How To Make Dessert Wine At Home

The Secret to Creating Dessert Wines
  • Photos and information about nine different types of fruity red wine
  • Introduction to Wine, as well as Serving Suggestions
  • Gallery of Wine Instruction for Beginners

Late Harvest Wines

Late harvest dessert wine is the most popular type of dessert wine. This simply means that the winery will allow the fruit on the vine to overripen (a process known as raisining), causing the sugar level (known as brix) to rise significantly while the juice content decreases significantly. Sometimes, while the grapes are still on the vine, a rot known as Botrytis (also known as the noble rot) can develop, giving the grapes a distinct flavor and character. What’s left are grapes that have been condensed and sweetened.

As a result, high-sugar, low-alcohol wines are produced that have a delectably sweet flavor.

These half-bottles of wine can cost the same as or more than a standard 750 mL bottle of table wine, due to the fact that there is less juice to ferment.


Port is another dessert wine that people tend to mistake with late harvest, and it is also made in small quantities. Port wine is quite popular and has been around for a very long period of time. Port is a fortified wine, which means it has been infused with a spirit of some type (typically brandy). In spite of the high brix, this results in an alcohol level of around 18 percent. Any type of grape may be used to make port. Historically, real Port wines have been produced in Spain and Portugal from grape varietals indigenous to those countries.

These individuals can live for a very long period and cost a lot of money.

Because it has been reinforced, it will survive far longer after being opened.

Types of Port

Tawny and Ruby Port are the two most common varieties of port. In order to make Tawny Port, the wine is fermented in a barrel and allowed to evaporate before being oxidized in the bottle. This procedure imparts a golden/brown color to the wine as well as a “nutty” flavor to the finished product. Ruby Port is the cheapest and most widely manufactured form of port available on the market. In order to prevent excessive oxidation, the wine is matured for three years in enormous oak vats, which helps to preserve the deep red color and lively, fruity tastes.

Ice Wines

Ice wines are a refreshing pleasure, but they are also expensive. Ice wines are prepared from grapes that have been plucked while still on the vine, usually during the first frosts of fall. The grapes are kept on the vine to ripen and raisin, similar to how late harvest wines are made. After that, the winemaker must wait for a frost to arrive and cover the grapes before harvesting the crop. Germany and Canada are the two countries that manufacture the most Ice Wines. The grapes are then transported back to the winery and crushed as soon as possible.

Because it requires a large number of grapes to produce juice, this wine is quite pricey.

These wines are typically highly sweet and have a syrupy consistency when they are poured. They are referred to as “liquid gold” due to the hue and high cost of these precious metals. Vidal and Riesling are the most commonly utilized grapes in the production of this wine.


Madeira, produced in the Portuguese island of Madeira, off the coast of Portugal, has the ability to age as long as fine Port. The wine is subjected to high temperatures for several months in specially constructed structures known as estufas by the winemakers. When the barrels are aged in this manner, the effect is intended to be similar to that of a long sea trip through tropical climes. Madeira was initially unfortified, but the addition of spirits improved the island’s capacity to withstand lengthy sea trips.

Wines that have been matured for 50 to 100 years often taste the finest, and they age well.

Alone or With Dessert?

One common misperception regarding dessert wines is that they must be paired with a sweet dish. While there are some incredible dessert combinations to go with these wines, the wine itself is a terrific dessert in its own right. Wines have subtle nuances and delicate tastes, and eating a sugary, rich dessert may obscure these characteristics. Rather of complicating things, simple pairings work best, such as a cheesecake with a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc, a superb Port with a warm chocolate torte, or Ice Wine with handmade vanilla bean ice cream.

Venture Out!

Dessert wines are a good choice. Many individuals are dismissive of anything sweet and will not even taste them, let alone consume them after supper. When you’re out wine tasting in wine country, inquire as to if they make a sweet wine and give it a try. When you go out to eat at a fancy restaurant, don’t be scared to choose a sweet wine to accompany your meal afterward. Inquire with your server about suggestions. Although the majority of dessert wines are included in this list, there are a variety of other options to explore.

LoveToKnow Media was founded in the year 2022.

Making Sweet Wines

Sweetening your wines is an extremely basic and clear forward step that is often overlooked. However, because there always appears to be a few dubious wine recipes or concepts floating around for producing a sweet wine, I decided to go over some of the fundamentals of making sweet wine. Hopefully, this will help to clear up some of the ambiguity and misconceptions that have arisen in relation to this procedure. Process at its most basic level The first thing that needs to be understood is that the amount of sugar you add at the start of a fermentation should have absolutely no bearing on how sweet your wine will end up being in the final product.

  • The “Potential Alcohol Scale,” which can be found on practically all winemaking hydrometers, is used to ensure that the proper quantity of sugar is being added in order to achieve the desired alcohol percentage in the wine.
  • After that, sweetener can be added to the wine according to personal preference.
  • By adding your first sugar in this manner and then sweetening later on, you will have perfect control over both the sweetness of the wine and the ultimate alcohol content of the wine.
  • However, this would be OK if the wine didn’t wind up being far too sweet for the majority of people’s tastes, and there was no way to alter it.
  • This has the potential to result in a huge shambles.
  • It is conceivable to aim for alcohol concentrations that are higher than this, but this is always a risk.
  • What Should I Use As a Sweetener?

Otherwise, the freshly added sugars have the ability to cause the wine to re-ferment, resulting in it becoming dry tasting all over once more.

It is completely acceptable to sweeten your wine using standard store-bought cane sugar, which is what the majority of people use.

CORN SUGAR: Although corn sugar is not quite as sweet as the cane sugar you can buy at the supermarket, it appears to give the wine a more crisp, cleaner flavor overall.

HONEY:Honey may also be used to sweeten wine, which is a great alternative to sugar.

Extremely effective.

It is a thick syrup that has already had a stabilizer put into it.

WINE CONCENTRATES: Wine concentrates are frequently used as a sweetener, and they also have the added benefit of enhancing the flavor of the wine.

shop-wine-conditioner.png FLAVOROUS FRUIT JUICE:Flavourful fruit juices can be utilized in the same manner as concentrate is.

When it comes to sweetening harsher wines, such as elderberry, fresh fruit juice is frequently the greatest option to consider.

Liquid sweeteners such as Equal and Sweet ‘N Low do not form strong bonds with liquids on their own.

If these types of sweeteners are put to a bottle of wine that has been kept, they will need to be mixed up from the bottom before serving.

Using a 5 gallon batch, remove a measured quart and add a measured quantity of the sweetener of your choosing to the remaining portion of the batch.

If not, pour it back in with the rest of the ingredients and start over.

Ed Kraus is a third generation home brewer/winemaker who has been the proprietor of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He grew up in a family of home brewers and winemakers. For more than 25 years, he has been assisting folks in the production of superior wine and beer.

Sweet wines – Methods of production – WSET Level 2

More WSET stories may be found at the following link: It is written by a journalist who is embarking on a voyage of discovery – with a goal to learn everything she can about wine. You can find out which courses are offered near you by looking at the Where to Study map on the WSET website. Some wine customers in China used to mix soft beverages such as Sprite into their wines around ten years ago because they felt it would make the wines taste softer, sweeter, and more approachable to novice drinkers.

In recent years, as more wine varietals have been recognized and available to customers, the practice of blending soft drinks with wine has become less common.

Some of the methods are as follows:

Interrupting the fermentation

More WSET stories may be found at the following link. Written by a reporter on a quest for knowledge about wine, this essay is the result of her explorations. You may find out which courses are offered near you by looking at the WSET website’s Where to Study map. The addition of soft drinks such as Sprite to wines was popular around ten years ago among Chinese wine buyers who felt it would make the wines taste softer, sweeter, and more approachable to newcomers to the beverage. Despite the fact that some feel this was an innovative use of local knowledge to increase wine consumption, many others consider such “blending” practices are a crime against nature and should be avoided at all costs.

For individuals who enjoy a glass of sweet wine, there are a range of various techniques of producing sweet wines, each of which produces a distinct outcome:

Adding a sweet component to the blend

Wines cannot have sugar added to them (which may explain why adding Sprite to wines is frowned upon), but they can have a sweet component such as unfermented grape juice or Sussreserve to sweeten the mix if they have a sweet component. In Germany, this method is used to produce certain sweet and off-dry wines, among other things.

Concentration of sugars in the grapes

High-quality sweet wines are frequently produced from grapes that have naturally occurring concentrated sugars. One of three methods for concentrating grapes is to dry them or enable the growth of the fungus Botrytis cinerearot or noble rot to speed the evaporation of water. The third method is to freeze the grapes, which results in the production of icewine. We sipped on a glass ofRiciotofrom Italy, which is a sweet red wine made from dried grapes and served chilled. With flavors of coffee and smoke, as well as a hint of honey, it tastes similar to syrup.

  1. A sweet Tokaji Aszu, made from noble rot-affected grapes, was also served to us by my teacher.
  2. Noble rot wines are generally expensive due to the fact that they must be made from hand-picked grapes, which results in high labor expenses.
  3. For those who had Tokaji Aszu on their menu, dessert was unnecessary because the wine itself was a delectable treat; the full-bodied, amber-colored wine is so wonderful that you can actually “chew” on it.
  4. The high latitude, cold, and dry environment aid in the development of high-quality icewine with a high acidity and low alcohol content, as well as a clean and refreshing flavor.

The production of high-quality icewines is limited due to the fact that only a small number of growers are gifted with the geographical and climate conditions necessary. They are not manufactured on a yearly basis.

Interested in studying for a WSET qualification like John? Learn morehere.

In the case of a wine that is extremely sweet or includes a significant amount of sugar, it has crossed the border into the region of a dessert wine. Dessert wines are ideal when they are well-balanced with acidity, which prevents them from becoming excessively sweet. Ideally, a good dessert wine should be more sweet/tart in flavor than it should be sweet in flavor. It is important to ensure that all of the sugar does not become fermented by the yeast while creating a dessert wine, and there are a number of techniques to do this.

  1. Botrytis The Noble Rot is a term used to describe a type of disease that occurs among nobles.
  2. Drying Consider raisins as an example.
  3. Stabilization in Cold Conditions The fermentation process is stopped by refrigeration.
  4. Harvesting toward the end of the season Most dessert wines begin with the grapes being picked late, even if another procedure is utilized to assure that the finished wine contains a significant amount of residual sugar.
  5. The quantity of sugar present in a grape is inversely proportional to the amount of acidity present in the vine (just like all fruits, the riper it gets the lest tart it becomes).
  6. Because the wine contains so much natural sugar, the yeast is unable to convert all of the sugar before it perishes.
  7. Occasionally, tartaric acid (grape acid) is used in the wine to aid in the preservation of the equilibrium.
See also:  Where To Go For A Glass Of Wine And Dessert

Some late-harvest wines, particularly in the French region of Alsace, are vinified totally or mainly dry (all of the sugar is converted), resulting in a wine with minimal sweetness but a great deal of intensity.

A considerable lot of work is put forth to ensure that this does not occur, unless you are attempting to produce a dessert wine at the conclusion of the process.

This mold affects the grapes, generating minute lesions that allow it to absorb water from the grapes’ juice.

Harvesting takes place when the grapes have reached just the correct level of sugar, and the wine is prepared in the same manner as any other late harvest.

In Germany and other countries, this sorting is done on a table, with only the finest individual berries being picked for further processing.

The wine becomes sweeter and more strong as the number of baskets of paste (puttonyos) added increases from one to six.

Ice Wines are made from grapes that have been frozen on the vine, and current science has produced fast freezers that may replicate the content, if not the precise outcome, of these wines.

There, the Recioto style is most commonly utilized to transform Valpolicella into the more powerful Amarone wine, which is produced in small quantities.

Vin Paille is the name given to the wines produced by this process in France.

This old practice is only one more method of lowering the grape’s water to sugar ratio, which is already low.

Fortifying More information on the process may be found here, but the short answer is that alcohol is added to prevent the yeast from converting all of the carbohydrates into alcohol.

Stabilization in Cold Conditions It is feasible to prevent the yeast from complete their work by simply refrigerating the wine, a technique that is often reserved for modestly sweet wines.

Precipitation removal from dry white wines is a word that is most generally used to describe the process of eliminating precipitates from white wines.

This is a rare but conceivable method of stopping the process. It is not regarded an optimal procedure due to the risk of off-odors emanating from the process.

Winemaking: The Six Basic Types of Wine

Here, you’ll discover all of the phrases associated with the production of wines, which will help you choose the most appropriate wine for your needs and preferences. This chapter discusses the fundamental types of wine as well as the fundamental qualities of each. This chapter is taken directly from the book. The following topics are covered in this chapter:

  • Learn how the procedures used in winemaking affect the sort of wine produced. Understand the distinctions between dry red and white wines in terms of production, terminology, and the best applications with food. Investigate why Chardonnays become buttery, why Beaujolais Nouveau is grapey and yeasty, and how sparkling wines like Champagne are created. Learn about the process of making pink wine, such as rosé, blush, or blanc de noir
  • And Learn to appreciate fortified wines, which include Porto, Sherry, Madeira, Vermouth, and Marsala, for their diversity. Learn about each of the eight ways used to make sweet dessert wines and how they differ. Find out what the shape and color of a bottle may tell you about the wine it contains

Once a winemaker has decided on the sort of wine to produce, he or she has a plethora of possibilities to choose from. Winemaking decisions have an impact on how dry or sweet, fruity and fragrant the finished wine will be, as well as how complex and concentrated it will be, as well as how high in alcohol and body it will be. Wine’s taste and style will be determined by the grape variety or blend of grapes that is used as well as the region in which the grapes were grown, as well as the quality of harvest each vintage year, as you learned in Chapter 2, “How Grapes and Vineyards Determine Taste, Style, Value, and Food Affinities.” However, the kind or category of a wine, such as a dry red or sparkling wine, is decided by the winemaking procedures that were utilized to create the wine in question.

Dry red wine, dry white wine, rosé or blanc de noir wine, sparkling wine, fortified wine, and dessert wines are the six fundamental varieties of wine.

Along the way, I’ll dispel some of the myths about wine that may have been passed down to you by well-intentioned family members and acquaintances.

a list of things to do

  • The purpose of this study is to determine the function and origin of yeasts, grape sugar, and sulfites in the fermentation of wine. Be familiar with the definitions and distinctions between free run and press wines, brandy, and liqueurs

Wine is described as the alcoholic beverage produced by the fermentation of grapes that have been newly picked. It has stayed essentially constant from the beginning of time: when grapes are crushed, the yeasts that naturally develop on all of the grape skins begin to ferment the liquid into wine. We refer to this mixture of grape skins immersed in their juice as themust, and the period during which they are in touch with one another as themaceration. Because the juice contained within all grapes is clear, skin contact, also known as maceration, is particularly vital in the development of red wines.

  1. The yeasts transform the natural fruit sugar in the grapes into an equal mixture of alcohol and carbon dioxide throughout the alcohol fermentation process.
  2. Table wines (those intended for use at the table with meals) are defined as those that obtain their alcohol solely via fermentation.
  3. As a result, the yeasts die when they reach this quantity of alcohol production, which is the maximum limit for fermentation.
  4. Yeasts are responsible for the dusty appearance of grapes, which is referred as as thebloom.
  5. For the first fermentation step in contemporary wineries, commercial yeasts are introduced.

These yeasts are grown and freeze-dried from well-known wine regions such as Montrachet in Burgundy, France, and are used to start the process. Furthermore, grape skins contain Acetobacter, sometimes known as “vinegar bacteria” (discussed in the following section).

Sulfites in Wine

Unfortunately, once the new wine is exposed to the air, the vinegar bacteria on the grape skins will rapidly degrade it, and wild yeasts must also be eradicated before they can wreak havoc on the wine’s flavor and taste. Modern winemakers continue a centuries-old history of employing sulfur dioxide and other sulfur-containing compounds to kill wild yeasts and vinegar bacteria in the finished wine while also inhibiting the growth of other molds or bacteria. While the wine is maturing and being distributed, sulfites also prevent oxidation (browning) and help to maintain the wine’s quality.

This is due to the fact that the quantity of sulfur dioxide added is extremely small—typically no more than 60–125 parts per million for good cork-finished dry red and white wines—and that the amount of sulfur dioxide used is rigorously regulated by our federal government.

Free Run Wine, Press Wine, Brandy, and Liqueurs

Beginning with the grapes, the process of making wine begins. Grapes are typically cultivated in regions where other crops would fail to thrive. Grapes thrive in poor soils, where they are forced to develop deep roots and conserve their energy by producing only a few bunches of high-quality grapes each year. To the point that it’s thought that God created the wine and the rose just for Bordeaux since they are the only two plants that can grow on such rocky, infertile soil. In Bordeaux, a rose bush is planted at the end of each row of grapevines because the same environmental circumstances allow both plants to thrive.

  • It occurs throughout the ripening stage.
  • White types will not turn golden until they have been exposed to the sun, and red variants will not turn deep purple unless they have been exposed to the sun.
  • However, what most wine publications do not inform you about is that the color of the grapevine’s leaves may also vary.
  • This is how you can determine what is growing in a vineyard late in the season by looking at the plants’ leaves.
  • Press wine is harsher than table wine and accounts for the difference in smoothness between excellent and inexpensive wines, however a small quantity of press wine may be added to select fine red wines to give color, body, and structure to the finished product.
  • These byproducts can be utilized as fertilizer to improve the soil in vineyards.
  • It can be created everywhere grapes are grown, which is everywhere.

The best examples are produced in great wine regions such as Piedmont and Tuscany, where Barolo is produced.

In the region north of Bordeaux, cognac is produced from white Ugni Blanc (French Colombard) grapes planted in either the chalky soil of the best vineyard sites or the drier soils of the lower-quality vines.

Another sort of French brandy is the darker and grapierArmagnac, which is produced south of Bordeaux and matured in casks of black oak.

Brandy is also known as aneau de vie, which translates as “water of life,” and may be made from any fruit that has been dried and distilled.

Liqueurs are always sweet, flavored spirits that have a fruity flavor.

Brandy or other spirits are used to make many liqueurs, which are subsequently flavored with herbs, fruits such as raspberries, coffee beans, or orange peels, and finally sweetened to taste. They are not dry in the same way that brandy or eau de vie are. a list of things to do

  • Learn about the formation of tannins in red wines. Acquaint yourself with the advantages of aging red wine in oak barrels
  • Try to find red wines with strong fruit quality in the cheap bin.
See also:  How Long Can A Fruit Dessert Stay Fresh In Heated Wine

How To Make Wine At Home

Have you ever wanted to try your hand at making your own wine? Here’s how to do it. In principle, the process of creating wine is extremely straightforward. When yeast and grape juice come together in a fermentable environment, magic happens. Nature is simply being nature. Without a doubt, wine was discovered by chance thousands of years ago by a joyful accident: Some lucky passerby stops and stoops down to take a sip of the juice pooled in the shaded bowl of a rock, where natural yeasts have settled on a cluster of squished grapes that have been blowing in the breeze for a while.

Afterwards, as you might expect, the winemaking process will be fine-tuned, and the surrounding environment will be meticulously managed, to the point that winemaking may be considered both a science and an art form.

It’s probably somewhere in between the curious stone-age traveller and the modern winemaker who brings creative science to the process, to put it another way.

a bottle of red wine and a carafe Meredith captured this image of red wine and a carafe.

How to Make Homemade Wine

Winemaking at home necessitates the use of a number of affordable pieces of equipment, meticulous cleaning, and a plenty of patience. It turns out that Tom Petty was correct when he said, “The toughest part is waiting.” Checklist for Equipment:

  • As the primary fermentation vat, one 4-gallon food-grade-quality plastic bucket with a cover will suffice. There are three 1-gallon glass jugs that will be used as secondary fermentation containers. funnel that is designed to fit into the opening of the glass bottles
  • There are three airlocks (fermentation traps) in the system. In order to fit into the secondary fermentation container, a rubber stopper (or bung) must be used. A large straining bag made of nylon mesh is used. There are around 6 feet of transparent half-inch plastic tubing
  • Approximately 20 wine bottles (you’ll need 5 bottles of wine for every gallon of wine)
  • Number 9-size corks that have been pre-sanitized
  • The following items are required: hand corker (inquire about renting one from the wine supply store)
  • A hydrometer, which is used to test sugar levels.

Checklist of Ingredients:

  • A large quantity of wine grapes
  • Granulated sugar
  • Filtered water
  • Wine yeast

You may modify the process by including items like as Campden tablets to help prevent oxidation, yeast nutrition, enzymes, tannins, acids, and other sophisticated components to better regulate your wine production to the above-mentioned basic list. There was a snag in the system. An error has happened, and your entry has not been submitted as a result of it. Please try your search again.

Making Wine

  • Make certain that your equipment has been fully disinfected and then thoroughly washed. (Ask at your local wine supply store about specific detergents, bleaches, and other cleaning agents.) It is preferable if you clean and rinse your equipment right away before you use it. Pick your grapes carefully, discarding any that appear to be rotting or unusual in appearance
  • Wash your grapes carefully before eating them. Remove the stalks from the flowers
  • The grapes should be crushed in order to release the juice (known as “must”) into the primary fermenting container. Your hands will be as effective as any other tool in this situation. Alternatively, you may use your feet to pound on the ground. For those who make a lot of wine, you might want to consider renting a fruit press from your local wine supply store. Pour in the wine yeast
  • Incorporate the hydrometer onto the must-have list. If it’s less than 1.010, you might want to consider adding sugar. In the case of sugar, dissolve the granulated sugar in clear filtered water before adding it (adding sugar helps boost low alcohol levels). Ensure that the must is fully mixed. Cover the primary fermentation bucket with a towel and set it aside for one to ten days to ferment the must. Over the course of many days, fermentation will cause a froth to form on the surface of the liquid and sediment to settle to the bottom.

Making Grape Juice | Photo courtesy of MeredithPart 2: Mashed Grapes and Twigs

  • Gently filter the liquid to remove the sediment and froth
  • Repeat the process twice. Directly into cleaned glass secondary fermentation containers, strain the juice via a funnel. Fill the container to the brim in order to restrict the quantity of air accessing the wine
  • Using airlocks, seal the containers tightly. Allow the juice to ferment for many weeks
  • Siphon the wine via the plastic tube into clean glass secondary fermentation containers. Aiming to remove the wine from any sediment that accumulates throughout the fermentation process, this step is essential. Keep rinsing the wine off the sediment on a regular basis (this is referred to as “racking”) for another 2 or 3 months, or until the wine is completely clear.
  • Fill the bottles with the wine (using the cleaned plastic tubing), allowing enough space for the cork and approximately a half inch or so of additional space on the side
  • Place corks in the bottles
  • For the first three days, keep the wine upright in a cool, dark place. After three days, keep the wine on its side at a temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit, preferably. Age red wine for at least one year before serving. White wine can be ready to drink after only 6 months of aging
  • Red wine takes longer.

Enjoy! Recipes for Making Wine One wine recipe uses frozen juice concentrate, while another transforms bothersome dandelions into a delectable beverage by boiling them in water. The Best Wine and Food Pairings Include the Following:

Sweet Wines 101

Whenever it comes to exquisite dessert pours, it’s always good to go back to your first wine. When one tastes a rich Sauternes, one’s perspective on wine is transformed: As a result, “sweet wine” is no longer associated with treacly cola drinkers, and the white Zinfandel and “Mad Dog” follies of college days are thankfully sent to the back of one’s subconscious. Dessert wine, despite its grandeur, does not have the same reach as Cabernet, which is perhaps for the best because there is far less of it to go around in the first place.

If you want to make ice wine in Canada, for example, you have to pick the grapes early in the morning to get them to the crushpad before they thaw out.

It can take more than 100 pounds of grapes—enough to create 50 bottles of table wine—to make one liter of Tokaji Eszencia.

Another type of sweet nectar requires patience as well: there are Sherries, Ports, and Madeiras that are matured at the winery for 20, 50, or even 100 years before being released. Some of the methods used by winemakers to produce sweetness in their wines are as follows.

Pour Some Sugar on Me?

Getting the sugar out of grapes may be a time-consuming endeavor. Why not simply toss a huge bag of it into the bottle of wine? You can’t do it! Top winemaking areas, with a few exceptions, consider this to be cheating and prohibit it from being used in the production of great dessert wines. If you live in a cooler climate and want to make wine during a weaker vintage, the technique known as chaptalization (in which non-grape sugar is added to the fermentation) is permitted in certain cooler regions during weaker vintages.

Nevertheless, in cases when good quality is not the most important consideration, some winemakers simply inject a little amount of sweet grape concentrate after fermentation.

Champagne is bone dry and extremely acidic after it has gone through its secondary fermentation in bottle to produce the bubbles, and it is produced in small quantities.

This decides whether the wine is dry (brut), semi-sweet (sec or demi-sec), or sweet (sweet) (doux).

Late Harvest

It may seem like an oxymoron, but intentionally overripe grapes may be beneficial for creating sweet wines—as long as the grapes have adequate acidity to counteract the high sugar levels. In order to enhance the amount of sugar in the grapes, they are kept on the vine for as long as possible, sometimes until they are shriveled. In the northern hemisphere, this might mean harvesting grapes as late as the end of November or early December. Because winemakers do not ferment these wines to dryness, the residual sugar, as it is known in the industry, is maintained after the juice enters the vat.

It’s not some kind of elaborate ruse: It is possible to keep a slight sweetness in grapes gathered earlier in the season if the fermentation process is slowed down.

The most well-known late-harvest wines are from Germany, as well as the French regions of Alsace and the Loire, and are made from grapes such as Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Muscat, and Chenin Blanc, among other varieties.

In Germany, however, both phrases are used to refer to the weight of a grape’s must at the time of harvest, which is a measure of the sugar content before fermentation, rather than the sweetness of the wine at the end of fermentation.

Consequently, even a sweet auslese crop may be fermented to produce a dry or virtually dry wine, depending on the conditions. (The label descriptor “trocken” signifies a wine that contains little or no residual sugar.)


Botrytis cinerea, sometimes known as “noble rot,” is a fungal infection that is responsible for many of the most celebrated dessert wines of the Old World. In fact, even the more mellifluouspourriture nobleis really a French way of saying “excellent things, but rotting,” which is not a translation error. This is due to the fact that this is a fungus—a sometimes-beneficial kind of gray rot that, when present on healthy grapes, concentrates the sugars, resulting in a wine with a rich, honeyed taste.

Red grapes are often rendered worthless by the rot, although white grape types such as Sémillion, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Chenin Blanc make rich, unctuous sweet wines as a result of the disease.

Wines such as Sauternes and Barsac from Bordeaux (made with Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc), German beerenauslese and trockenbeerenauslese (typically Riesling), Hungary’s storied Tokaji Asz (mostly Furmint), and Quarts de Chaume (Chenin Blanc) from the central Loire are just a few examples of wines that owe their existence to botrytis.

Dried Grapes

The procedure of drying grapes in order to concentrate their sugars naturally is one of the oldest winemaking techniques still in use today. It originated in the hot Mediterranean terroirs. It was here that Greeks, Phoenicians, and Romans cultivated their grapes thousands of years ago, and this approach has remained mostly untouched since then. There are a variety of methods for drying grapes, including letting them to raisin on the stalk, or laying harvested bunches on a straw mat in the sun, in a warehouse hanging from a rack, or on a roof.

Vin de paille from France’s Jura area, Commandaria wine from Cyprus, and passitowines from Italian regions such as Tuscany (Vin Santo) and the Veneto (Vin Santo) are examples of these “straw wines” or “raisin wines” (Recioto della Valpolicella or Recioto di Soave; Amarone is made from dried grapes but fermented to dryness).

Frozen Grapes

Cold climates, such as those found in Canada, cannot rely on botrytis or, for that matter, heat. However, if you are unable to boil the H2O away, you may always freeze it! Ice wine is another another method of achieving the same goal as other dessert wines, concentrating the grape sugars by freezing the water and separating it from the grape juice. Due to the fact that sugar does not freeze, it is possible to press the cold grapes (with considerable effort, it should be mentioned) to make a viscous sugar liquid.

See also:  What Dessert To Serve With Ice Wine

Growing ice wine grapes may be compared to a game of cat and mouse, except that the cats in this case are birds rather than humans.

In places where temperatures do not frequently drop to such dangerously low levels, wineries are occasionally authorized to mechanically freeze their stock and press off the concentrated remnants.

Domaine Carneros, Weingut Fritz Haag, the Antique Wine Co., Gonzalez Byass, Dr. Loosen Quinta do Noval, and Christie’s are among the sponsors of this event.

Beefed-Up Grapes

While it is unclear who invented the process of fortification (the addition of neutral grape spirits to a wine), the style became immensely popular in the Spanish and Portuguese pours favored by the British, in part because the wines were hardy enough to be shipped to colonial outposts without being damaged. Take, for example, Port, the crowning achievement of Portugal’s Douro area. A total of more than 80 different grape types are authorized to be utilized in its production (but just five are preferred).

  1. A naturally sweet wine with high alcohol content (usually 18 to 20 percent) is produced as a result of this process.
  2. Aged tawny Ports (the blends are commonly classified as 10, 20, 30 or 40 years) are aged for a lengthy period of time in oak barrels, imparting a nutty, toffee flavor to the wine as well as the wine’s name-giving colour.
  3. Although released early, Vintage Port should be matured in bottle for a decade or more before consumption.
  4. Sherry, which comes from Spain’s Jerez area, is often fermented dry before being fortified, and the lightest and driest kinds, fino and Manzanilla, remain that way when fermentation is completed.
  5. It is also possible to make your own Sherry from these dried grapes, which are extremely uncommon, rich, and syrupy.
  6. All of these wines are harsh, but the heavyweight champion in this type is Madeira, which is produced on a small archipelago off the coast of Portugal by the same name and is created from a variety of grapes.
  7. It is then subjected to what can only be described as the wine equivalent of Navy SEAL training.

(“Maderized” is a wine word that describes what happens to more delicate wines that are mistakenly destroyed by certain environmental circumstances.) Best Madeiras are manufactured from one of four primary grapes that vary in sweetness from dry to sweet, depending on the style: Sercial, Verdelho, Bual and Malmsey (Malvasia).

  • Vintage Madeira, which must be sourced from a single vintage, is matured in cask for at least 20 years before being bottled for another two years.
  • You may open a bottle and then come back to it months later, or you can cellar it for millennia without opening it again.
  • Existing examples that are completely drinking date back to the early 1700s.
  • (Intrigued?

Let us raise a glass to the winemakers who have been so kind as to make it for us.

homemade homebrew Dessert recipe – full bodied white wine

Making sweet dessert wines with a lot of body is something I enjoy doing. Normally, I prefer dry white wines, but I have a particular fondness for the huge, strong Sauternes wines. I attribute this to my father, who introduced me to them at Christmas when I was still a child, and I have been hooked on the wines ever since. I’ve always thought that the producers of homebrew wine kits were losing out on an opportunity when it came to dessert wines. There aren’t many kits available that are expressly designed for creating full-bodied Sauternes-style wines.

  • Starting with grape juice concentrate is a fantastic way to approach the creation of a dessert wine recipe.
  • Instead of using water for the dilution, Apple juice may be used to make up the 1 gallon (or whatever amount you need).
  • Bananas are added to give the dish additional substance.
  • Once this has been fermented out, I continue to add additional grape concentrate and/or sugar until the yeast is no longer able to handle it any more.
  • I recently checked the gravity of a bottle of 1998 Sauternes, and it was 1032 g/L – very delicious!
  • The initial batch of components included the following: 3.75 litres Copella English apple juice (three times) (specific gravity 1.044) 500mL Ritchie’s white grape juice concentrate (two 500mL bottles) SPC Nature’s best pears, peaches, and pineapples in a refreshing fruit juice.
  • Fill a big fermenter up to the 10 litre mark with water and set aside.

Using warm tap water to wash your clothes 1 teaspoon of acid mixture a half teaspoon of tannin Pectic Ezyme is a kind of enzyme that helps in the digestion of pectic substances.

10 g dried elderflowers (optional) Incorporate a packet of oak chips – in retrospect, the oak may have been overdone.

The weather is quite damp, while daytime temperatures remain between 16 and 19 degrees Celsius.

On the morning of July 10th, I noticed some froth bursting through a raised cap – it was not quite full fermentation yet, but it was getting there.

On the evening of the 14th of July, I was restrained.

Gravity had dropped to approximately 1020, so I increased it by about 10 using sugar to bring it back up to par.

16th: fermentation is doing nicely.

Over the next few days, various amounts of sugar and grape concentrate will be added.

Gravity is little over 1010, probably needs to be a little higher, but the top is now clearing as fermentation has slowed.

Saturday, August 16th, 2008: Everything is crystal obvious now.

The flavor is a little gritty, but the elderflower aroma is really intense.

Sugar is a good choice.

We have to have this sealed!

The remaining was placed back into a demijohn, which was then sealed and waxed before being stored in the basement.

Added the last unbottled portion to the fridge on September 16th, 2008.

It is important not to serve the food too cold. It was a big hit with Peter. It is necessary to conceal another demijohn in the cellar in order to avoid early drinking. On the 27th of September, 2008, I transported the demijohn to a friend’s cellar.

A Guide on How to Sweeten Wine

This page was last updated on January 3, 2022. The sweet wines are most likely the most popular among wine drinkers. As a result of their capacity to maintain the essence of the fruit, which is represented in its sweetness and in its entrancing smells, they were once reserved for noblemen and monarchs. Creating sweet wine, on the other hand, takes more time and work. The ability to generate an amazing outcome during the fermentation process is one of the most often asked topics among winemakers, and one of the most typical answers is to sweeten the wine.

Differences between Dry Wine and Sweet Wine

The fundamental distinction between dry wine and sweet wine is the quantity of sugar that is absorbed into the wine but does not convert into alcohol throughout the fermentation process. Dry wine has less sugar than sweet wine. This type of sugar is referred to as “residual sugar.” The sweetness of the wine will be determined by the quantity of residual sugar present. During the tasting of dry wines, the amount of residual sugar present is limited, and you will not be able to detect it. On the other hand, you should be aware that in very young wines, the sweetness is counteracted by the acidity, making it difficult to detect.

Making Sweet Wine: Challenges

The yeast ferments the carbohydrates in the wine, which results in the production of alcohol in the finished product. The amount of sugar used in the fermentation process impacts the amount of alcohol generated during the process. If you want to know how sweet or dry your wine is, you need measure the specific gravity of the wine throughout the fermentation period. Wines with a specific gravity lower than 1.000 are considered dry, whereas sweet wines with a specific gravity between 1.010 and 1.025 and are often considered sweet.

It is common for yeast to stop fermenting a wine when it reaches a particular alcohol percentage or when all of the sugar has been devoured by the yeast.

If you are not a professional winemaker, calculating the appropriate amount of sugar to begin with might be a challenging task.

How to Sweeten Wine

Sweetening homemade wines can be accomplished in a variety of ways. The most straightforward method, and the one employed by the majority of winemakers, is to add sugar to already-made wine. Although it is less noble, you should be aware that this approach is commonly employed for low-quality items and is thus not recommended.

In truth, the most prominent wine producers never sweeten dry wine with sugar since the outcome is a low quality wine that is immediately distinguishable from the original. Here’s how you sweeten wine using sugar, as shown in practice:

  • One cup of water and two cups of sugar are combined to make a simple syrup. Raise the temperature of the liquid to a simmer and cook until all of the sugar has been dissolved
  • Reduce the temperature of the syrup to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Take one cup of wine and add cold syrup to it, being sure to measure the amount of syrup that has been poured to the wine. Check to verify if you’ve achieved the required sweetness by tasting it
  • Pour the appropriate amount of syrup into your wine, based on the ratio that was previously determined. Pay attention to the exact gravity. To inhibit additional fermentation, add a 14-tablespoon solution of potassium sorbate and an 8-tablespoon solution of potassium metabisulphite to each gallon of wine. Pour the wine into a demijohn and seal it with an airlock. Allow the wine to sit for at least one week before using it as directed. Take a look at the specific gravity once more. If it has fallen, this indicates that the wine has begun to ferment anew. It is necessary to wait for the fermentation to be completed before bottling the wine in this situation.

The addition of a little amount of sweet grape juice to the wine is another straightforward way. This, on the other hand, may have an effect on the flavor of wines created from fruits other than grapes. You must be very careful if you pick this procedure to ensure that the wine is thoroughly sterilized, filtered, clarified, and stored at a low temperature in stainless steel tanks to avoid future fermentation. Sugar, on the other hand, is never added to the greatest sweet wines. You should probably halt the fermentation when the necessary amount of sweetness is attained if you want to produce a high-grade sweet wine of exceptional quality.

This will prevent the yeast from doing its function, resulting in a sweeter wine.

What methodology did you employ?

Even though Tim has never had any training in the field of wine, he has acquired an unshakeable passion for the beverage and an interest in anything linked to it since he was a small child.

After visiting dozens of wine areas throughout the world, including those in France, Italy, California, Australia, and South Africa, and tasting a wide range of their wines, he aims to share his knowledge and experiences with you here, and to include you in the adventure as much as possible.

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