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Sweet Wines

While many often describe still wines as "sweet," there is a difference between sweetness and fruitiness; the latter refers to the flavour profile while the former has to do with the presence of sugar in the final wine, often referred to as residual sugar. There are many ways wines can be made sweet, essentially by concentrating the sugar in some capacity: late harvesting when grapes are riper; allowing certain types of rot to develop (botrytis), which concentrates the sugar; freezing grapes on the vine; drying the grapes after harvest; and even fortification prior to the fermentation finishing, which allows some residual sugar to remain in the final wine.

Most winemaking regions throughout the world produce sweet styles of wine and throughout history, sweet wines have been prized for their intense flavour concentration, and also for their preservation properties - sugar in the final wine prevents spoilage. Sweet wines such as Sauternes from Bordeaux and Tokaj in Hungary can be some of the world's most long-lived - and expensive - wines.