Pomegranate wine is an alcoholic beverage made in whole or part from pomegranates. In some cases, pomegranate juice or extract is used to augment the flavor of standard wine, resulting in a pomegranate-flavored version. This is the only sort of pomegranate wine that can strictly be called “wine,” as that term can usually apply only to fermented grape-based beverages. A drink made only from pomegranates, or from pomegranates in combination with other non-grape fruits, is more properly known as a “fruit wine” or “wine product.”
Most of the pomegranate wines on the market are actually made from pomegranates, not grapes. Part of the reason why fruit wine producers gravitate towards the pomegranate is its chemical composition. Pomegranates and grapes are similar in this respect. Both are relatively acidic, have high sugar concentrations, and pack a lot of nutrients into their flesh. Wines fermented from pomegranates alone are somewhat unique in the fruit wine industry in that they often need no other fruits or flavors to balance them out.
Pomegranate wine is usually most popular in the fruit’s growing regions: throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean, as well as parts of the Southern United States, particularly California and Texas. The fruit tends to do best in warm, arid climates. Usually, the best wine is made at the peak of the fruit's ripeness and usually needs to be drunk relatively soon after bottling for maximum taste.
Though the finished wine looks a lot like standard red wine, the taste is completely different. Pomegranate drinks are tangy-sweet with a decidedly fruity edge. In most cases, though, the health benefits of red wine and pomegranate wine are comparable.
Medical professionals generally agree that moderate consumption of red wine can impart a host of health benefits to most people. Pomegranate varieties have the potential to be even more healthful. The fruits generally pack far more antioxidants than grapes, and most of the nutrients and vitamins are preserved in fermentation.
Pomegranate wine is never marketed as a health product, though manufacturers rarely shy from pointing out all of the potential benefits of the occasional drink. This marketing can be a bit deceptive, though. Although red wine has protective elements not usually present in grape juice, there is little in pomegranate wine that is not equally accessible through the non-alcoholic pomegranate juice.
Fruit wine makers generally recommend serving pomegranate wine the same way as any other wine. It is sometimes chilled, but not always. The beverage also does well when used as a mixer or a base for fruit cocktails.
Less frequently, the phrase “pomegranate wine” can also apply to grape wine that has simply been flavored with pomegranate juice, either during fermentation or just afterward. This sort of wine often tastes vaguely of pomegranates, but lacks the flavor intensity of its pure-fruit cousins. Rarely do pomegranate health benefits transfer in this sort of preparation, either.