Tomato Wine

larryw(z6Ohio)March 6, 2010

Can anyone provide through personal experience a good recipe and process for making tomato wine?

I have high hopes for a really good tomato year in 2010, and

in spite of past difficulties would like to try this again.

I have gotten recipes off the internet, have tried them, and

on 2 occasions have ended up with a cloudy red mess that just

could not be clarified to resemble a wine.

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I do not think you can make wine from tomatoes.
What makes the alcohol, is the sugar in the fruits.
Tomatoes do not have that much sugar and have lots of acid.
Plus, if you try to ferment it probably rot and produce
even more acid. I only make wine from grapes, although you can make
it frome various sweet fruits. The sweeter the fruit, higher
the alcohol content.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 1:51PM
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There's plenty enough sugar in tomatoes to make wine, and if you Google ~ Tomato Wine Recipes ~ you're going to get pages and pages of hits. I'll post the link to the first one.

Larry, I've not made it myself but know it was dicussed at a gathering I did attend. If you look at Home Brew forums you're likely going to find someone with hands on experience.



Here is a link that might be useful: tomatowine

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 2:13PM
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instar8(Z 5 N.IN)

I've wondered about this too larry, if you can make wine from dandelion flowers you could darned well make it from tomatoes.

But i'm guessing that while the resulting fluid would indeed contain alcohol, no one has figured out how to make it taste good...I do grow a LOT of tomatoes, though, and have a friend with a lot of brewing experience...heck we might give it a try.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 4:32PM
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Trudi, thanks for the link, but I've Googled up recipes before
and I have a suspicion that a lot of them are not based on direct experience making real tomato wine but, rather, on generalized experience making all kinds of wines.

I know it can be made because several years ago I tasted some made by a casual acquaintance since passed on. It was light amber in color, clear as a bell, and tasted much like a cross between sherry and muscatel with the faintest hint of tomato flavor. He did tell me it took a lot of sugar
and that the tomatoes were kept inside a big strainer bag inside the fermentation vessel, then allowed to self drain at the end of primary fermentation.

Instar, go ahead and see what your wine making friends can find out or offer. We have some time to find a good true
workable process and it would sure be a nice thing to be able to make a nice adult beverage out of our excess tomatoes!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 2:59PM
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Hey Larry, I used to own a winery and made tomato wine on occasion. Used a variety that I can't remember the name of now but it was an OP heirloom cherry with a long german name. The vendor (Baker Creek I think)I bought the seed from said that it was bred for wine.
At our winery we called it "Love Apple Wine" and it sold out every year! All the colors drop out of the finished wine and you end up with a pretty undistinctive white IMO.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 9:30PM
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The amount of alcohol is directly proportional to the percentage of
sugar in any fruit (or liquid). A VERY SWEET grape can make a wine with about 12% alcohol. How much alcohol will be there in tomato wine ? 1 - 2%???

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 9:42PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

The variety Riesentraube was recorded in about 1852 in the Philadelphia area as being used for wine.

Someone I know used that variety ( it's widely avaialable now since Curtis Choplin, an SSE member, got it out of the German Seed Bank from Prof Klaprott in the early 90's and made it available to SSE members initially) to make wine from it several times, sent me two bottles and it was excellent, very much like a pale dry sherry, actually.

He wrote an article for it, and his adapted recipe from the 1852 one in OTV, which was an international newsletter about heirloom tomatoes that Craig LeHoullier and I used to publish.

I have back copies of those OTV's still here and could search for that volume, that #, and post the recipe if you wish.

But I have no time to do it now, so Larry, it's up to you to e-mail me, I think you still have my e-mail addy, or PM me off of here, and remind me sometime in early summer. If I get to it before then, I'll just find this thread and list it.

BTW, although the name of the variety is written in the German language, it's not specifically a German tomato. it was grown in many countries in Europe and the name was known in several languages. I think I remember that in one country the name translated out as Goat T-t b/c the small fruits have a nipple at the blossom end.

So Larry, do I go on a search and destroy mission at some point or do you want to keep looking for a recipe?


    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 9:58PM
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Cyrus, if you want to answer your own question then go get a refractometer and test the juice of some vine ripe cherry tomatoes. I have had them at 16 bx which will make a nice light wine. Riesentraube was the variety but I suspect any cherry high in sugars would do fine.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 10:25PM
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I do have a triple-scaled hyrometer.
A 15 bx will translate into a wine with about 7.5% alcohol.
That is, if the juice is filtered and all solids are removed. To me a 7.5% alcohol tomato wine is incredible.
I will test this, this coming season with my cherry tomatoes. I know a little bit about wine making. last year I made abou 15 gallons, from fresh grapes and conc. grape juice combination.

Now that I see you are a knowledgeable person in wine making, I like to ask,
how do you go about fermenting (temperature, yeast, tannin, etc) to prevent spoileage?


    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 2:29AM
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Although I've never made tomato wine, I have made elderberry and grape wines, beer, whiskey mashes and "distiller's wine" from refined sugars. If you're concerned about the brix of your tomato wine, there's nothing to stop you from fortifying it with another source of sugar, including table sugar. A major concern with using table sugar is making sure the yeast have enough nutrients to convert the sugar into alcohol and CO2. However, you should be ok as tomato paste is often a "secret ingredient" when making refined sugar wines. Also, yeast prefer an acid environment; therefore, I see no reason you can't make a high-alcohol tomato wine.

Here's a basic "sugar wine" recipe from one of my websites:

I've used this basic recipe. You wouldn't follow it to make tomato wine, but it gives good general information on fermentation and what yeast need to thrive.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 6:26PM
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Would you be willing to give us your recipe and process for making tomato wine? The fact that you have actually done it and know what works makes you the expert!

By the way, I do have a fair amount of experience making wines so I think I will be able to understand your directions and might be able to work with them a little to fit my actual selection and yield of fruits, equipment on hand, etc. I have tried to do tomato wine on 2 occasions and had no problem getting a nice fermentation going. The
biggest problem was in settling out and fining to get a nice clarity. Oh, and by the way, not only did it look nasty but it had a pretty nasty (though certainly alcoholic

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 8:34AM
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I know I can even make wine from plain water and sugar too.
But what is the point pouring sugar into tomato juice to make wine?
Unless, such wine has a particular favorable characteristics that I don't know.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 9:16AM
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"But what is the point pouring sugar into tomato juice to make wine? Unless, such wine has a particular favorable characteristics that I don't know."

Adding sugar (preferably inverted sugar per the linked recipe) will increase the alcohol content of the wine. Also, inverted sugar will increase the alcohol content without significantly altering the flavor profile of the wine (it will remain "tomatoey"). If you use other fruits or vegetables, you would change the flavor profile of your wine. Tomatoes don't have enough sugar (around 3 percent) to make a very stout wine and most recipes I've seen call for additional sugar. The recipe from Nativewines5 probably adds fruit or some other source of sugar.

FYI, the recipe I linked tells you how to invert sugar. Alternatively, you can buy it. However, you don't have to use inverted sugar. Regular sugar will work, but it typically doesn't ferment as cleanly or fully.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 2:27PM
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The biggest problem most people have with making wine is that it must be aged.
A wine like tomato should stay in the fermenter for at least two years!! Make a whole lot of it this year and next and then three years from now we will all be happy. etc.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 2:13AM
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My father got detailed instructions from a friend of his down in Florida on how to make tomato wine. He put it away for me, and now he can't find it, lol. I'm sure it will turn up, and I will post it for you once it does : )

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 11:50PM
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