All About Sweet Wines

All About Sweet Wines

Curious about sweet wine? You’ve come to the right place! Keep reading to learn all about sweet wine, including the different ways winemakers craft it, the different levels of sweetness, and the different types of sweet wine available in the wine world.

How Do Winemakers Make Sweet Wine?

What exactly makes sweet wines…well, sweet? The short answer? The amount of residual sugar that did not convert into alcohol during the fermentation process determines how sweet a wine will be. The long answer? It’s not a matter of just adding sugar to make wine sweet. Actually, the process of making wine sweet will vary by the type of wine being made.

For example, winemakers of Sauternes or sweet Rieslings will use grapes affected with noble rot (Botrytis). Someone making an Italian Passito will use grapes that have been dried on straw to create a raisin-like quality. When making a Champagne Doux, which is the sweetest type of Champagne you can get, the winemaker will engage in a process known as dosage, which is adding sugar to Champagne right before corking. Another popular method of making sweet wines is using late harvest grapes because the longer grapes are left on the vine, the sweeter they become. Winemakers in Germany and France’s Alsace region often use late harvest grapes when crafting Pinot Gris and Riesling.

 The Different Levels Of Sweetness

 You can tell how sweet a sweet wine will be by its sweetness level, which is typically listed on the label. The levels from least sweet to sweetest are:

  1. Off-Dry
  2. Semi-Sweet
  3. Sweet
  4. Very Sweet

It’s important to note that these levels are different when it comes to sweet Champagne and other sweet sparkling wines.

 The Different Types Of Sweet Wine

There are lots of different categories of sweet wine:

  • Sweet White Wine
  • Sweet Red Wine
  • Sweet Sparkling Wine
  • Icewine
  • Sweet Fortified Wine
  • Fruit Wine

 Sweet White Wine

Sweet white wines can be so refreshing at the end of a hot summer day. Here is a list of sweet white wines we think you should check out the next time you need a refreshing glass of vino:

  • Riesling (Some Rieslings are dry, so be sure to look at the label first.)
  • Gewürztraminer
  • A Loire Valley Chenin Blanc
  • Sauternes
  • Tokaji

 Sweet Red Wine

Love red wine, but feel it can be a little too heavy during the summer months? Why not try a sweet red wine! A lot of sweet red wines are simply labeled “Sweet Red.” But, there are a few red wines that are especially known for their sweetness, including:

  • Valpolicella
  • Dornfelder
  • Beaujolais (This is a great option if you are looking for something that’s only a little on the sweet side.)
  • Sweet Pinotage

 Sweet Rosé

Like red and white wines, a rosé can also be dry. So, when looking for a sweet rosé, be sure to scope out the label to make sure it is in fact sweet. Some traditionally sweet rosé wines include:

  • White Zinfandel
  • White Merlot

 Sweet Sparkling Wine

Who doesn’t love a refreshing sweet sparkling wine? Grab a bottle of one of these great sparkling wines for your next brunch:

  • Lambrusco
  • Brachetto d’Acqui
  • Moscato
  • Demi-Sec Champagne
  • Doux Champagne

 Ice Wine

Ice wines are typically made in colder wine regions, like Canada and Germany. And, as their name implies, they are made from grapes that are still frozen on the vine. The grapes get their sweetness level due to the fact that while they are frozen, their sugars are not, which leads to a higher concentration of sugar prior to fermentation. Ice Wine can be difficult to make, so it tends to be more on the expensive side, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious!

 Sweet Fortified Wines

Fortified wines, like Port, are made by adding a distilled spirit, like brandy to the base wine. In order for a fortified wine to be sweet, this process, called fortification, must be completed during fermentation. Sweet fortified wines include:

  • Port
  • Sweet Sherry
  • Sweet Madeira

Fruit Wine

Fruit wine, isn’t actually made from grapes. It’s made from…you guessed it, fruit! And, besides being absolutely delicious, fruit wines are great for your health because each variety comes with its own unique blend of disease-fighting chemicals that are enhanced even more by the fermentation process.

Land O Lakes Winery has 10 different delicious “Beach” wines all are sweet and refreshing. Our Beach wines begin with grapes, just like the traditional wines, but we add just the right amount of fruit during the process ~ guaranteed to make your palette happy:

  • Blackberry Blast
  • Blueberry Bliss
  • Cranberry Craze
  • Green Apple
  • Key Lime
  • Orange Sangria
  • Peach Perfection
  • Rockin’ Raspberry Rose
  • Strawberry Sensation
  • Very Black Cherry

Click here to read their flavor profiles.

Try Our Sweet Wine Today!

 Ready to try one of our refreshing fruit wines? Stop by our winery or visit our online store!