Turning tomatoes into wine

Wine lovers are raising a glass to an unusual vintage crafted from a secret family recipe four generations old using . . . tomatoes.

Canadian Pascal Miche, a former pork butcher in his 40s, says his is the first tomato wine to be successfully commercialised – with sales at 34,000 bottles annually only three years since he launched the project.

“I wanted to finish what my great-grandfather had started” in the 1930s, he said as he inspected his crop of 6200 heirloom tomato plants on his “vineyard” in Charlevoix, about 400km northeast of Montreal in the picturesque north shore region of the Saint Lawrence river.

Miche immigrated to Quebec province from Belgium seven years ago. He said he always had plans in the back of his mind to commercialise his great grandfather’s recipe for what his website calls an aperitif wine “from a family recipe that was kept secret for four generations”.

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 wine-making enthusiasts.

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