Fermentation products from fruits are among the oldest alcoholic beverages. Even in ancient times the Greeks made wine not only from grapes but also from apples, dates, figs and other fruits. The Romans and Germanic tribes also knew fruit and fruit wines. The mead (in the picture Melomel) was even considered a drink of the gods in Germanic mythology. Today fruit wine or Today, fruit wine is made by alcoholic fermentation of juice or mash of suitable fresh pome fruit (apple, pear, quince), stone fruit (cherry, apricot, nectarine, peach, sour cherry, all kinds of plums and damsons), Soft fruit (blackberry, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, elderberry, redcurrants of all colours, gooseberry) or other fruit beverage produced with an alcoholic strength by volume of not less than 1,2 % vol A fruit wine may also be produced from fruit juice. The alcohol content can reach up to 18 vol. by fermentation, for which sufficient sugar must be added to the fermentation batch. So-called "naturally pure" fruit wines (i.e. without the addition of sugar) rarely reach over 10% vol. As a rule, the alcohol content is between 5 to 6.5 (cider) or 5.5 to 9 percent, depending on the product
Grapes are not considered to be fruit. Except for wine grapes which do not belong to the species Vitis vinifera or which do not come from a cross between the species Vitis vinifera and other species of the genus Vitis. The designation is preceded by the name of the respective raw material, such as cider or currant wine (currant wine, corrian wine). The word wine must not be separated from the fruit species (group). Descriptions such as "wine made from cherries" or "sparkling wine made from pears" are not permitted.
In Austria, for the purposes of classification by group of fruit species, a pome fruit wine must be described as "Obstwein", "Obstmost" or "Most", a stone fruit wine as "Steinobstwein" and a berry wine as "Beerenwein". On the other hand, a fruit wine produced from several groups of fruit varieties is to be called a fruit wine. These wine-like beverages are defined in the wine law (section "fruit wine").
In Germany, "Obstwein" is not an official or legally regulated designation. As a rule, wines made from pome fruit are called fruit wine, although the distinction is not always clear and is also used synonymously with fruit wine. Officially, i.e. in the sales description, a distinction is made between "Apfelwein", "Birnenwein" and "Fruchtwein". The basis for this is formed by the guiding principles for wine and sparkling wine like beverages. These are not covered by wine law but by the general provisions of food law.
A fruit dessert wine is a fruit or fruit wine mixed with alcohol, sugar or fruit juice. In Germany more than 12.0%, in Austria at least 13.0% vol. alcohol content is required for this purpose. For a fruit or fruit sparkling wine, at least 1 to a maximum of 2.5 bar of carbon dioxide overpressure is required. A fruit or fruit sparkling wine must be produced by alcoholic fermentation of fruit juice or second alcoholic fermentation of fruit or fruit wine. The excess pressure of carbonic acid must be at least 3 bar.
A complete list of the numerous vinification measures and cellar techniques, as well as the various types of wine, sparkling wine and distillate regulated by wine law, can be found under the keyword vinification. Comprehensive information on wine law can be found under the keyword wine law.
Picture: Schäfer fruit wines