When you think of wine, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Did you say grapes? Well, of course you did. After all, that’s what wine is made from, right? Well, you’re partially right. Those who make wine have traditionally made it from grapes. But not all wine comes from grapes. In truth, wine can be made from just about any kind of fruit, vegetable, or herb you can imagine. Growing grapes is a luxury that not everyone can afford. And purchasing expensive wines made from the finest grapes grown in France or California is outside many of our budgets. So if those of us on the bottom half of the wealth scale want wine, we have to get creative and make it out of whatever is growing in our gardens, orchards, or lawns.
In her wonderful book, Drink the Harvest, authors Nan K. Chase and DeNeice C. Guest, further clarify this concept.
With its origins lost in the furthest reaches of time, winemaking has always tapped into local plant life. People have made wine from bountiful harvests of dates, rice, palm, bananas, yucca, potatoes, plums, pomegranates, and other staple crops. Gardeners and cooks can use what they grow to make the leap into fermented beverage production, turning their harvest into fresh new wines that will age beautifully in the pantry.
So how about it, fellow gardeners? If you’ve ever thought about making your own wine, but can’t afford to purchase or grow grapes, then why not try to make wine from what’s growing in your very own garden? How about a tomato wine? Why not a carrot wine? Maybe even a pumpkin wine? You’ve got a bumper crop out in your yard or in your kitchen. You’ve eaten fresh as much as you can eat, and you’ve given away as much as you can give. If you don’t do something with what you have left, it will rot and go to waste. So why not try turning it into wine? As the old commercial used to say, try it; you’ll like it!