Tomato Wine - Gastro Obscura


Tomato Wine

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.

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