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Dec 16, 2008 07:24 PM

Federweisser. Does it exist here?

With the days seeming like actual autumn lately, I'm reminded of one of the tastiest of all possible autumn drinks. Federweisser. Sold in plastic jugs from the backs of trucks and at farmstands across the wine-producing areas of Germany, it's white grape juice that's been fermented for only a couple of weeks. Sweet, fizzy, with alcohol up to about 5%. Traditionally accompanied with onion pancakes. The combination of sweetness, sneak-up-on-you alcohol, and onions tends to produce fabulous hangovers and legendary intestinal distress. But it's -so- worth it.

Since it's made out of excess, low quality grapes that were never going to be decent wine anyway, and the central valley is nothing if not excess, low quality grapes, there must be someone making something similar, no?

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  1. If it were available locally, it would be at the beginning of harvest. So, you'll need to plan for next year.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      If one is willing to drive up to the WA wine country about 30 mi south of Yakima, mark your calendar for next fall at Steppe Cellars

      Federweisser and Zwiebelkuchen
      October 11, 2008
      Sunnyside, WA, USA
      Info Phone: 509-837-8281
      The newly fermenting Gevurztraminer (Federweisser) is served with traditional German onion cake (Zwiebelkuchen). A tradition with a twist as we also serve German sausage, salad and dessert followed by music and dancing in the tasting room.

      also take a look at

      Scroll down to Rattlesnake Hills October 2008 Edition (@ half way)

      1. re: PolarBear

        Wow thanks. It's a little far away but maybe a bit easier to get to than the Rheingau.

        Have you been? Maybe if we just talk about it for a while one of our local winery
        people will notice and think, "hey, I could do that."

        1. re: Chuckles the Clone

          Unfortunately haven't tried it, when we lived in Germany I wasn't aware of it and likewise on my one and only visit to Oktoberfest in Mt. Angel OR.

          Like you said, we have a plethora of cheap grapes here in the central valley, seems like we should be able to get someone to roll the dice.

          1. re: Chuckles the Clone

            Hmm, this topic seems to have been snipped while I was doing research for you. In the East Bay, you can order wine grapes from Oak Barrel in Berkeley. 100# min, and you can pay to have them crushed and pressed for you. One ton yields from 100 to 150 gallons of juice.


            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I think the conversation got snipped because they might have thought that guy was shilling for his home federweisser kit (which actually seemed like a useful convenience and not a bad deal for micro-scale fermenting ...)

              So it looks like the prices are about $13/gallon with a 12 gallon minimum, roughly. It might be a bit late this year to plan at that scale -- 12 gallons would make for a pretty large party -- but next year definitely!

              1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                Think about buying the juice and freezing a portion to ferment later or drink some fresh & unfermented. Go in with rworange. Or you have to wait till next august.

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          1. Just came back from a trip to Prague and Munich and had my first taste of Federweisser (or burčák in Czech) and it was wonderful!

            So I started digging for a place that makes/sells it near home and finally found a place close to home that offers this wonderful elixir, but only for ONE day (during the grape harvest time, naturally).

            Here's the info:


            Oktoberfest Wine Country Lunch at Schug Winery (Oct. 17
            )A Harvest Celebration wine country style inspired by Walter Schug’s home region of the Rheingau.
            Enjoy Federweisser (fermenting white wine from the barrel)& Zweibelkuchen (savory onion cake) along with traditional German fare and live Polka music!
            Oct 17, 2010 11am to 4pm. Advance reservations required.
            Schug Winery
            602 Bonneau Road,
            Sonoma CA 95476

            1. The original comment has been removed