What Is Prison Wine Called

Prison wine, also known as “pruno,” is a fascinating and controversial topic that has piqued the curiosity of many. As a wine enthusiast, I find it intriguing to explore the world of unconventional winemaking, even …

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Prison wine, also known as “pruno,” is a fascinating and controversial topic that has piqued the curiosity of many. As a wine enthusiast, I find it intriguing to explore the world of unconventional winemaking, even if it means delving into the realm of prison culture.

When it comes to making wine in prison, inmates have to get creative with limited resources. Often brewed in secret, pruno is a homemade alcoholic beverage that is a common sight in correctional facilities. The name “pruno” is derived from the Spanish word “pruna,” meaning plum, as the original recipe was said to contain fermented fruits.

It’s important to note that the production and consumption of pruno in prisons are widely prohibited. This article is purely for educational purposes and does not condone or encourage any illegal activities.

Ingredients and Process

The ingredients used to make pruno vary depending on what is available in prison. Traditional recipes call for a combination of fruit, sugar, water, bread, and sometimes even leftover ketchup packets or fruit juice. Contrary to the winemaking process we are familiar with, pruno is not fermented in a controlled environment. Instead, inmates typically use plastic bags or containers to ferment the mixture.

The fermentation process can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the desired alcohol content. Inmates often conceal the fermentation vessels in their cells, taking precautions to avoid detection by correctional officers. The naturally occurring yeast present in the fruit and bread helps convert the sugar into alcohol, creating a crude homemade wine.

The Risks Involved

The production of pruno comes with significant risks. The unsanitary conditions and lack of proper equipment increase the likelihood of contamination and spoilage. Ingesting pruno can lead to serious health issues such as botulism, a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection. The volatility of the fermentation process can also result in explosions, posing a danger to both inmates and prison staff.

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In addition to health risks, brewing pruno is a violation of prison rules and can lead to severe disciplinary actions. Inmates caught engaging in illicit winemaking may face extended sentences, loss of privileges, or even solitary confinement.

A Controversial Culture

The existence of pruno in prisons shines a light on the ingenuity and resourcefulness of inmates. It also highlights the harsh reality of life behind bars, where boredom and a lack of access to traditional forms of entertainment can drive individuals to resort to unconventional methods to pass the time.

My Personal Thoughts

Reflecting on the concept of pruno, I can’t help but marvel at the inventiveness displayed by those who find themselves confined within the walls of a prison. While I don’t condone breaking the law, I can appreciate the human desire for creativity and the pursuit of pleasure even in the most adverse circumstances.

However, it is crucial to remember that pruno is not a substitute for the wines we enjoy outside of the prison walls. The risks involved in its production far outweigh any possible enjoyment one might experience. As wine enthusiasts, let us appreciate the intricate art and craftsmanship that goes into making our beloved wines, and always adhere to legal and ethical practices.


Prison wine, commonly known as pruno, offers a glimpse into the unique culture and resourcefulness that exists within correctional facilities. While the concept of homemade wine in prisons may be intriguing, it is essential to consider the risks involved and the legal implications associated with its production. As we continue to explore the diverse world of wine, let’s appreciate the craftsmanship and dedication that go into creating wines that we can enjoy responsibly and legally.

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John has been a hobbyist winemaker for several years, with a few friends who are winery owners. He writes mostly about winemaking topics for newer home vintners.
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