FAQ Questions and answers about fruit wine
Q&A fruit wine: We have put together a series of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about fruit wine. We try to give you answers.
- Is Fruit Wine Really Wine?
- How does fruit wine taste?
- Is Austria a fruit wine country?
- I had a fruit cocktail from the supermarket. Is that even fruit wine?
- What do fruit wines taste like?
- Is fruit wine sweet?
- Is fruit wine known and popular and why is it so rare to find fruit wine in shops?
- Am I getting high from fruit wine?
- Which food goes well with fruit wine?
- Why is fruit wine cheaper than red wine or white wine?
- Can you store fruit wine like any other wine?
Is Fruit Wine Really Wine?
Fruit wine is made from apples, berries or other fruits. Even from peaches, apricots, watermelons or currants. Of course, fruit wine can also be made from elderberry or even pineapple. All fruits that are suitable for consumption can be vinified into fruit wine. Strictly speaking, fruit wine is a wine-like drink. Strictly speaking, the drink may only be called wine if it was made from grapes. But grapes are nothing else than berries … and the production of fruit wine and grape wine is almost identical. All other wines must have the raw material from which they are made in their name, e.g. strawberry wine. A generic term is berry wine for all types and berries or fruit wine for apples and pears.
How does fruit wine taste?
It tastes a little like fruit and a little like wine and yet completely different. Fruit wine also tastes differently than fruit liqueur. It has received a broader aroma and additional aromas from the fermentation of the fruit juice to the finished fruit wine. If you like certain fruits, chances are good you’ll like the fruit wine made from them too.
Is Austria a fruit wine country?
Austria is known worldwide for its red wines and especially the white wines. Fine Auslese wines and ice wines are exported to New York and Japan. But one hears very little about fruit wine. The topic hardly seems worth mentioning in the specialist journals either. The largest share is made up of cider and cider. In addition to perry must and the quality fruit wines from these two types of fruit, these are the higher-level products that are primarily consumed in rural areas. Other fruit wines are rather rare to very rare, although there are a few larger producers who produce on an industrial scale and export to China and Eastern Europe.
The currant wine, which has a long tradition in Styria and Kritzendorf, is very well known. There is also the strawberry wine, which is also a classic. These are mainly produced by regional farmers who usually also have currant bushes, raspberry-picking gardens and strawberry fields. With these niche products, you expand your range and thus have the opportunity to market your refined products directly even outside the season. In the summer and autumn, “raspberry storm”, stormy raspberry wine, is often offered.
All other fruit wines are rather rare wines and are produced in smaller quantities. Cherry wine, Kriecherl wine, dirndl wine, quince wine and quince sparkling wine. Here you really have to look for producers with a magnifying glass. But you will definitely find it. In Tyrol, for example, elderberry wine and cranberry wine are produced, i.e. blueberry wine. Very few producers have apple ice wine and fruit dessert wines in their range and fruit vermouth is even rarer.
I had a fruit cocktail from the supermarket. Is that even fruit wine?
It is easy to confuse (fruit) wine-containing, flavored fruit cockails with real fruit wines. Here, a basic wine, whether fruit wine or white wine, is simply mixed with (artificial) flavors and sometimes fruit juice. The drink deceives an ignorant consumer to be real fruit wine. But it is only a mixed drink made from various basic drink ingredients.
Often, carbonic acid is added and the product has a low alcohol content like beer. Some ciders are also made this way and come with a wide variety of berry aromas and flavors. What they all have in common is their low price.
Beverages containing wine contain at least 50% wine. The rest is water, fruit juice, sugar, flavor and carbon dioxide. It has nothing to do with fruit wine anymore. It’s just cheap & drinky and is usually produced in large numbers by large corporations.
What do fruit wines taste like?
The first factor is the fruit from which it was made. There are countless possibilities for fruits and flavors. When it comes to apples alone, there are countless varieties with their own unique flavor. Single-variety apple wines or mixtures of Braeburn, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Macintosh or Pink Lady and Fuji apples. Each variety has a unique aroma, color, acidity and special sugar content.
Fruit wines can also be produced as multi-fruit wines and take on aromas from different types of fruit.
Next we have the sugar and how much of it was added. Fruit wine producers can control the alcohol content of the finished product by adding sugar. There are fruit wines in the range of 1.2% vol. up to 22% vol. Alcohol. The natural fluctuation for classic fruit wines is 6% vol. up to 14% vol. Alcohol content. With longer fermentation, more glycerine is produced, which makes the wine fuller and richer.
The remaining sugar is added next. If the fruit wine is left dry or rounded off sweetly. Dry wines are more complex and delicate but more difficult to balance. This is also related to the acidity. Dry wines can only be made from slightly acidic fruits and multi-fruit wines. Otherwise they would be inharmonious.
Real fruit bombs have some residual sugar. Because the residual sugar helps to distribute the aromas better in the mouth and to reduce the acid content. This results in a rounded overall picture. How much residual sugar is often a matter of experience if the fruit wine is not to become excessively sweet.
Then we have the choice of the wine yeast strain and the addition of enzymes. All of this has an effect on the aroma of the wine and is one of the hand tools of a fruit wine producer.
Finally, storage and barrel expansion. Most fruit wines are aged in stainless steel tanks. They should keep their clear and fine aroma. Few fruit wines are stored in wooden barrels and barriques. Especially fortified dessert wines, which are supposed to gain a little more complexity through the wood.
Is fruit wine sweet?
As already mentioned, some are cute, others are not. Apple wines are usually made dry, while berry wines often have a small amount of residual sugar. Professional fruit wine producers tend towards the semi-dry area. But this is also related to the fruit wine and its alcohol content.
Of course, many fruit wines are made sweet and many people prefer sweet fruit wines. There is also a little bit of expectation involved. Because fruit wine is associated with summer, fruit and sweetness. But sweet is a flexible term. Sour cherries have as much or more sugar than strawberries and do not appear to be sweet.
In Austria, sweet wines start at 45g / l residual sugar and must be labeled accordingly. In a wine with 10g / l to 14g / l total acid, this residual sweetness is not necessarily a lot and the wine can only taste well rounded. Due to the acidity, however, it can still appear tangy and fresh. Classic red wines or white wines are significantly lower with 5g / l to 8g / l total acid and a residual sweetness of 45g / l can appear much sweeter.
We’ve also had customers who said the label says sweet but the wine doesn’t have any residual sweetness. That can be, but it still has well over 45g / l residual sugar and must therefore be declared as sweet, so we can’t do anything about that. We could of course make it even sweeter so that the sugar comes to the fore. But then it would no longer be as balanced as we would like it to be.
Many customers do not prefer ostensibly sweet wines and are put off by the word „sweet“ on the label. We cannot refute these expectations either. Unless the wine is tasted and every customer forms their own opinion about it.
We have already had various tasters who said that the same wine was not sweet at all and could still use some residual sugar, while others said that the wine was already too sweet for their personal taste. Done for everyone is an art that no one can do.
Is fruit wine known and popular and why is fruit wine rarely available in shops?
Well known because there are a large number of musters and fruit wine producers in certain regions. These products are mostly consumed on site and are only available in small quantities. You don’t usually see them in supermarkets. Unless there are large producers or cooperatives. All other producers have only a limited range and therefore do not appear in retail outlets across the board. They are also rarely listed on the drinks menu of restaurants. Sometimes you can still find strawberry wine and currant wine on the drinks menu at Heurigen and rustic inns. That’s partly part of it.
Fruit wine is just not a drink that is mass-produced and therefore there is no advertising. As a result, there is also a lack of awareness of which products are actually available. That means they need explanation and require open-minded, curious and interested people.
Unfortunately, the big players also set awareness here and shape public opinion, as everyone compares a new product with a familiar one. Be it the price, the presentation or the expectations. Or often negative experiences such as the first intoxication, headache or nausea, which one product in this category automatically transfers to all others. In addition, fruit wine often costs little and it is suggested to the customer that all products in this category cannot be worth much. After all, fruit grows on trees.
A few international big players have entered the Austrian market with the cider trend. Here you could see commercials on TV and billboards. Cider is consumed just like beer and is easy to drink. The fact that many brands only work with apple juice concentrates and flavors is often concealed here. Only the small print on the label provides information about this. We also work with concentrates, but use them to enhance our already substantial drinks after the must fermentation.
I like to compare these ciders with the Tetrapak apple juices from the supermarket. They are also made up of apple juice concentrate, sugar and flavor. With the cider there is still some alcohol and carbon dioxide in it. And most of the low-end products are drinks containing fruit wine, so they are diluted with water anyway. Otherwise these prices would not even be possible. Nor can it be compared with artisanal cider from a fruit growing company or with sparkling apple wine. The only thing they have in common is that all of these drinks offer frothy indulgence.
As everywhere, it is up to the consumer to decide which idea to support and promote with his money. The problem is that there is no uniform system to find fruit wine producers. During my research it was very time-consuming to find competitors in order to see their concept. Some were easy to find on the search engines. Others still pop up over time and as you crawl deep links. It is also not necessarily made easy for the consumer to discover the products. Unless it is specifically searched for. But who is looking specifically for sparkling quince wine, dirndl cider or Kriechal (plum) cider when they don’t even know that these products are available? Many don’t even know that there is also fruit wine in addition to white wine and red wine.
Am I getting high from fruit wine?
Fruit wines are often produced as house wines as a hobby. This is also one of the reasons why fruit wines have a dubious reputation. The over-sweet currant wine from your uncle, aunt, grandma, grandpa or the neighbor where you had a headache the next day as sure as the amen in prayer.
Most fruit wines are matured to a very high degree. So they have well over 10% vol., Some even up to 16% vol. Alcohol and are abundantly sweet. Due to the residual sweetness, these wine-like drinks are relatively easy to drink, especially when they are well chilled.
Nobody would drink a tall glass of liquor. But a currant wine or a strawberry wine, why not. It’s just fruit. You can’t get drunk on fruit (unless you distil it to make fruit brandy). What should happen? And because it tastes so good, you can of course drink another glass right away. This makes it much easier to get intoxicated with fruit wine than with other beverages.
Fruit wines like to seduce inexperienced drinkers and young people. The sweet, fruity taste is reminiscent of juice with more. You don’t need any wine knowledge and they are more accessible. They just taste good. Beer is bitter, wine is sour, but fruit wine is mostly sweet and fruity. The intoxication of rich fruit wine is also often more lasting. The combination of sweetness and alcohol makes you dehydrated more easily. In any case, it is advisable to enjoy it moderately. One of the reasons why our fruit dessert wines are only bottled in small bottles.
More about it: alcohol – don’t drink & drive .
Which food goes well with fruit wine?
Many fruit wines are sweet. Therefore, spicy dishes are particularly suitable. BBQ, Asian or Indian dishes are the first choice here. Everyone knows the plum wine in the Chinese restaurant. It goes wonderfully with spicy dishes.
All kinds of cakes and fruit desserts, cheese and chocolate.
Tart to semi-dry apple wine goes perfectly with Bernerwürstel.
More about it in:
Why is fruit wine cheaper than red wine or white wine?
It’s a rumor. Soft fruit is generally more expensive than wine grapes, so it is enough to just take a look at the supermarket. Apples are sometimes cheaper and classic cider is made from them. But it is disturbing when fruit wine is priced the same as fruit juice or is offered even cheaper. That is more of an ethical question of how cheap alcohol should be offered and whether you can make it so easy for young people to switch from fruit juices and lemonades to fruit wine.
Wine grapes are usually cheaper than berries and fruit wine is rarely made from fruit. There are just a lot more opportunities for exploitation. If alcohol is made from it, then either liqueur or fruit brandy. Fruit wine is rather special and less known and fruit brandy can be stored indefinitely. There is already enough wine in Austria.
Often in the fruit growers the fruit, which is neither suitable for fresh sale nor for processing like jam, is fermented into wine. Some even claim that market residues and 3rd choice are used to make wine. It is often said that strawberries can at least be made into strawberry wine on hot summer days, which are no longer suitable for any other processing.
From this point of view, inexpensive fruit wine can of course be produced. The same with wild pickings and the like. Then the cost of goods is zero and you only pay for ingredients such as sugar, wine yeast and packaging. So these fruits have at least led to a profitable added value. Otherwise they would have had to be disposed of and composted or, in the case of wild trees, would have simply fallen off and nobody would have recycled them. But that is not necessarily beneficial for the image. The same may apply to some mead, which is made from honey that is otherwise unsaleable because the water content is too high.
A second factor is that many fruit growers and farmers only work part-time. Sometimes they don’t care what they earn with their products. Often there is no calculation here. Working time is almost never included, flat rate. Incidentally, many small producers do the same. The main argument is that the harvest that is generated anyway should be sold somehow. This results in sometimes dubious prices, as seen in an example with apple juice itself. The hand-made apple juice directly from the farmer is offered cheaper than industrial juice from large producers at the discounter. Can it make sense and purpose to offer honest products cheaper than the industry competition? How is that even possible? And what can actually be left here for the producer, when the finished product costs only slightly more than the pure packaging costs were worth? Such competitors, who are more or less hobbyist, put others under pressure on prices. Of course, there are also part-time wine growers who can sell very cheap wine because they don’t have to live off it. Conclusion: It is definitely possible to offer cheaper. But not every product and not at every price and the question is how long you can afford it.
Can you store fruit wine like any other wine?
Fruit wines are mainly made for fresh consumption. Often no longer storage is necessary and only a few benefit from long storage. But this also has to do with which fruit wine it is. Table wines can be enjoyed for up to 2-3 years. Dessert wines can still be drinkable in around 10 years. It preserves its alcohol content anyway, but the aroma decreases more and more. Honey wines can be enjoyed almost indefinitely.