Almost all the wine we drink is made from various varieties of Vitis vinifera, a grape native to the Mediterranean and Central Asia. There are more than 10,000 varieties of this genus of grape.
But Vitis vinifera is not the only fruit that produces wine.
Virtually any fruit can produce wine.
Vitis labrusca is a grape native to eastern North America. Some wines are made with Vitis labrusca, but you likely know it better as Concord grape juice and Concord grape jelly.
• Strawberry wine uses strawberries, water, lemon juice, yeast, and sugar. Sugar and water are key ingredients in most fruit wines. Sugar is needed because many fruit wines do not have enough natural sugar to support fermentation, but you can go light on the added sugar to produce a dry, low-alcohol wine. Strawberry wine aroma is distinct and agreeable, and the wine delivers a parade of pleasant flavors.
• Plum wine is made from fermented plums in a way similar to how apples are used for cider. It is particularly associated with the north Cotswolds in south-central England.
• Pineapple wine is a soft, dry wine with a strong pineapple bouquet. In Mexico, it is called tepache and has an alcohol content similar to beer. Pineapple wine also is popular in Thailand and other southeast Asian countries.
• Pomegranate wine is commercially produced in Israel and marketed as Rimon. The Israeli wine is made from a special variety of pomegranates developed to deliver high levels of sugar for fermentation.
• Dandelion wine uses dandelion petals, sugar, and—often—lemon juice. Most dandelion wine is homemade, but several U.S. wineries produce it as a commercial product.
• Banana wine is made from ripe bananas that are mashed and then boiled for several hours to form a base of juice and pulp. The resulting mash is strained, sugar is added, and the juice boiled again. Fermentation lasts up to three weeks, then sterilized water is added to dilute the wine. It is particularly associated with Tanzania, the Philippines, and India.
• Cherry wine is made using tart cherries and can be the basis of fortified wines and liqueurs. Michigan is the leading cherry wine state—it is the leading cherry-producing state after all.
These are some of the most popular fruit wines. Other fruit wines are made with oranges, lychee, blackberry, blackcurrant, blueberry, cranberry, elderberry, gooseberry, raspberry, and mulberry. All you need is fruit juice, sugar, yeast, and time. Voilà! Wine.
Last round: How do you impress a female baker? Send her flours. Wine time.