After completing this session you should know:
• How a country wine is defined
• The different approaches and styles of country wines
• Where country wines are made
• What the typical ingredients are in a country wine
• A brief history of country wines
• Why people make country wines
• About the development of the country wine industry
• The difference between the main acids in grape vs country wines
What is a ‘Country Wine’?
The word wine alone, legally speaking, only applies to wine made from grapes. Country wines, however, are fermented alcoholic beverages made from ingredients other than grapes, with a far wider variety of flavours given the broad range ingredients used. To a greater degree, fruit wines make up the largest contingent of non-grape wines. In France, country wine refers to a simple, unclassified grape wine. The term country wine, as we use it, originates from Britain, where it refers generally to fruit wine.
Country wines will always be defined as a ‘something’ wine, as to use the word ‘wine’ alone usually connotes a beverage made only from grapes. While fruit ingredients constitute the vast majority of country wines, they can be made from vegetables, flowers, honey and even legumes (in the early 20th century, peanut butter was commonly used to make wine in the American south).
Class J in the BCAWA competition handbook is ‘COUNTRY WINES’
A country wine might fit the purpose of any of the other wine classes and would thus have the technical characteristics of that particular class.
Ingredients: 95% non-grape
Alcohol: Readings will vary according to the class whose purpose the wine is made for Colour : ditto
Acid: ditto, should balance sugar
The Differences in Style and Approach
There are two basic approaches in making country wines. One is to approximate the flavour and appearance of grape wines made in the table or social style; the other is not to. Many home and commercial country wine makers desire a product that can be enjoyed as a table or social wine. The other option opens up seemingly endless possibilities: to make the wine in a port or sherry style, dessert or even an aperitif. The appeal of the sweeter fruit wine is enormous. The bouquet of a fruit wine is rarely subtle and usually carries through to the palate. Dozens of fruits have been fermented to wines, but the following seem to have the most success as a beverage that can be drunk with a degree of enjoyment: blackberry, white, red and black currants, raspberry, strawberry, pear, peach, apple, blueberry, cherry, gooseberry, cranberry, kiwi and plum.
Several millennia have prove n that grapes have (all things being equal) a nearly perfectly balanced quantity of sugar, acid, tannin and water to produce a stable, drinkable wine, while country wines invariably need greater adjustment of one or more of these aspects. Sucrose, honey, and even sap from maple, birch or palm trees have been used to provide sufficient sweetness to ensure the onset of fermentation in non-grape wines.
While it is clear that wine making from grapes has ancient roots, mead making, according to lore, if not fact, claims to have predated wine making by hundreds of years. Fruit wines are more likely, however, to have evolved after grape wines, in an effort to produce ‘wine’ in places where grape growing was impractical. Likewise, this was sometimes the impetus for the growth of beer and cider making ( as well as root beer, ginger beer and ginger ale, which were once alcoholic as their names suggest).
Rice wine is also included in this category. Sake, however, refers to a variety of different beverages, depending on whether it is in Okinawa or the main island of Kyushu, where it is a distilled drink, or in other parts of Japan, where it is true rice wine.
Commercial winemaking does not generally incorporate non-grape ingredients (with the notable exception of aperitif wines), although home winemakers have often added such
things as elderberries to enhance the fruitiness of some wines. As for herbs, probably the oldest non- grape wines to include them would be mead, which is then referred to as metheglin.
The Industry Today
In March 2000, a Canadian national industry association was established – FRUIT WINES OF CANADA – to develop national quality standards. The industry has devised a system similar to the VQA. Known as QC (Quality Certified) standards, it will act in the same way as the VQA, providing a guarantee of quality for consumers.
Fruit wine is produced commercially by more than 60 licensed wineries in nine provinces. Canada is regarded as one of the world’s leading fruit wine producing countries. Most of the country wine is sold from winery premises, but it is slowly becoming more available in liquor stores and restaurants. Until recently, the mainstream industry has not taken fruit wine producers seriously, but the situation is starting to change. The industry is also fighting the traditional perception of fruit wine as being heavy and syrupy. As fruit wine producers are starting to market wines that are more sophisticated, consumers appear more receptive to giving them a chance. For a lot of producers this represents a new and more profitable way of using their fruit.
One appeal to those sensitive to the higher level of histamines in grape wines is the virtual absence of them in fruit wine.
There are 15 registered meaderies in Canada, five in Ontario and eight in Quebec. We have two in B.C. – Middle Mountain on Hornby Island and Tugwell Creek in Sooke. They have an informal association which at this time does not set standards.
Wines made from vegetables such as potato, parsnip and rhubarb are not, according to our research, produced commercially.
Vintning Differences between Grape and Fruit
The essential difference between grapes and all the rest of the fruits is the type and balance of acids found in each. Grapes contain a mixture of malic and tartaric acids. Most non-grape fruits contain predominantly malic or citric acid, or a blend of the two. Both are stronger than tartaric.
Fruits that are predominantly malic tend to have bland flavours. Those that are mostly citric tend to be strong and aggressive. Therefore, it is often best to blend two or more kinds of fruits to achieve an appropriate balance of flavours.
A range of ingredients and styles have been selected. There is often a strong correlation between the aroma and the taste. A non- grape wine, whether it mimics the flavour of a grape wine or it exhibits flavours unique to its source ingredient(s), should be judged, for the most part, as any other wine. Is it well balanced? Does it have an inviting bouquet? What about the finish? This is complicated by the fact that unlike any other class, these wines can be table style, or dessert, or most everything in between. When judging, the wines are usually grouped according to ingredients, although two strawberry wines could vary significantly in their sweetness. Of course, two port style country wines would be grouped together, even if one were black currant and the other blackberry.
Some home winemakers may be hesitant to make a non-grape wine, given the task they face to produce a well balanced wine. Others see it as a challenge. Most that make them, however, do so often because of the wide range of flavours and a readily available (and often relatively cheaper) source of fruit, honey, herbs and the like.
We all know that there are first class wines to be had from the cellars of home winemakers. Today with more knowledge about the various characters of the main acids in fruits, the importance of pH and people’s changing tastes, farmers, orchardists, commercial and home wine makers are increasingly making fruit or country wine s that are more than just drinkable, they are quite appealing. If you have not tried to make a non-grape wine before, perhaps this flight might encourage you to do so.
Popular Source Books:
Making Wild Wines & Meads
Patie Vargas and Rich Gulling
Home Wines of North America
Dorothy Alatorre Interesting Web Sites:
Jack Keller: Extensive information on country wine making, including recipes
Ben Rotter: Advanced informat ion on many aspects of wine making, including country wines. The “Calculations” section contains sugar and acidity date on many common fruits.
BLACKBERRY WINE PRESENTATION
- Generic wine category that Blackberry falls under
- main styles of Blackberry wines
- permissible blending percentage(s)
- some backsweetening & flavouring options
- primary acid, aging potential
- some varieties
- serving guidelines for temperature & food.
NW BLACKBERRY (BB) PRESENTATION
(Originally presented by George Beck at the NW Winemakers Meeting August 2005) After completion of this training session you should know the:
Of all grapes. Any wine not made from grapes is relegated to “Country Wine” making an enormously diversified category ranging from the unpalatable parsnip to the toxic tasting elderberry. Most of the recipes for curiosity wines, such as dandelion, prescribe a huge whack of raisins so that, in effect, they are nothing more than flavoured grape wines. BB requires no such boost. However, even good BB makers can’t resist a wine enhanced concoction in much the same way as wine makers take a helping hand from some of their best Cab Sav to elevate other varietals. Up to 15% additions is permissible.
Jack Ziebart pointed out that fruit wines in the country wine category should be drunk by the next harvest. They do not age. BB is the one exception. It can be cellared for up to three years. Basically, acid, tannin and alcohol are what keep wine from deteriorating. For aging, these elements would have to be addressed.
Picking BB in the coastal regions of southern BC is probably the most rewarding in the world. We have the finest BB sites. In fact, our fruit ranks superior to even Washington State because of our longer sun hours at the height of ripening. Within limits intense sun is undesirable and our ocean-moderated climate keeps the leaves open and working. Also our substantial winter rains leave well-soaked bogs. BB needs lots of water to achieve swollen fruit. (Pick on the edges of ditches and swamps).
Do not pull the berries off. They must drop into your hand. If they change colour to orange in the freezer, throw them out. They will spoil your wine. You do not even want red berries. The berries must freeze black. That’s why they are called ‘blackberries’.
There are many domesticated varieties all of which probably spring from the wild Himalayan BB. Loch Ness is thorn less and the best known. (Brian Van Humbeck is cultivating DOYLE another thornless variety, and has been experimenting with vacuuming off only the loose ripe berries).
Styles of BB wine vary. Nanaimo Winemakers was the first amateur winemaking club to provide a competition category for BB as distinct from other country wine. Club elders concocted 3 classes according to BCAWA guidelines: dry, social and dessert. The dry wine is invariably harsh and doesn’t allow for fresh back flavouring. The social is often too sweet for an adult palate. Lastly all dessert wines are obnoxiously cloying and best avoided except for the sweet-toothed sugar addicts. Even they should only be dosed by the thimble full. It should be noted that BB is also used with some success for Port and as a base for Aperitifs. However, there should be a place for a wine that has a little sugar provided by back flavouring. It should be comparable, in sweetness to some of the ‘off dry’ or ‘semi-sweet’ German whites and should be a good drinking man’s wine.
Back flavouring is a highly successful practice. It takes place after the primary and secondary ferments are complete. Sugar (including honey), partially fermented must, fresh clarified juice, dried or fresh fruit, and/or any concentrate or cordial may be used. If the addition includes any sugar, obviously potassium sorbate must be dosed to safeguard against refermenting and subsequent bottle popping. Never sorbate before the MLF is fully complete or a geranium taste will develop. (Never sorbate without dosing with SO2 at the same time – check your Underhill).
The fruits that can make wine, and that’s just about all of them, BB comes the closest in quality to competing with
According to our competition rules for varietals only up to 15% of non-BB product may be added to the wine. This is done with the same caution as grape wine blending. Indeed grape wine can be successfully used and helps make up, along with tartaric, for the MLF elimination of malic. Ken Marsen has had good results using a commercial blueberry cordial.
Malic acid derives its name from the Latin word for apple, whence the acid was first isolated. It is the perennial bete noir of BB winemakers. The reason is not that it is irremovable but that it is so much a characteristic of BB that its removal can obscure the fruit identity, but to leave it all in results in a wine that is too harsh. There does not seem to be any safe way to partially remove the malic. (Don Graves reminded us not to use Lysosime as it strips the colour and Leo Poirier has been conducting some experiments using Acidex then replacing the malic with tartaric). The best strategy is to be sure the fruit is ripe.
Malolactic Fermentation (MLF) of BB has probably been taking place inadvertently and often unnoticed. MLF is a standard practice for grape wine but has only recently come into favour with Nanaimo Winemakers. The reason is that malic is highly concentrated in BB especially if the fruit isn’t perfectly ripe. Malic is a harsh, double-faced acid having an extra free radical which accounts for the intense bite. By infecting the wine with ML bacteria (Viniflora from Denmark), it is converted to lactic. This is a very mild acid suitable for keeping milk fresh and not harming the suckling infant. The MLF can only take place in warmth (70F). It can take months to complete and should be tested using paper chromatography when the fairy ring of bubbles vanishes. Naturally wines warmed in the spring and the tiny MLF bubbles would rise. The poetic explanation of the French was that the wine was calling out to the vines to produce a good harvest. Note: An experiment using ML01 did not work for me in 2008. I have also been unsuccessful in inducing MLF after ferment because of the high acid and alcohol.
Without using a MLF, high acid can be reduced by adding water, adding wine or saving it to blend the next year when, hopefully, the berries will be picked riper. A successful BB maker on Hornby Island cut back on his water addition until he was using unadulterated fruit at which point he stopped winning medals. Norm Lemmen made BB wine for a number of years for Bill Peligren using pure blackberries until he realized that Bill was more interested in volume than purity. (Bill is a volume man – in 2004 he, single handedly, picked a half-ton of berries). Norm commented that whenever he goes down to his cellar for a bottle of wine he never comes up with BB. He now adds water and his 2004, using D47 followed by ML and back sweetened with BB, tastes like a silver medal to me. So there is a case for water, (chlorine-free of course). The ratio varies tremendously from one vintner to the next (50% is a rough guide). Don Graves uses less berries and his BB is frequently silver.
Other misc. notes: Known as the “cabernet” of berries, blackberries feature an earthy, wine-like flavour.
SPECIES: There are at least 122 species of blackberries in the United States alone — one-authority claims 200 for North America. All are of the genus rubus, which also includes Boysenberries, dewberries, Loganberries, raspberries, tayberries, thimbleberries, wineberries, and Youngberries, and are related to the rose (genus rosa). They are found in every state of the United States, every province of Canada, and in most of Mexico. The blackberry is a caning shrub, often growing into thickets or brambles, usually armed with thorns, spines or stiff hairs, with 3-7 leaved leaflets but most often 5. It will grow almost anywhere, but particularly does well at wooded borders, along fences, in fallow clearings, and along roadsides, rivers and railroads. The berries form from white, showy, 5-petal flowers that grow in clusters in the early to late spring. The berries are actually rounded or thimble- shaped clusters sharing a common attachment to the stem. These in turn also grow in clusters that turn from light green to rose, then red, then deep purple to black, ripening in mid- to late summer. When ripe, the berries are very popular among birds and other wildlife. Blackberry wine is best when made vintage — from fresh blackberries, without blending with other fruit or wines — but a few blackberry blends are worth making and drinking. Some of the more popular blackberry varieties and hybrids are:
- 1826 — very large, firm fruit ripening in mid-July;
- Andean Blackberry (Mora de Castilla) — rich, tart flavor;
- Bear’s Blackberry — large, encroaching plants with large, delicious fruit;
- Black Satin (Black Satin Thornless; Rubus lanciniatus) Blackberry — large (1 1/2 – 2 in.), sweet, glossy black fruit whose glossiness fades during ripening; winter-hardy to -15 degrees F.;
- Boysenberry (Nectarberry) — hybridized in 1923 from the loganberry, various blackberries and raspberries; extremely larger (2 – 2 1/2 in.), practically seedless, non-shiny, dark maroon fruit with rich, tangy flavor and delightful aroma; hardy to -14 degrees F.; developed by Rudolph Boysen;
- Boysenberry, Thornless — less vigorous with lower yields than thorny parent, but sweet, juicy, full-bodied flavor makes it more desirable for wine; easily transplanted, grows to 5 fee tall, self-pollinating, produces fruit first year after planting; ripens May to June;
- Brazos Blackberry (Rubus lanciniatus) — big clusters of firm, sweet, juicy fruit that ripens in mid-May; disease resistant, commercial favorite; developed by Texas A&M;
- Cascade Blackberry (Cascade Trailing, Rubus ursinus) — medium-sized but prolific fruit selected from the wild; blooms and ripens early; Pacific coast native from northern California to Alaska;
- Cherokee Blackberry — cross between Brazos and Darrow; medium-sized fruit, but vigorous, productive and adapted to mechanical harvesting; ripens in June; developed by U. of Arkansas;
- Chester Blackberry (Chester Thornless) — large, flavorful, very sweet, high quality fruit; hardy, productive, disease resistant, well suited to Midwest through Deep South; ripens in July;
- Cheyenne Blackberry — large, very sweet, firm fruit ripening midseason; upright, moderately thorny canes adaptable to mechanical harvesting; developed by U. of Arkansas;
- Choctaw Blackberry — Cross between Arkansas 526 and Roseborough by U. of Arkansas; medium sized fruit, mild flavor, smaller seeds than usual, good yields; ripens very early;
- Comanche Blackberry — large, high quality, soft fruit; developed by U. of Arkansas;
- Darrow Blackberry — Firm, high quality, long, conic, glossy black berries; low acid, wild blackberry taste, rich, fruity aroma; early ripening, strong upright 4-5-foot high canes that produce young and yield exceptionally large crops; self-fertile, exceptionally winter-hardy; great choice for Northeast through Midwest;
- Dirksen (Dirksen Thornless) Blackberry — big, thick clusters of large, sweet, glossy black berries; exceptionally vigorous, highly productive, thornless plants with erect, self-pollinating canes; not particularly winter-hardy;
- Ebony King Blackberry — large, long, purplish-black berries with delicious, sweet blackberry flavor; bears early before hot weather sets in; hardy to -20 degrees F.;
- Eldorado Blackberry — large, black, glossy fruit with sweet, tangy flavor;
- Evergreen (Evergreen Thornless, Oregon Evergreen Thornless) Blackberry — large, firm berries with large seeds, high sugar content, somewhat bland flavor; ripens in August, thornless canes, not recommended for Deep South;
- Flordagrand (Florida Grand) Blackberry — large, tasty berries; well adapted to dry soils and Deep South; developed by U. of Florida;
- Himalaya Blackberry (Rubus discolor) — rampant grower native to the Himalayas;
- Hull (Hull Thornless, Rubus lanciniatus) Blackberry — similar to Black Satin; large to very large, firm, flavorful, sweet fruit; highly vigorous, semi erect, thornless canes whose fruit hold up well on hot days; yields about twice as much as most thorned varieties; ripens in July; not suited for Deep South or Far North;
- Illini Hardy Blackberry — Shiny fruit with a delicious, slightly acidic, wild blackberry flavor; more vigorous than Darrow, ripens in early August, does well in northern areas; developed by U. of Illinois;
- Jumbo, Stark (Shawnee Cultivar) Blackberry — very large, tasty fruit up to 1 1/2 inches long; longer production season than most; not recommended for Deep South or Far North;
- Kotata Blackberry — large, firm, tasty fruit that protrude from canes and are easily picked; West Coast variety ripening in July;
- Lawton Blackberry — medium to large, firm, very sweet fruit with true blackberry flavor; strong, erect, dependable, winter-hardy canes;
- Lochness Blackberry — thornless, fairly new variety;
- Loganberry (Logan, Thornless Logan, Thornless Loganberry) — thought to be a cross between a wild blackberry and red raspberry; large, light red berries that do not darken when ripe; unique, tart flavor preferred by many over all other berries and very good for wine; thornless canes, average yields;
- Marionberry — medium to large, medium firm, bright, shiny, reddish-black berries; higher yields over a longer picking season than Boysenberries; developed for western Washington and Oregon;
- Navaho (Navajo) Blackberry — very small berries with possibly the best flavor of any blackberry; thornless canes do well in Deep South; developed by U. of Arkansas;
- Ollallie (Olallieberry, Rubus argutus) Blackberry — large, shiny, firm black berries that ripen in July; sweeter and less tart than others, with some wild blackberry flavor; vigorous, productive, thorny trailing canes; developed in Oregon but does extremely well in California;
- Perron (Perron Thornless) Blackberry — vigorous, extremely productive, thornless variety developed in Canada for cold-hardiness;
- Roseborough Blackberry — extra large, sweet, shiny, black berries similar to Brazos but with improved flavor and firmness; tolerates extreme heat and dryness and is well suited to the South; heavy crops on upright canes that are easily harvested; developed by Texas A&M;
- Santiam Blackberry — wild type fruit that ripens in July;
- Shawnee Blackberry — large, high quality, sweet, juicy, flavorful, shiny, black fruit; fast-growing, erect canes with consistently high yields and long fruiting season; probably the largest fruit and most productive of all thorny varieties; developed by U. of Arkansas;
- Smooth Stem Blackberry — large, firm, luscious, jet-black berries; heavy producer, 35-40 berries on each stem; thornless, erect, extremely vigorous and disease-free canes; hardy in Midwest and South; early August; developed by USDA;
- Snyder Blackberry — plump, sweet, juicy berries; high yields, reliable, self-pollinating, winter hardy;
- Sylvan Blackberry — cross between Boysenberry and Marionberry; large, very sweet, shiny, black fruit; vigorous, highly productive, thorny, trailing vines;
- Tayberry — cross between Loganberry and black raspberry; juicy, cone-shaped, deep purple, slightly tart fruit; huge yields up to 12 tons per acre; vigorous even in difficult weather and bad soil; ripens late; named for Tay River, Scotland, where developed;
- Thornfree Blackberry — medium-to-large, blunt, firm, glossy, black fruit; good, tangy-tart flavor; strong, vigorous, semi-upright, disease free canes; ripens late July to early August; hardy in Plains to Deep South; developed by USDA;
- Thornless Blackberry — giant berries; ripens over long period; hardy to sub-zero temperatures;
- Trailing Blackberry (Rubus ursinus) — choice native blackberry;
- Tree Blackberry — large, delicious berries; huge bush, thorny, requires practically no care; adapts to wide variety of soils;
- Tropical Blackberry — large berries up to 2 inches on extremely vigorous canes; bears in June and July;
- Waldo (Waldo Thornless) Blackberry — high yields, highly flavored, easy to pick; introduced 1945 by OregonState U.;
- Womack Blackberry — average size, some disease resistance;
- Youngberry (Thornless Youngberry) — purplish-black, large (1.5 x 1.25 in), firm, shiny fruit; excellent flavor, less acid; canes immune to disease; very hardy, capable of surviving adverse weather; similar to Boysenberry, but ripens 10 days earlier with 20% less yield.
- HEALTH BENEFITS: Blackberry Wine is valued and appreciated for its healing properties. Its healing and medical properties have been confirmed by high percentage of vitamin C, high quantity of minerals, above all, its ferrous content (highest in all foods) Therefore, it is highly recommended to patients suffering from anemia, as well as to pregnant women, breast-feeding mothers, blood-donors and others. Healing and medicinal purposes are one of the main reasons why more and more people are taking aromatic blackberry wines. Gourmet and wine connoisseurs know that blackberry wine must perfectly match with served dishes. The wine itself has to be chilled at 16 degrees Celsius, in order to have its best taste. It is best served as aperitif before a meal is serves, with cheese and cheese dishes, game and dark meat, as with sweets. We especially recommended blackberry wine to go along with piquant cheese. Love, people say, comes it through food. But wine goes one step beyond that. Some say it` even an aphrodisiac. This you have to discover yourself. Wherefore blackberry wine has healing properties? Blackberry wine (i.e. blackberry) is plentiful natural source of absorbed ferrous. Ferrous is constituent of hemoglobin, which is “responsible” for transport oxygen thru vein till cell. Shortage of ferrous slow oxygen transport, cell do not attain it sufficiently, therefore organism points traces of weakness (rotation, dizziness, prevailing weakness). Since ferrous cannot be synthesized in organism is necessarily to import it in organism to standardize delivery of oxygen. Recommend to assumption 2 times per day.
- ABOUT BLACKBERRY WINE
- Traditional medicine has acknowledged the healing properties of blackberry wine made from ripe blackberries through their fermentation. Blackberry wine is recognized by modern medicine while pharmacology considers it therapeutic. It is well known as a source of various vitamins and minerals and organic and inorganic ingredients, which make it very valuable for its nutritional and therapeutic values. Blackberry wine is especially rich in group B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, sugar, vitamin C, pectin and some provitamin A. The wine’s acids are very much alike to those that are a part of our digestion process, so the wine is very beneficial for digestion, especially of proteins. The therapeutic blackberry wine is recommended for help in treating anemia, fatigue, under nutrition, digestion, regulating blood pressure, blood circulation. It can be a part of a daily diet, especially for the immunosuppressed. It increases appetite, helps bile flow, urine excretion, and quicker and healthier exchange of substances in the body. Some even consider it beneficial for treating certain skin illnesses (various eczema and rashes). It is known that iron deficiency has negative side effects for health (anemia, fatigue, dizziness), therefore iron intake is necessary for normal body development and good health, and blackberry wine is recommended for this, at a RDA of 1 dl (0.33 dl before each meal). Therapeutic properties of blackberry wine are illustrated by the following quote: “Wine and Spirits”, an English wine magazine, in its issue dated July 29th reports on an interesting discovery of an ingredient found in red wines, and certainly blackberry wine as well. The mentioned ingredient is a substance named Qercentin, and it is one of the most powerful cancer preventing substances discovered up to date.
- SOME EXAMPLES OF INTERESTING BLACKBERRY WINES ADVERTISING NOTES: Nuyaka Creek Winery, the state’s largest maker of non-traditional wines, are inviting the public to hurry out to the winery and taste two great new wines for the upcoming seasons. Sparkling Blackberry Table Wine for the holiday season and Elderberry for the Cold and Flu season. Sparkling Blackberry – This sweet, fun little sparkling wine is produced by the traditional ‘French Method’ usually labeled ‘Methode Champenoise’. To my knowledge, it is the only Oklahoma wine being produced in this w Black Beauty: A popular dessert wine meant to be served after a meal as the perfect finish. Made from 100% Marion Blackberries, Tomasello Blackberry Wine is a full-bodied blackberry wine with dominant cassis and brambleberry character. It is moderately sweet and can be served both as a dessert wine, or in a dessert like English Truffle with Tomasello Blackberry Wine. In classical French cooking, Tomasello Blackberry Wine can be made into a sauce reduction. Blackberry wines are a Celtic specialty, as the berry was sacred to the Goddess Brigid.