Fortified Wine?

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Sep 9, 2022
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Although I might have made a lot of wine 35 odd years ago, and some of those years were very odd, I consider myself a beginner; really because I didn't push the barriers at all, just followed a recipe; plus, 35 years is quite a break!

I have a Rosehip wine that has been fermenting for just over a month, I would like to use some of this to make a fortified wine, I bought some vodka for the purpose.

The wine has been fermenting too long to make a port, where I believe the must has barely begun to become a wine before the alcohol is added to arrest the fermentation, leaving a sweet, fruity wine with around 20% alcoholic strength. Mine then, will be somewhat drier, which is fine.

The wine will not have cleared, do I just filter the wine into a bottle and add the vodka?

Can anyone please offer some advice on how to do this? Plus of course, this is a little like how long is a length of string, but how much vodka to wine?

Ohio Bob

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Jan 29, 2022
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Cleveland, Ohio area
Lots to sort out here...
It’s not absolute that you have to stop the fermentation to preserve the sweetness, you can ferment dry, then back sweeten and fortify. Ports, if I recall, are stopped around 5 Brix, which is nearly bone dry. You will not get 20% ABV at this point.

I would recommend always getting the wine clear before fortifying, or filtering. And filtering isn’t needed if you bulk age it long enough.

Vodka has a lot of water in it. So when you fortify, you are also diluting the flavor. That leads to the Pearson Square. You can find spreadsheets on the internet. It calculates how much quantity of liquid A (at x% ABV) needs to be added to liquid B (at y% ABV) to get a final liquid at z% ABV. For ports, typically it’s 18-20%.

Try a bunch of options for the fortifying liquid, say 40% ABV for vodka, and 95% ABV for Everclear 190 (available here in the US). You will see it takes a lot less Everclear to get a final liquid ABV. The lesson is the higher strength fortifying agent requires less of it. Thus less dilution of flavor.

If you want to fortify with brandy, because it adds flavor that’s a different discussion. And really a matter of personal taste.
Nov 5, 2006
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Raleigh, NC, USA
I'm a week out from doing the same thing -- I'll be taking 4 liters of aged wine, fortifying with EverClear to ~20%, and backsweetening. It won't be a true "port" as I didn't stop the fermentation, and besides, I don't live in Portugal. But it's effectively the same thing.

My method is exactly what @Ohio Bob described.

Note -- Some reference state that port is made with brandy/cognac, while others state it's Eau-de-Vie, which is unaged brandy. EverClear is the best candidate I know of in the USA -- in my state the strongest I can get is 150 proof (75% ABV), but that's good enough. [I should pick up a couple of bottles of the 190 proof when I'm traveling out of state.]

I don't know what's available in the UK but use the highest proof, plain alcohol you can.

If you can wait a week or two, I'll post exactly what I did.


Oct 23, 2014
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40 mile yonder & PLUM NOWHERE
you're probably done, but in the future you can at that stage add EC-1118 or K1V-1116 both of which with careful step feeding can be brought up to a ABV of 20% to 21%
then as i do with skeeter pee port (my term) I then add ever clear,,, i keep my wines at a little higher ABV then most but i use way more fruit and back sweeten to stave off any alcohol taste,
now to go hot and not taste alcohol, i use pineapple or lemon wine, both which are great at hiding the taste of alcohol. when young i drank hard liquor, but know i want a great flavor with just a little hidden kick, orange is another one good at masking alcohol taste, but the best that i have found so far is pine apple and lemon , but always looking for different, hehe
good luck,,,

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