The late eighteenth century was a crucial time in the history of Port wine, during this period
several developments transformed Port into the spectacular fortified wine we know it as today. The most predominant of these being fortification. In the early days, brandy was sometimes added to wines prior to shipment in order to fortify them against the harsh conditions of sea voyage. This practice was seldom followed in the early part of the eighteenth century, however, gained momentum in later years. As the century progressed fortified wines became more common as they were discovered to result in wines that were sweeter, stronger, more aromatic and of greater appeal to the average customer. The practice of adding brandy to the wine before it has finished fermenting is now a crucial part of the process of making port. These days, fortified wines contain an increased alcohol percentage, between sixteen to twenty- four percent, in order to allow them to have a longer shelf-life during pre-refrigeration times.
It may seem difficult to tell a fortified wine from an unfortified wine however, it’s really not that hard. You can easily differentiate the two types of wine through their alcohol percentage, as non-fortified wine is any wine which contains below sixteen percent alcohol content. Non-fortified wine is simply “wine”, fruit juice – commonly however not limited to grapes, that has had some or all of the sugar converted to alcohol by yeast. The difference with fortified wine is that the wine has had a distilled liquor added to it. As a result of their high alcohol content, they are more stable than ordinary table wines and less likely to spoil once they have been opened.
Fortified Port is thought to be the most classic example of this type of wine, due to its rich history. After shipment, this wine was often preferred over regular wine as a result of its high alcohol content as well as its deep rich flavours. Over time the demand for fortified wine grew, meaning that fortified wines were continued to be made long after the need for fortification was necessary.
At St Anne’s winery, we are home to three generations of fortified winemaking. Our mission is to deliver you with a stunning selection of fortified port wine and range of other delicious fortified wines. These refined and sophisticated wines are designed to allow one to savour and experience the rich texture and gorgeous flavour of a fortified wine.