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What is wine? Basically, wine is fermented fruit juice. Typically grapes are used to make wine because grapes have the right balance of sugars, acids and enzymes to make good wine Footnote 2. This is important because the workhorse behind wine is yeast. Yeast is a tiny organism that, under the right conditions, will consume simple sugars. As it consumes these sugars, one of the byproducts is alcohol.

Blueberries and Wine?

It is possible to make wine out of blueberries Blueberry Winery; however, "it is not all that easy to make a good blueberry wine, according to most experts" Buy Blueberry Wine Section. Part of the issue may be one must add extra sugars to obtain enough alcohol to qualify as wine Make Blueberry Wine Section, Blueberry Wine Recipe. This is because blueberries have less sugar than grapes[2]. Blueberries have about 7.3g total of sugar per 100g of fruit and have a glucose fructose ratio of about 1 to 1 [3], [4]. Grapes range from 16.4g to 18.1g total of sugar per 100g of fruit andhave a glucose fructos ratio ranging from 0.74 to 0.97 [5], [6]. However, sometimes you also add sugar to grape wine to achieve the proper alcohol levels (but often times no extra sugar is needed) [7].

The difficulty to make blueberry wine may have to do with the pH of a blueberry. Blueberries are an extremely basic fruit. In order to make good tasting wine, it is best to start with an acidic juice. This acidity keeps the final product from tasting flat and gives the wine character. It also makes for more favorable conditions for fermentation by the yeast. Ideal pH levels for wine are about 3.8 to 3.4 [8], so in order to make wine from blueberries, one must add acidity to the "fruit juice". It is also interesting to note that the color of the blueberry correlates with the pH of the fruit. Blueberries contain anthocyanins which change color from purple, blue, or red according to the pH (red ph < 3, violet at pH 7-8, blue at pH > 11), so blueberries are a very basic fruit [9]. This compound is also found in blackberries, black currant, eggplants, cranberries, raspberries, and strawberries, and contributes to the coloring of these fruits [10]. There is some evidence that this compound may improve blood flow by strengthening capillaries and maintaining cell wall flexibility. Additionally, this compound may act as an antioxidant and my interact with free radicals (which has been linked to aging) [11].

Other Blueberry Factoids

  • Blueberries contain high levels of mineral manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fiber [12].
Image from [1]

Image from [13]

  • "Researchers have shown that blueberry anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, resveratrol, flavonols, and tannins inhibit mechanisms of cancer cell development and inflammation in vitro [14]."
  • Blueberries have a higher Glycemic Index than grapes (53 vs 46). The Glycemic index is a measure of how quickly carbohydrates are released into the body as energy [15] and [16].
  • Blueberries have a high level of pectin, a complex polysaccharide in the cell walls of plants [17], [18]. For this reason, blueberries are a very good jelling agent and are ideal for making jams and jellies [19].