Off The Beaten Path: Spice, herb, and vegetable winemaking

These wines are not common in the commercial marketplace where dry grape wines dominate. There are some fruit wines, of course, and a few novelty wines made with coffee or chocolate. You can find mulled or spiced holiday wines to serve warm in the winter. Among the small group of wines known as aperitifs or digestifs, most contain spices or herbs and a few include vegetable ingredients. But you probably won’t see a shelf at your local bottle shop with a sign that looks like the title of today’s column. Don’t let that put you off: You are a home winemaker and you can do whatever you want. Here are some basic guidelines for exploring homemade wines with spices, herbs, and vegetables. I have made a few wines like this, but wanted to check how widely they appear in home winemaking. At the store where I used to be an owner, The Beverage People in Santa Rosa, California, they sell a little purple book called Winemaker’s Recipe Handbook by Raymond Massaccesi. A remarkable compendium of wine ideas, it includes instructions