How to Make Simple, Homemade Peach Wine - Delishably - Food and Drink
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How to Make Simple, Homemade Peach Wine

Rachel is a soap-making, wine-brewing small farmer in Minnesota. She runs One23 Farm with her husband, a dozen sheep, and a blue heeler dog.

The Old Peach Tree

how-to-make-peach-wine-a-simple-peach-wine-recipe

Before We Get Started...

I want to tell you how to make peach wine, but first I have to tell you a short story. Bear with me.

We have a little orchard with over 30 young apple trees that don’t bear fruit yet, one old cherry tree, one old pear tree, and one old peach tree. This peach tree is one of the saddest excuses for a fruit tree I’ve ever seen. In fact, I spent my first winter here swearing it was a plum tree—David believed it was a peach, and he turned out to be right.

I was roaming around our little orchard some time ago after doing some mowing with the brush cutter and saw, to my surprise, peaches on the peach tree! This was the first time in three summers I have seen this thing bear fruit.

By my reckoning, there were two dozen peaches on that tree.

Holy. Cow.

I picked one, even though I knew the fruits weren’t ripe yet. I bit in, and despite the hardness of the flesh, it was the most delicious peach I’d ever tasted. It tasted like “peach flavoring” wants to taste.

I skipped off to find David and tell him about the peaches and to let him have a bite (I finished the peach before I found him though, oops). I raved about these peaches for about 20 minutes, with visions of peach wine, peach cobbler, peach preserves, and pancakes with peaches dancing in my head. David recommended that we wait a week or so for them to ripen. I agreed.

Well, about a week later, I returned to the tree in the middle of a thunderstorm, afraid the rain and wind would knock all of the peaches off the tree… only to find that the peaches were gone. All of them! I couldn’t even find one measly peach on the ground!

Deer, squirrels, raccoons, maybe even my goat; somebody got there before I did.

The lesson? I should have picked them when I had the chance and made wine.

Or built a fortress around the orchard—either way.

How to Make Peach Wine

And now for the recipe!

Things You Will Need

  • 1 clean and sanitary plastic bucket for primary fermentation
  • 1 glass or plastic bottle, 1 gallon size, for secondary fermentation
  • 1 knife for cutting
  • 1 plastic zipper-close bag, some cheesecloth, or a nylon bag
  • Measuring cup(s)
  • 1 small container for yeast starter

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds fresh peaches (not overripe, but a little under ripe is fine)
  • 1 pound sugar (Alternative: 1 pound of sugar for every pound of fruit)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon yeast (wine or brewer’s yeast is best, but I guess baker’s yeast will work)
  • Water

An Overview of the Process

Here's a quick glimpse at the five phases of making this wine:

  1. Making a Yeast Starter
  2. Preparing the Peaching
  3. Making the Wine
  4. Secondary Fermentation
  5. Aging the Wine

Phase One: Make a Yeast Starter

This will help get the fermentation going in the peach wine much faster than if you added the dormant yeast directly to the peach juices.

In a glass or small container, pour about ½ cup orange juice. Pitch the yeast into this. Let it sit in a warm place out of direct sunlight for a few hours or until you see foaming action. When the OJ stops looking like OJ and starts looking frothy, your yeast is active and ready to go!

Phase Two: Prepare the Peaches

Wash the peaches thoroughly under running water. Remove stems and leaves. Cut away any bruised or discolored portions.

It’s important to make sure that you wash the peaches, and don’t include any damaged or otherwise strange-looking pieces in your must. (“Must” refers to the unfermented mixture of fruit juices and sugars.) Bruises are breeding grounds for bacteria, and you don’t want that in your ingredients.

I don’t use campden tablets, which contain a chemical that will kill bacteria and wild yeast if added to the must. You may choose to use one if you like; if you do, let the must sit for 24 hours before adding the yeast. Personally, I don’t believe in putting any chemicals in my homemade products, especially the ones I’m going to consume. Kind of defeats the purpose for me.

Phase Three: Make the Wine!

  1. After you’ve cleaned up the peaches and disposed of undesirable sections, you should quarter the peaches and remove the pits.
  2. Put the cut-up peach pieces in the plastic bag, cheesecloth, or nylon bag (whichever you chose to use) and squeeze over the bucket. If you're using the plastic bag method (like I did because I was out of cheesecloth), simply squeeze the juice out of the peaches as best you can and dump all of the bag’s contents straight into the bucket.
  3. If you are using cheesecloth or a nylon bag, tie it off and place that in the bucket, as well.
  4. Pour in ½ cup of orange juice. Hold off on the yeast starter for now.
  5. In a separate container, mix ½ gallon water with 1 pound of sugar. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Alternatively, you could boil the sugar and water together. This will help the sugar dissolve. If you choose to boil it, you can pour the boiling water over the peach and orange juice mixture, but NOT over the yeast. The heat would kill your yeast. So, if you boil the water, make sure it has cooled down considerably, to at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit, before adding the yeast starter.
  6. Add the sugar-water solution to the bucket.
  7. Mix it all up.
  8. Now, add your yeast starter to the bucket.
  9. Give the must a little stir.
  10. Cover the bucket with some plastic wrap or cheesecloth. The goal here is to keep out flies and other nasties. When you're finished wrapping, set it aside somewhere out of direct sunlight for one week.

Phase Four: Secondary Fermentation

After your young wine has fermented for one week, you should transfer it to a more attractive and safe one-gallon glass jug or bottle for secondary fermentation; food-grade plastic will work, too.

There are two methods to complete this transfer:

  1. You can siphon the mixture out of the bucket using plastic tubing. This is called racking. To do this, place the secondary fermentation vessel (the glass or plastic jug) on the floor and the wine bucket on a chair, table, or counter above the jug. Insert some plastic tubing down into the bucket, but not to the very bottom, and suck on the other end. Get ready to put the other end of the tube in your secondary fermenter, because the wine should start flowing. This useful little skill can take a few tries to master, but it’s certainly not difficult to do.
  2. If you don’t have plastic tubing, the simpler method of transfer would be to pour the young wine out of the bucket, through some cheesecloth to strain it, and into the secondary fermentation vessel.

Your choice!

Let the wine continue working for at least three months before tasting it. If you like, you can rack the wine a couple more times during this period. The point of racking is to move the wine off of the sediment that inevitably collects at the bottom of the jug.

When the three to six months have passed, you should bottle your wine. At this point, you really should rack it with plastic tubing so that the sediment that has collected in the bottom of the secondary fermentation container doesn't end up in your final product. You can rack all of the wine into one bottle or separate it into several bottles. You can use new wine corks or sanitized old ones to seal your bottles. Properly sealed, large Mason jars also work for bottling.

Taste-Testing Note

Very young wine (one-month-old or less) can often taste and even smell "vinegar-y," especially if it is very dry.

If you taste your wine before it is three months old, don't be too surprised or alarmed by how it tastes. More than likely, you have not made vinegar, especially if you used a yeast starter.

If your wine has truly gone to vinegar (which can result from unsanitary equipment and the introduction of certain bacteria that can get ahead of the yeast), you will know it after aging doesn't improve the taste. Don't be too hard on yourself if it happens—vinegar is useful, too!

Peach Wine in Secondary Fermentation

Moved it outside, temporarily, so I could get you a good picture!

Moved it outside, temporarily, so I could get you a good picture!

Rate this recipe!

Phase Five: Aging Your Peach Wine

The recommended aging period for peach wine is 6 months, but no one will judge you for drinking it sooner! To be honest, I have never managed to age any home-made alcoholic beverages for the full recommended time. It all depends on your taste, so taste-testing is certainly in order.

To age your wine for the recommended 6 months, wait three months from the time you moved it into the secondary fermentation container. Rack the wine into a bottle or bottles, and set the wine up on a shelf somewhere out of your sight (and out of direct sunlight). Try to forget that the wine even exists. Mark your calendar, set a reminder on your cell phone, tell a friend to phone you, or otherwise remind yourself in six months that you can finally drink the fruit of your labors.

And of course, enjoy!

Questions & Answers

Question: What is "racking"?

Answer: Racking is when you siphon liquid off of sediment, in this case, using tubing to remove wine from all the bits of peach and yeast.

Question: I have an ornamental peach tree. I have used the fruit before for jam. The fruits are small, with thick skins, white firm meat, not juicy. Could I bypass the squeezed phase, and let the destoned fruit sit instead with the sugar water?

Answer: Yes! You can ferment straight from whole or halved fruit. Be extra vigilant about headspace in primary fermentation. You may also want to strain the must through cheesecloth and let it settle before the first racking, and you may find you have to rack extra times to get a very clear wine.

© 2012 Rachel Koski Nielsen

Comments

Selma Jackson on June 18, 2019:

Have tasted this peach wine made by a friend n it was superb!

Daniel on June 08, 2019:

If your peach wine is cloudy, you can use pectine and it will allow the very fine solids to drop to the bottom. I’ve used this recipe on a smaller batch that everyone enjoyed. I’m aging a 5 gallon batch now. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Emily on November 08, 2018:

What should I do if my wine has become slimy? It’s a very thick liquid and looks nasty

Aaron m on September 19, 2018:

During the second fermentation when the wine is in bottles, do you put a lid on it or continue to leave a lid off?

Angela on September 18, 2018:

Do you have to skin the peaches or leave the skins on? Sounds a brilliant recipe- can’t wait to try it!

Scott Osgatharp on July 19, 2018:

What is the thing on top of the glass jug used for secondary firmintation?

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 05, 2018:

What a great thing to do. I wish I can do this.

Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on January 02, 2018:

Those are definitely peaches in the bucket, with skins still on.

Kathy on December 24, 2017:

Did you use peaches or apples? That in the bucket is apples?

Anita Hasch on November 27, 2017:

Sounds delicious

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on November 25, 2017:

Many years ago I made a batch of peach wine. It wasn't beautiful -- a little cloudy -- but after being bottled it was a bit effervescent , sparkling cloudy peach wine and very tasty. Alas, it was a small batch.

Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on November 25, 2017:

I wouldn't recommend making it from store bought juice - store bought whole peaches would be much better.

BIG RED on November 15, 2017:

I need a recipe for making peach wine from store bough juice

thanks BIG RED

Ryan from Manchester on March 16, 2017:

Enjoyable read. Cheers.:)

Anita Hasch from Port Elizabeth on November 26, 2016:

Thanks for sharing Rachel. Will try this.

PrincessToni on August 13, 2016:

Thank you for your response.

Yes it started to bubble but very slowly which is ok. It taste pretty good and is clearing up about 2 in from the top. Making progress :) so when do I kill off the yeast and bottle it. ? My wine has been in the making since June 26 .

Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on August 13, 2016:

@Rob Marshall, the secondary fermenter is indeed a 1 gallon glass jug. 1/2 gallon was the water amount, but don't forget the orange juice and peach juices. It came out to about a gallon, and i didn't need to top off!

@PrincessToni, after racking, secondary fermentation is not usually as active as primary. By this point, most of the fermentation process is complete. If you added yeast and a pound of sugar, it should be fermenting, but it's a smaller amount so you may not see the obvious bubbling and other signs. How does the brew smell? Did you taste test at all?

PrincessToni on August 05, 2016:

Thanks for sharing. I have a question, I racked my peach wine once and now it won't bubble so I added a little more sugar (1pound)and 1 tsp. yeast starter and it's not doing a thing..it was bubbling great before I racked it..what do I do next??

Help..

Wowee Dowee on August 02, 2016:

I will try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

WinterRea on July 30, 2016:

OMG!! that sounds so good. I love peaches and wine is my favorite.

Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on March 05, 2016:

It was semi-dry but definitely had peach flavor.

thebreakupwebsite on December 27, 2015:

Hi I'm just stoping by to show support and I must say I love your blog so detailed you make it easy to understand give the inspiration to try your receipe. I'm a newbie to hubpages and so far I have noticed how everyone on here is like family very helpful.

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on December 17, 2015:

I made a few bottles of peach wine several years ago. It turned out a little cloudy and with a little touch of effervesence. Didn't look so pretty, but it was really good. I probably got some of the sediment in the final product and, also it might have still been fermenting a bit when bottled.

After coming across this, I might try it again some day.

Stresfree1 on September 16, 2015:

I really enjoyed reading about your peach wine experience. I have been inspired to try that. It is that time of year here too...

I'm a new wine maker - started the end of last year with a honey wine, and have made blueberry wine. The blueberry is fantastic. I love your thoughts on keeping with natural ingredients. I have been boiling, then cooling the water and fruit to kill all the critters. It seems to do well.

I'm thinking, a peach wine needs to be next!!! Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

Rob Marshall on August 07, 2015:

Your secondary fermentor looks larger then a 1/2 gal. did you just top it up to the next?

Paul Edmondson from Burlingame, CA on August 05, 2015:

After the aging is it a very sweet wine with strong peach flavor? I'd love to know more what it tastes like.

Cynthia Haltom from Diamondhead on July 28, 2015:

I would love to try this recipe. It is the perfect time of the year for peaches.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on July 09, 2015:

Rachel, thanks for sharing your recipe and story about making peach wine from your peach orchards on your farm. I love peaches! Voted up for beautiful!

Jelena from Florida on June 10, 2015:

Your peach wine recipe sounds great. I will defiently try it out.

Genevieve Nicole from Providence, RI on August 29, 2014:

Wow you make it sound so easy! I've never made wine (beer in college-for a class!), but i really want to try this out!!

Ryan from Manchester on August 09, 2014:

This sounds lovely. Not a big fan of cider, but I recently tried some pear cider and it was very nice. Since I like wine I can imagine that this would be even better. May have to try this out soon. Thanks. Ryan.:)

Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on July 22, 2014:

tootalldave - Glad you enjoyed the hub :) You know, it's not really an exact science, as far as I know. I could see needing 10-15 pounds of peaches to make 5 gallons of wine, but for the water I would only add enough to cover the peaches and hit the five gallon mark on your primary fermenter. You only need enough OJ to make a yeast starter, and you could also use sugar water for that. Make sure that you use enough yeast for the amount of peaches you're using - or, if you're using wild yeast, make sure there is virtually no headspace in your primary fermenter. I had too much headspace once and ended up with apple cider vinegar instead of hard cider.

tootalldave on July 22, 2014:

Rachel,

Love the story and like your peach recipe as it uses no chemicals.

Am just getting into wine making. Just made my first batch of dark cherry liqueur. Have to wait 8 weeks.

According to your recipe, with 3 lbs. of peaches, you only added 1/2 gal. of water and 1/2 cup of oj. So if I want to make 5 gallons, I need 15 lbs. of peaches and 2 1/2 gal of water and 2 1/2 cups oj?

Any further advice for a novice?

Dreamer at heart from Northern California on December 16, 2013:

Interesting article!

Dreamer at heart from Northern California on December 16, 2013:

I never have tasted peach wine. You must be ready next year to pick those peaches before the deer consume them! Thanks for the instructions. I grew a peach orchard but never made wine.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on December 16, 2013:

Great instructions, I might try this with my grapes. Thanks!

idigwebsites from United States on December 15, 2013:

Oh no! Poor peach tree... But at least it finally bears fruit.

Awesome article... I have yet to taste a peach wine myself. Thanks for posting.

Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on November 09, 2013:

Thank you for commenting!

Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on November 09, 2013:

You could backsweeten with boiled and cooled peach juice, or any fruit juice of your choosing. If you use sugar to backsweeten without adding a preservative you may end up with more fermentation. :)

Toy Tasting from Mumbai on September 19, 2013:

Awesome hub, will try this some time. Thanks for sharing. :)

Troy Warner from Madison, South Dakota on August 15, 2013:

This looks awesome! What would I use to backsweeten this? or does this turn out already sweet? I am not a big fan of dry wine!

Thanks!

tastiger04 on July 23, 2013:

This looks so delicious....I will have to try it for sure! Thanks for sharing! Voted up and awesome :)

Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on July 23, 2013:

Hi! The thing on top of the jug is an airlock, I believe I mentioned it. Lets gas out, doesn't let foreign and potentially bad air in.

jseibert81 on July 22, 2013:

What is the thing on top of the jug? I don't see any mention of that. And if I wanted to make strawberry wine about how many strawberries do you recommend? I'm going to try the peach this week. Is there a way to make it less sweet if it's to sweet? Thanks.

LongTimeMother from Australia on January 28, 2013:

I ate the first of the season's peaches (the rest of my family insisted on waiting for the rest to ripen fully) and they were beautiful. The cockatoos enjoyed the rest of them the day after I boasted how great they'd be this year.

Next year I am going to net the peach trees and try making your peach wine. Great hub, thanks.

Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on August 26, 2012:

Nice to see you, ignugent! You could make peach wine if you wanted to ;) I'm really glad you liked the hub, and thanks for sharing and voting!

ignugent17 on August 26, 2012:

Hi Farmer Rachel ! I enjoyed your story about your peach tree and next time guard it. :-) I know I cannot make a wine out of peach but I am going to share. Voted up and more.

Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on August 24, 2012:

Wesley - I love making my own alcoholic beverages. And fruit juices are pretty easy, unless you have a very sensitive palate and ONLY like really expensive, "high class" grape wines! Hope you'll give it a try sometime. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Vespawoolf - You're welcome! Really glad you enjoyed it :)

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on August 24, 2012:

I loved reading this article! What beautiful photos, too. Thanks so much for another great fermented drink recipe.

Wesley Meacham from Wuhan, China on August 24, 2012:

I can not tell you how much I enjoy the idea of making my own peach wine.... or well... any kind of alcohol. This is a very interesting hub. I've just pinned it. Voting up and useful and sharing.

Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on August 23, 2012:

Eric - I know what you mean about the tree. Like I said, it's the saddest excuse for a fruit tree I've ever seen. The production was so low, and for two seasons since I've been here the tree did nothing. It's tempting to cut it down and use it for firewood. I do love the smell of orchard wood. But, since the tree made yummy peaches this year, I guess I'll let it live. ;) Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 23, 2012:

Loved the story, liked the recipe, but I just cannot get over how scrawney the tree in your photo is. Out West we would shoot it to put it out of it's misery. But then I reflected those emaciated trees do bring the finest fruit.

Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on August 21, 2012:

bd - Thanks for the comment :) Yup, for just about any fruit juice there's a wine. You can ferment just about anything that has sugar in it! Not sure that it's all as yummy as grape wine... I think grapes are pretty much considered to be the ideal fruit to ferment. But you can even make wine out of pea pods.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on August 21, 2012:

Great story Rachel. Too bad about the peaches. I know I've never had peach wine, not sure I even knew there was such a thing. It does good, may have to give it a try someday. Another great hub.

Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on August 18, 2012:

Jane - Thanks for the comment! Sounds like the peach wine you had was delicious. I think back-sweetening white wine with fruit juices is very popular. Maybe I'll try it sometime.

Rachel Koski Nielsen (author) from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on August 18, 2012:

Hi Radcliff! Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, you could use orange juice to make a yeast starter in other country wine recipes if you want to. You could also use molasses or brown sugar in place of plain white sugar. Despite what some "hard core" wine makers sometimes say, in my opinion wine making is an experimental science. I chose to use orange juice in this recipe because I know peaches are a little less acidic than apples or berries. Some wine makers would just add tannic acid, I guess. I like all-natural and simple :)

Ann Leavitt from Oregon on August 18, 2012:

Wow, very cool recipe! I had some amazing peach wine at a Missouri vineyard a few summers ago, and buy some from them every time I take a road trip out there. They said that their peach wine was not from fermented peaches, but was made by mixing fresh peach juice/nectar into white wine. There was a very sparkling, sweet peach taste. Loved it!

Liz Davis from Hudson, FL on August 18, 2012:

Your peach story is so sad!

Could you use this orange juice starter in your other recipes, like the raspberry wine, or do you need to get the wine starter?

I love your hubs--they make me want to move out to the country :)