Making wine without grapes may not exactly be commonplace, but it can be done successfully, as Christopher Boyd of Cardinal Hollow Winery in North Wales has shown. Specializing in 27 types of red, white and “country” fruit wines like blackberry, watermelon and apple, Boyd recently won a silver medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition for his now-popular jalapeño wine—that’s right, nothing but local peppers, sugar and water go into every bottle.
Thankfully, the drinkable version won’t burn your eyes or lips. It’s warm in the mouth, and you definitely feel it in the back of your throat (Boyd compares it to how a shot of whiskey goes down). But it’s also smooth, well rounded and aromatic. Still a little skeptical? Crack open a bottle to sip with a creamy, mild cheese.
The entire winemaking process—from the first delivery of peppers to the finished product—takes anywhere from eight months to a year. If you want to see for yourself, come to the winery, don some goggles and gloves, and start chopping peppers. The wine will be flowing, of course.
$23.58. 405 E. Walnut Lane, North Wales; (215) 801-222, cardinalhollowwinery.com.