I make rhubarb wine every year. I get about 6 fl oz/lb (400 ml/kg) of juice when I thaw frozen rhubarb, and since I use about 3 lb/gal (360 g/L) of rhubarb I need to add a lot of water. But 6 fl oz/lb scales up to over 4.5 gallons from 100 lb of “fruit.” That’s not far from the yield I expect from grapes, and it made me wonder about making rhubarb wine without added water. When the Lynfred Winery announced a commercial rhubarb wine, I wondered even more. Can commercial wineries add water? I don’t think they can, so I asked them how they made their wine. They were kind enough to explain their method: thaw frozen rhubarb, add sugar to about 20 Brix, then pitch the yeast. No added water and no neutralizing the oxalic acid. They did mention that the wine needed residual sugar to balance the acid.
I think I’m going to need a lot of rhubarb this year … and maybe a bottle of Lynfred’s Rhubarb.
Knowledge is power: What winemakers need to know about rhubarb
For more information about rhubarb, like how acidic is it? how much sugar? and other things winemakers need to know when they make rhubarb wine, see here ~ Know Your Ingredients: Rhubarb.
Update 3/28/2011: Commercial Raspberry Wine is made the same way
Homemade raspberry wine is also made with a small amount of fruit and a lot of water. Why? Rhubarb and raspberries are both highly acidic, so commercial wineries approach raspberry wine the same way Lynfred makes rhubarb wine: All fruit with little or no added water, sugar to bring the must up to wine strength, and sweetening to balance the acidity.
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