Canadian wine lovers have been raising a glass to an increasingly popular but unusual vintage crafted from a secret Belgian family recipe four generations old using ... tomatoes.
Pascal Miche, a former pork butcher in his 40s, says his is the first tomato wine to be successfully commercialized -- with sales at 34,000 bottles annually only three years since he launched the project.
He took the plunge in 2009 and the tomatoes getting ready to ripen by mid-August will be his third harvest of the golden elixir -- which is more often a home brew limited to a few bottles made by winemaking enthusiasts.
Passionate about his subject, Miche says he chooses his tomatoes with the same care that vintners select their grapes, and puts them through the same paces: crushing, soaking, fermenting and pressing.
He produces two varieties: a dry wine and a mellow wine that has been compared to a sweet Pineau des Charentes.
From field to bottle, the transformation of tomatoes into wine takes about nine months, resulting in clear white wine with an 18-percent alcohol content.
For more, see: Quebec vintner turns tomatoes into wine