Grapes are not part of the winery at Bishop’s Orchards in Guilford.
Instead, acres of apples, peaches, pears, strawberries and raspberries are all grown on the premises and used in a variety of farm wines.
“We are specializing in fruit wines,” said Keith Bishop, co-owner of Bishop’s Orchards.
Fruit wine refers to wine made without grapes.
Bishop’s uses fermented apples and pears and other farm-grown fruit to create a variety of grape-less wines.
“Apple wine has been around for a long time,” Bishop said. “Hard cider is basically half the content of alcohol of what wine is.”
Apple wine requires added sugars to reach a higher alcohol content. Apples that are naturally fermented create hard cider.
Bishop, part of a fifth generation involved in the family business, said the winery started 13 years ago after selling fruit juice to other wineries.
“When I learned more about what they were doing, I said ‘we can do that,’ ” he said. “Most people have not experienced fruit wines before.”
The winery is located inside the orchard’s farm store, with options for tastings and bottle purchases.
Dawn and Ashley, Pennsylvania residents, sipped samples of the fruit wine during a recent visit to the winery.
“We were looking for a winery all the way up the Connecticut seaboard,” Dawn said. “This was our first stop.”
The women tasted a variety of fruit wine like the Stone House White, an apple wine, and a spiced version called Faulkner’s Spiced Apple.
Bishop said a popular summer wine is the Honey Peach Melba.
“It’s a nice light, summer style wine,” he said. “It’s a combination of apple, raspberry and peach together and a touch of honey is added at the end of the wine making process as a back sweetener, and provides a little bit more of the body and flavor profile.”
An original wine that dates back to the beginning of the winery is still a favorite with customers, partially as a result of its playful name — Happley Impeared.
“As the name implies it is a combination of half apple and half pear,” Bishop said. “They are fermented together in one batch.”
Another popular wine is the Apple Raspberry Blush which combines raspberries and apples for a semi-sweet pink wine.
“We need to wait until this fall to get more fresh apples in order to make more,” Bishops said of the demand for the different apple wines.
He said a bottle of wine is made up of about three pounds of apples.
“There’s a little bit of loss because of the racking process and the filtration piece of it,” Bishop said. “Pure apple cider you don’t have that.”
The orchard grows over 100 acres of apples, 20 different varieties, out of 200 total acres of crops.
The apples will be ready to harvest in mid- to late September, which is when a new supply of wine will be able to be made. Like grapes, sugar is added to the fruit juice to begin the fermenting process.
The alcohol content of the fruit wines is 11 to 12 percent.
“We’re going to continue having this be an important part of what we do,” Bishop said of the winery. “We’re hopefully going to have more space as we make more changes.”
More information is at http://bishopsorchards.com/winery/about/.
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