March 17, 2016 | By RJS Craft Winemaking
When it comes to wine, we all have our preferences. My go-to wine is a crisp, refreshing Pinot Grigio with dinner, or a smooth Merlot to sip during a quiet night in. My best friend claims that winding down from a long day always calls for a glass of Shiraz (and a comfortable chair). Regardless of our personal wine favourites, I’ve often noticed that when I’m discussing wine with friends, fruit-flavoured wines tend to get a bad rap, or are excluded from our conversation entirely. Why is that?
Fruit-flavoured wines suffer from a reputation as being less complex or lower in quality compared to more traditional white, red and even rosé wines. I know some of my wine-drinking friends think that fruit-flavoured wines aren’t intended for the “experienced” or “sophisticated” wine drinker because any true wine flavour is eliminated by the flavours from the fruit. It wasn’t until I made a batch of the Orchard Breezin’ Tropical Lime that I rediscovered how delicious a fruit flavoured wine can be – especially when shared with friends on a warm afternoon hanging out in my backyard!
As it turns out, I am not the only one who enjoys a little fruit-flavour in my wine. Fruit-flavoured wines are becoming more popular in North America as people choose them over cocktails, beer and coolers. But in other parts of the world, fruit-flavoured wines have long been on the radar of both wine connoisseurs and casual wine drinkers alike.
Sangria, the original fruit-flavoured wine and the inspiration for modern day fruity wines has actually been popular in Spain and Portugal for over 2,000 years! Historians believe the Romans began mixing wine with water and adding citrus fruits in order to sanitize the drinking water of their expanding empire when they reached the Iberian Peninsula. Then, as Spain and Portugal expanded their own empires to North and South America, they brought this refreshing and fruity beverage with them. Around the world, Sangria has now become synonymous with Latin culture as well as patio and warm weather drinking.
According to a recent article in The Drinks Industry magazine the recent upsurge in consumer interest for fruit-flavoured wines can be attributed to the fact that they are more accessible to new wine drinkers. Younger drinkers understand and enjoy drinks with common fruit flavours like peach and strawberry as a result of their experiences with flavoured spirits like vodka and coolers. When they are ready to drink wine, a natural first step into the category is through fruit-flavoured wines.
The truth is wine with fruit flavours will continue to grow in popularity for another reason: they are delicious. More and more people are open to trying them and to their surprise, enjoy them much more than they thought they would. Personally, I intend to make my own batch of craft fruit wine packed with a little citrus punch. What type of fruit flavoured wine will you make next?