Have a Sweet Tooth? Reach for the Juice

Before grapes become wine, they become grape juice.

And winegrape juice “really wants to ferment,” said Al Curtice of Oregon’s Draper Valley Vineyard in a recent USA Today story.

In fact, preventing that fermentation from taking place naturally can be quite challenging. That’s one reason—the other being the value of those grapes—that you seldom encounter juice made from winegrape varieties.

And that’s too bad, because Pinot Noir grape juice and Gewurztraminer grape juice—to name just two—are real treats.

Real treats…and real sweet treats. Which seems to be a common quality among grape juices of any kind.

Like most people, I grew up drinking grape juice, mostly the kind made by Welch’s that was housed in cardboard cartons. Yet even as a kid with a sweet tooth, I found Welch’s to be a bit too sweet. My solution? I’d mix it—half and half—with orange juice.

Hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Likewise, the winegrape juice that I’ve had—the aforementioned Pinot Noir and Gewurtztraminer, both from California’s Navarro Vineyards—is very sweet. But at around $11 per 750-ml. bottle, I’ll be darned if I’m going to mix those elixirs with O.J. I want to be able to savor every sweet sip.

Still, the sugar level is a bit high for my palate, so I usually put together a 50:50 mix with sparkling water. That method cuts the sugar, retains the flavor and enables me to keep the juice in the refrigerator twice as long.

In my case, that would be about four days instead of just two.

If you’re interested in trying this sweet nectar, check out that USA Today story, as it includes web addresses for Navarro, Draper Valley and two other wineries that bottle varietal winegrape juice.

Posted in Editor's Journal

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