Technique

Making Off-Dry White Wine: Tips from the Pros

There is a lot more to off-dry wines than what you may perceive from mass-produced discount bottles from the supermarket. A little sweetness with balanced acidity can add complexity and create a whole new tasting adventure. These aren’t the easiest wines to make, but they are rewarding on a summer day. Winemaker: August Deimel, Keuka Spring Vineyards, Penn Yan, New York Wines that will be finished sweeter ideally have a slightly different flavor profile than wines that will be bottled dry. We’re looking for slightly riper flavors. For example, in Riesling we’d like to see apricot and tropical notes rather than green apple or lemon/lime. To do that, we definitely need grapes that are a bit riper. We’re also a bit more tolerant of Botrytis. Having slightly higher sugars allows us to arrest fermentation early to preserve the grape’s natural sugar while still producing enough alcohol to make a sound and balanced wine. Now, there’s a caveat to this: If the grapes are on the vine too long (or especially in a hot year or hot region) the acid will