Fruit Wine For Beginners

Think wine is about made solely from red grapes and white grapes? Think again! Fruit wines come in a variety of flavors, textures and sources. Firstly, they are fermented alcoholic beverages from a number of fruits, including but not limited to: apples, bananas, blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, cherries, elderberries, kiwis, mangos, passion fruit, peaches, pears, plums, raspberries, pineapples, rose hips, strawberries and watermelon. Vegetables and flowers can be used to make alcohol as well, such as carrots, chives, potatoes, dandelions and hibiscus.

Few fruits have the same balanced qualities of grapes that allow for a natural production of drinkable wines. Thus, most require adjustments in one way or another at fermentation to produce a more pleasant taste. Such adjustments can include adding sugar, honey or water.

Here are some notable alcoholic fruit beverages, along with their qualities and the best method of serving them:

Apple Wine

Apple is a very versatile fruit that can be used in numerous alcoholic beverages, including cider, dry wine, sparkling wine and ice wine. Certain species of apple provide aromatic flavor, such as Red Delicious and Golden Delicious, while others, such as Winesap, are acidic. Overall, it has a tart, sour taste.

A blend of aromatic apples and acidic apples provides complexity in flavor. However, a single common type of apple can be used in producing alcohol. Also known as "apfelwein" in Germany, apple wine is normally served as is, although it can be mixed with sparkling water. Apfelwein is served cold or hot, depending on the weather and usage. Apfelwein is a household remedy to combat colds, or to warm drinkers in the wintertime. Served hot, apfelwein is served with a cinnamon stick and possibly cloves.

Plum Wine

Plum wine, also known popularly as plum liquor, is widely consumed in Japan, Korea and China. A Japanese alcoholic beverage named umeshu is made by steeping green plums in clear liquor, resulting in a sweet and smooth character. Plum liquors are often served solely as a dessert beverage, although they can also complement appetizers and entrees. The plum has been prized in Japanese history for its digestive and cleaning properties, as well as its refreshing flavor. This makes for a healthier alternative liquor beverage. The plum liquor is normally served chilled or over ice.

Elderberry Wine

Elderberry wine is a full-bodied beverage with strong flavors. Due to its deep hues and flavors, this drink is often added to other fruit wines to add complexity. Elderberries have been praised for their health benefits. Likewise, elderberry-based beverages contains magnesium and high amounts of antioxidants. The oaking process (that is, placing the beverage in storage made of oak, or placing oak chips in the liquid) and aging over time improves the flavor of the drink. When handling the berries, one must be wary of the stems, leaves, bark and roots, since they are toxic. Elderberry wine is normally served chilled. It can be served over a picnic lunch, or alongside Asian dishes, demonstrating its versatility.

Strawberry Wine

Like the fruit, strawberry wine is reminiscent of fresh strawberries as a light, summery beverage. Due to the fruit's natural lightness in flavor, this liquor usually has a high amount of sugar and is consequently very sweet. It has a high amount of anthocyanins, which combat human colon cancer cells. Strawberry wine is ideal as a dessert alcoholic beverage at room temperature or chilled. It can be mixed with sparkling water for an added punch, especially when the weather is hot outside.


Rose Hip Wine

Rose hip wine is made from either fresh or dried rose hips. The beverage must be aged at a minimum of two years before consumption for an ideal taste. Young rose hip wine is almost undrinkable, The resulting product is sweet and strong, with earthy notes and a vegetative taste. This wine is best served chilled and paired with full flavored foods, such as seafood, poultry and heavier-flavored salads.

Blackberry Wine

Blackberry wine has been compared to merlot due to the similar tastes. It boasts of full, tangy flavours and fruity aromas. The texture of the drink is smooth flavor to its low acidity levels and is noteable for aging well. In addition to its rounded taste, blackberry wine contains delphinidin, which reduces inflammation and inhibits enzymes related to type 2 diabetes. Blackberry wine pairs well with fruit desserts and should be served at room temperature.


Cranberry Wine

Cranberry wine is tangy and fruity, making it a fun drink for summertime. It is a delicate balance of acidic and sweet. Cranberry-based drinks are often drunk to cleanse the system, particularly for those with urinary tract infections. The wine can be served chilled as is or combined with sparkling water. Cranberry wine pairs well with dessert or soft cheese.

Blueberry Wine

Blueberry wine has a similar taste to grape wine. The wine has a dry character due to its low

sugar levels and high acidity. Like blueberries, blueberry wine has high levels of antioxidants. Such antioxidants offer cells protection from free radicals in the body, aiding in protecting the heart, eyes and digestive system. Blueberry wine can be served chilled or at room temperature. The drink can be consumed by itself or with dessert.

Cherry Wine

Cherry wine is normally produced from tart cherries due to their acidity. Sugar is added to combat the tartness. The resulting texture is smooth and full, while the flavor is sweet with cherry aroma. There are hints of nutty flavors that add complexity to the wine. Several varieties of cherry wine are produced in Michigan, including various fruit blends and spiced wine. This alcoholic beverage is served cool and as a dessert wine.

Making Fruit Wine

The creation of fruit wine has similar steps to grape wine, with a few differences. Larger fruits, such as peaches, mangos and pineapples must be cut up into small pieces. Food processors and blenders should not be used because the skin and seeds produce bitter flavors into the finished product.

Sugar is often added to completely ferment the solution while maintaining specific acidity levels. Also, fruit-based alcohol often lack natural yeast nutrients to maintain fermentation levels. Winemakers add commercially available yeast nutrients such as potassium or nitrogen to counteract this issue. Fruit alcoholic beverages are commonly created by home winemakers, particularly in cooler climates such as North America and Northern Europe.

The equipments required is no different from the ones required for red and white wine. You will require a fermentation vessel, air-lock, siphoning equipment, and hydrometer, amongst other things.

Cornucopia Fruit Wine Making Kit, White Tropical Riesling, 16.4-Pound Box
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Or, to make things simpler, you can simply purchase a fruit wine making kit to make numerous batches of the flavor of wine you like.

The fruits listed above are only a few types that can be used. With some more adjustments, a large number of fruits can be used to create alcoholic beverages, whether varietal or blended. Fruit wines are beneficial for their concentrated level of nutrients compared to the base fruit. They are also suitable for a lighter alcoholic beverage compared to the regular grape variety. Thus, their qualities make them perfect for a hot summer day or for drinking after a meal. Fruit wine is generally regarded as sweet, compared to its drier, richer grape wine counterparts.

If you have the ingredients and the patience, you can try your hand at making fruit-based alcoholic drinks at home. Otherwise, you can purchase a bottle and begin experiencing the numerous flavors and health benefits that fruits have to offer.

Poteet Country Winery Blackberry Sweet Reserve 750 mL
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(price as of Jun 11, 2015)