Technique

Finding the Best Fruit

For commercial wineries, winemaking begins long before the grapes are crushed. The quality of the wine reflects the quality of the fruit, and wineries spend lots of time, effort, and money making sure they get just the right grapes. Vineyard managers worry about how much water, how much shade, and how warm or cold the grapes get; the type and quality of the soil; the size of clusters; and dozens of other issues. But what if you don’t have access to that kind of highly managed fruit? If you’re like most home winemakers, you’ve probably eyed the grapes in the supermarket at one time or another, not to mention the wild blackberry patch in your back yard, and wondered if you could make wine from that fruit. The answer is that there are plenty of options for sourcing fruit, and you don’t need the help of a vineyard expert to make great wine. The Right Stuff The first step is sourcing the fruit. With all grapes and other fruit (brambles, stone fruits, orchard fruits), look toward the grower as your