Wine for most people means one thing: fermented grape juice. Though not all wines are made from grapes. In fact, some of the earliest wines were made from honey (mead) and berries.
Today, wine is made with many different ingredients from dandelion greens to rhubarb to raspberries, apples, pears, cherries and even oranges. Though, most consumers view these as mere curiosity sips.
Too bad. Fruit wines can be very, very good. At their best, these wines offer up the essence of the fruit, its intensity, without necessarily all the sugar you would find in juice mixes. From days of yore.. These have a long and respected history.
Plum wine was made in China and Japan for centuries before people in Ireland made it as a pastime. Fruit wines also have a place on festive tables. A word from the experts: cherry and berry wines work well with dark-chocolate desserts.
How are fruit wines made? The winemakers use many of the same techniques used on grape wines. At some wineries, a machine first gets rid of the stalks and washes off bugs.
Next, some wineries use a crusher of some sort - either spinning or ballooning to separate the juice from the skins (peels, etc.) All for processing The liquid is then put into a fermentation vat, and yeast is sometimes added. The wine then goes through normal fermentation processes. The wineries that allow fermentation to begin with the skin, remove the pulp at some stage and finish fermentation on just the liquid.
All in all, these wines shine when sipped on their own, providing an opportunity for a little post dinner quietude before the mad rush to do the dishes.