Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The original reason for fortification was to preserve wines, as the higher alcohol level and additional sweetness (if the alcohol is added before fermentation finishes, killing the yeast and leaving residual sugar) help to preserve the wine. However now that these types of wine have been established people have developed a taste for them, even though other preservation methods exist.
Fortified wines must be distinguished from spirits made from wine. While both have increased alcohol content, spirits are the result of a process of distillation; while fortified wines have spirits added to them. Fortified wines generally have an alcohol content between that of wines and spirits.
Fortified wines are legally called dessert wines in the U.S. but are called liqueur wines in Europe.
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