Ah, Piquette. The spritzy, low-ABV long-lost cousin of the natural wine world - and one of our favorite choices for an outdoor get together/pool party/BBQ. In this blog we’re going to answer the question “What is Piquette”, talk about its history, some of our current favorites, and its relationship to natural wine!
You may have heard of Piquette, either from your favorite local natural wine retailer, trade publication, or in-the-know friend. At its most simple, Piquette is an alcoholic beverage made from adding water to leftover pomace (that cakey looking thing) after grapes have been pressed for winemaking. This liquid then starts the fermentation process, and ultimately creates a wine-like beverage that’s just a little thinner than a typical wine.
How Piquette is Made
There’s a ton of options with regards to what you can do with piquette. Our friends at Wild Arc Farm, for example, blended 15% of the actual wine to bump up the acid content, and added local wildflower honey to the refermentation to give it that little prickle of bubbles we like so much. Remember rule #1 of making alcohol (or really anything fermented): yeast likes sugar, and converts it to alcohol!
History of Piquette
It seems like Piquette has been around for centuries, even being made for lower classes in ancient Greece and Roma under the name lora, or “Vinum operarium” (worker’s wine). The term “Piquette” itself comes from France, as so many of our favorite wine terms do (looking at you Glou Glou!). In the EU, Piquette has an official definition as the product obtained by the fermentation of untreated grape pomace macerated in water, or by leaching fermented grape pomace with water.
Why We Love It
- It’s fun - we LOVE bringing a bottle of Come Together to a casual backyard party. In fact, we just did this over Labor Day! It’s quaffable, low ABV, and a fun little bottle to bring for people who maybe aren’t as familiar with Piquette.
- It’s “recycled” - it’s no secret that we’re trying to be as sustainable as we can in our business, like with our 1% for the Planet membership. We love the idea of taking something that may be discarded and stretching it even further! That said, pomace can also be composted or fed to farm animals. Yay sustainability!
- It tastes really good - how can you beat a light, frizzante beverage served chilled on a warm summer day?
Where you can find piquette
There are winemakers all over the place making Piquette, so this is by no means going to be a comprehensive list! That said, here’s a few of our favorites:
In addition to making a ton of amazing wines from classic wine grapes grown in Maryland, Old Westminster has a ton of piquettes in both the bottled and canned variety!
Located in the Hudson River Valley, Wild Arc Farm has been making amazing piquette’s for a number of years now. Highly recommend!
Another well known Piquette maker in Oregon. The Marigny's piquette is a combination of red and white grapes that go through the second pressing together and create a very tasty blend!
So next time you’re thirsting for something to drink, don’t want to overthink it, and want something new, maybe you should reach for a bottle (or can) of piquette!