Fortified wine - Formula needed?

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GreginND

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Hello fellow commercial winemakers. I am making a fortified "port style" wine for the first time. I am a little confused on whether or not a formula is required for the TTB. From what I read, a natural wine may be fortified with spirits as long as it is the same fruit. In my case I have a grape wine fortified with grape brandy that was distilled for me by a local distillery. Do all fortified "dessert" wines need a formula approved?

I have not yet submitted labels for this - another discussion altogether.

Thanks for your wisdom.
 
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US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Their page is here:


Anyone in the USA who is planning to sell alcoholic beverages will benefit from reading this site. They have a "learning center", which I expect is a must-read.
 

GreginND

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And the answer is that you do NOT need a formula if you are fortifying with the same spirit as the fruit the wine is made from. For example, a grape wine can be fortified with a grape spirit (brandy) without a formula. But if you were to fortify it with grain alcohol or spirits made from other fruit, you would need a formula.

TTB - IF you can contact someone in person and talk to them, they are super duper helpful. Their canned email responses saying to look at their "formula required" website wasn't very helpful. It does not clarify this at all. I had the good fortune to have someone from TTB formulas send me their direct phone number and got the matter taken care of in minutes.

Now, on another note - a winery can't make a ginger beer and call it "ginger beer". It would have to be called a ginger wine. But a different alcohol license producer could brew the exact same thing and call it a "ginger beer". *sigh
 

VinesnBines

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Great news that you got a helpful agent! No one said the rules would make sense- just that someone will be glad to help you.

I will be the first to admit government websites are NOT helpful or user friendly.

Good to know about the fortification rules.
 

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