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TOMATO WINE THRIVING IN CANADA
Omerto tomato wine

The former butcher has sold over 65,000 bottles of tomato wine since launching it onto the Canadian market two years ago. Miche makes the wine from 6,200 tomato plants on his “vineyard” in Charlevoix, 400km northeast of Montreal.
“I wanted to finish what my great-grandfather had started in Belgium in the ’30s,” he said.
Miche immigrated to Quebec from Belgium seven years ago and started planting red, yellow and black tomatoes in Charlevoix in 2009. The crop set to ripen by mid-August will be his third harvest, with the journey from field to bottle taking around nine months. Before making his first batch, Miche tested 16 varieties of tomatoes in order to find six that grew well in Quebec’s cool climate. He can legally call his product “wine” in North America, but will have to rename it if he starts exporting it to France, where only alcoholic beverages made from fermented grape juice can be called wine. Selecting his tomatoes with the same care as a winemaker does grapes, to make the “wine”, the tomatoes undergo the same process of crushing, soaking, fermenting and pressing. The result is Omerto Sec, a clear, dry, 18% abv wine, and Omerto Moelleux, a sweeter wine that has been compared to French aperitif Pineau des Charentes, both of which are named after Miche’s great-grandfather Omer.
The wines, which sell for around CA$25 a 200ml bottle, are currently only availabe in select shops and restaurants in Quebec and Manitoba.
Keen to take the wine abroad, Miche is seeking distribution in the US, France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.




James Owen
for National Geographic News
As if making the oldest known leather shoe wasnt enough, a prehistoric people in whats now Armenia also built the worlds oldest known winery, a new study says.
Undertaken at a burial site, their winemaking may have been dedicated to the dead—and it likely required the removal of any fancy footwear.
Near the village of Areni, in the same cave where a stunningly preserved, 5,500-year-old leather moccasin was recently found, archaeologists have unearthed a wine press for stomping grapes, fermentation and storage vessels, drinking cups, and withered grape vines, skins, and seeds, the study says.
"This is the earliest, most reliable evidence of wine production," said archaeologist Gregory Areshian of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
"For the first time, we have a complete archaeological picture of wine production dating back 6,100 years," he said.
The prehistoric winemaking equipment was first detected in 2007, when excavations co-directed by Areshian and Armenian archaeologist Boris Gasparyan began at the Areni-1 cave complex.
In September 2010 archaeologists completed excavations of a large, 2-foot-deep (60-centimeter-deep) vat buried next to a shallow, 3.5-foot-long (1-meter-long) basin made of hard-packed clay with elevated edges.
The installation suggests the Copper Age vintners pressed their wine the old-fashioned way, using their feet, Areshian said.
Juice from the trampled grapes drained into the vat, where it was left to ferment, he explained.
The wine was then stored in jars—the cool, dry conditions of the cave would have made a perfect wine cellar, according to Areshian, who co-authored the new study, published Tuesday in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
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