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.
Things You'll Need
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.
References and Resources"The Joy of Home Wine Making" Terry Garey 1995
"The Wine Bible" Karen McNeil 2001
"The Story of Wine" Hugh Johnson 2004