Tomato Wine: Unraveling the Secrets of an Unconventional Beverage

Tomato wine may not be as popular as traditional grape wines, but it certainly offers a unique and delightful alternative for those looking to explore innovative tastes in the world of alcoholic beverages. Made from either red ripe or green tomatoes, this distinctive type of wine boasts a slightly fruity, zesty flavor, and can range from dry to slightly sweet depending on the recipe.

As a burgeoning wine enthusiast or a seasoned connoisseur, you might find it fascinating to try your hand at crafting tomato wine in the comfort of your own home. The process, although lengthy and requiring patience, is relatively simple and allows you to use store-bought or garden-grown tomatoes. With a few basic ingredients and care during the process, you can create an enjoyable new addition to your personal wine collection.

Green tomato wine tends to be a bit dryer and more reminiscent of chardonnay, making it an excellent choice for those who appreciate a crisp white wine. Alternatively, wines made from red tomatoes generally offer a milder and more subtle flavor profile. Regardless of your preference, experimentation and practice can result in a unique, homemade concoction that reflects your wine-making prowess and showcases the versatility of this often underestimated fruit.

Tomato Wine Recipe


For your tomato wine recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

4 to 5 pounds (1.8 to 2.3 kg) of red tomatoes, preferably wine-specific tomato varieties or Roma or San Marzano tomatoes
3 pounds (1.3 kg) of dextrose
2 tablespoons (29.5 mL) of acid blend
1/2 tablespoon (7.4 g) of diammonium phosphate
3 campden tablets
96 oz. water
1 cup raisins (optional for additional sweetness)
1.5 lbs. sugar
2.5 tsp. acid blend
0.25 tsp. tannin
1 tsp. yeast nutrient
1 pack of yeast (enough for 6 gallons)


To make your tomato wine, gather the following equipment:

A fermenting bucket with an airlock
A wine siphon and tubing
Wine bottles and corks
A straining bag
A funnel
A hydrometer

Fruit Selection

When choosing tomatoes for your wine, it’s important to select a variety specifically bred for winemaking. These varieties are higher in sugar and lower in acidity. Roma or San Marzano tomatoes work well as an alternative if you cannot find wine-specific tomatoes.

Primary Fermentation

1) Chop your tomatoes into small pieces, placing them in the straining bag.

2) Add the tomatoes, water, dextrose, acid blend, diammonium phosphate, and campden tablets into the fermenting bucket. Mix well.

3) Leave the mixture to sit for 24 hours.

4) Add yeast, yeast nutrient, sugar, tannin, and pectic enzyme (if using) to the fermenting bucket and mix well.

5) Cover the bucket with an airlock and allow fermentation to occur for 7-10 days.

Secondary Fermentation

1) After primary fermentation, siphon the liquid from the fermenting bucket into a clean container, leaving the sediment behind.

2) Attach the airlock to the new container and allow the wine to ferment for another 45-60 days.

3) Rack the wine (siphon the liquid once more into another clean container) every couple of weeks to remove any remaining sediment.


1) Once your tomato wine has reached the desired level of sweetness and clarity, it’s time to bottle.

2) Sanitize your wine bottles and corks.

3) Gently transfer the wine from the container to the bottles using a wine siphon and tubing.

4) Cork the bottles securely and store them in a cool, dark place.

5) Allow the wine to age for a minimum of 3 months before enjoying. The longer it ages, the better it will taste.

Recipe Variations

Red Tomato Wine

For a Red Tomato Wine, start with ripe, red tomatoes from your garden. Mash the tomatoes and strain the juice. In a 6-gallon fermentation container, combine the tomato juice, sugar, water, grape tannin, acid blend, and wine yeast. After primary fermentation, transfer the wine to bottles and cork them. This wine pairs well with pizza and pasta dishes due to its tomato-based flavor, reminiscent of tomato sauce.

Green Tomato Wine

Green Tomato Wine utilizes unripe, green tomatoes. Follow the same procedure as for the Red Tomato Wine, but incorporate the distinct flavor of green tomatoes. Green Tomato Wine has a lighter, tangier flavor profile that works well with seafood dishes.

White Wine Inspired Tomato Wine

For a lighter, White Wine Inspired Tomato Wine, experiment with the honey-to-water ratio used to sweeten the wine. Start by diluting 2 pounds of honey in 1 gallon of boiling water, then let it cool. Substitute white wine yeast and consider adding lemon juice for added acidity.

Ingredients Red Tomato Wine Green Tomato Wine White Wine Inspired Tomato Wine
Tomatoes Ripe, red Unripe, green Ripe, red
Honey-to-Water 1:1 1:1 2 lbs honey, 1 gal water
Yeast Wine yeast Wine yeast White wine yeast
Additional Flavor Lemon juice

Spiced Tomato Wine

For an adventurous twist, try making Spiced Tomato Wine by adding herbs like basil and tannins from raisins. The basil complements the natural tomato flavor, while tannins give the wine more body and structure – similar to a red wine. Incorporate these ingredients during primary fermentation before transferring to bottles with an airlock.

Here is a summary of what you’ll need for your fermentations:

– Red Tomato Wine: Wine yeast, sugar, water

– Green Tomato Wine: Green tomatoes, sugar, water, wine yeast

– White Wine Inspired Tomato Wine: Honey, lemons, white wine yeast

– Spiced Tomato Wine: Basil, raisins, wine yeast

Before starting your wine-making adventure, remember to thoroughly clean and sanitize your fermentation containers, bottles, and airlocks.

Homemade Tomato Wine Tips

Creating homemade tomato wine can be a delightful and rewarding experience. In this section, you will learn some valuable tips to help you perfect your tomato wine recipe.

First, selecting the right tomatoes is crucial for a delicious homemade tomato wine. Heirloom tomatoes are an excellent choice due to their rich flavor and unique taste profiles. You can also experiment with different varieties to create a truly unique wine. However, avoid using canned tomatoes as they may contain additional preservatives that could negatively affect the winemaking process.

When choosing tomatoes, look for those that are ripe but not overly so, and that have a moderate acid content. A suitable balance between sugar and acidity is essential in producing a quality tomato wine.

To complement spicy dishes, consider selecting a wine such as Barbera, Pinot Noir, or Grenache that will pair well with the flavors of your tomato wine. These types of wines can add an extra layer of complexity to your homemade creation.

For the winemaking process, it’s essential to maintain a clean and sanitized workspace. Sterilize all equipment, including the fermenter, jars, and funnel, before starting the process to ensure the best possible outcome.

Follow these steps to create your homemade tomato wine:

1) Mash or food process the tomatoes.

2) Dilute honey in warm water, mix and let it cool.

3) Combine the tomato, honey, and other necessary ingredients like grape tannin, yeast nutrient, oak chips, oak dust, and yeast.

4) Allow the mixture to ferment for about two weeks, stirring occasionally.

5) After fermentation, use a muslin cloth to separate the solids from the liquid.

6) Transfer the liquid into a sanitized jug using a funnel.

7) Store in a dark, cool place and let your tomato wine age.

Remember that patience is key when making homemade wine. Allow your tomato wine to age for an appropriate amount of time to develop its flavors fully.

Pairings and Tasting Notes

Sommelier Recommendations

When it comes to pairing tomatoes with wine, you should look for wines that complement the acidity and earthiness of tomatoes. For example, Sauvignon Blanc, a wine that often exhibits notes of tomato leaf and herbs, can be a delightful companion to tomato-based dishes.

Another option to consider is White Port, which can help counterbalance the acidity of tomatoes while imparting a unique sweetness that adds depth to the dish.

Tomato Wine and Food Pairings

While making tomato wine from an excess crop of ripe fruit, you’ll need to focus on using high-quality ingredients that will meld well with the wine’s characteristics. Keep in mind that tomatoes have a high acid content, so the wine you create should be able to balance that out.

To make your own tomato wine, follow these steps:

1) Gather your materials: ripe tomatoes, granulated sugar, champagne yeast, a nylon straining bag, and a demijohn for fermenting your wine.

2) Place the ripe tomatoes in the nylon straining bag and crush them to release the juice.

3) In a heated basement or dark place, ferment the juice with the champagne yeast to create a more complex flavor profile.

4) Once fermentation is complete, store the tomato wine in a demijohn in a dark place to age it.

When pairing tomato wine with dishes, look for foods that will both highlight the wine’s unique flavors and complement its acidic nature.

Some suggested food pairings include:

1) Pasta dishes with sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and fresh herbs like basil or cilantro

2) Chilled tomato and stone fruit soup

3) Tomato-based ratatouille

4) Classic tomato and mozzarella caprese salad

Remember that the key to successful wine pairings is balance, and be sure to experiment with different dishes and wine combinations to find your perfect pairing. Enjoy your tomato wine journey and don’t be afraid to try new things!

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