About Fruit Wine
Most common among countries with cooler climates, fruit wines are wines made from variety of fruits. They are more commonly referred to by the main constituent they are made from, e.g. Elderberry Wine. The word wine alone, due to national definitions, often legally means a beverage made from grapes.
As these wines are often made in cooler climates, the fruits used are often lower in sugar content, meaning in order to get a worthy alcohol level, the juices must have additional sugar added to them to be converted into alcohol. This is called chaptalization.This sweetness can be added in the form of sugar or honey.
Unlike making wine from grapes, where there is a natural balance of yeast to sugar to water, there must often be considerable adjustments to the juices during fermentation.
In England fruit wines are a historic drink, often made at home and kept over the winter. Fruit wines are best drunk within a year of making and do not usually improve with bottle aging. With the once plentiful fruit sources dwindling and fashions in drinking changing the custom of bottling fruit wines died out somewhat.
If a fruit wine is made with apples it is called cider, with pears, perry. If it is made with apples and honey as the sweetening agent it is called Cyser. If honey is used as the sweetening agent in a fruit wine then the wine will usually be termed a "mead".
Fruit wine can be made from most any edible berry or fruit. Common English fruit wines include damson wine, elderberry wine, strawberry wine (also made in Vietnam), and ginger wine, of which Stone's Green Ginger Wine is still bottles and sold commercially, and is made from raisins and ground ginger. Stone's has been in production since 1740 and was originally made in High Holborn by the Finsbury Distilling Company.
In Finland a traditional fruit wine is made from blueberries. Named "Lappish Hag's Love Potion", "Lappish Grandmother's Love Potion", "Lappish Mother's Love Potion" or "Lappish Love Potion", it is made by packing whole blueberries into a bottle with a little water, then adding a little more water to the bottle over the course of a month. The yeasts present on the skins of the blueberries are the fermenting agent. The process must be carried out in sunlight.
Japan has a famous fruit wine in the form of Umeshu, a plum wine, also made in China and Korea. Although Ume are referred to as plums they are most related to the apricot. It is often bottled with whole ume fruits inside the bottle, which can be served with the plum wine.
Pineapple wine is an off dry wine made in Hawaii (although there is also a Japanese made version, and Florida-made pineapple wine can also be found). It is served with food and has a faint pineapple bouquet.