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Fortify It! Adding Spirits To Your Wine

Your first fortified wine can be a little intimidating. What method are you going to utilize? Sweet or dry? What type of spirits are you going to use? Then again, maybe you’re not like me and already have a game plan in place for your fortification process. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore other means of fortificaton. In this column, we’ll take a swing through the various methods to produce a fortified wine of your own. Port-style On the sweeter end of the spectrum of fortified wines, you’ll find Port-style wines. A neutral grape-based spirit, often an unoaked brandy, is added to a red-wine fermentation in order to arrest the fermentation prior to completion . . . in other words, making sure fermentation will stall out. This leaves some residual sugar in the final product to balance out the intensity from the alcohol. Oftentimes, Port-style wines will add the spirits (fortify the wine) at about 6 °Brix. Starting off with a high Brix must can help winemakers because less spirit is required to get the level up to an appropriate