As an independent study project, viticulture and enology majors Melissa Aellen and Gillian Trimber are turning pumpkins into wine.
They peeled, chopped and milled cooking pumpkins at the teaching winery at Cornell Orchards. Then they mixed the pumpkin with enzymes to break down starch and pectin, and added sugar and water. “We’re planning to add different levels of sugar after fermentation to see what tastes best,” says Melissa, who got the idea for making pumpkin wine while working at a Midwest winery last summer.
After fermenting for about three weeks, they’ll bottle the results. “If this works out, we plan to fine-tune our recipe next fall, and try adding spices before we bottle it,” says Gillian.
Read more about the viticulture and enology major.
So how did the wine turn out?
“It didn’t get rave reviews,” said Melissa. “We got comments that there were hints of over-ripe flowers, spoiled milk and mold. Our main problem was that we only got a little bit of the pumpkin flavor.
“We might try again next fall. Or we might try something with berries.”