Winecraft (Update): Unbelievable Beet

It’s a mesmerizing garnet in the glass…and a real palate pleaser: full-bodied, mysterious, and ever so slightly earthy. It’s beetroot wine!

Before you say you hate beets, hear me out. Beetroot actually makes a very surprising wine: one that you would likely not guess is made from beets. It tastes a bit like a Cabernet Sauvignon, with a subtle hint of grassy/earthy flavor. The beets lend complexity and natural sweetness; my batch fermented dry, so a touch of simple syrup really makes it pop.

And that color – it looks like the “blood of the earth”. This is a beautiful, tasty, and inexpensive wine to make. All hail the humble beetroot, so nutritious and flexible: kvass, borscht, wine – it does them all proud. This wine is supposed to just improve with time and become really amazing after about a year of aging…but I’m not sure it’ll last that long!

So, the next time you find yourself with 2.5 pounds of fresh beets, make some fabulous wine! I used the recipe from my trusty “Winemakers Recipe Handbook” by Raymond Massaccesi, but Jack Keller’s site has a very similar recipe (scroll about halfway down the page to Beet Wine #3, Light Bodied): Jack Keller – Wine Recipes.

Vegetables really can be the basis for tasty and unusual country wines, and you might be surprised by what you can use: I have broad bean wine on my list to make when I can get my hands on some – and maybe I’ll even make an onion wine someday! Do you have a favorite vegetable wine?