Monday, June 17, 2024

Fruit Sampler: 5 Wines Made From Grape Alternatives

Man has been fermenting since the dawn of time, with ancient cultures scribing love letters to booze in stone as far back as 6000 B.C. One of the oldest alcoholic beverages is a drink both sleep-deprived mothers and blowhard stockbrokers hold close to their hearts: beautiful wines.

Back in the day of these foregone civilizations, wine was a term thrown at anything fermented into alcohol. The tipple as we know it today is most commonly identified as fermented grape juice, even more specifically from vinifera grapes, but the clustered fruit doesn’t have exclusive rights to the word. Wine is pro-choice when it comes to fruit ferments.

Banana wine is a best selling commodity in Rwanda, America’s Great Lakes region is heralded for its decades of cherry wine production, and the late Frenchman André the Giant once allegedly downed 16 bottles of plum wine before a wrestling match (which is a bit irrelevant but entirely impressive). To say fruit wine is popular on a global scale is an understatement.

To make sure you’re keeping up with the international trends, here’s a fruit wine sampler platter to consider for your next drinking bout.

Pounding Branch Persimmon

Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery

Perched high above the Rockfish River Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, this you-pick berry farm-turned-winery is aptly located on Berry Hill Road, making “true to the fruit” wines like this dessert wine-style sipper. Wild Virginia persimmons and honey are blended together in sweet tribute to the Commonwealth.

Original Cranberry

Three Lakes Winery

The shrub fruit is king at Three Lakes in Wisconsin, a winery that has been on fruit wine map since 1972. No additives or juices will be found here, the philosophy is devoted to whole-pressed fruit only, with the tangy-sweet cranberry topping the list as its number one selling wine.


Pasek Cellars

A hybrid of the red raspberry and blackberry, loganberries make up the base of this wine from the northwestern Washington State fruit-focused producer. The 13,000-case winery produces 800 cases of this wine on an annual basis and, outside of its inherent raspberry and blackberry flavors, the sweet palate also gets a lick of cotton candy in the finish.

Traverse Bay Winery Cherry

Chateau Grand Traverse

Michigan produces more Montmorency tart cherries than any other state in the country and ranks fourth for its cultivation of sweet cherries. The prosperity is too good not to ferment and this winery out of Traverse City — also known as the Cherry Capital of the World — has been turning the stone fruit into wine for 40 years. All natural and all tart cherry, the wine boasts ripe, sweet cherry flavors and is best served chilled.

Pacific Plum

Depoe Bay Winery

From the “whale capital of the Oregon Coast,” Depoe Bay exclusively makes wines made from Oregon-grown fruits and berries from its seaside locale. Pure Italian plums from the Beaver State go into this bottling, a fruity and floral sipper perfect for sitting on a beach log and watching the whales go by.


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