This blog is a record of the wine that I make and drink. Each flavour made and each bottle drunk will appear here. You may come to the conclusion that, on the whole, I should be drinking less.

Sunday 24 May 2020

Rhubarb Wine 2020 - The Making Of...

I have been concerned about rhubarb stocks for wine this year. On the basis that non-essential travel is at best frowned upon and at worst illegal, getting rhubarb from Nick - who lives in Morley and is my usual rhubarb source - wasn't really an option. Whilst we have plenty of rhubarb plants in both front and back gardens, many are junior and a bit weedy. Those that are not are mostly used to make porridge more interesting. I managed to persuade Claire that there would be enough for me to make a single batch of pure rhubarb wine and then, in June, a batch of rhubarb, elderflower & mint - but really I wanted to do a double batch of the former. In years gone by, I have done a triple.

One of our less weedy rhubarbs
It was fortuitous, then, that a couple of weeks ago there was a stormy night (no rain, just wind) that wreaked havoc on our neighbour Liz's rhubarb plant, but which left ours pretty much unscathed. Liz did a batch of wine herself but asked whether I would like any too and brought round 3 lbs in return for a teaspoon of yeast. I chopped these stalks and left them in the freezer for a week or so, getting them out to defrost on Sunday morning, 17th May. Later that day, I negotiated carefully with Claire about which rhubarb plants from our garden could donate another 3 lbs of stalks and once collected I washed and chopped these too.

All rhubarb pieces, including the recently defrosted ones, went into my bucket along with all the sugar I had - 4 lbs 12 oz - and 12½ pints of boiling water. I really needed to put in 6 lbs of sugar, but thought that putting in the remainder later would probably be fine.

On Monday morning I added a teaspoon each of yeast, nutrient and pectolase, and on Tuesday I ventured out for sugar. Baking products are scarce in this era of Covid 19 and all Sainsburys stored was dark brown sugar (though I did manage to grab a bag of white bread flour, which has become as rare as the Siberian Tiger, and don't talk to me about bread yeast!), so I used this instead. Brown sugar is far bulkier than white and I am concerned that it will affect the flavour - it has certainly altered the colour - so I only used 1 lb of this.

I put the wine into its demijohns on Friday 22nd May. There was more sludge that usual, and I think this is because I froze half the rhubarb. The wine is more orange than pink.

If you want to see how this wine turned out, click here.


  1. Keep us posted how the brown sugar worked. Thanks

    1. Will do - though I won't know for at least 6 months! I will rack this in about 6 weeks, but the taste I get at that stage is less than a decent sip, so I doubt I will be able to tell at that point.