rhubarb wine many times – I think it’s my favorite! Rosemary, if you can imagine drinking a piece of rhubarb pie with a kick, THAT’S what the wine tastes like!
julian clarke says
This wine tasted gorgeous, even though there wasn’t a overall taste of rhubarb itself, but was smooth and slightly fruity. I’m now embarking on making 9 gallons. I’m fortunate that my soil grows the best rhubarb this side of the Mississippi
So glad to hear this report, Julian! This is one of our favorites, for sure!
julian clarke says
Many thanks Ariana , I’m just going to embark on making 9 gallons of rhubarb wine using your delightful recipe Cheers Julian
julian s clarke says
Arianna Just to let you know that the wine turned out quite sweet but mixed with tonic water still goes down well
Alan Jones says
My smaller carboy is about 12 liters so I am thinking of doubling the recipe. Anyone try doubling it?
Eileen Oxby says
every wine i have made i have always doubled i never make just one gallon it is usulyabout 6 to 8 at a time and i just
treble the ingreedients to what andhow much i make and they have always turned out great and strong i some times buy those little bottles of concentrated of what ever goes with it some times it is just guess work and i have let other people try them and every one has said that they are great and very strong and say they could soon get drunk on them i have given loades away Eileen
WHEN I FINISH IT AND TASTE IT I WILL TELL YOU. .
Hi there I have a load of rhubarb I have came across this recipe and like the idea of it , but you have no mention of campton tabs and also no use of a hydrometer you say about adding sugar but wont this start up the ferment and cause the bottles to blow if it has not all be used up by the yeast also can you double this recipe by using 2 packs yeast etc thanks 😀
Stephen SG says
The campden tablet should be added after the fruit has been chopped before adding the sugar and remain for a period of three days. Your hydrometer reading should be taken before adding the yeast. The fermentation that occurs is to get the fuller juice before transferring to the demijohn leaving any dregs behind.
Stephen SG says
What You’ll Need, should also include “Precipitated chalk”, This is required to neutralize the oxalic acid.
Stephen SG says
What You’ll Need, should also include “Pectin destroying enzyme”, this should be added before the yeast
Crazy Cunner says
Just wondering when you add the yeast, do you put a normal lid on for week?
I use a fermentation bucket that has an airlock top. There will definitely be CO2 created, so having a way to let air out without letting anything else in is a good idea.
Great post! I used this recipe as partial inspiration for my wine!
Just wondering what’s the alcohol % of the finished product.
I don’t keep track of alcohol percentages at this point. I have a hydrometer and they are not too hard to use. I would just do a search on using a hydrometer, and then make that part of your process when you make the wine. The yeast you use will also affect the alcohol levels.
Garry W says
my batches have varied between 5% and 14%….due to the small opps, of not adding enough sugar on the lower content. My percentages are based on hydrometer readings prior to fermenting, based on sugar content and some goofy formula some scientist came up with..but reliable sources said the 14% was fairly accurate due to the amount of fuzzy they felt that evening….
stephen harris says
hi,followed your recipe for rhubarb wine,just transferred to a demijohn but it seems to have stopped working.
Mark C says
Hi there i have followed this recipe and im at the bottle stage i have added a full 250ml grape concentrate to try and back sweeten the wine as it tastes not nice at all it seems awful strong and quite sour even after the 250mls to backsweet its really not much better , ive bottled it up hoping that it maybe be better in a few months but i reckon it could be heading for the sink…… i was expecting a juicy fruity light wine but that dont seem to be what i have.
Garry Wolske says
I started making the wine for rhubarb wine vinegar…well, the locals like the wine so much I’m fermenting my 3rd 5 gallon batch and only have 3 gallons of vinegar to show for my efforts….to bad I’m allergic to alcohol…so much rhubarb and so little time!!
Mary Sievers says
I found your recipe for rhubarb wine in 2014, had never made wine and wanted to try it because my rhubarb was out of control. It has now become my favorite wine and I can’t keep enough for friends. Even though the wine seems clear it develops sediment and stringy things after bottled. I started more July 2015 bottled it in April 2016 and still have sediment. Any words of wisdom?? I really like that you use natural ingredients.
It makes me very happy to hear that you are getting so much mileage out of this recipe! For the sediment, I would recommend racking more often, and maybe leaving more liquid and sediment behind when you do it. You lose some wine this way, but leaving a bigger margin will help with getting a clearer wine. There are also some additives you can use to clear it more, such as pectinase– which is an enzyme that will break down the fruit fibers more. I tend to not use anything but pectinase since I like to keep it simple, but check out this article on using different fining agents: https://winemakermag.com/715-using-fining-agents-techniques
diane dodd says
HELP, I sterilsed everything, washed all of the rhubarb throughly before chopping, i have just taken the lid from my bucket to be greeted with some mould on the rhubarb. Does this mean game over or is there a way that i can overcome this?
All is not lost! Just strain all of the mold off of the top and carry on. Have you added yeast yet? If not, that is good news– once you introduce the yeast it should overpower the other bacteria.
John Kadlec says
I am making rhubarb wine for the first time. When I get the rhubarb and sugar mixed together do I let it sit for the 3 days in a fridge or sit in room temperature?
I leave it at room temperature. Good luck!
Shurely you don’t call it a ‘Country Wine’ as you have put grape juice in it.
wayne hogan says
Surely is a great budget wine,well on my way here…thank you very much.
Sharron Hardwick says
Thanks for the recipient and instructions. This is my first wine making attempt. I’ve got to the stage where the wine has been in ihe demijohn for a month and I’ve siphoned it into a clean dj. There was nothing much in the air lock(is this a pro?), but it was fizzing… This has now stopped, so I am wondering if I can try a glass yet, or do I need to wait? Hope you can help. Thanks Sharron
Hi, I’m looking forward to trying this but don’t have too much fresh rhubarb. Would frozen, once thawed out be ok to bulk up my fresh produce at the first stage?
Matthew Plaster says
I used your recipe last summer. Just cracked the first bottle at about 10 months. You weren’t kidding it is delightful. I split the batch in half and added a cinnamon stick during the second rack. turned out great!! Thank you very much
Excellent! Thank you for taking the time to report back on your results!
ANN HUNT says
When I put the yeast in Rhubarb in bucket, I put lid on and it looked about to burst after a day so I lifted the lid to let some of the gases out and left loosely as I was concerned the bucket may explode. Was this Ok to do ?
Apologies for the late reply! Yes, it’s fine to let the gas out of the bucket. You just want to prevent bugs and things from flying in, but it’s no problem for it to “breathe” at this point.
I hope it turned out well for you!
David Bewers says
Just so I’m clear on this, I am straining the juice into another bucket, adding yeast, nutrient, and water to just the juice and discarding the pulp, correct?
Yes, after three days of the fruit sitting in the bucket with the sugar, you strain out all of the fruit and move forward with only the juice.
David Bewers says
Got it. Thank you so much for the speedy answer. Guess I’ll go add it to the composter.
Instead of draining the juice through muslin I was wondering if it would be ok to put the rhubarb through the juicer. Would this be ok?
Just put in demijohns and left it for a few hours but nothing is happening help please x
It takes time, my friend! Just let it be, and in a few days you may see some slow bubbles coming up through the airlock.
Amy Smith says
I’m having so much fun trying to make wine! Thank you for the help. Yours is the recipe I’m trying. Can this be doubled if desired?
Gordon Sharp says
I have picked rhubarb from the garden but don’t have enough and can’t buy any more at the moment. Could I substitute strawberries for some of the rhubarb? If so would this alter the recipe and method?
Made 1 gal of this wine back in May when the rhubarb was in season. Three months later I’ve finally opened my first bottle of it. This is an excellent light white wine. Many compliments about the refreshing taste and how light it was. Looking forward to making 5 gal next year!
Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know how yours turned out! I’m so pleased!
Jeffrey Darling says
I was a bit skeptical but I had plenty of Rhubarb to use so I went for it. Just finished bottling 5 gallons and it is delicious. Can’t wait to share with friends and family. Thanks for the recipe!
Ariana Mullins says
Thank you for taking the time to come let us know how yours turned out. I’m so pleased!
Robert O'Mahony says
I have made rhubarb wine for the first time in August i made 20 litres i have tried it just over a week ago and it tastes very nice indeed
Terry Dechaine says
So I have two questions would the recipe work with frozen rhubarb? And how long does it take roughly from start to finish?
Robert O'Mahony says
I have made rhubarb wine my friends say its the best wine they have ever tasted they said its devine
If I double the recipe to 7 #’s of rhubarb, would 1 packet of white wine yeast still be sufficient?
Just making a second batch as the first is still aging. Wanted to share that I found cooking down the macerated rhubarb after straining out the juice makes a fantastic compote.
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