How to Make Simple, Homemade Peach Wine

Updated on March 17, 2017
Farmer Rachel profile image

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

The Old Peach Tree

Source

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 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 home made 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, cheese cloth, 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 cheese cloth), simply squeeze the juice out of the peaches as best you can, and dump all of bag’s contents straight into the bucket.
  3. If you are using cheese cloth 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 cheese cloth. 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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
For primary fermentation (1 week in this recipe) some plastic wrap covering the bucket will work well.
Source
Source
For primary fermentation (1 week in this recipe) some plastic wrap covering the bucket will work well.
For primary fermentation (1 week in this recipe) some plastic wrap covering the bucket will work well. | Source

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 cheese cloth 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! | Source

Rate this recipe!

3.3 stars from 437 ratings of Peach Wine

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

  • 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?

    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.

  • What is "racking"?

    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.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Emily 

      4 weeks ago

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

    • profile image

      Aaron m 

      2 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Angela 

      2 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Scott Osgatharp 

      4 months ago

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

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      11 months ago from Ontario, Canada

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

    • Farmer Rachel profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Koski 

      11 months ago from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota

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

    • profile image

      Kathy 

      11 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Anita Hasch 

      12 months ago

      Sounds delicious

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      12 months ago from California Gold Country

      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.

    • Farmer Rachel profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Koski 

      12 months ago from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota

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

    • profile image

      BIG RED 

      13 months ago

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

      thanks BIG RED

    • bnayr profile image

      Ryan 

      21 months ago from Manchester

      Enjoyable read. Cheers.:)

    • Anita Hasch profile image

      Anita Hasch 

      2 years ago from Port Elizabeth

      Thanks for sharing Rachel. Will try this.

    • profile image

      PrincessToni 

      2 years ago

      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 .

    • Farmer Rachel profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Koski 

      2 years ago from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota

      @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?

    • profile image

      PrincessToni 

      2 years ago

      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 profile image

      Wowee Dowee 

      2 years ago

      I will try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

    • WinterRea profile image

      WinterRea 

      2 years ago

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

    • Farmer Rachel profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Koski 

      2 years ago from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota

      It was semi-dry but definitely had peach flavor.

    • profile image

      thebreakupwebsite 

      2 years ago

      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 profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      2 years ago from California Gold Country

      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 profile image

      Stresfree1 

      3 years ago

      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 profile image

      Rob Marshall 

      3 years ago

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

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 

      3 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      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 profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 

      3 years ago from Diamondhead

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

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      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!

    • jcsteele profile image

      Jelena 

      3 years ago from Florida

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

    • Genevieve Nicole profile image

      Genevieve Nicole 

      4 years ago from Providence, RI

      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!!

    • bnayr profile image

      Ryan 

      4 years ago from Manchester

      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.:)

    • Farmer Rachel profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Koski 

      4 years ago from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota

      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.

    • profile image

      tootalldave 

      4 years ago

      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?

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 

      4 years ago from Northern California

      Interesting article!

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 

      4 years ago from Northern California

      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.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

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

    • idigwebsites profile image

      idigwebsites 

      4 years ago from United States

      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.

    • Farmer Rachel profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Koski 

      5 years ago from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota

      Thank you for commenting!

    • Farmer Rachel profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Koski 

      5 years ago from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota

      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. :)

    • Toytasting profile image

      Toy Tasting 

      5 years ago from Mumbai

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

    • Troy Warner profile image

      Troy Warner 

      5 years ago from Madison, South Dakota

      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 profile image

      tastiger04 

      5 years ago

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

    • Farmer Rachel profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Koski 

      5 years ago from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota

      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.

    • profile image

      jseibert81 

      5 years ago

      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 profile image

      LongTimeMother 

      5 years ago from Australia

      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.

    • Farmer Rachel profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Koski 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota

      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!

    • profile image

      ignugent17 

      6 years ago

      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.

    • Farmer Rachel profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Koski 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota

      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 :)

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

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

    • Wesley Meacham profile image

      Wesley Meacham 

      6 years ago from Wuhan, China

      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.

    • Farmer Rachel profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Koski 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota

      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!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      6 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      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.

    • Farmer Rachel profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Koski 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota

      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.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      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.

    • Farmer Rachel profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Koski 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota

      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.

    • Farmer Rachel profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Koski 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota

      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 :)

    • Jane Grey profile image

      Ann Leavitt 

      6 years ago from Oregon

      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!

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 

      6 years ago from Hudson, FL

      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 :)

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