For people new to wine as well as seasoned wine drinkers, strawberry wine provides a nice alternative to the grape-driven varietals. Redolent with the flavor of fresh strawberries, this fruit wine is often a summer favorite, and pairs well with chocolate. You can buy strawberry wine from many specialty wineries, as well as make it yourself.
What is Strawberry Wine?
Like any other kind of wine, strawberry wine is a fermentation of the fruit juice; in this case, strawberry. Strawberry wine is very sweet, and usually has a large amount of sugar added. The ingredients for strawberry wine are simple: hulled strawberries, boiling water, lemon juice and sugar. The berries are basically mashed and the hot water and lemon juice are poured in. After stirring for a few minutes, the mixture is left for a week (stirred once a day). Then the mixture is drained, the strawberry pulp discarded and the sugar mixed in. The sugar gets the fermentation started. Leave the mixture in a crock for about a week, then transfer to large glass wine bottles and cork loosely. From here, it should spend about three months in a cool, dark place until it has stopped bubbling. After that it can be poured into individual wine bottles, corked and stored for about a year before drinking.
Buying Strawberry Wine
If you aren't willing to go through the effort or time involved in making strawberry wine, there are many places around the country where you can buy it. Make sure that the wine you are getting is made from 100 percent strawberries and not cut with apple or grape juice, as is sometimes done.
Here are a few great places to get strawberry wine:
- Baldwin Vineyards in New York state is one of the most renowned makers of strawberry wine. Their wine has won five gold medals and has been named the best fruit wine in New York.
- Four Chimneys is another New York winery and has the distinction of being the first winery in America that is certified organic. These wines are all natural and made with organic fruit.
- Mount Bethel is my favorite local winery for strawberry wine. It's in Arkansas, where we know how to grow berries.
- Tamuzza Vineyards in New Jersey has all sorts of interesting fruit wines, including apple, strawberry and cranberry. They also have a sparkling wine that is 40 percent strawberry and 60 percent grape.
- Chatham Hill's Sweet Carolina line features a great strawberry wine in addition to its peach, raspberry and other flavors.
- Bainbridge Winery in Washington State makes their wines from Washington's annual bumper crop of strawberries. The winery requires signup to order the wines, which they release annually.
Enjoying Strawberry Wine
Strawberry wine is a wonderful dessert (or instead of dessert) wine because it is so sweet and fruity. It's also wonderful as a component in your dessert, for instance drizzled over ice cream or used to macerate the fruit to go on top of pound cake.
Strawberry wine is nice at room temperature or chilled. Make your own spritzer with a mix of strawberry wine and sparkling wine. It also adds a nice wallop to your favorite punch recipe.
Add a splash of strawberry wine to baked goods (before or after cooking) to give them a hint of fruity flavor. Add to a homemade vinaigrette dressing, or just drink as you would any other kind of sweet, summery wine. Don't forget to have a piece of chocolate on the side, or, better yet, garnish your glass with a chocolate covered strawberry!