They have pineapple wine. A delicious pomegranate wine that reminded me of the rosé. They have mango wine, and even pumpkin spice wine. All delicate and delightful, not at all as sweet as I thought they would be.
Once I heard about FruitCraft, a San Diego-based wine company (although, it's more of a craft spirits company now that they're expanding their program to ciders and spirits) that makes wine out of almost every fruit other than grapes, I was intrigued. Then I wondered why more people aren't doing it if it's not more expensive and still produced quality wine.
And apparently FruitCraft's co-founder Alan Haghighi had the same thought before he and his twin brother, Brian, started the business in 2009.
"I think what's defined most of my entrepreneurial career is around questioning the status quo," he said. "You know, the reason why this alcohol category was fascinating to me was because, why are we not already doing this?"
Crafting wine from fruits like strawberries, mangoes and pumpkins isn't very different from making wine from grapes. Every fruit contains sugar, which eventually converts into alcohol by yeast during the fermentation process. The tricky part is making adjustments to balance the levels of sugar and acidity for each fruit, which is an exciting process for the brothers.
"We take pride in fermenting and keeping the maximum amount of character and giving it to you, the consumer, in a quick and tasty fashion," Brian Haghighi said. "If you like it tart, we can keep the sugar out. Or, if you like it sweet, we can keep the sugar in. It's really up to us to style it."
One great example of their creativity in wine making is their pumpkin spice wine, which they made by aging pumpkin juice with spices like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger. It's crisp and light, and it smells like autumn.
When you look around FruitCraft's tasting room in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego, you'll notice a room full of recycled wine bottles: a chandelier made out of empty bottles, bottles that turned into beautiful succulent pots and light fixtures that feature parts of the bottles.
The art pieces reflect the Haghighis' mission to create an environment-conscious, sustainable business while also helping reduce fruit waste in their local community. Not only that, but Fruitcraft's "employee-owned" business model, where all employees get added as beneficiaries, also challenges the way many companies have been run.
I guess it's safe to say that in the end, their goal is to be sustainable, profitable and a game-changer in business and in alcohol all the while trying to make the world a better place. I know. There's a lot packed into those terrific bottles of wine.
If you enjoyed this story, check out the links below:
Funky wine, aka natural wine, is as romantic as it gets when it comes to wine production
A hidden wine vault was found in the basement of a history museum
These 'Game of Thrones' cocktails perfectly capture season 7 so far