Making Tropical Fruit Wine

Tropical fruit obviously are those native to the tropics. While the absolute number of fruit native to that area is disputed, at least 235 — more than twice that of the non-tropics — are widely recognized as having culinary significance. Almost all of them are suitable for wine. All factors governing winemaking apply to tropical fruit, plus a few we might not consider. Most of us are familiar with the names of some of the more common tropicals — banana, carambola (star fruit), custard apple, cherimoya, guava, jujube, kiwifruit, lychee, mango, melons, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, tamarind, etc. Additionally, there are 43 subtropical fruits, many that overlap into the tropics. The distinction is that tropical fruit cannot tolerate frost while subtropical fruit can tolerate frost for short periods. Some tropical fruit can be grown quite far north, but they are grown as annuals whereas they may be perennials in the tropics. Examples of this are watermelons, several muskmelon varieties, tomatoes, and most chili pepper varieties. Factors to Consider Making wines from tropical fruit involves the same factors as making wine