How to Make Tomato Wine from Homegrown Tomatoes

Posted: August 2, 2017

A wild way to use extra tomatoes!

Sometime late this summer you may be confronted with surplus tomatoes. Not only have all your tomato plants borne fruit – nice, juicy, delicious, nutritious fruit – but friends and neighbors will be handing you whole bags full as well.

When that happened to me two years ago I found an antique recipe for tomato wine and got to work. More about the recipe below, but the most amazing thing about it is that the final directions were “don’t open the fermentation jug for two years.” This June I cheated just a bit when a friend came to visit and we decided to sample the wine at age one year and eleven months.

It tasted just like cream sherry! Sweet and smooth. Yes, worth the wait.

The recipe goes something like this: start with 15 pounds of tomatoes and crush them with your hands, skins and seeds and all, in a large crock lined with cheesecloth or a large paint strainer (my preference). Let sit overnight. Enzyme action will virtually dissolve the skins, and you can squeeze and strain the contents to remove the seeds. Next, in a 3-5 gallon fermentation jug, melt five pounds of sugar in boiling filtered water, add the tomato juice, and when the mixture is lukewarm add proofed wine yeast.

Apply an air lock and let fermentation take place until it calms down. Rack the wine and let sit two years. Bottle.

Wow. And by the way, if you don’t want to make wine, try that squeeze and strain technique to make regular tomato juice that for canning. This is the only way I have found to make tomato juice that doesn’t separate. Add salt and spices to taste. Can using hot water bath.

******Speaking of things that you can drink, check out Nan Chase’s book “Drink the Harvest” HERE. In it you will find easy to follow step-by-step guides, beautiful pictures, and simply delicious recipes.******

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Nan Chase

NC Garden Ambassador at Sow True Seed
Writer Nan K. Chase has written about topics as diverse as the history of Islam and the history of the mini-skirt, about beauty pageants and about nuclear energy. An award-winning investigative journalist, she has written for The New York Times, Washington Post, Air & Space, Southern Living, and many other publications. A long-time gardener, Nan lives in the mountains of western North Carolina.

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2 responses to “How to Make Tomato Wine from Homegrown Tomatoes”

  1. Sophia Garbos says:

    Hi, I am thinking of making some tomato wine, but I am not sure how much water to use. If I were to start with 15 lbs of tomatoes, how much water would you recommend that I use? Thanks!

    • Vanessa says:

      Hi Sophia! I use a 3-5 gallon ceramic crock. 5 gallons will give you room to work with, but 3 gallons should work too.
      (I am responding on behalf of Nan Chase)

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