How To Make White Dessert Wine

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

9 Different Types of Fruity Red Wine; Photos and Information on Each Type Introduction to Wine, as well as Serving Suggestions a gallery of wine guides for novices.


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.

They are referred to as “liquid gold” due to the hue and high cost of these precious metals.


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.

These wines have an unique hazelnut/floral scent that distinguishes them from the competition. 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!

There is a common misperception concerning dessert wines that they must be served with dessert. While there are some incredible dessert combinations to go with these wines, the wine alone is a terrific dessert in its own right! A sugary, indulgent dessert may be able to conceal the subtle nuances and delicate tastes of a fine wine. 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 Ice Cream Consider making your own, but be prepared for a sugar “high” that will last the rest of the evening!

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.

homemade homebrew Dessert recipe – full bodied white wine

Sweetening your wines is a really easy and straight forward procedure that appears to be complicated at first glance. However, because there always appears to be a few dubious wine recipes or concepts floating about for producing a sweet wine, I decided to go over some of the fundamentals of how to make sweet wine. This should perhaps clear up some of the ambiguity and misconceptions that have arisen in relation to this procedure and its procedures. Process in its most fundamental 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 finished product.

  1. 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.
  2. To finish the wine, a small amount of sweetener can be added to your liking.
  3. In this way, you may have perfect control over the sweetness and alcohol content of the wine from the beginning, and you can sweeten it later on if you want to.
  4. 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 fix it.
  5. If you put these two things together, you may end up with a huge mess.
  6. Although it is feasible to aim for alcohol concentrations that are higher than this, doing so is fraught with danger.
  7. To What Should I Add Sugar?

The freshly added sugars, on the other hand, may cause the wine to re-ferment, resulting in it being dry tasting once more.

Normal cane sugar from the grocery store is totally OK and is what the majority of people use when sweetening their wine.

The use of corn sugar, while not as sweet as cane sugar purchased at a grocery store, appears to give the wine a more crisp, cleaner taste.

The addition of honey to sweeten your wine is also an option.

Quite successful.

Essentially, it is a thick syrup that has already been stabilized.

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

shop-wine-conditioner.png FLAVOROUS FRUIT JUICE:Flavourful fresh fruit juices may be utilized in the same way as concentrate.

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

Individually, liquid-soluble sweeteners such as Equal and Sweet ‘N Low do not form strong bonds with liquids of their own.

This sort of sweetener will need to be stirred up from the bottom of a bottle of wine that has been kept for a period of time.

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

Then pour it back in with the remainder of the ingredients and start over from the beginning!

Founder and proprietor of E. C. Kraus since 1999, Ed Kraus is a third-generation home brewer and winemaker who hails from the state of Pennsylvania. During the past 25 years, he has been assisting folks in the production of superior wine and beer.

Making dessert wine

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:  What Is Port Dessert Wine

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:

  • Here, you’ll discover all of the phrases related to 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 kind, in detail. From the book comes this chapter. This chapter contains the following sections:

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

In order to understand the role and origin of yeasts, grape sugar, and sulfites in the fermentation of wine, you should: Be familiar with the definitions and distinctions between free run and press wines, brandy, and liqueurs; and

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.

No of whether or not sulfur dioxide is intentionally added to a wine, fermentation-inducing yeasts will inevitably manufacture it from the inorganic sulfates present in all grape juices; as a result, practically all wines sold in the United States are labeled “Contains Sulfites.”

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.

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.
See also:  What Wine To Drink With Dessert

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.

  1. This will prevent the yeast from doing its function, resulting in a sweeter wine.
  2. What methodology did you employ?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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

One way of producing sweet wines is to prevent fermentation by eliminating the yeast, which is responsible for converting sugar into alcohol. This is accomplished by filtering the wine through a fine mesh to guarantee that no yeast is left in the wine. Because there is no yeast to ‘digest’ the sugar, it remains in the wine, resulting in a lower alcohol, sweeter wine. This method is used to produce a large number of popular off-dry wines. The addition of alcohol to strengthen the wine or the addition of sulfur dioxide to wine can both kill yeast and stop the fermentation process.

In the classroom, we drank un-aged Vins Doux Naturels, which have a high alcohol content but are well-balanced with sweetness due to the presence of sugar. A fresh grape, peach and perfume scent permeates the room as they are scented with a pleasant and invigorating citrus scent.

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.

  • A sweet Tokaji Aszu, made from noble rot-affected grapes, was also served to us by my teacher.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • They are not manufactured on a yearly basis.

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

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. Fruit intended for dessert wine is allowed to ripen on the vine as long as possible in order to increase sugar content, with harvest occurring as late as the end of November or even early December in the northern hemisphere. Once the juice enters the vat for these wines, residual sugar, as it is known, is preserved because winemakers do not ferment the wines to dryness, resulting in alcohol levels that are typically around 8 percent.

Possibly the most well-known late-harvest wines come from Germany and the French regions of Alsace and the Loire, and feature grapes such as Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Muscat, and Chenin Blanc.

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.

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.

See also:  What Dessert Wine Pairs Well With A Berry Fruit Tart

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).

  • A naturally sweet wine with high alcohol content (usually 18 to 20 percent) is produced as a result of this process.
  • 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.
  • Although released early, Vintage Port should be matured in bottle for a decade or more before consumption.
  • 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.
  • It is also possible to make your own Sherry from these dried grapes, which are extremely uncommon, rich, and syrupy.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Dessert Wine Gelees with Citrus Fruit



  • Step 1: In a mixing basin, combine 5 tablespoons cold water and the gelatin. Allow for 5 minutes of resting time. Advertisement
  • Step 2
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, 1/2 cup water, and the wines
  • Remove from heat. Simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved. Whisk in the gelatin mixture until it is completely dissolved. Cook for one minute. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Allow for thorough cooling. Step 3: Remove the peel and pith from the citrus fruit. Remove each segment from the membranes and then cut each segment horizontally into 1/8- to 1/4-inch-thick slices (see illustration) (you will need 1 cup). Distribute in a single layer on top of the gelatin mixture. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 24 hours
  • Step 4: Run a knife along the edge of the dish to unmold it. Gently coax gelatin from the edges of the bowl using an offset spatula. Turn the container upside down and out onto a chopping board. Trim the edges of the squares and cut them into 1 1/4-inch squares. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day in advance.

Dessert Wine: Why It’s Different From Other Wines and How to Pair It

In the minds of many, the word “dessert wine” conjures up images of syrupy concoctions that leave a bitter taste in the mouth. For after all, in today’s health-conscious age of low-sugar wines, keto diets, and carb-free living, who wants to drink a cloyinglysweet wine that may send your insulin levels skyrocketing and leave a sticky feeling on your tongue for hours after you’ve finished your glass? (It’s possible that there are a handful of you out there.) While the increasing popularity of dry wines (that is, wines that are not sweet) might appear to spell the end of sweet wines, this is not necessarily the case.

To that end, please allow us to provide you with some background information about dessert wine and how it differs from other types of wines.

What IsDessert Wine?

Dessert wine may be defined as any wine that is consumed during or after dessert in its broadest meaning. Dessert wine, to be more exact, is often sweet, has a distinct taste, and has a higher alcohol concentration. For example, Port, Madeira, Sherry, and late-harvest wines are all examples of late-harvest wines. Traditionnal dessert wines having an alcohol content of more than 15 percent by volume (ABV). Nonetheless, low-alcoholdessert wines with less than 10% alcohol by volume (ABV) are available, such Muscadet, Moscato d’Asti, and Brachetto d’Acqui.

  1. In other words, the amount of sugar that is left over after the fermentation process has taken place.
  2. A variety of methods were used by winemakers to create essert wines.
  3. It might be created from late-harvest grapes that have been allowed to raisinate and increase in sugar content as a result of being kept on the vine for a longer period of time.
  4. Alternatively, it may be sweetened by fortification, resulting in the production of fortified wines.
  5. While most dessert wines are on the sweeter side, there is a wide range of styles available under the category of dessert wines.

To be clear, dessert wines are not merely sweet, one-trick ponies, as you may have previously believed. They are deserving of a lot more recognition than that.

What to Look for inDessert Wine

Dessert wines, as previously said, are available in a variety of sweetness levels and are available in both red and white wines. Enjoying these mouthwatering sippers with dessert or as dessert in and of itself is recommended. Furthermore, it’s important to note that dessert wines are designed to be served in little wine glasses, similar to the way you’d sip on a snifter of whiskey or bourbon. (Although we must admit that we are great supporters of single-serve wine bottles that eliminate the need for a glass entirely.) If you desire a sweet dessert wine, you will get a sweet dessert wine.

Keep an eye out for the following descriptors:

Different Types ofDessert Winesand Food Pairings

While there are a plethora of wines that may be enjoyed with dessert, the ones that are featured below are the best examples of the genre. In order to avoid any unpleasant aftertaste when matching wine with sweet dessert, it’s recommended to pick a wine that is sweeter than the dessert itself. According to our enthralling guide on acidity in wine, sugar increases acidity, which is why dry wines taste harsh and sharp when served with sweet meals. With that in mind, here are many varieties of dessert wines, as well as delectable food combinations, that may enhance the flavor and overall experience of your dessert.


Despite the fact that it is best known as a sweet red wine, this fortified wine from Portugal is available in a variety of flavors ranging from deep reds to dry white and dry rosé varieties. Chocolate cake, chocolate truffles, and salted caramel desserts are all wonderful pairings for the sweetly complex redtawny port and ruby port. Serve the white or roséport wines with stone fruit, strawberry angel food cake, or lemon meringue pie to complement the flavors of the wine.


Madeirais is a fortified wine produced in Portugal’s Madeirais region, and it is renowned for its nutty, brown sugar, and burned caramel flavors. This amber-hued wine may be enjoyed on its own after a dinner, or paired with sweets like as astoffeepudding, tiramisu, or spicy treats such as chocolate truffles coated with cayenne pepper.


Known for its honeyed aromas of apricot, peach, butterscotch, and caramel, this cherished (and frequently expensive)sweet wine from France’s Sauternais area inBordeaux is much sought after. Sauternesis one of the “noble rot wines,” which include TokajiAszu wine from Hungary and SpätleseRieslings from Germany. It is prepared from grapes that have been damaged by the botrytis cinereafungus. (This fungus, which sounds disgusting, increases the sweetness of grapes while also imparting a honeyed flavor and aromatic quality.) Served with fresh and dried fruit, as well as heavier sweets such as crème brulee, cheesecake, and custards, Sauternes is a fantastic dessert option.


This fortified wine comes from the country of Spain. Sherry is often served as an aperitif before a meal; however, why not try it after a hearty dinner when you’re looking to wind down?

Fruit sweets like Pedro Ximénez are great accompaniments to crème brulee, vanilla ice cream, dark chocolate anything, or just enjoyed on their own as an after dinner treat.


This delicious sparkling wine from Germany is available in a variety of sweetness levels. Its inherent acidity helps to cut through the sweetness of the dish, making it a wonderful companion to a cheese course or cheesecake after dinner. Serve a sweeter Spätlese with citrus-based sweets such as lemon pound cake or lemon cream pie if you have a sweeter Spätlese on hand. Pear tarts and sorbet are also delicious desserts that go together like peanut butter and jelly.


Another rot wine of distinction, the tongue-twisting Gewürztraminer is a sweet, fragrant wine from the Alsace region of France that has a pleasant sweetness to it. With its lovely floral and lychee overtones, this exquisite white wine pairs perfectly with any dessert that has lychee, pear, or peach as one of the major components, such as ice cream.


In addition to being known as Muscat Blanc in its native country of Italy, Moscato is an extremely popular white wine that has built a name for itself owing to the three F’s that best characterize its character: fizzy, fruity, and flowery. This dessert wine is perfect for enjoying on a spring day or a late summer evening. It is also incredibly flexible. You might serve it with poached pears, grilled peaches, fruit tarts, nutty treats such as biscotti, or whatever else you choose.

Ice Wine

Ice wine, also known as Eiswein in German, is a particular sort of wine that is made from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. Due to the frigid environment required for the production of this dessert wine, it can only be produced in Germany and Canada. (It’s also one of the reasons why it’s a somewhat expensive wine.) Consider matching the red grape type with chocolate desserts and the white grape variety with blue cheeses and cheesecake if you have the choice between the two.

It’s Time for Dessert in a Glass

Following your education on dessert wines, it’s time to put your newfound knowledge to use in a variety of real-world scenarios. Dessert wines, like any other type of wine, are characterized by a wide range of tastes and characteristics. Despite the fact that there are several “rules” associated with wine consumption, the basic line is that you are free to set your own guidelines. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a bottle of dry sparkling Brut or wonderfully crisp rosé to accompany those funfetti cupcakes you just brought out of the oven.

Who knows what will happen?

That’s the beauty of wine: no matter how you enjoy it, it is one of life’s joys that makes everything else a little bit easier to swallow.

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