Fruit wines Information

Fruit wines are fermented alcoholic beverages made from a variety of ingredients and having a variety of flavours. Fruit wines are usually referred to by their main ingredient fruit , since the word wine alone is often legally defined as a beverage made only from grapes. In the European Union "wine" is legally defined only as the fermented juice of grapes. The term country wine is also commonly utilized in Great Britain and the U.S. interchangeably with fruit wine to indicate any non-grape wine, and should not be confused with the French term vin de pays. In British legislation, the term made-wine is used.

Wine can be made from any sufficiently sweet food or, with addition of sucrose in the form of table sugar or honey, from other fruits and many other plant sources. This can include wines produced from fruits like apples and elderberries, starches like rice, vegetables like carrot or peapod, as well as flowers and herbs such as dandelion, elderflower, and even marijuana. The most common, narrow definition of wine relates to the product of fermented grape juice, though it is sometimes broadened to include any beverage with a fermentation based on the conversion of a sugar solution into alcohol . Some drinks such as cider, mead and perry are also excluded from this broad definition of wine for historical reasons.

Fruit wines have traditionally been popular with home winemakers and in areas with cool climates such as North America and Scandinavia. Most fruits and berries have the potential to produce wine. Few foods other than grapes have the balanced quantities of sugar, acid, tannin, nutritive salts for yeast feeding and water to naturally produce a stable, drinkable wine, so most country wines are adjusted in one or more respects at fermentation. The amount of fermentable sugars is often low and need to be supplemented by a process called chaptalization in order to have sufficient alcohol levels in the finished wine. Sucrose is often added so that fruits having excessive levels of acids can split the sucrose into fermentable fructose and glucose sugars. If the specific gravity of the initial solution is too high, indicating an excess of sugar, water or acidulated water may be added to adjust the specific gravity down to the winemaker's target range. Many fruit wines suffer from a lack of natural yeast nutrients needed to promote or maintain fermentation. Winemakers can counter this with the addition of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium available commercially as yeast nutrient. Like many conventional white wines, fruit wines often do not improve with bottle age and are usually meant to be consumed within a year of bottling.

Wikipedia, Fruit wines, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruit_wines (as of Apr 7, 2010)

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