Two weeks ago I was really nervous, as my two year old home made strawberry wine was getting oxidized. Though it was home made, it had all the qualities of good wine like colour, clarity, aroma, taste and alcohol percent. But due to uncontrollable storage conditions at home, now it is getting spoiled.
I wish, I could store it for longer time. Alas...
That time I remembered that recently I heard about a winery which makes fruit wines. I had lots of questions in my mind, like, how fruit wines are made commercially, what type of machines are used (crusher, filters etc.). also does that wine retains aroma and flavour during storage or ageing. (as fruit wines are delicate than grape wine.)
I thought I should visit that winery.
so I had a word with owner/wine maker of Hillcrest winery, Mr. Akalpit prabhune (engineer by education, winemaker by passion). Last sunday I had opportunity to meet him at the winery, located at Dhayri MIDC, Pune.
Pune is one of the major wine making regions of Maharashtra, India. Here wine is well appreciated, so most wine events are also alsorganised in Pune.
Most fruit wines (mainly apple wine and recently added plum, peach and strawberry) are produced in Himachal Pradesh. Hillcrest winery makes pineapple wine commercially under the brand name Rhythum and recently they have launched their strawberry wine under same label.
winery is comparatively small, capacity is nearly 15,000 to 20,000 liters. Though it is small, it is clean and well maintained. Maintaining cleanliness in the winery is more important than actual wine making, because any microbial attack or contamination can spoil your wine and your efforts.
I tasted both strawberry and pineapple wine. Both wines are fruity and sweet. In India wine culture is not that developed because of the weather conditions (In colder parts of the world like Europe, wine is part of daily diet) that's why most Indian consumers do not have a palate developed for wine taste. For them it is easy to start with a more sweet and less acidic wine, a bit like rose. Wines from Rhythm are exactly like this, so can be called as beginner's wines.
Strawberry wine's appearance is really interesting, completely blush resembling fresh strawberries.
Brilliantly clear with no presence of sediments, any floaters or bits of cork (as wine is screw capped).
After swirling wine gives a rich fruity aroma of fresh strawberries. (Good aroma is an indicator of good wine).
The first sip itself gives you refreshing fruity, sweet taste with balanced tannins, making you long for another sip.
This light bodied wine (Light body: wine flavour does not stay in mouth for long) with 12 to 13% alcohol can set mood of any wine beginner.
Pineapple wine :-
The translucent pineapple wine looks much like Chardonnay (a pale yellow grape wine).
Aroma is ok with very small tinge of pineapple in it (I was expecting fresh acidic aroma like freshly cut pineapple).
This wine is much more on sweeter side (again, I was expecting fresh acidic flavour of pineapple). Still a tinge of pineapple is experienced in after taste.
This fresh sweet wine with moderate alcohol (12 to 14%) can surely be an icebreaker for people who want to start wine tasting.
As I have tasted both wines one by one, couldn't stop comparing them, and will choose strawberry wine over pineapple. But both of them have calibre to set the mood of party and create new wine lovers.
The winery visit was really good experience and it made me aware that even if I am making wine at home, maintaining wine has no less standards than a maintaining a winery. And efforts taken by the Rhythum are clearly seen in the both labels.
So give it a chance and start your journey of thousand wine bottles with sip of fresh fruity wine...