How to make Sweet Wine – Part 2
Here’s the lowdown on the other 3 ways on how sweet wine is made.
How are Sweet Wines made? Here are the 6 common ways Sweet Wines are made
NOBLE ROT aka BOTRYTIS
So this may sound gross, but this fungus truly makes some of the most memorable (and expensive) sweet wines in the world! This fungus aka Botrytis Cinerea is a good fungus that concentrates the sugars in the grapes to make a wine that makes the wine more complex and gives it aromas of honey. So how does it work? The fungus attacks the skin and makes it thinner, causing the grapes to lose its water and concentrating its flavors. Why so expensive? Since the grapes lose a lot of their water content, it takes a lot more to make 1 bottle of wine!
The Wine Lowdown: Fungus makes delicious sweet wine!
Another way to make a sweet wine is to dry out or raisinate the grapes before pressing them. Have you had an Italian Amarone or a French Vin de Paille? This is a wine that goes through this process. The winemakers pick whole bunches of grapes and then leave them to dry (on the stalk) in an attic. They can also choose to place these bunches on a straw mat and lay them in the sun. Amarone is (generally) dry and very rich whereas Vin de Paille or Vin Santo is sweet.
The Wine Lowdown: Dried grapes make sweet wine!
Only when the grapes are really cold can you get Eiswein or Ice Wine, a speciality of Germany and Canada. Harvested in the deep freeze of winter, the freezing of the grapes on the vine concentrates the sugar. After they are frozen the grapes are harvested (generally in the cold, dark early morning) and pressed. The sugars in the grapes do not freeze but the water does and the concentrated grape must is squeezed from the frozen grapes.