Chinese records indicate that people cultivated rhubarb as early as 2700 B.C. There the plant became part of healing techniques for curing fever during the Liang dynasty, and for the plague in the Song dynasty. In America, notations about rhubarb wine appear in the 1800s such as the menu from the White Horse Hotel in Milton.
You can learn to make and refine rhubarb wine at home. Rhubarb wine, and other vegetable, fruit and flower wines, is often cloudy at first. Clarifying home-brewed wine makes it clearer and removes excess sediment.
Siphon off the rhubarb wine after eight weeks of fermenting into a carboy. Do not put the siphon all the way to the bottom. You want to avoid sediment.
Let the wine remain in the carboy covered. Put this in a cool, dark area for another four weeks. Check the wine for cloudiness. If any remains, add bentonite. This substance helps clear wines with high-pulp contents like rhubarb.
Mix 354ml. of filtered water with 28.4gr. of bentonite clay in a container. Cover and shake daily for three days until thoroughly integrated. Add 207ml. of the water-bentonite mix to 5 gallons of rhubarb wine and stir to mingle. Let that sit for two weeks.
Siphon off the clarified rhubarb wine into sterilised bottles. Cork tightly. Label with the type of wine and date bottled. Keep these in a cool, dark area for about eight months, then enjoy.
- "The Wine Maker's Answer Book"; Alison Crowe Alison Crowe; 2007.
- Keep your wine in an extra cooler. That way, if there is some leftover fermentation that causes popping corks, the cleanup is fast and easy.
- Ongoing filtration causes some flavour loss, so consider bottling part of your wine as it clarifies, moving any cloudy residue into a secondary container for fining.