Can Wine Be Made from Fruits Other Than Grapes?

fruit wine

We all know that grapes are the building blocks of a great wine. Grape growers and vineyards all over the world take pride in producing some of the best grapes possible, from a number of different varietals, in order to create the delicious beverage we know and love. But what if I told you that wine didn’t have to be made from grape?

Sounds crazy doesn’t it…

The truth is wine can be made from any plant that can be fermented. This means that wine does not have to start off as a grape, it can be almost any other fruit or plant as long as they have the ability to go through the fermentation process.

But just because you can make wine from other types of fruit, should you? Grapes have long been the most popular choice when it comes to making wine, but why is that? Why don’t winemakers produce wine using other fruits?

There are a few different reasons as to why grapes are the most popular fruit when it comes to making wine and why you might not want to make wine from other fruits you may grow.

Let’s take a look at why wine is always associated with grapes, and why making wine with other fruits or plant matter might not be as delicious as it may sound.

Why Aren’t Other Fruits Used in Wines?

Contrary to what a lot of people think, there are a number of different fruit wines available on the market today, however there isn’t a large market for these types of wines, so typically they aren’t as prevalent as grape wine.

Perfect Combination of Chemical Compounds

While many different fruits can be used to make wine, none of them compare to the perfect balance of sugars, acidity, and tannins that grapes have. This combination creates a unique flavor profile that is specific to wine.

In most cases, when making a fruit wine from a fruit or plant other than grapes, sugar needs to be added to the process to level out the flavor and help with fermentation. A lot of other fruits don’t have the same level of sugar in them and the sugar they do have isn’t always enough to give you the final product you’re looking for.

Because of this, fruit wine makers will resort to adding sugar to the mixture as it goes through the “winemaking process” whereas using grapes doesn’t require any added sugar.

Flavor Profile From Grapes

When making wine from grapes, the chemical compounds released during the process are very similar to different types of fruit. This is why you can sometimes get a hint of berry or a hint of citrus when consuming a glass of wine. Not because the wine contains those fruits, or those fruits flavors were added, but because the grapes themselves have those chemical properties when going through the winemaking process.

Growing Region

Another reason that grapes are typically used in making wine is that they can be grown in a lot of different climates and regions with the right techniques.

Yes, the Paso Robles and central coast of California, as well as different regions in France and Italy, are known to have the perfect soil and climate for growing grapes, but that doesn’t mean that those are the only places you’ll find grapes growing.

Many different regions in the United States, as well as around the world, have figured out different planting and harvesting techniques that help grapes to thrive in areas you may not expect.

In the United States you can find grapes growing across the entire country including places like Wisconsin and Michigan as well as New York and New Jersey.

Other fruits are typically restricted to certain areas where they thrive and don’t often produce as well when transplanted to areas they aren’t native to. For example, you don’t find many orange trees in the Midwest.

What Types of Fruit Wine Are There?

As we mentioned above, fruit wine isn’t as popular as traditional wine made from grapes, but there are people out there that enjoy the taste.

While any fruit or plant matter can be made into a “wine”, there are a few different fruits that are more popular amongst fruit wine connoisseurs.

Apples, plums, pears, cherries, strawberries, and blueberries are among some of the most popular fruits that you can make into wines. These fruits do require added sugars during the process to help turn them into “wines”, but if you’re willing to put in the effort and work through the process, you can absolutely turn these fruits into wine.

What’s the Difference Between a Hard Cider and Apple or Pear Wine?

Now, we know what you’re thinking, when it comes to apples and pears, there is a large market for hard ciders produced using these fruits, so what makes those different than a wine produced using them?

Simply put, alcohol content.

To be considered a hard cider, as opposed to a wine, the beverage must have less than 8.5% alcohol by volume. Anything over 8.5% ABV would have to be considered a wine and must be labeled as such.

Fruit Wine vs. Grape Wine – Knowing the Difference

So, while you can technically make wine from any fruit or plant matter that can be fermented, most people prefer grapes for a variety of reasons.

Grapes have that magical balance of sugars, tannins, and other chemical compounds that help to create the perfect drink we know and love without any added sugars. The flavor profile in grape wine comes from the grapes themselves, the fermentation process, and the aging process. Some wines have added flavoring agents, but in most cases you do not need them and can derive the perfect bottle of wine with only the grapes planted in the ground.

Fruit wines require added sugars and don’t have the same tannin levels that grapes have, so you’re going to end up with a different tasting drink than if you used grapes.

Even if you add fruit to your wine in the form of sangria, you will still have a different taste than if you were just drinking fruit wine.

There are many people out there that do enjoy wine made from different fruits, but if you’re looking for true wine, made from only the best ingredients, then grape wine is the only way to go!