Introduction: Tomato Wine (from Soup Production Waste)

Making wine is a hobby of mine. I’ve discovered over the years, that wine can be made out of almost anything.

In this Instructable, I’ll show you how I made a wonderful dry white wine out of tomato soup production waste.


My supplies are as follows:

40 liters of frozen cored tomatoes

2, 20 liter pails (food grade)

Running water

large pot

large measuring cup

Slotted spoon to help remove liquid from tomatoes

Spoon to stir the pot when dissolving sugar

Three bags of sugar (you may not need this much)

Wine hydrometer and graduated cylinder

2 carboys

1 Gallon jug

2 air locks

1 packet of wine yeast (I used Lalvin 1118)

Siphon hose

10 campden tablets

A small bag of sodium metabisulfite for sterilization use.

Buon Vino Mini Jet Filter and three sets of filters #1, #2, and #3

Step 1: The Tomatoes

During the summer I’m too busy to make soup and sauce. So I freeze a lot of my tomatoes. I cut out the core and remove any blemishes. Even large cracks are no problem, just slice out the bad and freeze the rest. No blanching required. Leave the skin on as well. Its easy to keep up with the crop this way. The beets in the picture are for the soup, not the wine. Though they could add a unique color I’m sure.

Step 2: Skin Removal

The skin is easy to remove when the tomato is frozen. You run a bit of lukewarm water over it, and the skin lets go. Keeping the tomato frozen is key to not loosing the meat with the skin.

Step 3: Compost the Skins

These are the skins from 40 liters of tomatoes. I don’t plan on using them in my fermentation, so they just go into the compost.

Step 4: Collect Liquid

It will take a few days for the tomatoes to thaw. Once they do, they create lots of watery juice. To make soup, I don’t want all this extra liquid. To boil it down is a waste of energy. Rather than tossing it out, I’m going to convert it into an amazing wine. I use a sieve spoon and large measuring cup to separate the solids from the juice.

Step 5: The Hydrometer

I use the potential alcohol scale when adding sugar. I want an 11% wine. I use the specific gravity to determine when the fermentation is done. When it reaches 0.990 the fermentation is done.

Step 6: Get the Specific Gravity Right.

This step is important. To get the alcohol content you want, you’ll have to add sugar. I fill the pot and bring it to a boil. I dissolve two cups of sugar and let it cool till the next morning. When I check my possible alcohol, it registers 11%. Now I know how much sugar is required for each pot to create my juice. I boil each pot of juice to kill any wild yeasts as well as adding sugar. If the alcohol level is to low, I would dissolve more sugar and add it. If to high, I would make a new pot with less. It’s not rocket science. There is an entire pail to work with so there are lots of chances to make adjustments.

Step 7: Prep the Yeast

After the juice has cooled to room temperature, its time to get the fermentation started. I’m using Lalvin 1118 but I would have preferred Lalvin 1116. I find it to be a much gentler yeast. It works slower and makes a smoother wine. Due to COVID 19 I found it hard to find supplies in my area. I’m sure this will be fine though.

In a small bowl add 1/4 cup of warm water, slightly warmer than body temperature. Add the yeast and stir it around until it sinks into the liquid. In about 15 minutes it will come alive and start bubbling and foaming. This is when I pour in some of the juice. I leave it for another 15 minutes or so. These pics give a good idea of how the process works. If the yeast is expired it won’t work, and you’ll need to buy more. Always check the best before date when you buy it.

Step 8: Pitch the Yeast

The juice must be put into a carboy before you pitch the yeast. A siphon hose is the easiest way to do this. Now that the yeast culture is working well, its time to add it into the carboy. Once the yeast culture is added, install an air lock. That’s it, now you wait.

Step 9: AAAAHHGH!!!

Wow! I guess the yeast is working well. Glad I wrapped the towel around the base of the carboy.

Step 10: Create Some Air Space

This should have been done earlier. Make sure you leave enough space at the beginning to avoid a mess. This will involve a gallon jug and another air lock. I knew this, but I was rushing yesterday and neglected to do it.

Step 11: Day 3

This is day 3. The color is changing and bubbling isn’t as vigorous.

Step 12: Day 7

On day 7 the fermentation has pretty much stopped. The specific gravity is down to 0.990 so I think it’s tome to kill it off and start the clearing. I crush and add 5 campden tablets to the carboy. I also pour in contents of the gallon jug. I use a piece of paper and a hammer to crush the tablets. Then pour the powder in. You can use the potassium metabisulphite powder, but the tablets make it easier to measure.

Step 13: Day 12

I let the wine sit for 5 days. Now I’ll siphon it over to a new clean carboy. I’ll add 5 more crushed campden tablets to sterilize and neutralize the oxygen introduced while siphoning. Then replace the air lock.

Step 14: Day 15 Filter Time

Rather than wait for the wine to clear naturally, I’m going to filter it. I set up my filter machine, and a bucket with a few gallons of water sterilized with potassium metabisulphite. This will be used to clean my hoses, and soak my filter pads.

Step 15: Sterilize

I will soak the hoses, filter pads and brackets to sterilize them.

Step 16: Assemble the Filter

I now assemble the filter.

Step 17: Run the Filter

To charge the filter, I circulate the sterile water mixture first. Then I transfer the siphon hose into the wine. I run the filter until wine comes out the exit hose. Then I transfer the exit hose to the empty carboy. I added a clamp to my filter. In the past I found it would leak around the edges without it.

Step 18: Filter With #1 Filter

I filter the carboy with the #1 filter to remove the largest particles. As you can see the wine is still cloudy. The sediment left is from the past 3 days. I’ll wash it out while #2 filters soak.

Step 19: Soak Filter #2

The #2 is a finer filter. I soak it and then swap out the #1’s then continue filtering.

Step 20: Filter #2

As you can see the wine is much clearer this round. No need to clean the carboy this time. But another filtration is needed.

Step 21: Filter #3

Filter #3 does a nice job of clearing this wine up to a crystal clear amber nectar.

Step 22: Oh Yeah!

Filtering is kind of cheating the process. It allows you to take a lot of waiting and siphoning out of the process. It could take a few months to achieve this kind of clarity. But you don’t need a fancy filter to get there. Just patience. Wine also seasons with age. Although young wine like this is perfectly good to drink, you will want to stash a few bottles away for a year or two so you can enjoy a more interesting flavor profile.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.


Step 23: Enjoy!

This wine is quite nice. No one would ever guess it was made with tomatoes.

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