red cherry tomatoes

Wine doesn't always spring from grapes. While the majority of us will never own a vineyard, many of us do garden. One garden plant, the tomato, is hardly ever recognized for what it truly is: a fruit and an ideal source crop to be turned into a homemade wine. The process is similar to canning your excess crop, and the end results are a bit more fun.

Obtain the pectic enzyme, Campden tablet, wine yeast and yeast nutrient from a local vintner's store or a reliable online supplier such as E.C. Kraus. Remove stems and wash in clean water 5 pounds of tomatoes. Roughly chop the tomatoes.

In the fermentation bucket add chopped tomatoes, 2 1/2 pounds granulated sugar, strained juice of 2 lemons, 1/2 teaspoon of the pectic enzyme, 1 crushed Campden tablet and 1 gallon of spring or distilled water. Stir briskly, cover and let stand overnight.

To the tomato must (the mixture of skin, seeds and juice--be it grape or tomato--is referred to as must), add the packet of wine yeast and 1 teaspoon of yeast nutrient. Stir thoroughly and cover. Keep the fermentation bucket in a warm place. A partially heated basement is fine as long as the ambient temperature is above 60 degrees to insure that the initial fermentation gets well underway. For the next 5 days you must stir the must twice daily. Do not add more yeast or energizer.

After 5 days strain the tomato wine thoroughly, making sure to get all the juice and liquor. Transfer the liquid to a demijohn that can be sealed with an air trap, also called an air lock.

After 4 weeks you will need to rack the wine, and transfer it to another demijohn, leaving the must behind. Repeat this process 3 or more times over the next year. When the wine is clear, transfer it to bottles and allow it stand for at least 2 months before drinking.


  • You can vary the taste of wine by using only one variety of tomatoes.