How real Slivovitz - or Slivovice is made:

What you don't need to make top
quality Slivovitz:

Fancy airtight filtering fermenting containers
Expensive stainless steel barrels
Operating room style hygene
Worrying about if the brew will ferment

What you need to make the best Slivovitz in the world:

Some plum trees - or plums at least
A good year for plums
A plastic container
A home drill with a plum whipper attached
Some wine bugs to add flavour
A local distillery
Some firewood

...and - not necessary but useful, 30 years experience in fermenting plums in your back yard

And here is the correct procedure in
making top class home fermented Slivovitz:

Harvesting plums




The plum trees

The plum trees used in this case are part of several plum tree orchards that Luda has dotted around the town of Zlin.

These particular ones in the image actually grow across the pavement in front of one of Luda's houses.

Nice of the locals to leave his plums alone,

The plum harvest of 2005 was not a good one - hence the plum trees gave about 20% of plums as opposed to a good plum harvesting year.

Still the plums were of good quality, very sweet and all that had to be done was to wait untill they became ripe enough.

How do you know that your plus on your plum trees are ripe enough ?

You wait until they start falling and then every week just go and shake the tree and the very ripe plums will lust drop to the ground.



When this happens then the next year is once again a good plum year.


The plums on the trees

Here are a few plums on one of the plum trees.

In a good plum year, there would be many more plums visible on this tree but 2005 not only in Zlin but throughout Moravia (Czech Republic) was not a good plum year.

This because the summer was mostly dry but cloudy hence not much sunshine, and even this does not really influence a good or a bad plum year as plum trees have their own cycles and so every four or five years (but even after 2 years) they just decide to have a break and produce a poor plum harvest.



Anther great advantage of plum trees is that even at a decent old age of 30 years such as these particular plum trees were, they are still flexible enough to be shaken from the ground hence no need for ladders or other exotic fruit picking paraphanelia.

In case of high branches one uses a long pole to shake up to 6m height.


Shaking the plums off the trees

And here is Luda giving this plum tree a good shake to get the plums to drop to the ground.

The advantage of plum trees are many, like the fact that plum trees are a very hardy sort of plant which can survive very low winter temperatures but the tree and the plum fruit are also capable of surviving very high summer temperatures - hence one can find plum trees in medditerranean countries such as Spain and Italy, and also in cold countries like the Czech Republic.

But plum trees in Valachia (Zlin and Vsetin) give the best quality of plums for distilling Slivovitz.

This is worldwide given knowledge based on geographical position and earth quality same as for example the french Bordeuax wine.

Czechs themselves, from all over the Czech Republic go to Moravia for their Slivovitz





Plums ready for picking

Once the plums fall off the tree - yep, you've guessed it - someone has to pick them up and all you need now are the following:

1) a bucket or similar to put the plums in
2) a reasonably good back so as not to get a sprain
3) and a few minutes for every plum tree



Plum picking

Here is our man Luda doing his plum picking.

All plums are collected, even those which may have already started to rot be over-ripe, but and the correct term to be exact is not 'rot' nor 'over-ripe but 'ferment'


Plums are chosen especially in such way that into fermentation we get the top quality fruit - not rotten or mouldy ones.



The plum year 2005 for example from all of Luda's plum trees here pictured - gave a harvest of about 120 Litres - as opposed to 2004 when the plum harvest gave 600 Litres or five times as much.


More plum picking

This one row orchard of plum trees was made up of 9 plum trees and after giving them all a good shake, it took Luda about 20 minutes to harvest this week's plums.

The number of times needed to harvest in one season can vary between 3 to 5 seperaerate plum picking sessions.

Luda had already picked plums about three times before in this particular end of summer 2005 and when these pics were taken was the fourth and last time and this was in mid September 2005.
(September 16th to be exact)

As mentioned before - 2005 was a bad year for plums and in a good year each 'shake' of the trees and the actual plum picking would have taken Luda up to 4 times as much time than in this year.



... and any Czech producer of Slivovitz made on an industrial scale - meaning it ends up in bottles on the supermarkes shelves is hard pushed to disagree with this since they have to produce Slivovitz which is a max of 46° and not 52/55 like this real stuf. - or according to producers own desire.


A bucket-full of plums

This bucket full of plums was the result of the last plum harvesting depicted above.

Not very many plums, especially if one considers that you need about 10 to 13 Kg. of plums to get one litre of drinkable Slivovitz.

And please make a note of the following:
Good Slivovitz or Slivovice, is made out of plums, and plums only.
No sugar, no yeats additives, and no other crap to increase either the alcohol content, nor the speed of fermentation.

Sure, people make Slivovitz by adding sugar to get more alcohol from fewer plums but that's cheating and here we're talking about REAL home fermented Slivovitz and not the crap that you can buy in Czech shops and supermarkets...




Now that we've got our plums, what have we been doing with those previously picked and this last harvest ?

How do we get the plums to ferment into Slivovitz ready
fermented material with a good content of alcohol ?

And now it starts to get interesting.
We have our plums, so what did we / do we do with them ?
How and in what can we get them to ferment ?
How long must the plums ferment ?
When do we know the fermentation is ready ?

Click here to continue in the next section of this Slivovitz website
where the actual fermentatiion of plums is described