Fruit wines are fermented alcoholic beverages made from a variety of ingredients other than grapes (the base of "ordinary" wine) and having a variety of flavours. Fruit wines are always called something wines (e.g., plum wine), since the word wine alone is often legally defined as a beverage made only from grapes. Fruit wine can be made from any sufficiently sweet fruit or, with addition of sugar or honey, from other fruits and many plant sources which are not fruits. The term Country wine is more commonly utilised in Great Britain for fruit wines. In France and Germany, "vin du pays", or "Landwein" refers to relatively inexpensive kinds of standard grape wine.
Few fruits other than grapes have the balanced quantities of sugar, acid, tannin and water to produce a stable, drinkable wine, so most country wines are adjusted in one or more respects. Enough natural sugar is needed to support a satisfactory fermentation and provide bacteriological stability through sufficient ethanol content, so the winemaker adds table sugar (sucrose) or sweet sap tapped from trees such as maple, birch, or palm; or honey. If it is too tart, sugar and water may both be added to dilute the acidity, or additional tannin or acid may be required to round out the taste. These are added as chemicals or by adding a balancing fruit like crabapples, raisins or dates to an unbalanced base.
The fermentation of fruit wines at home was particularly fashionable in the UK in the 1970s and was popularised in the BBC TV series The Good Life.
The other ingredients that give the wine its flavour and character can be fruits, flowers, herbs, etc. Examples are elderberry wine and dandelion wine. A wine made from elderberry flowers is called elder blow wine. If the flavouring ingredients are leaves or roots then the beverage is sometimes called a beer (for example, ginger beer). (Note that the beverages known as root beer, ginger beer and ginger ale are often non-alcoholic.)
If the sugar source is honey then the beverage is usually called mead; if it is apple or pear juice then the beverage is called cider or perry, respectively. Cyder is made from apples and honey.
List of fruits and plants used
There are two approaches when making fruit wines: to imitate the flavour and appearance of grape wines, or not to.
Some fruit wines that resemble grape wines are:
Other fruit wines made from fruits:
Wines made from flowers:
elder blow (made from elderberry)
Wines made from vegetables and roots:
Wines made from legumes:
peanut butter (rare as it has never been commercialised, although it was a commonly home-made wine in the early 20th century)
Plum wine is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from plums. Most plum wine is produced in Japan and Korea. Plum wines marketed in North America and other Western nations (such as that by the Fuki company) is sweetened, while Japanese (called umeshu) and Korean (called maesilju) plum wines are generally less sweet.
Pineapple wine is a non-vintage wine made from the juice of pineapples, which is produced and fermented in the similar manner as grape wines. Fermentation of the pineapple juice takes place in temperature controlled vats and is stopped at near dryness. The result is a soft, dry and fruity wine with an unmistakable pineapple bouquet. It is a type of fruit wine popularised in Hawai`i by the Tedeschi Vineyards called 'Maui Blanc' located in Ulupalakua, Maui-Hawai`i, on the slopes of Haleakala. Its alcohol content is 11.5% by volume.
See also related articles: www.d-i-wine.com, www.infozeek.net