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.