Exciting Fruit Wines to Try This Holiday Seasn

Explore the regional backwater of wines that could be the star of your holiday event. 

Yes, they are old-fashioned. But that doesn’t mean fruit wines are boring. The human race has a history of making wine out of anything we can ferment, even trees and fungi. On early American homesteads, you’d find salted meat and canned preserves, sure. But you would also find bottles of wine made from, well, just about anything. But most often, it was fruit. 

Making fruit wine is more complicated than making wine from grapes. Fruits are much more time-consuming to process. And they often require the addition of sugar to promote fermentation, as well as needing constant attention. This is likely why many fruit wines of the past were variable and overly sweet. 

Modern fermenting processes and the availability of commercial yeast allow winemakers to experiment with fruit wine more easily. Some of the beverages they are producing are unique—and not your grandmother’s elderberry wine. 

This holiday season is the perfect time to try some of the modern twists on these traditional wines. 

Berries, Stone Fruit and Citrus, Oh My! 

Almost anything can be fermented. Fruit wines, once the purview of the home winemaker, are the next frontier for the serious local vintner. Present-day artisans are getting away from the usual process of adding sugar to the fruit to increase the alcohol content. Instead, they are leveraging the natural characteristics of fruits as diverse as blueberries, cherries, and grapefruit.  

Wild Blueberries

Bluet Sparkling WineMaine is already known for its blueberry wine. But it is adding a new chapter to its winemaking tradition as several vintners are using wild blueberries. Bluet in Scarborough, Maine, has created two lovely sparkling wild blueberry wines. And they’re made without sulfites, thanks to blueberries’ natural antioxidants. Rather than adding sugar to up the ABV level, Bluet leaves their wine at a low 7 percent. This makes it perfect for an event where you are pairing wines with every course. 

They produce two versions of their trademark bubbly. One is made in the champagne style, where secondary fermentation happens within the bottle. This produces a dry, aromatic wine with small, fine bubbles. The other uses the Charmat method, in which secondary fermentation takes place in steel tanks. The Charmat Bluet can be bottled or canned.  

Some reviewers feel that the wine is too aggressive to drink without food. They suggest pairing it with a charcuterie plate or other smoked or spicy meats. It will also work as an after-dinner wine that pairs well with almost any dessert (but is glorious with cheesecake or pecan pie). 


Michigan is considered the birthplace of cherry wine. And it has a diverse group of wineries, producing vintages ranging from sweet to tart. Like Chateau Grand Traverse’s Traverse Bay Winery, some are also making Sangria with cherry wine, spicing it up with a Spiced Cherry wine that includes cinnamon and allspice, and mixing cherries with Riesling to create lighter, crisper wine with cherry notes. 

Their Cherry Wine “Capture(s) the flavor of Northern Michigan.” It is produced from cherries grown in local orchards and cool fermented, making it a fresher-tasting, fruiter wine. We recommend serving it chilled and decanted to show off its deep cherry color. You can also try pairing it with any variety of chocolate, from white to dark.  Or, if you happen to be in the mood, try a glass with a tiramisu. 


In Florida, the land of citrus, fruit wines are exploding. The Florida Orange Groves Winery opened its doors in 1997 after six years of experimenting with different methods for creating the best fruit wines. Their citrus wines carry the Florida Department of Citrus’ mark of quality--the Florida Sunshine Tree. They are the sole representative of Florida at the International Food and Wine Festival held each October at Disney’s EPCOT Theme Park. 

Grapefruit wines go well with sauces and gravies. Due to the high acid content, they also pair well with pork and seafood. 

Grapefruit isn’t your thing? They also have a Sparkling Pineapple, an award-winning Key Limen Wine, and Orange Sunshine Wine with both a dry and sweet version.   

Key Limen Citrus Wine

And Our Holiday Favorite, Cranberries.

A staple of many a Pacific Northwest holiday table are cranberry wines from Washington State. These range from sweet dessert wines to more tart and acidic table wines. Pasek Cellars’ Cranberry Wine produces one of the best, full-bodied cranberry wines with an exceptional balance of tart and sweet. Located in Mount Vernon, Washington, they are the official wine of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and a mainstay of Leavenworth’s Bavarian Village. Their fruit wines are all locally sourced in the Pacific Northwest. 

Cranberry wine is a natural to pair with a Thanksgiving turkey. It also works well with smoked cheeses or a charcuterie board. If you are planning on serving wine with each course, it can be a surprising accompaniment to salad. Looking for something different for your Chanukah or Passover table? Pasek Cellars’ fruit wines are all certified Kosher. 

Mixing It Up

In addition to the pure fruit wines, there are wineries blending fruit with grapes. The results are some new and intriguing flavors. Here are some to try: 

Green Apple Riesling has flavors of apple, pear, and a hint of spice with notes of pineapple. It is excellent when paired with Christmas ham. 

Currant Noir melds the complexity of a Pacific Northwest Pinot Noir with the bright, fruity flavor of currants. It pairs nicely with turkey. 

Currant Noir

Red Raspberry Moscato is a sweet mix of red raspberries and spicy Moscato wine. It has the flavor of tart raspberries with overtones of clover honey and lemon bars, and a honeysuckle finish. Perfect as an aperitif or digestif!

Unlike wine made from grapes, fruit wines rarely improve with age and are meant to be drunk within a year or so after bottling. Like white wines, they should be served chilled. So don’t forget to set them in the refrigerator at least two hours before serving. If you want to really set off your table, you can always decant your fruit wine to showcase its rich colors in one of our handblown or personalized decanters

Something Old, Something New

Across the country, farmers’ markets and holiday fairs will be showcasing local wines, spirits, and fruit wines, both classic and inventive. You never know what hidden gem you will come across that’s perfect to grace your holiday table or bring to a holiday celebration. 

Have a regional favorite? Let us know!