Fortified Wine Production
Because fortified wines have over 18% alcohol, they do not spoil easily. This made them particularly important before refrigeration, as they could be shipped large distances and retain their quality. The British played a major role in this trade.
Port is a sweet fortified wine that is made when Brandy is added before fermentation is complete. During this type of Fortified Wine Production, the alcohol kills the yeast cells and stops fermentation before all of the sugar has been converted. Port is made in the Douro Valley of Portugal, but several California producers make wines using similar techniques.
Sherry is a dry fortified wine that is produced in the town of Jerez, Spain. Unlike Port, it is made when Brandy is added to a wine after fermentation is complete. Sherry can have residual sugar, but it is added after fermentation and fortification. It is made with a very unique type of Fortified Wine Production.
Marsala is a fortified wine made on the island of Sicily. Like many fortified wines, the British were indispensable in importing and distributing Marsala. John Woodhouse is credited with introducing the wine and Fortified Wine Production technique to the international market.
Madeira is from the Madeira Islands off the coast of Portugal. This fortified wine is often used for cooking. Because it is intentionally oxidized during production, it can last for an extremely long time.
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