Sure, blueberries are arguably the healthiest fruit on the vine (or bush), with high antioxidant values. In some cases, blueberry wine can provide more healthy compounds than white or red wines, according to one study conducted by the University of Florida. But that’s not why “vintners” are making wine from this versatile berry.
“I needed to find something to do with our excess fruit,” says blueberry farmer Joe Keel, of Keel & Curley Winery in Plant City, Florida. And in the process, he found a market in the sweet wine drinker—one who doesn’t have a taste for dry Merlots, Cabernets and Pinots.
Indeed, blueberry growers across the U.S. are finding they can profit from slightly damaged berries (too blemished to sell on the fresh market) by using them to make wine. And sales are flourishing.
Here are three wine producers that craft blueberry wines that will tantalize the taste buds of even the purist oenophile.
Hammonton is home to the Atlantic Blueberry Company, the largest blueberry farm in the world. So, it’s no surprise that in 1995, Tomasello became the first winery in the state to make blueberry wine. Made in sparkling, semi-dry and fortified styles, these wines should pair well with desserts, nuts and cheeses (cheesecake is an especially good choice). The wines are sold in 28 states and online, retailing for $10/500 ml for the semi-dry version and $18/500 ml for the sparkling.
Keel & Curley’s full line of blueberry wines—including sweet, semi-dry and dry—pair well with just about anything. Sold for $13/750 ml online, Keel & Curley wines are also sold for under $10 at more than 1,000 retail locations in Florida and Michigan, including Walmart, Total Wine & More and Publix.
Blueberry wine, Blu Zin (blueberry and white Zinfandel) and Blueberry Mirlo (blueberry and Merlot) are among Bear Creek’s signature wines. Sold online and in liquor stores and restaurants in Juno, Fairbanks and Anchorage, Bear Creek’s blueberry wine and blends are all priced at $25.