Winecraft (Update): Kombucha Tea

We love our kombucha – a delicious probiotic drink made from cultured sweet tea – around here. I’m always looking for new and creative ways to use this wonderful elixir, so when I found instructions for making kombucha tea wine, I had to try it.

The recipe I used called for brewing a strong kombucha base from a high-yeast starter and extra sugar, then using the finished KT, along with fruit juice and wine yeast, to make the wine. I dredged up some super yeasty sludge from the bottom of a KT vinegar continuous brew vessel and started the base…which looked pretty much like regular black tea kombucha. After 10 days of brewing, I moved the KT to a carboy, adding sugar, water, yeast, and a cup of fruit juice. Airlocked, it worked its magic for a couple of months, then was racked to a clean carboy.

It’s now 4 months later, and the finished wine is a lovely pale blush color. The flavor is very nice, but difficult to describe: reminiscent of kombucha, but with softly rounded, subtly fruity edges. It fermented dry with a slight – but pleasant – tang of acidity. Backsweetening with a splash of homemade Blue Violet Syrup deepened the color a little, turning it a warm amber, and brought out the latent fruit flavors (I used Concord grape juice). This is a complex, unusual wine, and a real treat to enjoy. The sheer number of possible permutations is especially exciting: selecting new tea mixes for the base and various juices could produce wildly different results.

Bottom line: a keeper. Perfectly-suited to creativity and another great use for kombucha!

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