Pomace wine is a wine which is made from pomace, the material left over after fruit has been pressed to make juice. True pomace wine is relatively rare in the modern era, because the flavor tends to be less than stellar, but it is possible to find a number of pomace brandies, made by distilling pomace, and some of these products are quite good. Especially large liquor stores and some specialty stores may carry pomace wine, for people who are interested in trying it.
When fruit is pressed into juice, a mashy pulp of flesh, seeds, and stems is left behind. This pulp is known as pomace, and it has a number of uses. It can be utilized as fertilizer, for example, or processed to extract useful substances. When people want to make pomace wine, they soak the pomace in water and allow it to briefly soak, and sometimes to ferment. They may also use must, freshly pressed juice, as a soaking medium.
After the pomace has soaked, it is pressed again to yield a weak juice which can be fermented into wine. Pomace wine tends to have a lower alcohol and sugar content than wine from the first pressing, and the flavor is generally not very complex. It is also short-lived, designed to be drunk soon after manufacture.
In ancient times, pomace wine was sometimes used as a cheap wine replacement, for tables where regular wine was too expensive, and some wine makers drunk pomace wine, selling their true wines. Others developed various distilled versions of pomace wine, which tend to be more flavorful and complex, as the distillation process extracts more flavor.
Many languages have a specific name or slang term for pomace wine, indicating that it was at one point relatively widespread. In some regions of the world, it is still possible to find pomace wine; artisan wine producers are sometimes a good source, as their crops are small enough that the pomace cannot be used for other commercial purposes. Some pomace wines are specially handled to extend their flavor and yield a more interesting product, while others are indifferently made and not very exciting.
Incidentally, while “wine” conjures up an image of a grape-derived product, pomace wine can be made from many types of fruit, including apples. It may also be referred to as pomace cider or weak cider, especially when made from apples.