Homemade Rhubarb Wine

"Rhubarb Wine Jar"

Jason Walker/Heavy Table

Last April, this recipe showed up in the Churn’s Flickr Photo Roundup. Wanting to make homemade booze without much effort, and being a huge rhubarb fan, I had to give it a try.

Turned out pretty easy, provided you are patient. Each step can take weeks, and the wine is not worth sampling until at least six months’ aging. Wait about a year, though, for the effusive sweetness to wear off, and it’s downright decent. No wine connoisseur or even a casual fan will consider this a remarkable product, but for the do-it-yourselfer with simple expectations, it’s surprisingly drinkable.

It’s rhubarb season, so finding five pounds either from your patch or the farmers market won’t be difficult. The recipe states to cover the rhubarb with boiling water – in my crock, that became one and a half gallons of liquid.

Jason Walker/Heavy Table

From there you strain, heat and add fruit, sugar and yeast. The original recipe called for an incredible amount of sugar – nine cups per gallon of liquid. I shrunk that to seven, and it worked well.

Jason Walker/Heavy Table

Also, once the wine is siphoned into the glass bottles, it can set for months and probably years in a cool, dark place. Mason jars with caps and bands work great to loosely cover the wine. It will be super-sweet at first, but given time, the rhubarb flavor will shine through.

Jason Walker/Heavy Table

Make this in spring, and it should be really good come the holidays. It’s sweet, tangy and enjoyable. Drink alone or as an aperitif, or mix with club soda or lemon-lime pop, or add to a gin and tonic. Considering the small amount of work required, it makes a damn fine sippin’ wine.

Here’s my amended version of the original recipe:

Rhubarb Wine
Finely dice five pounds rhubarb and put into a crock. Cover with boiling water and let stand three days. Strain.

Heat clear juice to almost boiling, measure and return to clean crock.

For each gallon of liquid add two oranges and one lemon, sliced very thin.

Add seven cups of sugar for each gallon of liquid.

When lukewarm, add yeast (for two gallons, add about ¼ ounce yeast). Stir well and let ferment about a week.

Strain, return to clean crock and let set about two weeks.

Siphon into clean glass bottles, put on covers very loosely and let set until it turns clear. This will take several months. Taste-test often until wine reaches desired flavor and smoothness.

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About the Author

Jason Walker

Jason Walker was born and raised in Kansas, where he grew up loving his grandmother’s homemade noodles and weekly fried fish. A summer internship in Milwaukee turned Jason and his wife, Leita, into die-hard fans of the Northwoods culture, and they moved to Minneapolis in 2006. Immediately the quality of food and drink in the Twin Cities was impressive – that even the most unassuming bar usually had a decent menu – and Jason knew he was home. Now living in the Fulton neighborhood with two kids, Jason grows tomatoes, cans voraciously, and badgers his neighbors with conversations about restaurants.

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11 Comments

  1. I might have to give this a try.

    Although the recipe doesn’t specify, I think using a true wine yeast as opposed to regular bread yeast would help lower the finishing gravity (residual sugar) faster and would also improve the flavor.

    Lots of great choices here, starting at $0.59 – http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/wine-ingredients/wine-yeast

  2. I’ve got rhubarb-I’m going to give it a shot! Thanks Heavy Table, for all your great ideas. As a direct result of your articles, I’m now in my 2nd season of bee keeping, & tried cheese making (not a hobby for those seeking instant gratification!). Keep up the great work!

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys — Josie in particular. Always great to hear that people are out there turning our stories into real, local, edible (and drinkable) food.

  4. Brenda 05/29/2011 Reply

    My grandma used to make rhubarb wine, but the recipe I have from her is pretty vague. I would love to try it some day, with the help of your instructions. In the meantime…have you tried the rhubarb wine from Prairie Berry Winery in the Black Hills, SD? It’s fabulous!

  5. Scott Henderson 05/30/2011 Reply

    This is so cool! I posted this recipe to flickr. My Mother used this recipe to make her rhubarb wine. I havent had the oppertunity to make this yet. Im glad you got good results from the recipe

  6. Sharona 06/06/2012 Reply

    Just made my first batch of rhubarb wine. Can I put my wine in mason jars with clean lids like my grandparents did? Just wondering how I would do that. Thanks for the help.

  7. Author
    Jason Walker 06/06/2012 Reply

    Sharona, yes, that’s how I did it – siphoned into clean mason jars and just loosely cover with a lid and band. You might try not only putting it in a cool, dry place, like a basement, but also covering it with a towel or something.
    I’d love to hear how it turns out! Email me at jason@heavytable.com if you have an update someday.

  8. We have been making dandelion wine for a few years and I love my receipe not only because it is good but because it is simple. No fancy ingredients or equipment, just a crock. I have been looking for a similar recipe for Rhubarb wine and I think yours looks like what I have been looking for. I am going to try it. Thank you.
    Belva

  9. I’m giving this recipe a try as we speak!! Put it together and added the yeast yesterday and checked it today and it’s working like crazy!! Hopefully it turns out good!!

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