Innovation in wines need not come from recipe alone. Presentation and packaging can also help you win accolades. Sake is almost exclusively packed in traditional bottles. The flask with a lamp like structure on top is so distinctive that its mere sight of the flask means that an oriental treat is in order. Similarly, the porcelain ornate hand-painted bottles from Russia and China is an exotic indulgence for the sore eyes.

Pear in a bottle
Sometimes a simple bottle can be converted into the perfect vessel for your wines. We can grow a full-sized pear, apple or even mango inside a wine bottle. All we need to do is to put the fruit in the bottle when it is still small and allow it to grow. When it is ripe, we can add the wine in the bottle, cork it and serve. A fully grown fruit inside a bottle is always a conversation starter.

A few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Please ensure that the wine is extra strong and has enough residual sugar to pair with the fruit. Needless to say, a pear flavored wine should be added to a pear bottle and not a red grape wine.
  2. There will be a slight amount of fermentation that will happen because of the fresh fruit, hence it is best to consume these wines within a few weeks to a few months of bottling.
  3. The failure rate of growing fruits inside bottles is always high, so my advice is to use twice as many bottles to hang over the tree.
  4. It is better to use clear glass so that the wonder fruit is distinctly visible from far and arouses inquisitiveness.
  5. Glass can introduce the greenhouse effect. The sunrays are trapped and it can cook the fruit with the heat. Hence, it is advised to shield these bottles attached to the tree from the Sun. However, covering them with an opaque paper could be a bad idea. The fruit does not ripen or gain colors when it is not exposed to sunlight. A muslin cloth is usually the best.

Making wine vessels from a dried gourd, terracotta amphora (surahi) and other innovations can make an eye-candy for your patrons. Section 5 of this book has several other ideas to improve the presentation.

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21 years of experience in Home Brewing and author of Arishtam (India's first homebrew Guide Book).

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