If you thought fall was all about Pumpkin Spice Lattes, you've been missing out on another essential pumpkin spice beverage: wine.
California Fruit Wine, which makes all sorts of fermented-fruit products, sells a Pumpkin Spice Wine that may make you reconsider reloading your Gold Card.
Made from pumpkin juice, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger, this unique wine doesn't need any artificial flavors or whipped cream on top.
No grapes at all are even used in the PSW (yes, that's a thing now!), which is 11% ABV.
Alan Haghighi, who along with his twin brother Brian, conceptualized and founded California Fruit Wine in Carlsbad, California (near San Diego), answered some of our pressing questions about this new boozy pumpkin fad.
Why pumpkin spice wine?
Why not? We make wine from fruits other than grapes. Pumpkin is a fruit. And the spice gives us the ability to evoke the feeling of fall. It's also just good business. People want it. It's been our most shared wine on instragram and has a viral capacity that surpasses all other wines we've made to date.
What is the process of creating a pumpkin spice wine like?
The romance and science of winemaking is in fermentation. Fermentation is the difference between taking a pomegrante juice and spiking it with vodka and pomegranate wine. It's night and day. As the yeast do what their genetic coding has instructed them to they consume sugars and convert it into alcohol and carbondioxide. But they also produce nuanced acids, esters, enzymes, and many other compounds that make wine, well wine.
What are some good pairings with PSW?
My favorite pairing is root beer and ice cream ;)
The pumpkin spice wine isn't very sweet to start, around 4% sugar. So adding some root beer, which is around 11% sugar, sweetens it up, adds some festive carbonation and the combination of spices rounds out the whole experience. Throw a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and you've just simulated something between a root beer float and a pumpkin pie with alcohol. This is why I love fruit wine. It's so versatile, so natural, and so delicious.
How do you feel about PSLs?
I'm just glad Starbucks is using real pumpkin now instead of artificial flavorings. I think consumers now demand a higher quality product and they feel mislead when there isn't any actual pumpkin in something they advertise to be pumpkin spice. But it's also loaded in sugar.
As a winemaker I'm always very conscious of how much sugar is in solution because it's that sugar that turns into alcohol. And I think it's more helpful to describe what we drink by the percentage by volume just like in alcohol. We usually style our wines with 11% alcohol and 1-4% sugar. This is actually extremely low sugar for fruit wine. But what we lack in sugar we make up in real flavor derived from the fruit itself by fermenting at low temperatures. The pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks comes in at 23% sugar. That's an overload.
Order your very own bottle of PSW, $13, at californiafruitwine.com.