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Though grapes are the most widely-used fruit utilized in wine making, many other fruits, such as peaches, are also used to make popular wines. Peach wine is a fruity beverage made with peaches, wine yeast, water, and sugar. A light, sweet drink, peach wine is often enjoyed chilled as a dessert wine.
A good peach wine should be visually clear, with no residues or cloudiness within the liquid. If the wine is completely grape free, it will likely have a semi-dry quality. Sparkling peach wines are also available for those who prefer fizzy drinks. It is typically available in most places that sell alcoholic beverages, though it can be made fairly easily at home as well.
Peach wine can be made from both white and yellow peaches. Depending on the type chosen, however, the flavor will differ. White peaches typically yield sweeter wines while an stronger acidic taste may be produced with yellow fruit. Peaches chosen to make wine should be healthy, ripe, and firm. Rotten peaches, and even peaches that are simply bruised, will produce an inferior wine that will likely suffer a poor taste.
Around 2 pounds (900 grams) of peaches are usually required to make a bottle of peach wine. This usually amounts to ten peaches. Some recipes call for peeling the skin, while many others instruct to leave it on the fruit for the best flavor. The fruit should be finely sliced or chopped before being fermented with water, a campden tablet, and sugar. The campden tablet, made from potassium or sodium metabisulfite, will help prevent the product from growing wild yeast or bacteria.
The winemaker can then use his or her favorite recipe and method for making the wine to his or her liking. As peaches can be very acidic in nature, winemakers should continually test the product with their acid tester and hydrometer, adjusting their recipes accordingly if and as needed. Once complete, peach wine products should be bottled and left to rest for at least one full year in order to attain their best flavor.
Wine drinkers who prefer a full-bodied product may not enjoy peach wine by itself. If they choose to make the wine at home, they might wish to incorporate additional fruits to provide the fruit wine with more body. Adding bananas, raisins, or grapes to a traditional peach wine recipe can often easily incorporate more body into the wine.
If you are going to backsweeten your wine that way, it is important you make sure the yeast is dead before you add more sugar or you will have more fermentation going on in the bottle. That means carbonation and the very real risk of pressure shooting the cork out of the bottle or exploding it entirely (neither scenario is good).
You can kill fermentation two ways. The first way is making sure the wine sits long enough so you know all the sugar has been converted and the yeast has starved. When do you hit that point? Beats me. The second -- and most reliable -- way is to add potassium sorbate and Campden Tablets to your wine a few days before you bottle it. Once the yeast is dead, then you can add sugar without fear of jump starting fermentation.
Peach wine doesn't have to be strictly semi-dry. Keep in mind that a peach wine will only be semi-dry because the yeast has converted all of the sugar to alcohol. It is possible to kill fermentation before all the sugar is converted, but that is a bit of a chore and will result in a lower alcohol content than you might want.
It is much easier to add a little peach juice or honey when bottling the wine so you can have some sweetness to the wine. That is a common practice.