Tomato wine thriving in Canada

3rd August, 2012 by Lucy Shaw

Quebec-based farmer Pascal Miche is enjoying thriving sales of his Omerto tomato wine in Canada, crafted from a secret family recipe.

Omerto tomato wine

According to AFP, 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 told AFP.

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.

Pascal Miche hard at work making his tomato wine

According to Miche, there is no trace of tomato in the wine, not even in the taste.

Elen Garon, sommelier at hotel restaurant La Ferme a Baie-Saint-Paul, describes the ”honey sweet” Omerto Moelleux as having: “a hint of fruit” and “zesty aspects,” and believes it will match well with desserts and spicy food.

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.

5 Responses to “Tomato wine thriving in Canada”

  1. paul panna says:

    Where can I purchase these tomato wines??

  2. thody tim says:

    Why not? Yu can make good « wine » out of almost any vegetable let alone fruit. He will be lucky to sell much of that at 25 CA for a glass and a half!

  3. James P Marquart says:

    Years ago I tasted some homemade tomato wine which was delicious. I would like to acquire a bottle of Omerto?!

  4. judywhytock says:

    In France they kill the little birds to make grape wine, because they eat the grapes.. Tomatoes are not so readily eaten by birds, therefore, tomato wine is a good thing. Also, wines made out of apples or plums are more environmentally friendly wines, especially in Canada, because we still have small birds. You don’t have to kill birds to grow apples and plums. Apple wine and plum wines are environmentally friendly because of this reason. Birds help nature because they eat insects. They are also beautiful.

  5. Bonjour,
    Je suis le GM pour XV Excluses, Inc.
    Nous importons des wines du monde entier mais nous nous spécialisons sur les vins Canadian comme ICE Wine ou bien Vin d’érable et maintenant nous voudrions importer votre vin de tomate…
    Nous distribuons National aux US.
    Je suis Français et je pourrai vous introduire en France également
    Gérard Gaspel
    917-848-7887

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