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What Is Tomato Wine?

Tomato wine is a unique and intriguing beverage crafted from fermented tomatoes, offering a surprising twist on traditional grape wines. With a flavor profile that ranges from sweet to tart, it's a testament to the versatility of this beloved fruit. Curious about how it compares to your favorite Chardonnay or Merlot? Let's uncork the secrets of tomato wine together.
Lakshmi Sandhana
Lakshmi Sandhana

Tomato wine is made from either red ripe or green tomatoes. It can be easily made with those bought from the store or grown in the garden. Not as popular as other types, it does have the taste and fragrance of white wine. Some find the flavor unappealing, and that's the reason why it isn't produced commercially.

The first-ever recipes for brewing tomato wine appeared in the early 1840s. They were simple and suggested adding sugar to tomato juice to facilitate fermentation without yeast. Some folks made the wine for medicinal purposes, but it was hugely unpopular with the masses. Critics believed it to be a waste of sugar and spoke about how tomato wine was an insult to a respectable vegetable.

Barley, which is sometimes used to make tomato wine.
Barley, which is sometimes used to make tomato wine.

Currently, tomato wine is made at home by those who have excess crop. For a few people, making homemade wine out of tomatoes is a strategy to have some wine even in times of recession. Opinions on the flavor of tomato wine are divided, and some say that its acidity is a huge turnoff.

Those who make wine out of red tomatoes use only freshly picked ripe ones. The other major ingredients needed are sugar, yeast, a campden tablet, and pectic enzyme. The first step is to wash and cut up the fruit into small pieces. Next, wine makers add the pieces to water along with sugar and bring it to a boil.

Wine can be created from tomatoes, however the product has an acidic taste.
Wine can be created from tomatoes, however the product has an acidic taste.

Alternatively, they squash the fruit into little bits. After the water with sugar is brought to a boil, it's poured over the squashed tomatoes. The mixture cools down for about an hour, and then in go the grape tannin, yeast nutrient, and two teaspoons of acid blend. Campden tablets must be crushed before they go in the mixture. After around 12 hours, it's the enzyme's turn.

Green tomatoes have a sweeter flavor than red, and are sometimes used to make tomato wine.
Green tomatoes have a sweeter flavor than red, and are sometimes used to make tomato wine.

After another 12 hours comes the yeast. Next, wine makers stir the mixture two times a day for a week. Some prefer to use a demijohn and leave the mixture to ferment in a heated basement or a dark place. Then, they rack it every two months until the wine clears. When it does, it's ready to rack again after 14 days.

Before the wine is bottled, it needs a stabilizer. The wine will mature in around a year. To make green tomato wine, other ingredients like maize, wheat or barley, and raisins are are the best choices. Some recipes call for balm leaves and the peels of oranges or lemons. Both types of this wine are best drunk chilled.

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    • Barley, which is sometimes used to make tomato wine.
      By: 1999istek
      Barley, which is sometimes used to make tomato wine.
    • Wine can be created from tomatoes, however the product has an acidic taste.
      By: Dusan Kostic
      Wine can be created from tomatoes, however the product has an acidic taste.
    • Green tomatoes have a sweeter flavor than red, and are sometimes used to make tomato wine.
      By: rolaleksandr
      Green tomatoes have a sweeter flavor than red, and are sometimes used to make tomato wine.