Why are grapes so much more popular for making wine than other fruits?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Why are grapes so much more popular for making wine than other fruits?

—Wally, Richfield, Minn.

Dear Wally,

“Fruit wine” can be made from all kinds of fruits, from plums to cherries to peaches and more, but wine grapes are particularly well-suited to wine production.

Why? For starters, fully ripe wine grapes (keep in mind they are different from the table grapes that you get in the grocery store) have enough sugar for yeast to convert to alcohol through the fermentation process.

Most fruits don’t produce the amount of sugar required for yeast to convert to alcohol. In fact, making fruit wine starts by adding a large amount of sugar (aka chaptalization). Wine grapes also have enough acidity to balance sweetness, and the thick skins and seeds have tannins that give wine its structure.

While fruit wines can be appealing and wonderfully aromatic, they tend to be a bit one-dimensional and sweet for my taste.

—Dr. Vinny

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