Ever heard of country wine? You probably have without knowing it. Country wine is made from anything other than grapes. Consider strawberry, pear, plum, cactus fruit, or even dandelion, fermented into an alcoholic beverage.
Forgotten Roots Winery, the love child of Ryan Carroll, who, along with his wife, has been refining the art of fermenting since high school. Carroll started out by telling us that he and his wife have fermented everything imaginable, from different fruits and grains to cheese. Carroll told the Pint that they go on gathering sprees, looking for wild cacti that they turn into wine.
According to Carroll, as the pioneers moved West they; first ran out of the wine they had brought with them, and second, realized that grapes would not grow as well as they would in Europe. The settlers had a dilemma.
Being the pioneers that they were, they set out to make wine from anything they could find, fruits being the most obvious choice. With wild yeast and nothing but time, country wine was invented.
Now, in an effort to get us back to our roots, Carroll has taken it upon himself to revive this lost part of our heritage. He mentioned that he plans to make a dandelion wine, which, according to him, truly tastes like a fine sherry.
Currently, Carroll is fermenting wild plum, peach, apricot and strawberry wines. Though, not yet finished, Carroll was happy to let The Pint take a taste of a halfway complete strawberry wine. To our surprise, the sample was thin in consistency, not nearly as sweet as one might expect, and finished with the essence of strawberry. The potation truly came across as a sophisticated wine experience. Though, Carroll was sure to mention that he will be sweetening the wine to achieve a more rounded body.
Forgotten Roots Winery has recently just opened and is located at 624 Main Street in Downtown Windsor.