Wine Down - Fruit Wine
Fruit wines are fun, especially in summer months, because of their rich, sweet fruity flavor.
Fruit wines are fun, especially in summer months, because of their rich, sweet fruity flavor. They lend themselves to sangria and punches, go well in a tall glass with lots of ice, or made into thirst-quenching spritzers combining equal parts wine and carbonated water.
Some of Virginia’s – and America’s – first wines were fruit wine. A simple brew, fruit wines are basically fruit, flowers or vegetables fermented to produce an alcoholic beverage. It differs from traditional wine because it is not made with grapes.
The term “fruit wine” is generally used to indicate any non-grape wine.
Families or individuals have traditionally made fruit wine in small batches for their own personal use; however, because of their drinkability, some fruit wine is made in larger batches for retail sale by commercial enterprises. A number of Virginia wineries offer fruit wines.
Fruit wines can be made from a wide array of fruit, including apricot, blackberry, blueberry, elderberry, huckleberry, peach, pear, raspberry or strawberry, although less-than-ordinary offerings like persimmon, tomato and watermelon can be used.
Some unusual ingredients that can be fermented into fruit wine include flowers like dandelion or hibiscus; vegetables like potato, rhubarb or parsnip; or tree sap such as maple.
Similar quaffs are cider, made with apples and mead, which has honey as its main ingredient. Foggy Ridge Cider and Blacksnake Meadery, both in Dugspur, offer examples of each.
If dining in a Japanese or Korean restaurant, ume, or plum wine, may be on the menu. Although not produced by Virginia wineries, it is a common sight on Asian restaurant menus and is one of the best-known fruit wines offered. The flavor is sweet, the aroma rich and floral, and the product smooth.
Not true fruit wines, but tasty all the same, are grape wines infused with fruit flavors; these are often dessert wines because of the sweetness the fruit imparts. Examples are the Blackberry Merlot and Raspberry Merlot from Williamsburg Winery.