Hello there! I’m Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don’t worry, I’m no wine snob—you can also ask me those “dumb questions” you’re too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don’t forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Why are grapes so much more popular for making wine than other fruits?
—Wally, Richfield, Minn.
“Fruit wine” can be made from all kinds of fruits, from plums to cherries to peaches and more, but wine grapes are particularly well-suited to wine production.
Why? For starters, fully ripe wine grapes (keep in mind they are different from the table grapes that you get in the grocery store) have enough sugar for yeast to convert to alcohol through the fermentation process.
Most fruits don’t produce the amount of sugar required for yeast to convert to alcohol. In fact, making fruit wine starts by adding a large amount of sugar (aka chaptalization). Wine grapes also have enough acidity to balance sweetness, and the thick skins and seeds have tannins that give wine its structure.
While fruit wines can be appealing and wonderfully aromatic, they tend to be a bit one-dimensional and sweet for my taste.