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Le Social Wine, Pollard Yard, Manchester M40 7SL

Le Social Wine, Pollard Yard, Manchester M40 7SL

LOCAL & NATIONAL DELIVERY TUESDAY-SATURDAY

What is and isn't Wine?
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What is and isn't Wine?

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It is always very tempting to define wine by what it represents, culturally, historically and socially, rather than what it actually is. While most people associate wine with the grapey stuff, it gets really confusing when we hear about fruit wine, orange wine, barley wine, flavoured wines...

The broadest definition of wine is the alcoholic drink made from the fermentation – in this case, the transformation of sugar into alcohol under the action of yeasts - of fruits or berries. This definition includes grapes of course, but also apples (cider) pears (perry) or any fruit you can think of. Beer and Sake are also fermented drinks, although the sugar needed for the fermentation does not come from fruits but is derived from malt and rice respectively. Kombucha is a much more complex fermentation process, turning tea or herbal tea into the popular healthy drink we know.
 

The definition we stand by is the one most people around the world would agree on, i.e. the fermented alcoholic drink made from grapes only. The European Union’s definition is actually pretty strict, stating it is “the product obtained exclusively from the total or partial alcoholic fermentation of fresh grapes, whether or not crushed, or of grape must”. Fresh grapes should also be fermented in the region they have been picked to qualify for any regional appellations. Wine alcoholic strength should remain between 8.5% ABV and 15% ABV, although some derogations do exist for colder or warmer regions.

A notable exception is when grape must – the pressed unfermented juice - is used for home-winemaking kits or ‘Made Wine’, such as British Wine. Here, the cheapest grapes can be sourced from anywhere, then pressed into must, shipped across, and fermented when they reach their final destination. Not to be confused with English or Welsh Wine which are genuinely produced in the UK!
 

We have seen a lot of products recently on the shelves that blur the lines between wine and other alcoholic drinks. Echo Falls Summer Berries for instance is a 5.5% ABV alcopop mix of wine and fruit flavourings and falls into the Alcoholic Mixed Beverage category, not wine. Non-alcoholic or low alcohol wines also fall short - they belong to the wine based drink category, as the original wine went through a complex de-alcoholisation process.

Le Social's focus has always been on wines that reflect where they are from and who made them, and we are yet to venture into the above categories. Do let us know your thoughts in the comments section, and thank you for reading our first article!