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What Defines A Dessert Wine?

What Defines A Dessert Wine?

Is there any type of alcohol out there with a richer history than wine? We’re willing to bet that there isn’t! Consumption of wine has evolved heavily over the centuries that it’s been in existence. Advancements in aging and wine recipes have given rise to a variety of different types of wine, from red wine to white wine and rose and everything in between. There’s a variety of wine out there that has a unique classification: dessert wines! Classifying a dessert wine is a slightly more complex process than you’d think. We break down the definition of dessert wine below!

Country Specifications

There are a few qualities that dessert wines across the world share, but their legal definition will largely depend on what country you purchase them in. The two main countries to note here are the United States and the United Kingdom. In the United States, dessert wine is legally defined as any wine with above a 14% alcohol content. It’s subject to higher taxes as a result. The United Kingdom has a much broader definition of dessert wine, labeling it as any sweet wine drunk with a meal. So, which of the two countries is right? It’s actually a mix of both!


Pretty much every dessert wine that you can find out there has a much higher sweetness content than other wines. Makers of dessert wine try to make this as naturally as possible, which means that they have to make it within the vineyard. This is done by changing the fermentation process slightly. Normally, sugars in the grapes would be allowed to completely dissolve and turn to alcohol. For dessert wines, the process is stopped before that can happen, which helps to make them sweeter than your average wines.

Alcohol Content

There’s a reason why dessert wines have a higher concentration of alcohol than most other types of wine! It traces back to the fermentation process again. There are other ways to sweeten the wine besides stopping fermentation early, and one such method helps to increase the alcohol content. The wine goes through a process called fortification, which is a fancy way of saying that other alcohol is added to it. Most of the time, the alcohol of choice is brandy, but liquors like cognac are also a suitable option.

Wine and Cuisine at Assaggio

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy Italian cuisine that’s perfectly paired with a selection of wine and cocktails, there’s no better place to go than Assaggio! We have a vast selection of wine that pairs perfectly with any part of the meal – even dessert! To experience it for yourself, click here to make a reservation with us!

By | 2022-08-15T19:49:52+00:00 August 15th, 2022|Italian Wine & Cocktails, Traditional Italian Fare|0 Comments

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