how to do you make dessert wines

Dessert wines are a natural progression from the sweeter, fruitier styles of wine that have been popular for centuries. They typically use grapes with higher sugar content and lower acidity to produce a sweet, fruity taste.
how to do you make dessert wines

Ever wonder how dessert wines become sweet? It’s easy to imagine a bunch of winemakers just opening up big vats and pouring in some granulated sugar. (That is, after all, what makes bran flakes palatable for all those prepubescent years.) And while some liquors have shown evidence of actually having sugar added, dessert wines become sweet by a variety of processes.

They also become expensive by a variety of processes. The reason that most dessert wines come in half, or 375 mL bottles, is because the basic concept is dehydration—meaning you get less juice per grape, and it takes a lot more to fill a bottle. But considering what goes into most dessert wine (especially extremely careful timing of harvest), you’ll tend to find a consistency of quality, if also a consistency of price. And don’t—really—let the “sweetness” factor scare you off. Highly aromatic and high acid grapes tend to go into dessert wines to create balance with the sweetness, not to mention concentrated complexity. And then there’s Noble Rot, which just makes everything delightfully funky.


As far as sweet wines go, this is a pretty simple one to tackle. Take port. Like any other wine, port is fermented by allowing yeasts to feast on sugar and convert it to alcohol. However, where wines like a Cabernet do this to the point of a much dryer wine, the fermentation of port is actually stopped—like, brought to a screeching halt, by the addition of a neutral spirit. This is called fortification. (Thus, fortified wines.) Fortification has two important effects: it ups the alcohol content of the wine—which is why we sip port in those tiny adorable cups—and it stops fermentation, meaning there will be leftover sugar. And that’s what makes port sweet.

Noble Rot

Even if you haven’t had the pleasure of drinking a wine affected by Noble Rot—the fancier name for Botrytis cinerea—you’ve probably heard of it. It’s actually just a mold that basically raisinates the grapes, drying them up and concentrating their sugars. Not that it only intensifies sweetness; by dehydrating the grapes, Noble Rot also concentrates the flavors, yielding richly aromatic, intense, low-yield dessert wines like Sauternes, Tokaji Azu (from Hungary), and Spätlese Riesling.

Ice Wine

By this point you’re seeing the pattern—it’s all about reducing the amount of water in the harvested grape. And the ice wine process is a really cool way of doing that. Also, yes, a freezing one. The idea is leaving the grapes (typically high aromatic, decently acidic grapes) on the vine into the winter. By picking them at just the right time—and that’s a seriously important decision on the vintners’ part—enough of the water is still frozen, so when you press, you get concentrated sweetness and aromatics.

Late Harvest

Like the ice wine process, but less extreme, this is simply when harvest (again, of a particular and often richly flavored grape) is delayed, allowing the grape to shrivel somewhat and concentrate sugars and aromatics. So basically all ice wine is technically (and super) “late harvest,” though not all late harvest wine is ice wine. Riesling (again, Spätlese, which actually means “late harvest) is a common late harvest wine, as are Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.

0 ( 0 votes )

Family Cuisine
Family Cuisine - Instructions, how to, recipes for delicious dishes every day for your loved ones in your family

Readers' opinions (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts


desserts to make with dessert shells

07/10/2021 23:33 2035

Desserts to make with dessert shells can range in complexity, but they are all delicious and fun to make. Whether you want a quick snack or an elaborate dinner party dessert, these desserts have something for everyone!

Home Canned Marinara Sauce | Family Cuisine

11/08/2021 22:13 1903

Marinara sauce is a staple in many Italian households and it's easy to make. This recipe for home canned marinara sauce is simple and delicious.

How to make orange chicken sauce from panda express

22/08/2021 06:07 1635

The Panda Express Orange Chicken Sauce is a must-try dish. The orange sauce is made from sweet and sour chicken, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, orange juice and corn starch.

How to make homemade marinara sauce using fresh tomatoes

20/08/2021 11:49 1588

This is a quick and easy recipe for homemade marinara sauce. It's made with fresh tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil leaves, oregano, salt and pepper.

How to make spaghetti sauce from fresh tomatoes for canning

20/08/2021 17:51 1549

Making your own spaghetti sauce from fresh tomatoes is easy and delicious. This recipe is a great way to use up those tomatoes that are too ripe for eating, but not quite ready to be canned. In the process of making this sauce, you

Best Damn Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin

12/08/2021 00:27 1156

A review of the best air fryer pork tenderloin you can find.

How to build a santa maria grill

16/08/2021 22:01 997

Santa Maria Grill is a restaurant in the heart of downtown. We serve up delicious, healthy food in a comfortable setting.

Best Ever Enchilada Sauce Recipe (Tex Mex Chili Gravy) | Family Cuisine

12/08/2021 06:37 872

If you love Tex Mex and Mexican food, then this is the recipe for you. This best ever enchilada sauce recipe has just the right amount of spice with a hint of sweetness to make it perfect for any meal. It's

Load more