Definition - What does Fortification mean?

The fortification of a wine means that a spirit was added to a wine, increasing its alcohol content. A typical spirit used to fortify wine is brandy. It may be added to a wine for one of two reasons:

  1. To stop the fermentation of a wine
  2. To increase the alcohol content of a wine

WineFrog explains Fortification

Only certain styles of wine can still be in balance when they are fortified.

The most commonly known wine which undergoes fortification is Port. A Ruby Port for instance, is made with a base of dark, red grapes such as; Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca. These are grapes with very thick skins and rich flavors, which make a bold wine. These wines are the ones which can handle fortification and still be palatable afterward.

Fortification of wine has been practiced throughout history, and in many wine-making countries, it is still a tradition.

Other fortified wines are:

  • Sherry
  • Muscat
  • Jerez
  • Madeira
  • Marsala
  • Vermouth
  • Moscatel de Setúbal
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