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How a blackberry turns to wine at Sweet Acre
Fruit winery celebrates one-year anniversary June 3
0525WINE2
Matt and Lindsey Vrahiotes own and operate Sweet Acre Farms Winery in Alto. They also have an adorable little girl named Maddie.

Anniversary celebration

What: Live music including Americana from Tommy Joe Conner and bluegrass from Deep Roots Revival, food trucks Cousins Maine Lobster and Hot Dog Ninja

When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 3

Where: 7584 Bill Wilson Road, Alto

How much: $5 entry, $12 anniversary package, which includes entry, souvenir glass and glass of your choice of wine, slushy, or cider (Bullheaded not included; ages 16 and younger free

Wines available: Dry Blueberry, Dry White Muscadine, Bullheaded (Bourbon Barrel Aged Apple Wine), Medium Red Muscadine, Sweet Blueberry, Sweet Nectarine, Sweet Ass Blackberry, Sweet Ass Peach, Sweet Ass Strawberry, Quittin’ Time Lemon Wine

Matt Vrahiotes probably hasn’t met a fruit he hasn’t considered turning into wine.

He’s a self-described hobbyist who got out of control, but that hobby has turned into quite a serious business.

Sweet Acre Farms Winery is celebrating its one-year anniversary June 3 with live music, food trucks, cornhole — and of course, plenty of wine.

So just how does that wine get made? Matt and his wife, Lindsey, broke it down for us.

Grow and harvest fruit

The couple grow blackberries and other fruits on their Alto property but also buy from other farms in Georgia.

Mash and ferment

Matt uses a drill with a paddle attachment to mash the fruit in a large open container. He adds some sugar to help break down the fruit and the skins. He adds yeast to further break it down and ferment the sugars in the fruit. This takes about a week in their cooled basement.

Press

The concoction is put in a wine press to separate the solids from the liquids.

Settle and rack

It next goes into a closed plastic tank to allow sediment to settle to the bottom. “We’re letting it age, settle out and protecting it from oxygen,” Matt said. “The No. 1 enemy of wine is oxygen.” In between all that he racks the wine, which involves taking the clearer wine off the sediment.

Age

The wine sits in the tank for months or even years, depending on the type of fruit. Matt said it takes about six months to a year to age a blackberry wine. Sometimes the wine is sweetened after that.

Bottle, cork and label

The wine goes from tank to bottle, gets corked and a label is applied. Artwork on the labels courtesy Lindsey’s mother. That art is also displayed in the tasting room.

Enjoy

Matt advises to leave preconceived notions at the door. “Come in here because you want to try something new, and you want to try something local.” We recommend the nectarine. Yum.

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