Dry Versus Sweet Wines

Dry Versus Sweet Wines

Dry Versus Sweet Wines

Have you ever been handed a wine list at a restaurant and instantly you felt overwhelmed? There are so many different types of wine, how does one even begin to choose? One of the first things a person needs to know is the difference between dry and sweet wines. It may sounds obvious, but there is quite a bit of nuance that goes into the making of each and every wine, particularly the sweet wines. Here are some things you need to know before you place your order.

Dry Versus Sweet: How It’s Made

The primary difference between dry and sweet wines is how they are made. Dry wines are made the traditional way. The grapes are grown for a certain amount of time before they go through the fermentation and metabolization process. This creates the classic dry wine. If you wish to make a sweeter wine, there are a few ways you can go about it.

First you can pick the grapes before they have fully matured. This allows you to maintain the level of acidity found in the grape. They are then dried in the sun. The heat causes the sugar levels to rise creating a sweeter grape and therefore, a sweeter wine.

Another option is called chapitalization. In this process, sugar is added to the unfermented grape, increasing the alcoholic strength without compromising the sweetness of the wine. This is a process done around the world although different countries and companies have their own regulations about how much sugar is to be added to the grapes.  Here is a video on just how it is done.

Finally, you can stop the fermentation process early. During fermentation, the natural sugars in the juice will metabolize into alcohol, creating a dry beverage. In this process, they stop the fermentation before the wine has lost its sweetness.

The LCBO Sugar Code

You can tell how dry or sweet a wine is by its LCBO Sugar Code Levels. This code ranks the amount of sugar that remains in the wine. It ranges from 0 (very dry) to 30 (very sweet) Anything over a 7 is generally considered a sweet wine. However that doesn’t mean the wine will taste very sweet. Other factors such as acidity can affect the flavor of a wine. Generally a very acidic wine will also come across as dry, even if it ranks above a 7 on the LCBO Sugar Code.

Give It a Try

That was a basic rundown on the differences between dry and sweet wines. If you wish to sample some and see the differences for yourself, here’s a few examples of each.


  • French Malbec
  • Bordeaux
  • Cabernet Sauvignon


  • Port
  • Maury
  • Moscato

Cheers, Salud, and enjoy!

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Which Wine with Which Meal: As Simple as It Gets

Which Wine with Which Meal

Everybody says we should drink red wine with red meat, and white with white. But what about all the different kinds of red and white?  The Two Great Theories of Wine & Dining: Mirror or Contrast

Wine is such a rich drink that sometimes, the wisest thing to do is to surrender to its strength and choose a simple meal to go with the choice of the night. Sometimes though, the meal you have on the menu is so complex and distinct that it calls for a more humble, simple wine to be taken out.

It is a good idea to let the wine and food mirror each other when both are light. Wines’ heaviness should only increase in proportion the heaviness of the food. (This is why some of those expensive bottles taste dry and bitter when you had just spent a fortune to impress your girlfriend who welcomed you for a Netflix & Chill night)

Wine Pairings

If you are having some co-workers or extended family over for an afternoon meetup and serve light snacks sparkling or light bottles are what you should offer.

When you have people over for dinner, you should always do it like the French does. Start with a slightly heavier white to go with a seafood appetizer, a softer and sweeter red with lamb and a strong red with a spicy meat meal to keep up the game.

Some people believe they have to finish the evening with the same color of wine with which they began, but this only limits the variety of tastes you can match during a course of a meal.

No Hard and Fast Rules

The rule of red wine with red meat, white with white meat is not as strict as many people think. It depends a lot on the way the meat is cooked, as well as the sauce. For example, a bottle of white won’t go that well with a chicken lost in tomato sauce. A light red would make a mushroom-creme sauced chicken taste much better. The tuna fish is not considered seafood in the equation of wine matching, so a sweet red is the one to go with in that case.

Write these down…

  • With cheese, always go with white or a sweet red.
  • If you want to cook meat with wine, use a light one.
  • Pepper goes well with mature, rich red wines.
  • Basil and a light Chardonnay can make any day feel like a summer day.
  • Don’t forget to let your wine breathe, and breathe yourself.


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