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What is Rhubarb Wine?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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Rhubarb wine is an alcoholic beverage made using rhubarb in a way similar to other forms of wine that often use grapes or other fruit. This type of wine is clear, despite the red or pink coloration initially provided by the rhubarb, and is noted for its dryness and tart taste. While it is commercially available, it is also a fairly simple wine to make, and is often made by both commercial bottlers and those interested in trying their hand at amateur wine-making. Rhubarb wine production can be fairly time-consuming, however, since it must ferment and age like any other type of wine.

Though rhubarb wine can be purchased and enjoyed commercially, it is a common type of wine for home production due to the relative simplicity of making it. Creating this wine typically only requires some rhubarb, sugar, yeast, and a number of devices for wine-making. A 5 gallon (just under 19 liters) bucket and carboy are often suggested, though any large container could potentially be used. Making rhubarb wine can also be easier through the use of a fermentation trap that can fit into the neck of the carboy, to ensure flies and bacteria cannot get into the fermenting wine.

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Rhubarb wine begins with rhubarb that is cut into small pieces, though some recipes also suggest freezing the pieces overnight before using them. About 20 pounds (just over 9 kg) of rhubarb are used to make 24 bottles of wine, though this amount can be adjusted to produce smaller quantities. Any containers used in the wine-making process should be sterilized prior to use; a “campden” tablet is typically crushed into some water and used to clean out containers, which are then flushed with clear water before use. The cut rhubarb and a good amount of sugar are placed in a bucket and covered overnight, allowing liquids to be drawn out from the rhubarb to form the basis of the rhubarb wine.

This liquid is then poured into a carboy and the remaining rhubarb pieces squeezed in a piece of cheesecloth to get as much liquid from them as possible. Yeast is then added to this liquid and it is allowed to ferment for six to eight weeks. A fermentation trap can be used during this time, which allows gases from the fermentation to escape the bottle, but prevents insects and bacteria from entering the fermenting wine.

The rhubarb wine becomes clear during fermentation. Once complete, it can be carefully siphoned from the carboy, without disturbing any sediment at the bottom, and bottled. These bottles should be corked and allowed to age at least another two weeks, after which the rhubarb wine can be enjoyed.

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