If you have one or more peach trees, you likely have more peaches than you know what to do with. Yes, peach jam and canned peaches are good, but who needs a pantry full? Peaches aren’t like lemons that you can pick for months and months off the tree. Peaches ripen nearly all at once and they either fall on the ground or the birds get them if you aren’t quick. You must do something with them right away. Why not make wine? Until this year I had never even thought to make wine with peaches. Oh how I rejoice that my eyes have been opened to the possibility! My Master Gardener friend, Kathy, gave me a bottle of her peach wine, and I have to tell you it was the best sparkling wine I have ever tasted! It was like a Gewürztraminer with a hint of fresh peach. Kathy said it doesn’t always turn out sparkling, but it’s always good.
So now that my Desert Gold peaches are nearly ripe, I’m getting ready. If you would like to make some peach wine with me, here is what you need:
Note: You can freeze the peaches whole, juiced, or cut up until you have enough.
Needed for Day 1
- 6.5 gal food grade bucket (primary fermenter) or larger ($12.99+)
- Lid with hole and rubber gasket for airlock to fit ($2.99)
- airlock ($1.99)
- Mesh bag for fruit ($14.99 or make your own) It needs to be long enough to tie or have another way to close it up. Not needed if using juice only.
- Sanitizer (IsoSan $16.99 for 16 oz) or use bleach
- Long handle spoon ($4-5) to stir in bucket (I use a stainless steel one I already had)
- Hydrometer ($14.99)
- Measuring cups, measuring spoons
Needed for Day 2
- airlock ($1.99)
Needed for Day 5 or 7 and remaining racking and bottling days
- 5 gal carboy (Secondary Fermenter) ($20+)
- 6 feet of siphon tubing with a racking cane
Needed for Bottling Day
- Around 25 wine bottles (free if you save and clean yours)
- 25 corks ($.12-.24/each)
- bottle corker ($20)
- 28 lbs. peaches
- 7.5 lbs. Sugar
- 2 tsp. Yeast Nutrient
- 2 tsp. Yeast Energizer
- Citric Acid or Lemon Juice (to make pH = 3.4-3.6)
- 3 tsp. Pectic Enzyme
- 4 Campden Tabs
- 1 pkg. Yeast EC-1118
- 1.5 gal Water (plus more to equal 5 gal)
The first thing you want to do whenever you are making fermented foods or drinks, is to make sure you have a clean, sanitized workspace. I usually clean up the kitchen and fill the sink with hot water with either bleach or IsoSan sanitizer. Then I wipe everything down with a rag that was soaked in that water. I also place all my tools and utensils in the sink to sanitize. Bleach requires 15 minutes of soak time to sanitize, while IsoSan is instant.
Note: Desert Gold Peaches are not freestone, so they are a pain to deal with. I froze them overnight and let them thaw before processing. It makes them mushy so it’s easier to get the seed out by squishing them. I then used a food mill to make a pulpy juice. My friend uses a JuiceMan type of juicer. Use whatever you have. I have another recipe where you just use the fruit in a mesh bag (much easier).
Dissolve 7.5 lbs Sugar (15 cups) in 1.5 gal hot water. Add this to the bucket with the juice, this equaled around 4.75 gal. Add enough water to equal 5 gal.
Check OG (1.092) – Adjust as necessary with water and/or sugar
Note: Hydrometers measure the specific gravity (SG) of liquids—the ratio of the density of the liquid to the density of water.
OG =Origninal Gravity. Use a hydrometer to measure this. Plain water measures 1.0 and the reading gets higher the more sugar you add, so if it is more than 1.092 add water a little at a time, and if it is lower add sugar. Mine read at 1.092 (increments of 2, from 1.0). It was perfect at 5 gallons. (I don’t know if it needs to be perfect)
Add 4 Campden Tabs (crushed)
2 tsp. Yeast Nutrient
2 tsp. Yeast Energizer
3 tsp. Pectic Enzyme
The Campden tablets (sodium metabisulfite) release sulfur gas which kills any natural yeasts that were present on the peaches. This gives you a clean slate for adding your own yeast.
After 24 hours, sprinkle the EC-1118 yeast over the top of the juice mixture.
Cover with the cheesecloth or dish towel (this prevents flies and wild yeast from invading).
After 5 Days, Rack to Secondary – Add Sanitized Airlock
After Fermentation is complete, rack & add first Finings
When clear, rack and filter
When clear, bottle – Add ½ tsp Ascorbic Acid per gal & appropriate amount of Potassium Sorbate