Who said vineyards have to grow grapes?
In 1998, Pascale Miche immigrated to Québec from Belgium and began planting tomatoes in his backyard. But when Miche looked out at his plants, he didn’t see a field of salad components. He saw a vineyard.
Miche’s grandfather began turning tomatoes into wine in 1938, and he passed the recipe down to his grandson. Determined to finish what his family had started, Miche created Omerto, a tomato winery based northeast of Montreal.
Miche grows six different kinds of heirloom tomatoes in his vineyard that go into his two wines. The fruit undergoes the same processes as grape-based wine, taking nine months from to go from vine to bottle. Tasters liken Omerto’s drier wine, Omerto Sec, to a Sauvignon Blanc, and the sweeter Omerto Moelleux to a white Port. Because tomatoes have no tannins in their skin, both varieties resemble white wine. According to the Guardian, some sommeliers can’t detect Omerto’s signature ingredient and assume they’re tasting white wine.
While the combination might be unfamiliar to some, locals are no strangers to the idea of boozing with tomatoes. The Clamato juice–filled Caesar is Canada’s national drink.
Where to Try It
Domaine de la Vallee du Bras and Omerto Boutique328 Rang Saint Antoine N, Baie-St-Paul, Quebec, QC G3Z 2C3, Canada
You can visit the tasting room from 10:00 a.m. to 5 pm. every day of the week between mid-June and mid-October. From late October through early June, you'll need to make an appointment to visit. You can also organize a tour of the vineyard but need to call ahead.
Marché du Vieux-Port Québec160, Quai Saint-André, Québec, G1K 3Y2, Canada
This market features local meats, produces, wine, cheeses, and more.